Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jackie P, Jan 22, 2013.
Thanks again for all your recommendations.
I dug out Black Uhuru's Red album and liked it a lot more than I remembered. So I've ordered the 2cd Island Years comp. Among lots of other stuff, it includes the original mix of Anthem which, from reading the reviews, won't have as much of an 80's syn-drum sound.
I've ordered Aswad's New Chapter album. I've already got their first 2, and this is probably as far into the 80's that I'll go with them.
Have also ordered a Jacob Miller Collectors compilation which has 20 tracks from his 3 mid 70's albums.
That'll keep me going for a while.
If you have "Aswad" and "Hulet" you need "Showcase" at the very least for "Warrior Charge", the Dub version of "New Chapter" is worth owning as well.
That's correct, you get that whole album on there in it's first mix, except that one or two of the tracks are in their 12" versions, but that is a bonus.
Excellent choice in that case, it is all stone cold classics condensed and is the one I would have suggested for a crash course, I think you will enjoy that.
To the original poster,
If you don't mind live albums Aswads' "Live And Direct" is essential too. It's from 1983 but doesn't have the "processed 80s sound."
Heres some other albums you may like, some probably already mentioned.
Bob Andy - "Lots Of Love & I" and "Retrospective"
Justin Hinds - "Jezebel" and "Just In Time"
Junior Ross & The Spear - "Babylon Fall"
Judy Mowatt - "Black Woman"
Marcia Griffiths - "Naturally"
Max Romeo - "Open The Iron Gate" [B&F version of Revelation Time]
Maytones "Madness" and "Boat To Zion"
Meditations - "Message From" and "Deeper Roots [compilation]"
Mighty Diamonds - "Right Time" and "Stand Up To Your Judgement"
Sugar Minott "Black Roots" and "Ghetto-ology"
Sylford Walker - "Lambs Bread International"
Prince Allah - "Heaven Is My Roof"
Thanks again everybody.
Yes, I've got Aswad and Hulet. I like the way they stretch out sometimes into 6 or 7 minute tracks, and not by just sticking a dub version onto the end of the regular track.
Ideally, that's what I'm hoping to find elsewhere. I'm more likely to like an album with 7 or 8 tracks on it than one with 11 or 12. That's why I like Steel Pulse's first 2 albums, for example.
Yes, that's the Jacob Miller comp I've gone for.
I really like Max Romeo's War Ina Babylon album. Does that one listed up there sound similar?
Yesterday I played 'The Best of Freddie McKay' for the first time in ages. What a voice. After that, I simply had to play 'Tribal Inna Yard'.
Like I said, get "Showcase", as for Max Romeo he sounds similar, but obviously it's not a Perry production, the Blood & Fire/Simply Vinyl really benefits from the extra tracks and is a better overall listen than "Revelation Time", even if it's not as good as "War In A Babylon".
Note though that Revelation Time has recently been reissued, with even more bonus tracks than on Open The Iron Gate (even if some from the B&F are missing): Max Romeo - Revelation Time (This will obviously be much easier to get, as the B&F is kind of scarce these days.) Edit: Maybe it is only vinyl that is of interest, in which case the reissue on LP is just the album itself without bonus tracks.
It's already been recommended, but no harm in seconding 99thfloor's suggestion: Ijahman - Hail I Hymn (only four extended tracks on the album, and no dub versions).
This thing you're looking for, which I interpret as music that has a mix of vocals and instrumental sections with solos etc. (basically like in Rock music), isn't really that common, at least not in Jamaican music, it is why the British artists are recommended, as they tended to follow Marley's more Rock influenced version of Reggae and sometimes got almost "proggy".
You said that you "like guitar solos" and that makes you quite a rare bird when it comes to Reggae fans. I am a guitar player myself and from a Rock background, and I am often saddened and dismayed by Reggae fans dislike and almost hatred of lead guitar playing, I guess I take it a bit personal.
I can only tell you that for me many an early eighties Reggae gig was not ruined, but severely diminished by "Rock" guitar solos, other than that I agree with your post, most British bands took one or other of the Marley albums as their blueprint even while most Jamaican music was heading in a different direction. Bizarrely it's only just occurred to me that I've probably been involved in reissuing more British Reggae than anyone else 33 albums if I count correctly plus several singles and a ton of new stuff, not sure what that means other than most labels don't appreciate it enough.
But is this because you don't like Rock music and/or guitar solos? Or is it because of how these specific solos were played or sounded? Because there are some very bad guitar players in live Reggae bands and many of them have some god-awful tones, straight out of C- or D-grade 80s Heavy Metal. But back in the early eightes the gear didn't exist to produce the horrible sounds that can be heard at Reggae concerts today, so I don't think it could have been that.
