dirty martini

old music for new people

going back to my roots June 29, 2008

sometimes, a good reggae cover can rescue a tired song, and similarly, many reggae originals have been covered by pop-reggae artists.

this is a collection of originals, covers and versions.

download here

15-16-17 – just my imagination

barbara jones – first cut is the deepest

cool notes -it’s not unusual

jimmy cliff – many rivers to cross

jimmy riley – sweets for my sweet

ken boothe – everything i own

maxi priest – some guys have all the luck

the melodians – rivers of babylon

scotty and lorna bennett – breakfast in bed

steel pulse – brown eyed girl

steel pulse – can’t stand losing you

winston reedy – she’s the one

Advertisements
 

jungle: a way of life August 22, 2007

jungle.jpg

even the kids amongst you probably don’t need an introduction to jungle. emerging from the hardcore scene of the early 90s, it was a ragga driven extension of the dancehall scene until techno started to take over the drum’n’bass scene in 1996.

like uk garage, it was a predominatly london thing. it was the soundtrack of the pirates when i moved here in 1994 and to me it was new, exciting and like nothing i’d ever heard before. so some of my abiding memories of jungle are as the soundtrack to my first year living in student halls of residence. fires in the kitchen, dirty bathrooms and being too drunk to get out of bed.

in your first year, you’re lumped with a complete mishmash of personalities, with nothing in common. the one thing that can unite people is music and yet sometimes even that fails. what do you do with a couple of r&b swingers, a hip hop queen, cheesy quaver and a girl who just got back from ibiza?

in 1994, you sent them down to the a.w.o.l. night at the ministry of sound. on a thursday night, you could actually get in for less than £10 and get a drink for about £3. there was r&b in the main bar, house and garage upstairs (this was before the refurb) and jungle in the main room.  the crowd were a melting pot of students, office caners, media and professional ravers.

at the time i probably didn’t think a.w.o.l was as cool as the friday night open techno fest or glitzy rulin’ saturday night at the ministry. how wrong i was. a.w.o.l is the only one i would still want to go to. i discovered new music and saw a man in a skirt years before david beckham was nagged into one.

a.w.o.l lasted about as long as the jungle scene, and no other ministry night has been as exciting since. i blame the refurb.

original junglistsdownload here

soundman and elisabeth troy – no greater love

firefox and 4tree – warning

da maytrix – loverman

dj taktix – the way

leviticus – the burial

omni trio – renegade snares

tom and jerry – maximum style

deep blue – helicopter tune

baby d – casanova

m-beat – style

buju banton – move ya body

bagga worries and jooxie nice – legalise

barrington levy – under mi sensi

daddy freddy – junglist sound

dms – sweet vibration

m-beat and general levy- incredible

prizna and demolition man – fire

chaka demus and pliers – gal wine

cutty ranks – original rude boy style

wayne marshall – g spot

 

our reggae music May 19, 2007

reggae and jamaica are inextricably linked. but in the mid 70s, south london took reggae, added a dash of brixton and sent it back across the airwaves. disenfranchised black britons found an identity and an alternative to the us-led soul scene.
in contrast to the political protest of 70s island reggae, lovers rock dealt with the same issues as 70s soul, but to a different beat. not since this movement has british culture influenced the entire reggae scene to such an extent.
the south london soundsystems provided a haven and identity for inner city teenagers and clubgoers of all races. as such, many of the artists were very young, especially the girls, who provided a realistic and honest outlet for the romantic and sometimes plaintive lyrics.
i was just a baby when this music was popular and it was one of the last truly underground urban scenes – i can’t imagine many outside of london were aware of it even at the time. i had no exposure to it whatsoever but when i first heard them, most of the tracks were instantly familiar and perfectly encapsulate the mood of the nation in the late 70s and early 80s.
now in their 40s and 50s, the lovers rock massive recently welcomed many of the genre’s stars back into the limelight as part of the soul britannia concerts held at the london barbican centre. though the distinction between reggae and lovers rock became blurred with the advent of dancehall in the mid 80s and later ragga, its legacy survives today.
ten lovers rock classics – download here
the cool notes – i’ve got to let him know
not all of this group’s listeners would be aware that they started their careers as part of the lovers rock movement. in the 80s they were true jheri soul artistes, albeit with a british edge, and had sizeable mainstream success. their most popular lovers tune was the era-defining ‘my tune’, so I’ve included a lesser known 1977 cut.
bob andy – honey
established reggae artist bob was one of many jamaican acts swayed by the new british sound, and this 1983 track cemented his new and successful direction. prior to this he served as part of bob marley’s band, and since he has become a respected stalwart of the reggae scene, taking up the mantle at bob marley’s tuff going empire.
15 16 17 – if you love me smile
one of several lovers rock girl bands, and named after their respective ages when they formed. they didn’t change their band name as they got older – in fact they weren’t around for very long. they covered soul classics to great effect but also sang sweetly on their own compositions.
john mclean – if i gave my heart to you
a true child of the lovers rock era, john grew up in 70s south west london and started singing with the black starliner sound system at the age of 16. it was another decade before he gained meaningful success with this song, which topped the reggae charts in 1987.
portia morgan – let me be your angel
in the early 80s, the influence of ska has become more prominent. the contrast of hopeful lyrics against a typically melancholy backing track sums up the restlessness and fear of urban britain in 1981.
junior brown – long time me call
more upbeat example of the genre from the mid 80s on the ubiquitous fashion label. not much info can be found by googling this artist…could possibly have recorded under another name?
brown sugar – hello stranger
like 15 16 17, brown sugar were schoolgirls at the peak of their success. if you thought caron wheeler was fresh faced when she hooked up with soul ii soul in 1989, you might be surprised to learn that a 14 year old caron and friends carol simms and pauline cattlin were making music back in 1977.
musical youth – heartbreaker
best known for their no1 hit ‘pass the dutchie’ which escaped the moral majority despite being very obviously about smoking weed. the shamen got away with a similar act ten years later with ode to ecstasy ‘ebeneezer goode’, no1 during national drugs week, no less. its easy to forget that musical youth weren’t just a novelty act, they also made proper lover rock – like this.
louisa marks – caught you in a lie
by now you know the score…15 year old louisa marks was arguably the first lady (ok, girl) of lovers rock in 1975. she was the first british artist to score a reggae hit.
winston reedy – dim the lights
early 80s example of the genre from popular reggae artists winston, who had several successful albums. still doing his thing.