Although he’s most fondly remembered for 1982’s dance jam “Mama Used to Say”, British singer/songwriter Junior Giscombe followed that hit up with the arguably better morality tale “Too Late”. The song is an interesting study in contrasts: Junior’s fey vocals are telling an emotionally wrenching story about a man who mistreats his woman while their children watch. The woman being mistreated is summoning up the courage to grab the kids and get the hell out.

The instrumentation is similarly tough-the drummer is banging the shit out of his kit on this song and there’s some nice, scratchy rhythm guitar work.

I’d never seen the video clip for “Too Late” until I’d already made my mind up to put this piece together. Granted, most videos in 1982 were pretty low-budget, and with MTV being non-supportive of soul music at the time, R&B videos were even lower-budget. However, this video is cheap to the point of disbelief. Not to mention that someone told Junior it would be a good idea to mug goofily and skip around gaily in a video for a song about domestic violence. It’s so weird. But then, this was 1982.

Junior’s career pretty much fell off a cliff after “Too Late”. He scored a couple of minor hits later in the decade. “Too Late”-a song whose instrumental version I put on a beat tape I gave to my friend Mike when I was 16 and had DJ/hip-hop producer aspirations, has (somewhat surprisingly) been sparingly sampled. The only instance I remember of it being used was on a track called (would you believe?) “Too Late” from that Brand Nubian comeback album that was released when everyone was doing Puffy-style wholesale jacking.

I don’t know if it’s just a Brit thing, but…put a Kangol, an eyepatch and about 150 pounds of gold jewelry on Junior, and wouldn’t he be a dead ringer for Slick Rick?

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