Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Scotch

Today's tune is 'One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer' by Pete Campbell. It's a very nice version of the Amos Milburn's 1953 classic - quite rare, but not in the least bit expensive. While trawling the web, I stumbled across this write-up from Black Music magazine:

An in-depth survey by Carl Gayle:-BILL AND PETE CAMPBELL:
Recording Label: BB...
Latest Releases: "Stand By Me" (Paradise), "Make Me Yours" by Bill Campbell (BB), "One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer" by Pete Campbell (BB).
Background: Bill is twenty-five; Pete a year younger. Both brothers were born and raised in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, where they sang in church choirs. At age 15, Bill recorded a tune called "Come On Girl" for producer Duke Reid. They came to Britain in the sixties and went to the People`s College of Further Education in Nottingham for three years. They started singing together in a six-piece band called Mighty Sparrow while still at college. After one gig in London they moved down to the capital. Their first disc was "You`re Mine" for Trojan in 1971. They later (1973) recorded "So Glad You`re Mine" for Count Shelly, as well as Ben E. King`s "Stand By Me" as a duo. Bill has sung things like "I`ll Be Missing You" and "Here I Am" solo, while his brother has done "The Love You Try To Hide" for Shelly`s labels. They formed the BB label themselves last year.
Prospects: Pete is a good vocalist but they lack capital. They ought to sing together more often.
Carl Gayle-Black Music April 1976:
Of course, there's another far better-known version. Prince Jazzbo's 'One Scotch' came out on the Pantomine label in 1972, and is one of his best tunes. The 1972 release had a dub on the b-side, but the copy I'm posting today is the 1973 release. This had a really nice vocal on the flip, a duet called 'Open Up Your Heart' by Glen Brown and Susan Prescott.

Check them both out

And just in case you were wondering what the original sounds like. here it is:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Echo Galore

Here's a majestic Bunny Lee production from 1976, 'The Wormer' by Prince Jazzbo, with 'The Great Pablo' on the b-side. I've never been able to figure out the title - the song's talking about sending out a warning so maybe it was a misprint or a misunderstanding (or maybe I'm missing something). 

Anyway, it's a really heavy and seriously righteous cut to 'Queen Of The Minstrels'. Jazzbo did another version of this rhythm that I've only ever seen on the LP 'Strickly Rockers Ina Dreadland' which is also wicked. On the b-side everything apart from the backbone of drum and bass has had the echo slapped on with a trowel. It's really quite psychadelic.
Hope you enjoy.

Different Style

Here's some nice tunes in a different style to what I normally post.

1. Action Speaks Louder Than Words - Chocolate Milk
2. The Trip - Bobbi Humphrey
3. Running Away - Roy Ayers Ubiquity
4. Chance With You - Brother To Brother
5. Bugalu Con Soul - Ray Barretto
6. Smiling Billy Suite pt.2 - The Heath Brothers
7. It's Your World - Gil-Scott Heron
8. State Of Mind - Puzzle
9. Funky Motion - Roy Ayers Ubiquity
10. Linda Chicana - Tito Puente

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jackie Edwards

Here's a nugget from Mrs Pottinger's High Note label, 'Get Up' by Jackie Edwards. Listen here to 'Revolution Rock' by the Clash - the bassline is the same.

I quite like what the Clash have done with it - completely different but just as good in its own way.

Wilfred Gerald 'Jackie' Edwards is yet another unsung hero of reggae, a smooth-voiced singer and talented songwriter whose career spanned over three decades. He was already famous in the fifties and continued recording until the mid-eighties.
There's some footage of him in the studio from the documentary 'Deep Roots Music', which some of you may remember from way back.

Other tunes of his that I really like are 'I Do Love You', and the versions of 'Invasion' and 'So Jah Say' that he recorded for Bunny Lee.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top Roots

Doing that Carl McDonald post reminded me of an old favourite from the nineties - Stephen Wright's 'Vision Of Jah'. I got this when it first came out, and just a week later found I couldn't get a second copy for love or money. Thanks to the wonder of ebay, anyone can own it now - just so long as the kids don't need clothes or food.

Produced by Barry Isaac, this was the first 12" single released on the Reggae On Top label. Out of all the records that came out of the UK roots scene of the 1990s, this was one of the very best.

Stephen Wright made a really fine LP called 'International Change' (the dub set was good too) and then disappeared from view.
Anyway, enjoy.


Here's another tune by Bobby Melody, it's a self-produced version of Ken Parker's classic 'I Can't Hide' - if you don't know the original but the lyrics seem familiar, think of Special K...

I remember someone offered me a copy of this about 15 years ago - they wanted a tenner for it and I didn't think it was really worth it. I saw it again last year, really liked the dub, and bought it for a couple of euros. Either my taste in music has changed over time, or I'm just a cheapskate and it was the drop in price that convinced me.

So why do I like it? The drums. This sounds quiet for a reason: the dynamic range is huge, and if you turn it up loud your speakers are in serious danger. The dub is ruff! The vocal side is rough as well, but in a different way. Don't get me wrong, it's a good tune, but it's not the main attraction.

Anyway, enjoy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Thought I'd go for something different this week - digital roots from 1986. This record is 'Satan Soldiers On The Run' by Carl McDonald, it was quite hard to find at the end of the eighties when I picked up my copy, but thanks to the miracle of ebay you can now own it instantly for anywhere between 20 and 130 quid (seriously, £130 for a record?).

So what's so great about it? You'll know when you listen - huge bass, horns, really top-class singing (both lead and the backing vocals) and a far better dub than you'd expect from a digital tune. It starts strong and fast and never lets up. The b-side is heavy and mellow with a really, really beautiful dub.

I've not heard much of Carl McDonald's stuff, just this, another self-produced 12" called 'Star', and some stuff he's put up on the web, but I've liked it all. Jamaican born, UK schooled, US-based; he's an original, and what he does he does very well. He's now living in Florida. and has a CD that he's selling through his website.The CD features these tracks, 'Star', and some others which sound pretty good as well. 



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Deejay Classic!

Here's a really nice double-header from 1973, 'Things Not Easy'
by the Meditators, and 'Ration' by Bongo Herman & Bingy Bunny. The a-side is a really nice early roots tune. I don't think that the Meditators are the Meditations (this was a little bit before their time, and doesn't sound a lot like them). 

The b-side is an arse-kicking version of Dennis Brown's 'Money In My Pocket': equal to if not better than 'A So We Stay'. With both artists toasting over bongos and really heavily gated rhythm guitars it has a sound all of its own and really draws you in. 

Bingy Bunny was one of the most versatile and influential reggae that hardly anyone got to hear about. Singer and producer with the Morwells and co-founder of the Roots Radics, he had a huge influence on the sound of reggae in the 1970s and 1980s. He stopped making deejay tunes when he started finding success as a vocalist; probably a wise decision because good as they were, his singing was even better.

Anyway, hope you enjoy.