You did a very typical thing there, which many in the Reggae community do, and which rubs be the wrong way, you put "Rock" before the guitar solos (which I guess signifies that it is a distorted guitar), if for example a saxophone player plays the exact same notes (let's say say Dean Fraser, who basically plays the same pentatonic scales up an down as any Rock guitar player, and as frenetically as the best of them) it is never a "Rock" solo, it is just a solo.
I only put Rock because you mentioned it, my problem with the guitar solos is that they really messed up the flow of the songs and the vibes, sure the odd solo would likely have been fine, but too many thought they were Eddie Van Halen or somebody, funnily enough I don't recall many sax, trumpet, trombone or bass solos, and likely I wouldn't have liked too many solos whatever instrument was involved, it's Reggae not Jazz.
I can agree that many guitar players in live Reggae bands, at least today, play in a style that is unfitting for the music, with some sort of misguided 80s Metal aestethic. I'm not sure why it has developed that way, and I don't like that either. I can only gather that guitar players that wanted to learn to solo ended up listening to Metal, because that is where most of the guitar soloing in contemporary music has taken place over the last decades, and they then brought that with them into the music because it's the way they know to play, that style then became a thing. But more traditional, let's call it Blues-based, guitar playing of the type that you hear for example in a live Marley concert I like a lot, I think that is totally part of the vibe of those songs and essential to the music, and Reggae fans don't seem to generally like that either. There may be Reggae listeners that simply don't like solos at all, and that's fine, but I know quite a few are fans of for example Jazz, like yourself, and I don't see why improvisation in Reggae couldn't be enjoyed as well, if done properly. About there not being horn solos, well maybe not at concerts with a band backing vocal artist(s), but there are tons of recorded instrumental Reggae with horns blowing over riddims, so there's that, and I don't hear anyone complaining over all those versions and albums.
Yes, you guys have interpreted me spot on. But it's probably more that I like a range of instruments in the mix.
I had some Burning Spear on the way home tonight. There's plenty of nifty little guitar parts going on, even though the tracks are only 3 minutes. And I've got Culture on now, and there's some lovely horn charts throughout.
Contrast with my memory of Black Uhuru's Sponji Reggae 12" mix, which was just Sly and Robbie doing their electronic thing for 5 minutes. That's my recollection anyway.
And I'm gonna be a heretic here....Heart Of The Congos. Yes I like it, but I wish it had a more varied mix. So much of it is basically just percussion and bass. (Having said that, UB40 did manage to take the last 2 minutes of Solid Foundation and turn it into 3 LP's and several 12" singles. I didn't know at the time, but I sure as hell hear it now!)
And while I've typing all that, Culture's So Long Babylon has been on for 8 minutes. Now we're talking!
A major issue is that most live Reggae acts aren't bands in the sense of a self contained unit, but a singer or singers with a pickup band, often from a different country and often under rehearsed, at least most Jamaican acts, the UK bands on the other hand were often bands in the proper sense, I guess those pickup bands were playing it safe with a guitar solo, much easier to fit in than some proper improvisation.
Yes, I got that, I just picked up on the "guitar solo" bit because it was an unusual request, horns and keyboards are usually more ok, because they are not "Rock".
The unrehearsed pick-up band thing is a problem in many ways when it comes to live Reggae, that can hardly ever make things go much beyond barely getting through the songs (unless the pick-up band itself is a well-oiled machine that plays together a lot). But even so, there is no reason as a guitar player to try to sound like you're in Metal band just because you haven't rehearsed the songs enough. The few that don't do that but play something that is appropriate for the music, and do it at least half decent, I usually enjoy.
There's of course also the fact that solos often aren't part of the original recordings, so are an add-on cliché for live performances, which can make them out of place. But that sort of instrumental expansion of the songs in concert happen in almost all genres of music (actually, come to think of it, the "added Metal guitar solo" happens in a lot of modern R&B, so that can be part of the influence as well). There are of course lots of other clichés added in concert, like the audience participation sing-along/call-and-response/clap-your-hands, and of course the annoying "rewind" at the start of every song (regardless of if there is any reaction from the crowd or not).
Jammy never produced the record. He waited until S&R went on tour with Peter Tosh to finish the project by doing a quick and dirty mix and releasing behind their backs
when they came back from tour, instead of putting a fight, they just recorded another album, then got the group signed to Island and start its career for real
check Dean Frasier soloing on this live version of "Queen of the minstrels" when they toured with Gregory and opened with a scorching TAXI Gang set.
starts at about 2:30
Back then Sly was traveling with his Simmonds drum kit (personally I freaking love the "processed" sound)
Interesting, but the way you describe it, Love Crisis was/is a Sly & Robbie record, and not a Black Uhuru one...
I also love the eighties Sly & Robbie sound, as for Dean Fraser, I think that band was rather more special and experienced than the average pickup band.
Ooh, I like that. A lot!
I can almost tolerate the drum sound, but had my heart in mouth when it sounded like he was gonna go into a drum solo near the end!
Huge fan of that one.
Separate names with a comma.