Archive for the ‘podcast’ Category.

AGIT DISCO MIX AND LAUNCH PARTY

Agit Disco has just been published by Mute Books, compiled by Stefan Szczelkun, edited by Anthony Iles  The launch takes place on 8th December 2011, 6.30pm – 9.00pm at The Showroom, 63 Penfold Street, London, NW8 8PQ.

‘Agit Disco collects the playlists of its 23 writers to tell the story of how music has politically influenced and inspired them. The book provides a multi-genre survey of political musics, from a wide range of viewpoints, that goes beyond protest songs into the darker hinterlands of musical meaning. Each playlist is annotated and illustrated.

The collection grew organically with an exchange of homemade CDs and images. These images, with their DIY graphics, are used to give the playlists a visual materiality. Almost everyone makes selections of music to play to themselves and friends. Agit Disco intends to show the importance of this creative activity and its place in our formation as political beings. This activity is at odds with to the usual process of selection by the mainstream media – in which the most potent musical agents of change are, whenever possible, erased from the public airwaves. Agit Disco Selectors: Sian Addicott, Louise Carolin, Peter Conlin, Mel Croucher, Martin Dixon, John Eden, Sarah Falloon, Simon Ford, Peter Haining, Stewart Home, Tom Jennings, DJ Krautpleaser, Roger McKinley, Micheline Mason, Tracey Moberly, Luca Paci, Room 13 – Lochyside Scotland, Howard Slater, Johnny Spencer, Stefan Szczelkun, Andy T, Neil Transpontine, Tom Vague’.

You can now order the book direct from Mute Books.

The audio for my contribution is now available here:

TRACKLIST

1. X/O/Dus – English Black Boys (Factory Records, 1980)
2. Audrey – English Girl (Ariwa, 1982)
3. Lion Youth – Three Million On The Dole (Virgo Stomach, 1982)
4. Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution (Island, 1978)
5. Maxi Priest – Love In The Ghetto (Level Vibes, 1984)
6. Papa Levi – In A Mi Yard (Level Vibes, 1984)
7. Papa Benjie – Fare Dodger (Fashion, 1985)
8. Laurel and Hardy – Video Traffickin’ (Upright, 1983)
9. Macka B – Bean and Egg (Ariwa, 1986)
10. Pato Banton – Gwarn (Ariwa, 1985)
11. Leslie Lyrics – Pull Back Your Truncheon (UK Bubblers, 1985)
12. Ranking Ann – Kill The Police Bill (GLC, 1984)
13. Raymond Naptali – On My Way (Fatman)
14. Lorna Gee – Three Week Gone (Ariwa, 1985)
15. Horseman – Horsemove (Raiders, 1985)
16. Daddy Colonel – Take A Tip From Me (UK Bubblers, 1985)
17. Tippa Irie – Complain Neighbour (UK Bubblers, 1985)
18. Demon Rocka – Hard Drugs (Unity, 1988)

Eastman Connection

Uncle Dugs on Rinse FM with a blazing 1991 selection.

But even better than that, he gets Kool FM founder Eastman in for an extended interview. (interview commences at about 1:37:00)

Some proper history, covering North London reggae soundsystem, early raves, Jungle Fever, and the full story of Kool FM.

An amazing bit of oral history, loads of details and tales of scrapes. If you liked “Tape Crackers”, this is the side of the story told by the station crew rather than the listeners/punters.

Kool FM is about to celebrate 20 years in the business.

Thanks to Mikus for the tip off!

Lovers Rock volume 2

Back once again with a seven inch selection by me and post production tweaking, polishing and shining from the man like Paul Meme (check the link for Paul’s new postpunk and techno mixes also).

You would think from some of the coverage of Lovers Rock that songs about love and relationships were unique to that particular late 70s London reggae subgenre. But of course heartache has been a staple of Jamaican music since before reggae even existed.

This mix deviates slightly from “pure” Lovers Rock – as if such a thing was possible. It includes tunes from the sixties to the noughties, UK and JA productions.

There’s some pop madness, some sweet soul and some boshing one drops included. Enjoy!

