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Old 06-30-2009, 04:45 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I think it deserves it already.

Sorry for not replying much Gavin B, it is mainly because I have been reading and searching for some of these albums.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:51 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Babylon Is Falling - The Music of Steel Pulse

David Hinds on the origins of the Steel Pulse name:
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When we call ourselves Steel Pulse, the intention was to come out with a groove that was of the hardest kind. And behind that groove was gonna be the lyrics that hitting of the hardest kind. It got a lot of controversy because a lot of people associate it with being a steel-drum band, then they associated it with a heavy metal band,” he laughs.

“Even Bob Marley from meeting him for the first time when he heard the name, he screwed up his face and say, ‘ah what kinda name dat?!’ Then when he started hearing what the band was about, only then he was like, ‘Oh they’re part of us!’
Steel Pulse initially had difficulty finding live gigs, as club owners were reluctant to give them a platform for their "subversive" Rastafarian politics. Luckily, the punk movement was opening up new avenues for music all over Britain, and also finding a spiritual kinship with protest reggae. Thus, the group wound up as an opening act for punk and new wave bands like the Clash, the Stranglers, Generation X, the Police, and XTC, and built a broad-based audience in the process. Steel Pulse's biggest break was being designated as the supporting band for Bob Marley's European tour in 1978. The twelve-date tour included sold-out concerts in Paris, Ibiza, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Oslo, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Brussels and kicked off with an outdoor festival at the New Bingley Hall in Stafford (Marley later released an album culled from some of the live shows, Babylon By Bus.) David Hinds recalls:
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We learned a lot of discipline on that tour that rubbed off - rehearsal, execution on stage, how to tour, stability [...] that's when the doors really started to open for us. It has always been one of the most memorable moments of my career. To play as part of that package exposed Steel Pulse to audiences that literally were in awe of our message. Of course, being formally introduced through Bob Marley helped us tremendously. Playing for audiences, especially those in Paris who saw the force of Steel Pulse and the force of Bob Marley play on the same bill, enabled us to sell out shows every time since then.
Handsworth Revolution - Steel Pulse - Handsworth refers to the Handsworth district of Birmingham England which is the home of Steel Pulse. The 1978 album of the same name rocketed Steel Pulse to global noteriety as a band.



Ku Klux Klan - Steel Pulse Steel Pulse's first single for Island Records was the classic "Ku Klux Klan," which happened to lend itself well to the band's highly visual, costume-heavy concerts. I saw Steel Pulse in London, New York and Boston in 1980 and the band was at the peak of their power as a live band. This clip of Steel Pulse playing "Ku Klux Klan" live at the Rainbow Theatre London, England September 18th, 1980 captures that energy. This was also included in the film Urgh! A Music War.



Babylon Makes the Rules - Steel Pulse Big hit in 1979, this music used to play on a lot of sound systems, classic tune, listen to the lyrics and see how the system run.

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Old 07-01-2009, 07:06 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Mutabaruka - The Dub Poet Laureate

Mutabaruka is the nightmare of every white, middle class, god fearing Christian. Muta has a larger than life, confrontational personae even when he's off stage. In 1984 I was assigned by the Channel Club to be Muta's driver for his one night appearance at the Channel in Boston.

It was his first appearance in the United States and Muta came off the Air Jamaica flight at Logan Airport, wearing Rastafarian robes and was barefoot. He certainly turned a lot of heads as we walked from the terminal to my car in the parking garage. I'm still not sure how Muta ever got onto an international flight without any shoes.

As I drove him from the airport to his hotel destination in Cambridge, between Central Square and Harvard Sqaure, a Cambridge cop began following us, and at the bottom of Dunster Street he pulled me over for running a stop sign. The only problem was that there was no stop sign at the intersection and Muta proceded to get into a heated argument with the cop on my behalf to keep the cop from issuing me a ticket.

A crowd of Harvard students began to gather around the scene and soon it turned into a bit of a protest spectacle led by Muta. The cop radioed the station house and reinforcements and a German shephard attack dog were used to disperse the mob of about 50 Harvard students.

