Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three Twelves

Today's post is three 12" singles from the end of the seventies: 'Slave Driver' by Dennis Brown, 'Mr Boss Man' by Linval Thompson and 'Live Together' by Dave Robinson. They're all superb records and get a lot of play around here.

'Slave Driver' is Dennis Brown's version of the Bob Marley song; Dennis' vocal soars above a dark and menacing rhythm before making way for Ranking Joe's militant toasting. If you like this, you should pick up a Pressure Sounds compilation called something like 'Zion High' which collects a load of Dennis Brown's productions of himself, Ranking Joe and the Black Uhuru. A lot of them came out as twelves on the D.E.B. label but there's a few there that I'd never even heard of. Getting back to 'Slave Driver', the icing on the cake is the brutal, pounding dub on the b-side; turn it up high and feel your ears bleed!

'Mr Boss Man' is probably my favourite record by Linval Thompson, and has been for a long time. I first discovered it when I was a teenager working as a kitchen porter. The chef, a vinegar-faced dutch gnome with a hat that almost doubled his height, was a bit of a bully and made my life a misery. I can still remember the sense of triumph I felt the first time he had to be restrained from punching me - I'd never realised the power of a simple phrase like 'F*ck you Rumplestiltskin'. 

Anyway, the record has a good solid rhythm, and a good vocal from Linval followed by a dub. The b-side is the one I really like nowadays - Ranking Trevor on top form over a sparse, heavy rhythm that goes into very nice dub at the end.

Last up here's two more really, really fine tunes by Dave Robinson - I still can't figure out how this guy is so little-known. Although he's not credited, Ranking Dread's on there too. Apart from Robinson's plaintive vocals, what makes this record really special for me is the drumming and the horns. A lot of tunes, you can say 'It sounds just like this and this and this...', this ain't one of them.



Anonymous said...

Link is not working.

One Love
Twice Nice

novum said...

just checked it.. works for me.

heavy heavy heavy post!!!

you´ve said it all steve, thank you once again!

Andrew said...

This is the Real Hearty Vibe . . . the drumming on Mr. Boss Man is like Food . . . keep the waves coming

lala said...

big up yer industrial relations!

ed said...

Hi hello ! great blog :)

I just came here true google:

I found an obscure blank single on ebay yesterday and I was wondering if you know if there is a relation with the symbols.

ruddy simbal - A So The System Work. Blank 7" matrix Comic A/B

ed said...

just browsing thrue your archives..

Sunday, June 13, 2010 caleb sweetback.
He is still alive and doing well. He still occasionally performs on smaller music festivals these days. Mainly in the western part of the USA.

He made/produced that Zion here I come single (with his sisters) when he was 14 or 15 years old. He saved his milk/lunch money and things like that to record/press this tune....

the_voice_of_reason said...

Ed: Roots Vinyl Guide indicates that "Ruddy Simbal" is probably Rudolph Francis of the Symbols. The single was released in 1985 on a tiny label called Triumphant, operating from Yarmouth Avenue, Independence City, just south of Caymanas Park racecourse. Producers are credited as L "Che" Kanhai and C. Liston.

To my ears it's a fairly generic eighties dancehall cut, typical of the style before "Sleng teng" and its successors took over