Tracklist

1. Audley Rollins – What’s Your Name (Matador 7″)
2. Alton Ellis & Phyllis Dillon – Remember That Sunday (Treasure Isle 7″)
3. The Silvertones – Two Time Lover (Studio One 7″)
4. Harry Hippy – Cover Me (Pioneer 7″)
5. Ronnie Davis – I Won’t Cry (Love 7″)
6. Gregory Isaacs – Sunshine For Me (African Museum 7″)
7. John Holt – If I Were A Carpenter (Striker Lee 7″)
8. Chantells – Waiting In The Park (Phase 1 7″)
9. Terry Linen – Your Love Is My Love (Raggedy Joe 7″)
10. Leroy Gibbons – To The End Of Time (House of Hits 7″)
11. Tony Curtis – Let’s Go (House of Hits 7″)
12. Bobby Kray – Silly Games (Sun Land Mix) (no label 7″)
13. Lukie D – Young Love (Special Delivery 7″)
14. Gyptian – Pretty Darling (Special Delivery 7″)
15. Oba Simba – Whistling Bird (Special Delivery 7″)
16. Tairo – La Vie Qu’Je Mene (Special Delivery 7″)
17. Ava Leigh – La La La (Virgin 7″)
18. Toni Braxton – Yesterday (Sticky’s Lovers Remix) (Atlantic 7″)

Track by track

1. Audley Rollins – What’s Your Name (Matador 7″)
2. Alton Ellis & Phyllis Dillon – Remember That Sunday (Treasure Isle 7″)
3. The Silvertones – Two Time Lover (Studio One 7″)
4. Harry Hippy – Cover Me (Pioneer 7″)
5. Ronnie Davis – I Won’t Cry (Love 7″)

I don’t know much about these tunes, they are just things I’ve picked up on the off chance over the years and loved. The first three all came from the bargain bins under the spiral staircase in Rough Trade in Covent Garden. For about 20 pence each. Finding random records for 20p is something that is disappearing along with many of the record shops mentioned in this post.

6. Gregory Isaacs – Sunshine For Me (African Museum 7″)
7. John Holt – If I Were A Carpenter (Striker Lee 7″)

With hundreds of Gregory love songs to choose from, the one that leapt out isn’t about his tumultous times with the ladies at all! “Sunshine for me” is about staying humble and keeping thing in perspective, in stark contrast to the invulnerable blinging gangsta supervillains one hears so much about. But how will that sit with the laydeez? John Holt poses that very question in a cover of American crooner Bobby Darin’s 1966 standard.

8. Chantells – Waiting In The Park (Phase 1 7″)

Another tune about male vulnerability with incredible vocals. Many of us have been stood up, but I suspect we haven’t hung around in the park all night expectantly, even if we were “promised something that’s nice”.

9. Terry Linen – Your Love Is My Love (Raggedy Joe 7″)

This was an absolutely massive tune around the turn of the Century, loving up the millennium! The sort of cover version that sorts the people who love music in all its pop glory from the record nerds. Everyone knows the Whitney version, right? What I hadn’t realised was that the song was originally a reggae-lite affair, written by Wyclef Jean. Terry’s take is much more to my liking. To be honest, most things not produced by Wyclef are more to my liking, but his bonkers selection of dubplate specials always raises a smile.

10. Leroy Gibbons – To The End Of Time (House of Hits 7″)
11. Tony Curtis – Let’s Go (House of Hits 7″)

These turned up at a visit to Dub Vendor in Clapham Junction a couple of years ago. Beautiful upbeat modern productions and some killer vocals as well.

12. Bobby Kray – Silly Games (Sun Land Mix) (no label 7″)

Much was made of Mr Kray around 2007 when this debut was released. In fact me, him and Ava Leigh (more of whom in a minute) were all quoted in a piece The Times ran on white people in reggae. I’ve not heard much of him since – and I daresay he is sat somewhere pondering my whereabouts also…

I think I probably picked this up from Dub Vendor in Ladbroke Grove on one of my trips up west with a box of Woofah for Honest Jons. “Silly Games” loops back to the Janet Kay original on our Lovers Rock Volume 1 mix. I believe Dennis Bovell is involved with this tough relick too.

