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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Curtie And The Boombox - Black Kisses (1985)

I have had this album on cassette and vinyl forever, but aside from the first single, "Let's Talk It Over In The Ladies' Room", I never gave it much of a listen. I decided to rip the vinyl for ya'll, and I was amazed at just how fun and danceable the rest of the album is. It's now one of my faves! From what I can gather from the bit of info available on the web (most not in English), the act was formed by Dutch producer Peter Koelewijn. After he met Curtie Fortune, who came from a small island in the Caribbean, he decided to form a group around her, obviously enchanted by her Caribbean accent. He enlisted fellow Caribbeans Judith Landry and "the Wilson sisters" to be 'the Boombox' (essentially her back-up singers), a name he saw on a small recording device in the studio. Along with Dutch engineer Albert Boekholt he produced their first single, "Let's Talk It Over In The Ladies' Room", released on RCA in 1984. It was an upbeat, Caribbean flavoured pop song similar in style to groups like Boney M. or Luv'. It was a small hit in the Netherlands and the success led to the recording of their next single, "Black Kisses (Never Make You Blue)", a more italo disco flavoured track released in 1985. The song made it into the top 20 in the Netherlands, and it soon got attention worldwide, with it's biggest claim to fame being that it made it into the US Billboard Hot 100, reaching #81. This created a demand for an album, which had already been in the works for the past year and a half. By the time the song hit in the US the Wilson sisters had left and were replaced by Dutch singers Patricia Balrak and Denise van der Hek, who was previously the lead singer for another Dutch girl group, Risqué. Though Curtie was still the main lead singer, each of the other ladies was given a song apiece on which to sing lead. The album contained other songs with the Caribbean vibe, like the single "A Bachelor's Bed (Is A Dangerous Place)", but also incorporated songs with Hi NRG and italo disco elements similar to The Flirts or Fun Fun. Overall it's a surprisingly diverse album and a lot of fun, but neither of the other two singles, the aforementioned "A Bachelor's Bed..." and "Chinchilla", caught on with audiences in the US or anywhere else, for that matter. Curtie soon left the group, along with producer Koelewijn. The remaining three ladies made one last attempt and released the new single "Killing Love", as simply Boom Box, on the Injection Disco Dance label, but the song went unnoticed and they split. All of the ladies apparently kept busy as session singers after that, and Denise was briefly one half of pop duo Chess. Patricia Balrak has continued to sing, but now primarily in gospel music, as her Myspace page will attest. No sign of what Denise van der Hek and Judith Landry have been up to recently, but I did find unfortunate news about Curtie Fortune: she passed away on March 5, 2003. A tribute page has been set up for her by Peter Koelewijn. But perhaps the best tribute to her is listening to this wonderful, upbeat 'lost' pop gem that she was the focus of.

Video for Black Kisses

Download Black Kisses

Black Kisses (Never Make You Blue)
My Book Of Love
Let's Talk It Over In The Ladies' Room
A Bachelor's Bed (Is A Dangerous Place)
Help Me To Help You
Hoochie Coochie Boogie


  1. Oh my God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I heard Let's Talk It Over In The Ladies' Room once, years ago somewhere and it plays in my head regularly. But I could never find it or who sang it. I've tried googling the lyrics I could remember and nothing would come up. Mystery solved. Thank you!!! Wow.

  2. It's sad to say that even in the Netherlands, where I used to live at the time Curtie and the Boombox were active, really didn't get a lot of attention. I bought the "45" single Black kisses and never even knew that there was an album. Also sad to hear that the lead singer has passed since. Thanks for posting this album
    Mike V

  3. I would like to suggest an album to you if you like. you can email me at It took me quite a while to find this album which is a super 80's one. If you're curious, throw me a line.