Pressure & Slide

Never was a blog better named than Matt’s Idle Thoughts for Idle Moments. He could never be accused of being an obsessive blogger (which is to his credit) but instead just bungs up the odd interesting post now and then.

He’s been unusually prolific of late, with posts covering his trip to New York and a piece on a new mid-price compilation of George Phang productions (which was already on my list to get!)

Also a superb Invasion riddim mix. Fantan Mojah’s “Hungry” is one of my tunes of the year, so it’s great to hear it with a bit of aural context.

In terms of the history of the riddim Matt points out that the most famous cut is “Oh Mr DC” by Sugar Minott. Tho like many of the riddims the granular one used at Studio One, he was treading ground already covered some years before. Anyway, it’s a top tune about a ganja dealer begging a lawman not to take his stock because he has to provide for his family. It was inexplicably left off the Soul Jazz Minott compilation, so you have to track down the seven really.

This has the advantage of including a great “part two” which retains a lot of the vocals over a minimal backing, plus harmonica solo. On the downside, my repress sounds like someone frying bacon whilst turning up the static on their malfunctioning telly to the max. Whilst a family of 18 simultaneously put milk on their rice krispies.

Sometimes reggae trainspotters’ obsession with getting the original press of records makes perfect sense to me. It’s been asked a million times before but how can vinyl produced in the 21st century sound so much worse than records which were pressed 25 years ago? There was a classic thread about this on the Blood & Fire Board a while back where someone was advertising a “Studio One” plug-in for Soundforge – make any record sound like Studio One represses by adding skips, warps, incorrect b-sides, hissing, etc. We have a lot to thank Soul Jazz for, really – perhaps their reissues aren’t done with enough “reverence” but in terms of sound quality they are a bloody sight better than the stuff old man Coxsone released himself. Er… anyway… a bit of a digression there I think.

Of course Mr Minott wasn’t the last person to use the riddim (and indeed returned to it himself with none other than George Phang iirc). Yellowman’s “Mr Yellowman” album from 1982 includes the MASSIVE “Two Two Six Supermix” on Junjo’s charateristically sparse, funky and pounding version.

Winston Riley got in the act in the 1987. Super Black’s “Nowadays Girl” sits on top of a genius downtempo electronic version which always does it for me, especially when it rolls into the super-spacey ambient dub. This is on the crucial Maximum Pressure “Dancehall Techniques” compilation, along with a Cutty Ranks cut. But yeah, ner de ner, I’ve got it on 12″ as well. High time I had some reggae label scans on here again, it doesn’t feel quite right without them…

1987 was also the year Germain Donovan released a shedload of his cuts of the riddim, including Audrey Hall’s cheeky “One Dance Won’t Do”. Audrey dances with a guy and then confesses “I was dancing with you – just to see what he would do.” – she’s been holding this bloke close while watching her boyfriend all the time to wind him up! She is so out of order, but it’s clear she can get away it due to being a sexy minx. Them’s the breaks!