Monday, May 25, 2009

Reggae City


Here's a bit of older stuff: Desmond Dekker's 1967 classic '007 (Shanty Town)' with a great instrumental from Roland Al on the back.

We'll follow that up with a couple more really fine instrumentals, this time from 1969: 'Reggae City' by Val Bennett and 'Mellow Trumpet' by Karl Bryan.

'Reggae City' was a big hit at the time and spawned a follow-up: 'Last Flight To Reggae City', by Tommy McCook & Stranger Cole, produced by Lloyd Charmers. You can listen to it here:

Finally, there is 'Earthquake' from U-Roy, a wicked version of the Upsetters' 'Dark Of The Moon' where U-Roy toasts over his own vocals. The b-side is the fast version of 'Suspicious Minds' by Hortense Ellis (Alton Ellis' younger sister). There is a slow version as well - it's rumoured to be really good but I've never heard it. Both songs date from 1971.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.




I've put together a small compilation of prehistoric rock
& roll for a change. It's all stuff that I recorded from
an old friend who used to play sets in a biker pub somewhere
in Bristol. I only recorded the stuff that appealed to me at
the time (there was just so much) - I'm not quite sure how
to describe it, so:

1. Let There Be Drums - Sandy Nelson
2. Surfer John - Nature Boy & Friends
3. Blues In G Minor - Big Jay McNeely
4. Chained - Frankie Stine & The Ghouls
5. Bad Bad Whiskey - Amos Milburn
6. The Monkey Speaks His Mind - Dave Bartholomew
7. Beatnik - The Champs
8. Brand New Cadillac - Vince Taylor
9. Dinosaur - Link Wray
10.The Last Meal - Hurricane Harry

Someone has very kindly poted the full lyrics of 'The Last
Meal' here:

Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Guineau Bissau

Just for a change of pace, here's the b-side of the first ever record released by a singer from Guineau Bissau. It's a tune called 'Na' by Djorçon (Ernesto Dabó), recorded in Portugal in 1973 (the A-side was called 'M'Ba Bolama').

The 'Rough Guide to World Music' provides more background. Check it out here: ...

Joy In The Morning

Here's another treat - 'Jah Bring I Joy' by Bobby Melody. When I first heard this I immediately recognised it as the rhythm for 'Top Ranking' by Trinity, put up my hand and bought it. It's a beautiful steppers cut to one of the Gaylad's best tunes ('Joy In The Morning') and an example of everything that's great about Errol T's mixing and Joe Gibbs' mid-seventies productions.

Bobby Melody is a fine fine singer, and did some other must-have roots tunes including 'Perception', and 'True True Loving' on Negus Roots (which as luck would have it has just been reissued) - if you don't know it, check it out here:

He's based in Nottingham nowadays. There's some more info about his life and music on Roots Vibration's MySpace page here:

Finally, here's a clip of the original Gaylads song (I think this may also be available on reissue):


Tribute to the Doctor Alimantado

Here's another old favourite from my youth. I first heard Doctor Alimantado on a tape that someone gave me at school - it had 'I Shall Fear No Evil' and 'Have Mercy Jah' on it, as well as a whole load of tunes from that Keith Hudson LP 'Pick A Dub' and two or three tracks from Dillinger's 'Talking Blues'. Of course, since it was just a tape he'd copied off someone else, there was no track listing and I had no idea who it was. It was the first reggae I'd ever heard; it was mysterious and exciting, and felt like I'd discovered a whole new world. Anyway, enough backstory, here's some music:

Today's record is one that I've always liked, but never really played that
 much. 'Tribute to the Duke' is Doctor Alimantado's 1976 tribute to Duke Reid. It's a really joyful organ-led instrumental over a medley of old Treasure Isle hits with a great effects-laden dub on the flip. The whole thing feels so effortless and the band's so tight, it's like good whiskey so smooth you hardly notice it going down.

It's been nice to see a couple comments on the blog. But even if no one ever reads this, it's been worth doing just to listen with new ears to so many of my old tunes. I can't even remember the last time I listened properly to this record before today, and I can't remember a time that I enjoyed it more.

Both sides of this record have been reissued: 'Tribute to the Duke' is on the CD release of 'Best Dressed Chicken In Town' on Greensleeves, and 'West Man Scank' is on a CD called 'House of Singles' on Doctor Alimantado's own Keyman label. I strongly advise anyone reading this to support the artist by buying both of them (and 'Sons Of Thunder' as well. If you've enjoyed this single, it's a purchase you definitely won't regret.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Green Guava Jelly

Hi again,

'Green Guava Jelly' is a record I hadn't listened to in years before last night. It's a reggae cover of an old mento standard which was also done by the Wailers. This is a nice mellow track, with great percussion which really comes out well in the dub. I always liked the label as well.

It was produced by Rupie Edwards, and got quite an enjoyable deejay makeover ('Jelly Belly Nelly') by Shorty The President. The Tellers made at least one other excellent mento-flavoured record: 'Fat Beef' which came out on Winston Riley's Techniques label.

Tel Aviv


Years ago I picked up an LP called 'World War Dub part 1' by some dude I'd never heard of called Prince Hammer. It was great, and had a sound like nothing else I'd ever heard before. It got me in the mood for hearing some more, and over the years I've found a whole load more of his records to enjoy. There's a really good interview with the man himself right here:

Prince Hammer's first record was actually credited to Glen Brown, who produced and played melodica. It was called 'Heavy Streggy A Lego' but it's better known as 'Tel Aviv'. The b-side features a really nice dubby instrumental by Ron Wilson. The instrumental is seriously heavy - it blew three sets of my speakers before I figured out just how loud was too loud. Anyway, here it is:

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Delroy Wilson

Hi All,

Today's post features two tunes by the late, great Delroy Wilson, 'The Village' and 'Joe Ligges'. Both date from 1975, and both are recuts of tunes that he'd previously had success with.

Produced by Coxsone Dodd , 'Joe Liges' was Delroy's first hit, way back in 1963 when he was just 14. 'One hand wash the other, but you don't remember your brother. Joe Lies, Joe Lies, why don't you stop criticise" Written by Lee Perry, it was an attack on Dodd's rival (and former employee) Prince Buster.

The 1975 version doesn't lacks the immediacy of the original, but does have a nice Tubbys dub on the flip. The vocal (as always) is top-notch and it's got an interesting ska-style horn line.

'Little Village' was a ska hit for Charlie Organaire in 1962, and Delroy had already cut a rocksteady version (not sure of the date or the label, it's rare as hen's teeth and very good though) prior to this second attempt which was produced by Dennis Alcapone. This was the first record of Delroy's that I ever bought, and I've always loved it. The label is interesting, the arrangement of the horns and guitar is nice and quite unusual, and it has a decent dub which really showcases the bassline.

If I remember right Dennis Alcapone only produced two other tunes: 'Get In The Groove', his own deejay cut to Dennis Brown's 'Once Upon A Time' which came out on the Panther label, and 'Ape Man' by Augustus Pablo, which is a cut Gregory Isaacs' 'Look Before You Leap' and came out on the Ah Wee label. They are both well worth having, although 'Ape Man' is definitely the stronger one.

Here's links for both tunes: