Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nice & rare

I want to make up for the lack of action on this blog over the last couple of months so I'll to post a new tune every day between now and Christmas. Who knows, I might even manage it.
Anyway, I'm really thrilled to be able to present this next record. I got my copy of 'Small Axe' off Bob Brooks about 20 years ago (scary how time flies). It was straight off the plane from Jamaica and covered in termite shit; I took it home with detailed instructions on how to clean it (in case you're wondering, termite shit is abrasive so it's best to soak it off). Three days later I was actually able to
play it, and immediately began what turned into a three-year search for the vocal.
What's great about this record? The spoken intro, obviously; the superb rhythm (Dennis Brown's 'Stages In Life') with its heavy bass and organ; Big Joe (maybe not everyone's cup of tea) in fine style;
and one of the best of Trinity's early efforts (as Prince Glen) on the b-side. Don't ask me why, but this one has a special place in my heart.
Small Axe Hi-Fi was Big Joe's own sound system, Golden Stallion was his own label (pre-Shelter Rock) and 'Small Axe' was one of his first self-produced tunes. It's a statement about making it on your own and a nice bit of self-promotion. Trinity hadn't really developed his trademark style at this point in his career, and sounds a lot like Big Joe on this record. That said, his side is still a fine tune - almost (but not quite) as good as his version of 'Beat Down Babylon' ('Virginia Skank', on the Joe Gibbs label - one for the future perhaps).
This is a very rare one, I've only ever seen one copy apart from my own. Here it is.
Hope you enjoy.


Jerm said...


the_voice_of_reason said...

From the sound of the riddim, it may have been cut at Studio One. The drumming, and in particularly the out of tune piano, are very reminiscent of Linton Cooper's "You'll Get Your Pay" on Money Disc (1974). It was credited as a Dennis Brown and Alton Ellis co-write when released on Panther, so it seems at least possible that Dennis and Alton took an unused rhythm from Coxsone in lieu of payment.

Big Joe isn't my cup of tea I'm afraid, and Trinity had yet, as you say, to find his feet, so I may not return to this tune too often

the_voice_of_reason said...

Interestingly,the backing musicians on this sound liker the same band (perhaps even the same session) as a cover of Luther Ingram's "If Loving You Is Wrong" by none other than Alton Ellis.

This does kind of support the theory that Alton obtained the riddim here from Coxsone.

lala said...

steve say:
Love that version by Luther Ingram! He also did 'Aint That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)', didn't he? BTW, have you heard Busty Brown's version of 'If Loving You Is Wrong'? - great, great tune

lala said...

steve says:
Hey VoR - thanks so much for the offer - and sorry it's taken so long to reply: I've been heavily preoccupied with non-blog stuff for the last few months. It'd be great if you could do some chat - we're really liking your contribution to the blog thru the comments.

Sometime soon I'll put up a list of tunes that we want to find label scans for. If you could help us out with any of them I'd be really grateful.