Archive for the ‘reggae’ Category.

lxsch – Austerity Answer mix

Austerity Answer by Lxsch on Mixcloud

More great tunes – from the man lxsch!

New(ish) reggae fanzine! Tweetah issue zero published

Roll up! Roll up! Get ya scrappy xerox rag! Now sold out.

20 pages A5. Mainly by me, but with contributions from 2ndFade and (unbeknownst to him) Martin.

Trades/Blags are welcome.

(Images below are a bit compressed – the cover looks redder and slightly less ragged)

UK: £1.50

Europe: £2.69

Rest of World: £3.33

No Ice Cream Sound – issue 3 out now!

The Shimmy Shimmy crew have just published their 3rd fanzine. Labour of love: by the fans, for the fans style.

I’ve not had time to write anything for it this time and am kicking myself, because I could have been in there alongside:

- Exclusive interviews with

  • Stylo G
  • Popcaan
  • Mungo’s Hifi
  • Young Warrior

- A day in the life of Curtis Lynch (Necessary Mayhem)
- Exclusive chart from Poirier
- Illustration from Smutlee & design from Al Fingers
- Doubles recipe from Hipsters Don’t Dance
- Soundsystem special: how to build your own, and a timeline
- Erin Macleod talks to Alric & Boyd about house in Jamaica
- Feature on India’s first soundsystem, the Reggae Rajahs

50 pages, 300 copies only. All back issues sold out.

Order from here while stocks last – I have!

The Heatwave: Showtime DVD out now!

Apparently some of you ignored my advice earlier this year to get to the Showtime event. It was one of those legendary evenings that I can now taunt you about for the rest of your lives. But all is not lost – you can now shock out to its ridiculous line up in the privacy of your own home.

The footage of hype MCs is interspersed with some great interviews.

Rollo Jackson has excelled himself this year with this and Tape Crackers (also now available on DVD from TTT) – both films documenting UK soundsystem / ‘ardkore continumm music in their own sweet way.

Showtime is a fantastic calling card for The Heatwave, who have taken things to another level in 2011. Check the trailer and then order from here.

‘The Heatwave presents… SHOWTIME’ (trailer) from Rollo Jackson on Vimeo.

London Bashment 2011 – an old git writes

Madd Raff was a blast the other night. It was an absolute pleasure to play an eighties revival set with Cool Hand Luke, alongside Benjamin Heatwave on mic duties. The venue was a little basement bar off Great Portland Street, very close to my first ever DJ gigs at the students’ union of the Polytechnic of Central London in the late eighties.

Twenty years later and I’m there playing records to people twenty years younger than me. Which means that some of my tunes came out before they were born. I’ve laid it on a bit thick about being the oldest raver in town this year, but I’m quite relaxed about that. I go to ska and rocksteady nights where music from the early sixties get played, often by people old enough to be my parents.

As Steve Barrow points out in the Dub Echoes DVD – capitalism always promotes the new thing as being the best thing, and tries to divide the young and the old. There’s a resurgence of “generational resentment” at the moment in the UK. One reading of the UK riots was old peoples’ fear of “feral youth”, which is the latest instalment of a long line of subcultural moral panics starting with teddy boys and going right through to hoodies.

I think what’s new is young peoples’ resentment of the old, though. For the first time living memory, this generation of school/college leavers will be significantly worse off than the previous one. Lower incomes, longer working lives, less secure jobs and little prospect of owning property look like being the norm.

Music can’t really patch up these economic differences, but I guess it can show that people have more in common than they thought. Each new generation finds a way to briefly escape hardship in darkened rooms as the bassline drops. Each new wave of dancehall builds on the foundation of the music. But sometimes dancehall mutations become so radioactive that more mature heads find it difficult to recognise them.

I guess it’s obvious that over the last few years I’ve been less and less obsessed by current grime, (post)dubstep and even dancehall. Hence all the reviews on here of weird electronic stuff made by men of a certain age, and the retro mixes.

Unlike some of my contemporaries, I have no vested interest in remaining an “expert” on dance (or any) music - as all this has been a hobby rather than a career. So I can be relaxed about it and enjoy the ride. On Wednesday night Luke and I were followed by Heatwave’s Dan Bean, who flung down some 2011 bashment anthems. At least I assumed they were anthems, as everyone went mental. I had no idea what most of the tunes were, and had a chuckle to myself about my lack of desire to find out. It felt quite liberating just enjoying being a room full of people going mad to JA music without mentally filing every tune away in my Bumper Trainspotter’s Book of Music.

Photo courtesy of The Heatwave

I remember trying to sneak a few current bashment riddims into reggae sets in the early noughties. It never worked - I even managed to clear the floor on a couple of occasions. Now it seems like a corner has been turned – for clubbers, my old man’s music has been restored to its rightful place as a warm up or chill out selection. What people really come out for is the new fangled music, which is how it should be really. I saw a girl running down the stairs at Dancehall Jamboree a few weeks back, so she could get on the floor and skank out to the Liquid riddim.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a bit of hype about bashment at the moment when you consider the alternatives. JA music has all the colour, character and vibes that are missing from most dance music right now. But it’s also testament to the sheer hard graft put in by people like The Heatwave and newer crews like the bewildering nexus of Hipsters Don’t Dance / Physically Fit / Shimmy Shimmy / Style and Swagger.

All this intrigues me. I like having a broad overview of Jamaican music since the 1950s, although if truth be told you’ll mainly find me listening to stuff from the last century. But unlike some of the old guard, you won’t find me wringing my hands about the terrible state of JA tunes nowadays.

I like Steve Barrow’s ideas about unifying the young and old under one b-line. But I’m also quite pleased that bashment ravers can still annoy the old gits and purists.

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?

Grange Hill – soundsystem session

“Only Glenroy’s records get played on Glenroy’s soundsystem!”

Young ‘uns and those outside the UK may not know that Grange Hill was an eighties kids’ TV series set in a London secondary school.

It was hugely popular and responsible for lots of school children outside of London adopting comedy mockney accents.

I’d completely forgotten this 1984 episode featuring a reggae soundsystem, but here it is thanks to youtube and Ras Stan on the Blood & Fire Board. Glenroy flings down some raw rub a dub and lovers rock as a backdrop to the end of term shenanigins.

I’m amazed it hasn’t been sampled to death already, frankly.

Easy to forget how massive soundsystem was back then – this 1981 NME cover story featured all the big names – Jah Shaka, Fatman and Coxsone Outernational, alongside a directory of over 100 sounds from across London. Alas, no mention of Glenroy, though!

Reggae’s influence didn’t just appear in Grange Hill with Sir Glenroy Hi-Fi either – this reminded me of another episode in which a rasta pupil at the school did an exhibition about his faith which lead to a brief exchange with the Headmistress about Haile Selassie: “to us, he is Jah!”.

For a lot of suburban white kids these episodes of Grange Hill, and perhaps a 5th generation VHS tape of Babylon would have been splinters of light coming through doorways which lead to other worlds…

Lovers Rock roadblock

Well that didn’t exactly go to plan:

I fell for my own hype on this one – figuring an 11:30pm showing of a reggae documentary would only attract the usual fan-spods, if that. So I didn’t book tickets and we turned up to find a huge posse of London’s finest, all dolled up to the nines and queuing up excitedly to get in.

Easy to forget how much Lovers Rock still means to people who were actually there – this was a humbling reminder!