13. Lukie D – Young Love (Special Delivery 7″)
14. Gyptian – Pretty Darling (Special Delivery 7″)
15. Oba Simba – Whistling Bird (Special Delivery 7″)
16. Tairo – La Vie Qu’Je Mene (Special Delivery 7″)

More modern riddim magic, from the same Dub Vendor haul as the “House of Hits” tunes above. I like the way this mixes up superstars like Gyptian with complete unknowns. The backing track is based on Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s “Je T’aime” which is audacious, and I like the way that performing a literal cover of that tune has been resisted.

17. Ava Leigh – La La La (Virgin 7″)

Ava was another great white hop, who briefly fared quite well (compared to Bobby Kray at least). “Over The Brdige”, her collaboration with Manasseh, was one of my top reggae tunes of the noughties and it’s rumoured that she did this tune with London soundsystem stalwarts Abashanti-I. Youtube is littered with some good tunes by her, and you’d think that she would do OK post-Winehouse and alongside Joss Stone. Alas, it doesn’t seem that Ava’s initial momentum has been maintained by the biz thus far.

“La La La” was on her first single for Virgin in 2007, backed with “Mad About The Boy”. Both tunes have subsequently been reissued and repackaged (in the words of Morissey) but not re-evaluated just yet.

18. Toni Braxton – Yesterday (Sticky’s Lovers Remix) (Atlantic 7″)

I must confess to not being a huge fan of La Braxton, so this remix by Heatwave collaborator and 2step DON Sticky was a proper bolt from the blue. A seismic production which gives the diva vocals a much better background in my humble opinion. Sticky should be remixing everyone like this, by law. Rihanna next, please?

Invasion of the Mysteron Killer Sounds radio play and interviews

“I dub from inner to outer space. The sound I get out of Black Ark studio, I don’t really get it out of no other studio.
It was like a space craft. You could hear the space in the tracks.”

Lee Perry

Kevin Martin (The Bug, King Midas Sound) and Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz, 100% Dynamite, Sounds of the Universe) have compiled this ace double CD and quadruple vinyl set of electronic dancehall riddims. A bad-ass selection with some undoubted classics like Street Sweeper and Peanie Peanie alongside more outre examples of JA music at its eeriest. Also some more modern and UK produced fare like Kevin’s own Aktion Pak riddim.

I’ve had mixed feelings about the concept. On the one had I was championing the reggae/ragga afronaut connection a decade ago as part of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts and one of my first ever reggae DJ sets was at the Garage in Highbury during an AAA night as part of the 10 day Space 1999 festival. I even did an AAA presentation on dub as the basis for a new intergalactic architecture at a conference organised by Kodwo Eshun in Austria. More recently Wayne and Wax has produced an incredible critical survey of rasta imagery in science fiction in issue 4 of Woofah.

On the other hand, I’ve previously been forthright in my condemnation of people who only seem to like their dancehall with the sounds of black voices erased. I think, on reflection, this criticism is hugely unfair on the curators of the current comp (and indeed Basic Replay who I previously tore into) who have done more than most to promote reggae music in its ancient and modern forms over many many years. But I have always come across a few techno fans who seem to hate ragga vocals and that seems a bit… odd.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that a bass-driven sci-fi is a great alternate window to look at dancehall productions through, and this compilation seems like an excellent launchpad into that world, featuring a mad comic about aliens and bashment beats.

The comic was originally planned to be a radio play, but apparently time and budget didn’t allow this. But the street finds its uses for everything, as the old cyberpunk saying goes, so I was chuffed to hear that Dino Lalič and the Sensi Smile crew at Radio Student Ljubljana were going to remix the source material from the comp and its comic back into a radio play last weekend. I think they’ve done a terrific job – the accented narration adds to the spookiness and conjurs up cosmonauts of yesteryear to my ears. I love the blending of ragga with more Joe Meek-esque sixties futurism and dubwise material as well.

The Invasion of the Mysteron Killer Sounds Radio Play was part of a whole evening’s entertainment on the station, which also included interviews with Stuart Baker, Paolo Parisi (the comic’s creator) and my good self. Mine was a live telephone interview, and listening to it again I am amused to find myself being an old fart talking about that yearning for the sonic future…

Much of the commentary is in Slovenian, so may not be decipherable to many of my readers, although the tunes are obviously universal – not to say outernational! Here are some time marks for you for the English language stuff:

1:23:00 Stuart Baker

1:51:30 Paolo Parisi

2:03:32 The Radio Play

3:08:22 John Eden

grimey reggae podcast

A quick thing I threw together last night – a round up of reggae and dancehall infused grime from 2010, with a bit of muttering from me. Enjoy!

MIX: Grievous Angel & John Eden present: Lovers Rock

 

So what about this situation with the lovers rock versus dub scene?

C: “A party is nothing without girls and the girls check for lovers.”

(from Soundsystem Splashdown 1981 NME feature)

As I said in my lecture at Audio Poverty, I got into UK MC reggae records because they were cheap, because I liked their local lyrics and the fact that their existence told a story about the city I live in. Personally I would rather spend time rummaging through a pile of cheap vinyl than scouring the internet for those RARE collectors items everyone seems to be after.

But inevitably things change, and the prices of UK MC records have gone up. Tunes that were knocking about for two or three quid eight years ago are now selling for up to 5 times that. It’s hard not to feel validated by this, but I’m obviously wary of letting the market dictate what is good or not. Certainly you can’t put a price on the pleasure that my copy of Peter Bouncer’s “Rough Neck Sound” 12″ has given me.

And anyway, the rummaging continues. These days it’s often accompanied by some raised eyebrows: “7 quid for Tippa Irie’s ‘Panic Panic’ 12″ – are you sure?”. But then perhaps the eye is drawn to the floor beneath the seven quid racks, to a pile of dusty records alongside a notice in felt tip pen proclaiming their unpopularity: “everything in this pile £1″. Ah… hello, my friends.

Most record collectors are male – boys seeking boys’ things. So it is hardly surprising that the reggae records which have been most resistant to collector-mania have been the ones which don’t deal with the sort of things that blokes check for. There are lots of Ebay Earners about war, overcoming tribulation, weighty spiritual issues and smoking ‘erb. So yes, these days much of the bargain bin reggae was originally sung by, and ultimately aimed at, teenage girls. Teenage girls are like kryptonite for record collectors, I think.

I’m not going to lie, there have been a good few things that I’ve picked up and then chucked out after hearing 30 seconds of screechy singing over artless digital backing. And yes, some of the tunes here are widely recognised as being the pinnacle of the sub-genre (and in some cases would make many people’s top 100 reggae tunes ever, I think).

This mix was thrown together one night a year ago whilst I was playing with a new effects box. I figured it was a bit rough and ready and I would get around to re-doing it one day. Then Paul Meme expressed an interest in collaborating on a mix again, so I bunged it his way. He is responsible for actually bringing it to your earholes, so praise is due. Paul has added a ton more effects and removed my most heinous mistakes as well. There are still some ghostly echoes of other things in mix, but I think that adds to it all.

I make no claims at being definitive, there are other places to go for that (see especially the compilations “The Lovers Rock Story” on Kickin’ and “This Is Lovers Rock” on Greensleeves). I would also wholeheartedly recommend Menelik Shabazz’s film “The Story of Lovers Rock”.

I would like to dedicate this mix to my long-suffering partner. I’d like to, but I won’t. Whilst she appreciates a good bassline, she finds high pitched vocals akin to scraping a cat down a blackboard.

Track by Track

1. Louisa Mark – Caught You In A Lie (Safari 7″)

“You… said she was your cousin…”

It all started here, in 1975. Apparently “Caught” was originally a soul song by Robert Parker, but I can’t bear to track that down after hearing this. Louisa was 14 years old when this was recorded for south London soundman Lloydie Coxsone. You can really hear all that adolescent anguish being channeled into the grooves. I was in a lock-in the other night where someone insisted in playing anthemic stadium rock. Louisa Mark reaches peaks of emotional intensity that middle aged rockers can only dream of. The backing band here is Matumbi, who we will hear from again in a little while.

2. 15-16-17 – Black Skin Boys (DEB Music 7″)
Again, the group were schoolgirls – their name came from the age of each singer in the trio. Lovers with a bit of afro-positive consciousness snuck in for all the rastamen in the dance. (See also Brown Sugar’s “I’m In Love With A Dreadlocks”). DEB was Dennis (Emmanuelle) Brown’s label whilst he was based in London.

3. Matumbi – After Tonight (from “Lovers For Lovers vol 3″ LP)
UK reggae legend Dennis Bovell’s group in fine form, with the man himself on vocals I think. And yes, this is off a compilation album with a soft focus photograph of a naked couple on the cover.

4. Shade of Love African Blood – Tell Me Bout The Love (Arawak 12″)
Arawak is Bovell’s label, but the production on this is credited to B Spencer, D Luetaim and P Dover. No idea who they are and still no clue as to the identity of the vocalist. I think “Shade of…” is the name of the group rather than an individual. Any clues welcome!

5. Lorita Grahame – Young Free And Single (Intense 12″)
Bit of a disco number, almost into “Woo” Gary Davies Radio One Roadshow territory, but not quite. Lorita would go on to be a member of indie group Colourbox in the eighties, notably re-doing Jacob Miller’s “Baby I Love You So”. The NME did a double header feature with them and Augustus Pablo in 1986.

6. Melanie Fiona – Sad Songs (Island 7″)
Melanie is a new Canadian vocalist. Island snuck this out about a year ago, in a nice replica of their sixties seven inch singles. It obviously and blatantly leads us to:

7. Janet Kay – Silly Games (Scope 12″)
Everyone’s heard this, right? It was a number 2 hit in the national charts ferchrissakes! Still an outstanding record to this day. Dennis Bovell (for it is he, on the buttons, once again) is very amusing about this in the book about The Slits. He was producing their “Cut” album in some posh rural studio (where the legendary mud and flesh cover photo was taken) when Ari Up told him “Silly Games” was playing on the radio. So he dashed from The Slits to perform alongside Janet Kay on Top of the Pops. Contrast or what?

Janet recently appeared as a fairy godmother in panto at the Hackney Empire, much to the pleasure of all the Dads present. We even got treated to a brief rendition of this tune into the bargain.

8. Peter Hunnigale – Mary J (from “Free Soul” LP)
Mr Hunnigale is proper UK reggae grafter. To say he seems popular with the ladies is something of an understatement. This track is a bit of an anomaly – is it a love song or reality lyrics about a woman forced into making ends meet any which way? The LP this is taken from is superb – all sweet Hunnigale vocals over crisp original Studio One riddims, courtesy of the Peckings label.

9. Joy Mack – Reality (from “Lovers For Lovers vol 3″ LP)
Yeah it’s that comp again, sorry purists, if you made it this far! I don’t know much about Joy, but this is a belter. In recent years she’s appeared in the stage version of “The Harder They Come”.

10. Maxi Priest – Strolling On (Level Vibes 12″)
Pretty much everything I wanted to write about Maxi is already here. Check the comments to see some of the love that abounds for the man. This is still one of those tunes to put on to reassure you everything is alright. Summer vibes in the middle of winter.

11. Massive Horns – Flowing On (Level Vibes 12″)
Massive Horns did loads of dubs for Fashion, including a whole album, “Merrie Melodies” which is awesome. They are credited on that LP as Annie Whitehead (trombone), Tim Sanders (alto sax, tenor sax), Al Deval (tenor sax) & Barbara Snow (trumpet). Whitehead is a bit of a legend, having also worked with Evan Parker, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Jah Wobble, who is very nice about her in his autobiography. I need to get around to researching the rest as well.

12. Kevin Henry & Kate – Born Again (Rhythm Force 12″)
I think this was the first Lovers Rock tune I bought. It was a dull day in Leicester, where I’d been sent by work. I found a record shop on the first floor near a market and it had about two things in I was interested in, the other being Greensleeves late 90s ragga twelve. This is proper trippy, sort of a Rhythm & Sound thing going on with it. I’ve not heard that many duets in Lovers Rock, but I think the vocal combo on this is stunning. It’s a Clem Bushay production – he also had a hand in some of the Louisa Mark tunes, for example her other huge hit “Six Sixth Street”. No idea who Kevin Henry, Kate or the band here are though.

13. Janet Kay – You Bring The Sun Out (Black Roots 12″)
I try not to repeat artists on mixes, but I will make an exception for Janet Kay in this (and indeed, in most things!). This is produced by Studio One’s keyboard king Jackie Mittoo and features him tinkling the ivories over the riddim pon the flip. I’m guessing this was recorded while Jackie was in London, right?

14. Trevor Walters – Love Me Tonight (Magnet 12″)
Easing into cheese territory perhaps, but Paul adds an avalanche of brutal effects to restore a healthy balance. In fact that tension between hard bass and sweet vocals is what makes all the tunes here work.

15. Kofi – Didn’t I (Ariwa 12″)
Mad Professor production – for a while he was releasing just as much lovers as roots and dub material, which just goes to show how popular the genre was. Kofi was originally in Lovers Rock super-trio Brown Sugar, alongside Caron Wheeler, later of Soul II Soul.

Beyond the Implode meets Youarehear in the ruins of Downing Street

Beyond The Implode Anarcho Punk Podcast for Youarehear by Johnedenuk on Mixcloud

A collaboration between Martin and the good folks of Youarehear. With some help from me.

Classic and obscure tunes with some verbal commentary both refined and rabid.

Unfortunately anarchopunk wasn’t able to overcome the contradictions of capitalism and all the main players seem to be threatening each other with legal action right now.

Martin recently reviewed the recent reissue of Crass’ “Feeding of the 5000″.

See also the uncarved.org Critical Look At Anarchopunk for some good reading.

Oh and if you’re on twitter get on the all new @BTi_Enquiries stream.

STOP PRESS: Full tracklist and charateristically self-deprecating write up is now available at Beyond The Implode.

STOP PRESS 2: Nice review and commentary at History is Made at Night.

New Mix: Boops Specialist

One of the great things about reggae’s “version culture” is how getting your mitts on a new tune can reactivate whole swathes of your collection. I stumbled across a storming UK twelve on the Boops riddim recently and spent a very pleasant Saturday afternoon on a version excursion tip, fishing out classics and long forgotten cuts from the dustier corners of my vinyl shelves.

So here’s a little mix for you, done live in one take – with a little bit of post-editing before the last track.

In some ways it’s a companion to my Answer one-riddim-clash mix, but no war business with Paul Meme this time.

Yousendit download link or:

TRACKLIST

1. The Ethiopians – Last Train to Skaville (1966? – from “Celebration: 25 Years of Trojan Records” LP)

2. Toots and the Maytals – 54-46 (1969 – from Soul Jazz “400% Dynamite” CD)

3. Johnny Ringo – I And I Number (From “JA To UK M.C. Clash” LP, Fashion 1985)

4. Asher Senator – Abbreviation Qualification VIP Mix (Fashion 12” 1984)

5. Horace Andy – Cool and Deadly (Tads 12”)

6. Superman and Spiderman – Roadblock (From “Superman & Spiderman” LP, Kingdom 1985)

7. Papa Face and Bionic Rhona – To the Bump (From “Great British MCs” LP, Fashion 1984)

8. Concrete Jungle Overcoat (from “Rubble Dub M.C.’s Choice” LP, Rubble 1986)

9. Supercat – Boops (Techniques 7” 1986)

10. Pam Hall – Dear Boopsie (Blue Mountain 12”, 1986)

11. King Kong – Don’t Touch My Boops (Unity Sound 12” 1986)

12. Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – Moany Moany (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

13. Bayley & Chacka Demus – One Scotch (Unity Sound 12”)

14. Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – One Scotch, One Tennants, One Brew (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

15. Rebel MC and Double Trouble – Street Tuff (Desire 7”, 1989)

SLEEVENOTES

The Ethiopians – Last Train to Skaville (1966? – from “Celebration: 25 Years of Trojan Records” LP)

The Ethiopians started in the 1940s and passed through Studio One in the sixties before recording this for WIRL. This opening track is a little on the quiet side, partly because that’s how I like to start, but also because Trojan have unwisely included 10 tracks per side of this LP. Which, to be fair, did make it good value – just not so great for playing out.

