Orchestra JB was the nom de plume of Jimmy Brown, a multi-instrumentalist and DJ who, after releasing a few underground dance hits for indie labels, signed to major EastWest Records and in 1991 released Tambourine Fever, an album of trippy, Ecstasy-fueled “comedown” tracks with nothing too groundbreaking or noteworthy, save the album’s single, “Come Alive.”
“Come Alive” (download) is an earworm, an insistent, hallucinatory yet catchy track with a spoken word/sung female vocal not too different from the music Dot Allison and One Dove would create a couple years later. “Come Alive’s” laconic beat, stream of consciousness vocal and harmonica showed up in another club hit that year, the Orb’s “Little Fluffy Clouds.”
Placing a spoken-word performance sampled from a Rickie Lee Jones interview over a Primal Scream-ish landscape, “Little Fluffy Clouds” (download) was another stoned journey through ’90s dance psychedelia, taking underground rave culture slowly into the mainstream clubs. Jones rambles on about the clouds in Arizona like a beatnik doofus (imagine!) while a harmonica wails, synths bubble, bass booms and the beat commands you to move. “Clouds” was a hit with DJs and clubgoers alike, but not everyone was so enamored — Jones filed a lawsuit over the unauthorized sample, reaching an out of court settlement with the Orb. I never understood the nature of her anger, since the song brought her to a completely new audience and didn’t really infringe on any song of hers. Perhaps her hippy-dippy ramble was really embarrassing for her.
Fun Fact: Not only are the Orb and Orchestra JB songs similar, you can file their CDs alphabetically right next to each other on your CD rack!
As a bonus, here are the other remixes of “Little Fluffy Clouds” from the CD single:
“Little Fluffy Clouds (Inner Master Mix)” (download)
“Little Fluffy Clouds (Cumulonimbus Mix)” (download)
“Little Fluffy Clouds (Dance MK II)” (download)
“Little Fluffy Clouds (Heavyweight Dub)” (download)
“Little Fluffy Clouds” peaked at #13 on the Billboard Club Play Chart and at #16 on the Hot Dance Singles Sales Chart in 1991.
“Come Alive” did not chart.
Orchestra JB’s album is long out of print, but you can still get Orb music at Amazon or on