The upshot of the story was that Muta spent his first night in the USA in jail on peace disturbance charges and I ended up bailing him out at 8 am the next morning, using the services of my own personal attorney, who couldn't figure out what the hell was going on with this dreadlocked wild man who dressed in robes and wore no shoes. Meanwhile the cops at the station house were acted as if they captured the black version of the Unabomber and had plastered copies of the Mutabaruka concert posters they confiscated from my car all over the station house like trophies.

The fact that Mutabaruka exists is a crime in the mind of a lot of white folks and Muta was never reluctant to point out that grim reality to his audiences, and encourge them to confront the racism of Babylon.

Dis Poem - Mutabaruka Muta performs Dis Poem on Def Jam Poetry.




Johnny Drughead - Mutabaruka Johnny Drughead is an update of the classic reggae song Johnny Too Bad in which Johnny moves from Jamaica to NYC and falls into drug traffiking.


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Old 07-03-2009, 06:31 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Ina R & B Style- Jimmy and Tarras Riley

Jimmy Riley and his son Tarrus Riley have both had successful solo careeers but frequently appear and record as a duo in Jamaica. Jimmy and Tarrus rocked Sunsplash 2008 with a take no prisoners performance.

Jimmy Riley was born Martin James Norman Riley on May 22, 1954 in Jones Town, Jamaica. His first success came as a member of The Sensations (with Cornell Campbell, Aaron "Bobby" Davis, and his older brother, Buster Riley), who recorded such hits as "Everyday Is Just a Holiday" for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label in the mid-1960s. Riley was just ten years old when he began performing with the Sensations.

Riley left the Sensations in 1967 and as a solo singer and writer, Riley worked with a host of Jamaican producers, including Bunny Lee and Lee "Scratch" Perry, before settling in with Sly and Robbie.

Jimmy was deeply influenced by the music of American R&B singers like Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke.

Sexual Healing - Jimmy Riley This stunning cover of Marvin G*ye's tune rocked the dancehalls in 1981 and shows Jimmy's affinity for American R&B.



My Woman's Love - Jimmy Riley My Woman's Love was a little known Curtis Mayfield song that Jimmy transformed into a big hit in Jamaica in 1980. It was recorded at Taxi Studio at a time when Sly and Robbie were refining their bottom heavy sledgehammer drum and bass style that became the signature sound of Black Uhuru.



One of the most promising of the second generation of Jamaica roots reggae singers, Tarrus Riley is the son of Jimmy Riley. Like his father, Riley has a sweet, nuanced tenor vocal style, although his first connection with the Jamaican music scene was as a DJ (under the name Taurus). Riley taught himself to play keyboards and several percussion instruments and began writing his own songs, many of which had strong Rastafarian and consciousness-leaning themes. She's Royal is a 2007 single release by Tarras.

She's Royal - Tarras Riley

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:47 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Three Dancehall Killer Hits

Billie Jean- Shinehead This version of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean complete with Ennio Morricone style whistling was a big dancehall hit in 1984. Shinehead (Edmund Carl Aiken) was normally a sound system deejay and toaster but he sounded eerily like the King of Pop on this Jackson tribute. Whether Shinehead was toasting or crooning or flat-out rapping, he always balanced his material between the positive and socially conscious with more lighthearted sentiments. Shinehead was born in London of Jamaican parents and moved to Brooklyn as a youth. He got his start by performing at New York sound systems events in the early '80s. His cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," truly got his career rolling. Shinehead currently divides his time living in both and NYC and Jamaica.



Roll It Gal - Allison Hinds Alison Hinds is from Barbados and currently lives in London. She is currently the top ranking female singer all over the Caribbean, including Jamaica. Alison sings a rasta conciouness blend of soca and reggae. She is taking soca places it had never been before and has major record labels in both the UK and the USA interested. Her first solo track, the empowering woman anthem Roll It Gal, appeared in 2005 and topped the charts in Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica.