Toots and the Maytals – 54-46 (1969 – from Soul Jazz “400% Dynamite” CD)


Everyone has heard this, surely? So the story behind this tune is that Toots Hibbert was busted for ganja and the title of the tune was his prison number. Unfortunately that is just a story. Toots says he was busted (for what isn’t clear) whilst trying to pay bail for a mate – and the number is just something he made up.

So yeah, these first few tracks are off compilations and not crackly seven inches. People get snobbish about that I guess, so here is full disclosure. Both of these comps are brilliant, by the way.

Johnny Ringo – I And I Number (From “JA To UK M.C. Clash” LP, Fashion 1985)

JA MC on tour in the UK cuts album underneath the Dub Vendor shop, riding the riddim with some nice “definition lyrics”.

Unfortunately Ringo died in 2005, his passing was noted by me here.

Asher Senator – Abbreviation Qualification VIP Mix (Fashion 12” 1984)

Saxon MC Asher’s first single, which I’ve written about previously in my Born To Chat: The Asher Senator Story.

Horace Andy – Cool and Deadly (Tads 12”)

Sleepy brings his take on “ABC” by the Jackson 5 to the party. This raises the musical levels after Asher’s lyrical onslaught. I often play the two in combination like this on the increasingly rare occasions that I am trusted on the decks in public.

Superman and Spiderman – Roadblock (FromSuperman & Spiderman” LP, Kingdom 1985)

Mysterious trademark-infringing duo in the mould of Michigan and Smiley.

Superman was born in Birmingham, but raised in JA. He now records UK Dub material under the name of Sandeeno. Spiderman I know little about but seem to recall he was JA born and bred.

Of course, superhero imagery has been well used in reggae, from Tony McDermott’s great covers for Scientist dub albums, to these labels:

Papa Face and Bionic Rhona – To the Bump (From “Great British MCs” LP, Fashion 1984)

“Nuff man chat on the Shank I Sheck, but me no hear no-one pon this one yet”

Underrated duo, previously written about here. Rhona is an uncarved.org reader, Face has continued to MC as mic man for David Rodigan and is a regular fixture behind the counter at Dub Vendor.

Concrete Jungle Overcoat (from “Rubble Dub M.C.’s Choice” LP, Rubble 1986)


Very talented musicians at Fashion. Their riddims and dub albums never get proper credit, but it’s nice gear. I meant to write about them all for Woofah but it didn’t quite happen. Gussie Prento production.

Super Cat – Boops (Techniques 7” 1986)

“And when you check it out Friday ah payday”

The tune that started the craze. Super Cat tells the story of an older guy who has the girls flocking – but only because of his wallet. The Techniques lick of the riddim is proper loose (in a good way) and even has a bum note towards the end.

Pam Hall – Dear Boopsie (Blue Mountain 12”, 1986)

“Since you’ve been gone – I’ve forgotten the taste of wine”

Pam is the sister of Audrey Hall. Dear Boopsie attempts to give some female perspective on the Boops phenomenon, though it’s hardly an advert for womens’ liberation. Oddly this seems to be the only tune in the mix which has troubled the UK Charts, skirting around the mid 50s for a few weeks.

The tune even appeared in one of the few reggae charts featured on ITV’s The Chart Show.

King Kong – Don’t Touch My Boops (Unity Sound 12” 1986)

“Gorgeous smile and she had pretty looks”

This is a King Jammy production which was licensed to Hackney’s Unity Sound label because of their strong connections.

