Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Rhythm Master

Here's an uptempo roots tune from 1979. It's 'Higher Man' by Glen Brown, and it's very nice in a far more polished way than the early-seventies tunes he's best known for. The label is one of my favourites - a really simple design that just works.

This is quite a rare record, I got mine off a list at the start of the nineties, flogged it, and then picked up another copy for next to nothing on ebay a couple of years ago. I've never seen it anywhere else - I hope you enjoy it too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Occasion

French speakers might be able to guess what it is ...

And yes, the bit at the start is a bit of a giveaway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Horsemouth Strikes Again

Here's a really old deejay track by Mad Roy, better known as Leroy Wallace. It's a version of John Holt's 'A Love I Can Feel', and while it's quite nice, it's not his best. We've already had the magnificent 'Herb Vendor' in an earlier post, and someday I'll post a great vocal he did on Big Youth's Negusa Negast label called 'Far Beyond The Blue'.

The b-side is far older, about 10 years older in fact. It's a nice Jamaican boogie-woogie called 'Chariot Rock' from Sir Coxsone and the Blues Blasters. Coxsone's first love was apparently jazz and a lot of his productions, especially the earlier ones, do have a very jazzy feel to them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wreck Up My Life

Today's tune is a classic from Leroy Smart - 'Trying To Wreck Up My Life'. It's a superb vocal laid over a heavy Aggrovators version of an old Heptones song called 'Give Me The Right' (also superb).

It has a really good dub - one of my favourite Jackpot b-sides in fact - with some great double-drumming effects and echo. My copy called the b-side 'Channel One Under Heavy Manners' - but I didn't get a label scan before I flogged it years ago, so we're stuck with the only picture I could find. 'Channel One Feel It' doesn't go quite as well with the spoken intro on the vocal - but the message is still pretty clear.

Dillinger did a superb deejay version called 'Trial & Crosses' - his album 'Talking Blues' was one of the first reggae LPs I ever bought and I've always rated it as one of the best deejay records ever made.

Big Joe also versioned it to good effect on his LP 'Keep On Rocking & Swinging'.

As always, hope you enjoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Danger Zone In Roots!

Here's another serious roots tune - and this time it's not in any way connected to psychopathic cult leaders or serial kiddy-fiddlers. It's 'Running Star' by Barry Brown, a roots version of 'Danger Zone' that you definitely ought to hear.

It came out on the LP 'Stand Firm', with a disappointingly anaemic bassline. Here on the 7" version you get some proper bass, and a superb dub as well. The vocal and horns still have that slightly tinny sound that they have on the LP, but it hardly matters on a tune this good.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Random Chanting

It's been a while since I posted any proper deep roots music, and it's time to put that right. Here's a tune called 'Marcus Garvey' by Nuwaupu (never heard of them? me neither). It's raw deep and very spiritual, and it's got a sound all of its own.

Was a time you couldn't get this for love or money, it got reissued a few years back and you can still pick up fresh copies on the 'Rootical Dubber' label (try the Blakamix shop if you want one to play out, or just want better sound quality). The flute version on the b-side is especially nice.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I love cover versions - anything that's done in a different style to what you'd expect - so it was a real treat for me to stumble across today's tune. It's a GG's production called 'How Glad I Am' by the Tidals. They're a pretty good vocal trio who've left no trace beyond a handful of records that they cut in the mid-seventies (a common theme in Jamaican music). 

What interested me is that this is a cut to a jazz tune from the start of the sixties, by a singer called Nancy Wilson. She's a really excellent singer, and I love the song even though I sometimes find her style a bit self-consciously showy. 

Needless to say, the reggae version is very different. I'm not sure if it's less surface and more depth, or just less surface. Anyway, I really enjoy both cuts and I hope you do as well. If you like this, you'll find their sole LP here on one of my favourite blogs.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Busy Day!

The wife & kids are staying with my sister, so I'm home alone with nothing to do apart from putting off painting the kitchen. So since I've got time on my hands, why not have another one?

It's a really nice record from one of the great pioneers of Jamaican music. Owen Gray recorded these songs for Chris Blackwell in 1969.  'Apollo 12' was a big hit with the skinheads here in the UK, but for me 'Understand My Love' is even better. 

There's a very good interview with the singer here - he's interesting guy.
This next tune is 'Rootesman' by I Roy, a wicked wicked deejay cut to Junior Byles' 'Fade Away'. But even better than the vocal side is the dub, which is one of the finest ever released by Channel 1. Seriously, you can't go wrong with this tune!

The dub has been released on a really good Pressure Sounds compilation called 'Drum Sound - More Gems From The Channel One Dub Room 1974 to 1980' (why do they always have dates in the title?). It also has versions to 'Jah Creation' (this alone is worth the buying it for) and 'Ride On Marcus': definitely not to be missed.

Deejay Gem!

Here's a really good version of 'Rockfort Rock' by deejay duo Skipper & Ranking Jermaine: 'Rub & Dub International'. As far as I know their only other record was a version of 'Full Up' called 'Peanuts', also for Harry J.

I really like this one, in spite of the fact that neither one of them could hold a tune in a bucket. It's bursting with energy and good vibes, the backing is top-notch and the mix is clear as a bell. 

I hope you enjoy it too.