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.


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Here's a very good Tommy Cowan-produced roots tune from 1979, 'Crisis' by Israel Vibration. As a bonus, it has Augustus Pablo on the flip. 

I don't know if anyone else out there feels the same, but after 15 minutes of solid roots I sometimes get cravings for a bit of slackness or maybe some lovers rock. With that in mind I was going to put in a video of 'Bathroom Sex' (General Echo) but while I was looking on YouTube I found this and it was too good not to use instead:

How good is that video?

More acetate: top-notch dubs

I'd like to say a very overdue thankyou to the guy who made a donation just before Christmas - it's always nice to get messages of support and I really appreciate them. As it happens, there was quite a nice record on ebay that finished the next day, and I used the donation to buy it.

It's a 12" dubplate from the start of the 80's; but before you get too excited, it's a pre-release rather than a special. That said, the music on it ('I A Suffer' and 'National Front' by Sufferer Sound) is top-notch, two  dubbed-up instrumentals, and it has that lovely rich sound that you get from acetate when it's in good nick.