Never Let Go

Slim Smith

Keith “Slim” Smith was one of the multitude of people who passed through the doors of Coxsone Dodd’s Brentford Road studio in the 1960s. A great solo singer, he was also a founding member of the Techniques and the Uniques.

Smith had originally been taken to Studio One by his friend Cornell Campbell, only to be rebuffed by the notoriously choosy Coxsone. He fared better for Duke Reid at Treasure Isle, gaining the confidence to give Studio One another go. He recorded S1 classics such as “Hip Hug” and “Never Let Go”. In the late 60s and early 70s he worked mainly with Bunny Lee.

All of his work is fantastic – soulful with a slightly manic edge.

In 1972 he was locked up in Bellevue Mental Hospital. In 1973 he smashed a window and bled to death from the resulting injuries. It is disputed whether or not this was a suicide attempt, but most people seem to agree that the action was the result of depression. He died at the age of 25.

Slim Smith - Never Let Go label

As well as leaving a legacy of beautiful rocksteady music, Slim Smith will also always be remembered for being the first artist to record on the riddim behind “Never Let Go”.

In 1977 this riddim was revoiced as “The Answer” by deejay superstar the Lone Ranger. (An interesting side note is that Ranger’s innovative style is often credited to him growing up in the UK throughout the sixties, having moved here shortly after being born). “The Answer” has been a staple of dancehall music ever since its release. In fact at the last count it was the third most versioned riddim ever (after “Real Rock” and “Heavenless”, with “Sleng Teng” lagging in 4th place!) It doesn’t get more “Foundation” than that.

Lone Ranger - The Answer courtesy of

The Answer riddim (as it came to be known) has it all – crisp horns, a propulsive juggernaut bassline, the business. With so many cuts released over the years it is high time someone did a handy overview…

Every Night is a Soundclash: Paul Meme Gonna Get Mashed


Paul Meme recently challenged me to a “devastating” soundclash, using only the Answer riddim. Quite why he feels he will emerge intact from such an foolhardy venture remains to be seen.

A week today me and him will both upload our respective mixes, each with some killer selections (well mine are killer, and Paul reckons his are). YOU, the public, can decide who is the Don Gorgon and who is the dibby dibby apprentice.


  1. It all seems a bit tame! Where’s the blood? Nobody’s even mentioned flinging the other to the North Pole yet. You don’t turn up at a cock fight to see two amiable roosters spitting grain at each other. Come on, give the punters what we want. Let’s get some serious cussing going on. GUNS OUT

  2. Let’s put it this way, Paul came round the other night and by the time he left he was seriously worried – muttering something about needing a good stylus. Personally I’m just limbering up here…

  3. My worst tune is 20 times better than your best, Eden.

    X amount of dubz.

    I can mix better than you with just one deck.

    Admiral Banton? Rear Admiral more like…

  4. joking aside, boys, if Paul is going to chuck around homophobic abuse, then I think someone has already won a moral victory here, eh? 🙂

  5. What a controversy!

    Will the mixes be credited when they’re put online? Given the North / South divide that’s opening up, bias might be unavoidable – if kept anonymous, you’ll be able to judge these on the strength of the mix and announce the winner later. And coppershot fling Sheffield bwoy to North Pole!

  6. I predict that whoever plays ‘Vineyard style’ the most times will be the victor.

    Will there be a dub fi dub? Very tempted to rush the stage and show you old fogeys how its done!

  7. Good idea! Then we can judge not only on the set, but on the quality of John Edens pectorals vs Paul Memes six pack.

    I predict that whoever has pastiest overall torso and the fluffiest belly button will win by a nose!

  8. Sorry folks – been away for a few days! In terms of fighting talk I prefer to let me tunes do my talking for me, and let me assure you there will be some serious conversation come friday. For all Paul’s war talk he know it’s all about entertaining the people and no amount of turntable trickery can test the classics.

    I think most people will be able to tell who’s mix is whose so not much point in anonymising. I shall be recording mine topless either tonight or tomorrow night…


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