Murderer- Barrington Levy Murderer first appeared on the Jamaican issued showcase album, Barrington Levy Meets Frankie Paul which I purchased in 1984. Strangely enough, the song didn't receive much attention early on, but when I visited Jamaica two years later, in 1986, in was a wall-to-wall smash hit on every sound system from Mo Bay to Kingston. Barrington Levy Meets Frankie Paul was culled from sessions produced by Henry Junjo Lawes and nearly every track on the lp became a monster hit in JA over the next couple of years. The album is currently out of print and has never been issued in cd form.

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:39 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Three Sufferer's Tales

Babylon - Sugar Minott Babylon is an early dancehall hit recorded by Sugar in his early days at Channel One. Babylon never made it onto any of his studio albums (at least not in the USA). It's a killer cut ina dance hall stylee. The backing band sounds a lot like the Roots Radics and I don't know who produced it because there were no log sheets on the session.



Peeni Walli - Eek A Mouse This 1984 single is a comical suffer's tale written by Eek about his crash with a motorcycle when he was riding his bike one day. Peeni walli is Jamaican patios for a firefly. The lyrics are quite imaginative:
Quote:
Riding on my bicycle
Got knocked down by a motorcycle
In front of a motor vehicle
Luckily, I was Jah Jah disciple

I lay on the ground I was so injured
So unconscious, did not know what to do :/

Yeah, man!
When the bike really hit me
I see stars and peeni walli
Beddameng! - pain all over me
Me tink me get shocked by electricity
Beddameng!

I lay on the ground I was so injured
So unconscious, did not know what to do :/

Yeah, man!
Me say at the public hospital
Crowd gather around like it was a funeral, 'ey!
Some say it accidental
or the lang youth ha look 'pon a fat gal


G.P. - Gregory Isaacs G.P. is shorthand for General Penitentiary, Jamaica's principal maximum security prison, located in downtown Kingston near the harbor. Gregory was no stranger to G.P., having done time for both herbs smuggling and possession of illegal firearms. In fact Gregory's career was seriously affected by his periodical stints in G.P. His first stint came at just as his music was breaking through in the USA and the UK but he was incarcerated and couldn't tour.

After that Gregory spent a couple years unable to tour outside of Jamaica because of his undesirable status with both US and UK immigration. When I finally saw him live in the USA, it was 1985 and US Department of Immigration would only allow him a three day tourist visa which precluded any serious touring outside of gigs in Boston, New York and a few other Eastern Seaboard cities of the USA. It was sad because when Gregory could finally tour without any kind of travel constraints, his fleeting moment as a cultural zeitgeist of reggae music had passed.

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Old 07-07-2009, 02:38 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin B. View Post
Babylon Is Falling - The Music of Steel Pulse
Very nice post about probably my favourite reggae outfit. Top, top band - I remember hearing Ku Klux Klan on a CD that came free with a copy of Mojo a good 4 or 5 years ago which turned me onto them. I'd recommend them to anyone really, what with that very polished studio sound they tend to go for which makes it all a bit more accessible to non-reggae followers like our good selves.

I think I've said this before, but top thread as well. Fully deserving of the Editor's Pick in my opinion.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:03 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Ina 2 Tone Style




Jerry Dammers of the ska revival band The Specials started the short lived but iconic 2 Tone record label in 1979. It spawned a cultural movement, which was popular among skinheads, rudies and some mod revivalists. The label stopped operating in 1986. In the first year of it’s operation, 2 Tone Records signed The Selecter, Madness and The Beat, but they all left within two years. 2 Tone Records acts signed a contract that allowed them to leave the label after releasing just one single, which was unusual in the record industry. Madness and The Beat both took advantage of this clause; the former to sign to Stiff Records, and the latter to start their own label, Go Feet Records.

