Monday, March 21, 2011

Long time ...

Hi, I'm back. I've had flu, so's my daughter, so's my son - in sequence. You can imagine the fun I've been having this last month or so. Anyway, let's forget about that now and celebrate my return to good health with one of my favourite rhythms.

Sometime in the eighties I was sifting through the secondhand racks in Daddy Kool's when I came across an LP by Trinity called 'Full House'. You may remember it, a couple of excellent tracks, a fair bit of filler, and Trinity wearing dungarees and shades on the cover. Anyway, one of the best tracks on there was called 'Ring Craft', where he's going on about the Ring Craft Posse and his granny's bangles.

The rhythm track is a particularly tough version of 'Holy Mount Zion' by the Actions, which is today's tune (and if anyone knows whose version Trinity used please leave a comment). The Actions were an early incarnation of Well Pleased & Satisfied, who were responsible for some awesome roots tunes during the seventies and early eighties. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was blown away by 'Sweetie Come From America', and for years one of my most treasured singles was 'Living In The Slum' (the Total Sounds version with the dub). Anyway, for anyone out the who doesn't know them, here's a small selection of videos and a link to an excellent interview.

'Holy Mount Zion' on it's own is a great tune, but like I said it spawned a lot of versions. I've never been able to track down Well Pleased & Satisfied's recut, a 12" called 'Open The Gate Bobby Boah' featuring Jah Banna (by all accounts it's fantastic) but I do have two very good deejay cuts by Ken Quatty. 'Jah Lion' was the first one; it's a pretty serious tune. 

All the copies I've heard have been a bit overloaded on the vocal - if you can hear some distortion, it's because the deejay was either a lot louder than expected, or just a little too close to the mic. That said, it's a fantastic version by a really good toaster. Ken Quatty didn't record much, but most of his singles are good.

If anything, the second version, 'Cripple Skank' is actually better than 'Jah Lion'. Here Ken Quatty toasts over a stabbing, in-your-face guitar solo and gives it a rawness and intensity that has rarely been matched. This is one of the best deejay tunes in my collection and it doesn't let up from start to finish.

The b-side is the same cut but without the deejay, and is pretty great in its own right. In case you're wondering, the Jerry All-Stars are named after Jerry Baxter of Well Pleased & Satisfied, nothing to do with Jah Jerry. 

While you wait, here are a few more tunes to get you feeling Well Pleased & Satisfied.  I don't have words to express just what a great group they were, so I'll have to let the music do the talking.


em-uno said...

Great blog, just discovered it and greedily going thru your back catalog. Gotta second your notion about "Sweetie" (from America), that's where I first heard of WP&S and was indeed blown away. And chalk me up as somebody who appreciates the work put in on tagging the files and up-ing them in HQ. Muchas gracias.

the_voice_of_reason said...

Using my detection skills, and finding out that the title of the Total Sounds 12" was "Open the Gate Bobby Boy", I managed to locate the tune fairly quickly (although not in wholly usable format). It's good tune on a decent riddim. I'm partial to Dennis Brown's "Home Sweet Home" on Cash & Carry (1979), versioned by Ranking Joe as "Zion I". To my ears, while there's a lot of overdubbing, the drum and bass parts on the Dennis Brown/Ranking Joe are the same as on the Trinity cut. As the latter was recorded at Joe Gibbs, to my ears they're the same riddim.

rastaman said...

nice info, thanks!!!!!

david said...

thanks for shining the spotlight on this one...great track. Thanks, as always!