Eek-A-Mouse’s “Anarexol” has come back into vogue recently because the live version is heavily sampled on Junior Gong’s excellent “Khaki Suit”. You can hear both of these on Per’s wicked Discobelle mix over at computerstyle.org. This is the original studio cut and features the radics doing real rock like only they know how. Lyrically Eek is commenting on a craze amongst JA ladies to take a drug designed for anorexics so they can bulk up – the stick insect look never really caught on in jamaica! Eek comes back from a trip abroad to find that his woman has got considerably more curvy and wonders what the hell is going on? Is it the pills, is she seeing another man? As the tune segues into an awesome dub, we still don’t know the answer.
General Echo’s “Drunken Master” is one of several Sly & Robbie productions appearing here. I always figured that “drunken” martial arts were about monks getting off their tits. A conversation with a mate of mine who used to teach kung fu revealed that it’s actually a style which involves a deliberate staggering about – presumably to disorient the opponent. There is a lyrical riff here which nods back the The Happs’ “In Heaven There Is No Beer” (Joe Gibbs) which cropped up in a recent thread on the B&F board about people’s least favourite tunes. Russ D nominated The Happs, which basically seems to be an old fashioned drinking song. I quite like it, as it happens. With all the focus on weed in reggae lyrics it’s easy to forget the place that beer has in the dancehall and indeed in JA politics. JLP supporters have always allied themselves to the green of the Heineken bottle whereas PNP supporters opt for Red Stripe. You could put yourself in serious physical danger by asking for the wrong beer in the wrong area. This (and several other tracks on this mix, AND several other essential tunes) are available on the Auralux Sly & Robbies Taxi Sound compilation.
Pad Anthony – “One One Coco”
Josey Wales – “It’s Raining”
I’ll never be able to praise King Jammys 80s productions enough – unbelievably swinging primitive digital bizness. Pad Anthony is similarly underrated and so there are two outing from him on this mix. “One one coco” is an old JA proverb – I’m not entirely confident about the meaning but it seems to be along the lines of “take it slow and steady, one step at a time, and you’ll get there.”
Trevor Spark’s take on the old “Bye Bye Love” standard worked really well in the OTW mix, so here is the man like Josey Wales approriating Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour” for his own ends.
Elfiego Barker – “Indiscipline”. All I can say about this one is I know nowt about Elfiego, it’s over George Phang’s take on “boxing” and it is worth considerably more to me than the 20p I paid for it.
Pad Anthony – “See Them A Come”. Genius spacey early 80s dancehall business with the man like Pad Anthony returning to the mix. Paul goes to town on the dub to devastating effect.
Johnny Osbourne – “Them A Terrorist”
Admiral Tibet – “Terrorist”
Shabba Rankin, Admiral Tibet, Ninjaman – “Serious Times”
A few tunes originally recorded in the late 80s and early 90s, stuffed in the mix about a year ago which remain eerily relevant today. I like the Osbourne and Tibet tunes because they both try to compare terrorists with either local badman or international multinational agents of terror (whether they be governments or religious loons). The central message is that all this badmanism is something else that people at the bottom of the pile have to deal with alongside everything else in their fucked up lives.
So, serious times indeed. As I write this there are a load of armed police parked up on my estate, presumably keeping a watchful eye over the properties which were raided on my road last week in connection with the latest alleged terror swoop/outrage.
Junior Delgado – “Fort Augustus”
More funky robot production from Sly and Robbie. I’m not wild about this one so I’ll let Paul tell you why it’s on here. Sly & Robbie were on Radio 4’s Today Programme last year when they did that album with Sinead O’Connor. It was an awesome 5 minutes of interview with them and a bit of their history. Very confusing to have that going on when trying to find a clean shirt for work, I can tell you.
Barrington Levy – “Black Roses”
Dennis Brown – “Revolution”
Wicked. Only Loefah and Kevin Martin and the Plastic People bar staff know this, but these are the tunes which kicked off my set at BASH the other month. Barrington’s famous “Here I Come” was also loosely based on this riddim, and took him to number 41 in the national charts circa 1985, trivia fans.
Red Dragon – “Hol A Fresh”
Flourgon – “Hol A Spliff”
Shall we finish off with some party tunes, then? Yes, I think so. Red Dragon and Flourgon are connected by blood as well as by riddim here – apparently they’re brothers. Nice bit of early ragga 12″ business from the Techniques camp which is now widely available on the outstandingly recommended Dancehall Techniques compilation put out by Maximum Pressure/Pressure Sounds. Incidentally, I would not advise people to take up Flourgon’s suggestion for man to wake up in the morning and build a spliff, especially if your work involves operating heavy machinery.
Shabba Ranks – “Wicked In A Bed”
Cinderella – “Bad In A Bed”
The two sides of Shabba are nicely captured on this mix, and I have vague plans to do a post on his early more “conscious” work with Bobby Digital, much of which is brilliant. This is, to say the least, a bit less lyrically complex. He gets extra points for confidence, for sure and I bet this goes down a treat with the dancehall queens. Everybody loves a good counteraction and Cinderella doesn’t hold back whilst laying into men who talk the talk but can’t back up their words when they get between the sheets. “Slam Bam! Thank you Mam / Then them gone a dreamland”
For all dancehall’s critics laying into its mysogyny and homophobia it has to be said that its lyrical dissection of sexual politics is often more direct and insightful than pop music in general…
Bunny General – “Donkey Man”
Lyrical madness first covered in my blog post on reggae and sexual health here. Wicked King Tubbys digital business to round everything off. Shout out to Danny for this platter.