Pretty soon Boops was inescapable, as is evident from Daddy Kool’s pre-release chart of April 19, 1986:

1. King Kong – Don’t Touch My Boops – Jammys
2. Anthony Red Rose – Me No Want No Boops – Firehouse
3. Michael Prophet – Nah Call Me John Boops – Techniques
4. Sugar Minott – John Boops – Cornerstone
5. Lyrical – No Try No Boops – 10 Rossevelt Avenue
6. Pompidou – I Love My Boops – Striker Lee
7. Super Dad – See Boops Ya – Blue Mountain
8. Radicals – Rum Tree – Roots Radics Gang
9. Ringo – See Foreign Deh – Harry J
10. Delroy Williams – Watchdog – Rockers

Sly and Robbie hit the national charts one year later with their own take on the fad… (major labels being unable to keep up with the street commentary of reggae culture).

Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – Moany Moany (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

Shuttle operated out of Haringey, with offices around Turnpike Lane and Green Lanes. This is a Fatman production. Fatman runs a longstanding soundsystem and label. There’s a nice piece on him here from Penny Reel’s 1981 NME Soundsystem Splashdown feature.

At that time, Fatman’s selector was Ribs (interviewed here). But Ribs then left Fatman to start his own Unity Hi-Fi sound. Charjan and his brother Reuben were two of Unity’s first deejays (soon to be joined by Peter Bouncer, Navigator and the Ragga Twins amongst many other key ‘nuum figures).

But then Charjan and Reuben really upset the applecart by leaving Unity and joining Fatman. Apparently the animosity is made abundantly clear in Fatman/Unity clash tapes from the mid eighties.

Whatever the history, this is a boss tune which equals most of the Boops ouevre for its slightly dodgy gender politics. In fact it’s intriguingly similar to “Rabbit” by that other cockney MC crew Chas and Dave. Charjan and Reuben’s double delivery on the chorus is breathtaking and there are some neat rhymes here also.

Admiral Bailey & Chaka Demus – One Scotch (Unity Sounds 12″ 1986)

Bailey and Chaka rework John Lee Hooker’s blues standard for Jammys, with added bonus reference to the Joe Gibbs oddity “In Heaven There Is No Beer (It’s Why We Drink It Here)” by The Happs.

Papa Charjan And Jack Reuben Featuring Higgy Rygin – One Scotch, One Tennants, One Brew (Shuttle Records 12” 1986)

“If you like drinking, let’s go on a drinking spree”

Charjan and Reuben come again with a London ting. Frankly the prospect of a scotch, a can of Tennents and a Special Brew is enough to make me feel decidedly queasy. Still, might be one to test out one weekend, purely in the interests of research…

Unfortunately my copy didn’t come with the ace picture cover, so it’s thanks to discogs for that. It does have this sticker on it though:

Other odes to Tennents Super include Alabama 3′s “Old Purple Tin” and “Purple Boy” by Smart Alex and Clever Cloggs.

Rebel MC and Double Trouble – Street Tuff (Desire 7”, 1989)

Not everyone realises this is the same bassline as Toots and The Maytals’ “54-46″ but then it is at 120bpm or thereabouts. A big chart hit, which will always remind me of everyone on the cheese factory production line grooving away when it came on Radio One.

Rebel MC went on to mutate into Congo Natty, but I guess everyone knows that now?

ADDENDUM

The Boops riddim was reversioned again earlier this year, but none of the tunes particularly grabbed me. So this remains an archival selection for your delectation.

As usual this is simply what I’ve picked up over the years so I make no apology if your favourite cut isn’t included. Feel free to have a heated debate in the comments boxes, or do your own mix – or simply enjoy the music for what it is!

RSI RADIO PODCAST EPISODE 4

Back once again with a mic inna me hand!

Digital reggae, rapso and soca, reggae-infused grime and bit of chat by me. Oh, and a dancing venereal disease.

Check it out and let me know what you think…

Heatwave dancehall grime mix up on Rinse FM

Great stuff from 2am last Friday morning, now available courtesy of the rinse podcast. Elijah and Skilliam also present and correct.