I've got a proper treat for you this week (sorry the last few weeks have been so lean - I've been rushed off my feet on outside business) - three very rare tunes all on the same rhythm. It's 'Picture On The Wall' - we've all heard great versions by Freddy McKay and Phyliis Dillon, but that's not all there is, not by a long way. What I love about this rhythm is its energy - and almost anyone who sings, plays or deejays over it carries something of that into their performance.
First up, and definitely the rarest and most sought-after is 'We Can Make It' by Pat Satchmo (real name Paul Anthony), which came out in 1971 on Tony Robinson's High School label. This has to be the guy's best ever tune (although his version of 'What's Going On' is damn strong as well), and as a bonus you've got an excellent melodica version by Peter Tosh on the flip. Peter Tosh did a few melodica instrumentals but this one is my favourite - 'A Little Love version 3' is pretty good as well; 'Field Marshall' was hideously distorted on the original pressing (I haven't heard the reissue yet) and the key changes didn't really work for me.
No all-on-one-rhythm selection is complete without a deejay cut, so here goes. My copy of this was a white label with 'Blackbirds' written on it, so that's what I always assumed it was called. Turns out it's actually 'No Turning Back' by Big Joe & Carl Dryden. I'd love to know if a full vocal version exists, but really this version is really just fine - roots deejay laid over a romantic-sounding song. It came out in 1973 on the always-excellent Shelter Rock label, which was a joint venture between Big Joe and Jah Pops. I've always liked this song, but until today I've not really found a good way to showcase it.
Finally we've got another very rare cut, a rootsy vocal by Ronald Phillip called 'Love & Harmony' backed with a wild effects-laden Vin Gordon trombone version called 'East, West, North & South'. It's another one from the Shelter Rock label (1974), and I picked it up while buying records wholesale for someone else; this and Count Ossie's 'Black Up' were the only two I kept for myself.
Highlights for me - Pat Satchmo's vocal, Vin Gordon's trombone - but there's not a bad cut in this lot. Here's the link: http://www.mediafire.com/?mzmyzhrzhnn
Finally, just to remind us how great the original was:
Hope you enjoy.