Most of the 2 Tone bands were racially mixed and played a big role in a UK ska revival and the renewed interest in rock steady, blue beat, and roots reggae music in England. Many white band members were products the early punk scene in England which always had a symbiotic relationship with reggae music. When I visited London in 1980, I was amazed the amount of cultural overlap between the post punk movement and the reggae music scene in England.

The reason why 2 Tone became more than just a curious footnote to reggae music history was because the 2 Tone bands delivered the musical goods as live bands and the influence 2nd wave ska revival has remained significant, 30 years after the fact.

I was a skeptic when I first got wind of a ska music revival in England on the post-punk club scene. When I saw the Specials, the Beat, Selector and Madness play live shows in both London and New York I became a believer. In many ways each 2 Tone band played so well that any question of racial authenticity became a moot point.

The distinctive Walt Jabsco/Jerry Dammers designed 2 Tone logo portrays a man in a black suit, white shirt, black tie, pork pie hat, white socks and black loafers. The fictional character was based on a photograph of Peter Tosh, during his rude boy days with the early Wailers.

2 Tone had two good years as a social movement and nearly all the first wave revival bands broke up by 1983, but the ska music refuses to die.

Rankin' Full Stop/Big Shot - The Beat The twin towers of the Beat were toaster Ranking Roger and Saxa. Ranking Roger was a nimble and imaginative black toaster in the JA style who came up through the punk club scene and Saxa was a 50 year old veteran of the Jamaican ska scene who played with both the Desmond Dekker band and Prince Buster. The multiracial band carved a distinct sound through the use of alternating lead vocals by guitarist Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger, supported by a tight band consisting of Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), and Everett Moreton (drums). The Beat was an awesome live band at the time of their debut album but Saxa departed due to the Beat's rigorous touring schedule. I Just Can't Stop It was the most musically accomplished album of the ska revival and nearly 30 years later the album remains a timeless masterpiece of punky reggae.



Too Much Pressure - The Selecter The Selecter didn't achieve as much notoriety as other 2 Tone bands during ska revival of the early '80s. The Selecter recorded one of the finest albums of 2nd wave ska revival and deserved better than they got. The Selecter's biggest musical asset was lead singer Pauline Black, arguably the best lead singer of the ska revival. The members of the Selecter hailed from Coventry which was also the home of the Specials. Selecter is the Jamaican term for the deejay who selects the records played by a sound system at a dance hall event.



One Step Beyond -Madness The Madness recording of One Step Beyond takes the Prince Buster ska classic one step beyond the musical anarchy of the Prince's original. Madness reinvented themselves as a conventional rock band and had a fair amount of success in the USA, later in the decade. The best songs of Madness contained a great deal witty commentary on British working class life like the Kinks, Squeeze and XTC.



Monkey Man- The Specials Without Jerry Dammers and the Special there would have never been a 2 Tone Records nor a ska revival in the UK. Their live shows were frenetic and anarchic, often ending with the half the audience dancing on the stage with the band. The Dammers-designed logos, based in '60s pop art with black and white checks, gave the label an instantly identifiable look. Dammers' eye for detail and authenticity also led to the band adopting '60s-period rude-boy outfits (porkpie hats, tonic and mohair suits, and loafers). This cover of the Maytal's Monkey Man appeared on their Elvis Costello produced debut album.

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Last edited by Gavin B.; 07-08-2009 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:04 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Ah, good old 2 Tone! Great to see them get a mention around here - they were responsible for funding some truly brilliant music. The Specials' eponymous debut and Madness' Absolutely (which I might just listen to again now - cheers for the reminder!) are a couple of my favourite albums. The Selecter were terrific too - I've got a best of lying around the house somewhere. As for the Beat, I've heard the name but never more than that. I'll have to change that soon.

Dunno about anyone else, but I was massively disappointed with the Trojan 2 Tone box-set - just a bunch of live songs from the same 4 or 5 bands over the usual 50 tracks. Bit of a let-down then.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:13 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Ah yes, now that you mention it, I've heard Stand Down Margaret before. I Just Can't Stop It eh? I'll have a look for it tomorrow - cheers for the rec.
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