Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Haven’t had much reggae here recently so here is Marcia Griffiths and her version of one of Ewan MacColl’s greatest songs.

“The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” – Marcia Griffiths

The song was written for Peggy Seeger who later became his wife and is cherished as a MacCall song devoid of politics.

The song entered the pop mainstream when it was released by Peter, Paul and Mary (Album: See What Tomorrow Brings, 1965), and was later recorded by Roberta Flack, in 1972. The Flack version was much slower than the original: an early solo recording by Seeger, for example, clocked in at two and a half minutes long, whereas Flack’s is more than twice that length.

MacColl reputedly hated almost all the recordings of the song, including Flack’s.

His daughter-in-law is quoted as saying:

“He hated all of them. He had a special section in his record collection for them, entitled ‘The Chamber of Horrors’. He said that the Elvis version was like Romeo at the bottom of the Post Office Tower singing up to Juliet. And the other versions, he thought, were travesties: bludgeoning, histrionic and lacking in grace.”
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June 22, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Cover Stories, Folk, Old Music, R&B, Reggae, Soul, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Jazz (sort of) – So What

Source :- www.aquariumdrunkard.com

In the spring of 1981 a group of reggae studio musicians from Jamaica gathered in New York City under the direction of Jeremy Taylor, a music professor at NYU at that time. The result was this Reggae Interpretation of Kind of Blue.’

As fate would have it, several weeks after directing the sessions Taylor passed away in his Paris hotel room while on a speaking tour of Europe.  A final mix of the album was never released though it existed subrosa in rough, lo-fi, cassette form among genre enthusiasst.

In 2009, Secret Stash Records began working with the Taylor estate to finally release the album creating both final mixes and dub versions. Reggae Interpretation of Kind of Blue is the result of their efforts.

“So What” – Jeremy Taylor

April 10, 2011 Posted by | Jazz, Old Music, Reggae, Video | , | Leave a comment

What Is Life?

It is a great theological question to which I have no answers on so many levels, HOWEVER, I do know that it is the title of a great song by “The Burns Unit” from their 2010 album “Side Show”

“What Is Life?” – The Burns Unit

WHAT IS LIFE?
WHY AM I HERE?
WHO AM I?
DID I DESERVE THIS?
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, MY LIFE?

WHAT IS LIFE…

OH I CAN’T RUN AWAY FROM TIME
MY TIME WILL COME TO END IT
WITH A GUN SHOT AND A KISS
OH I CAN’T RUN AWAY FROM TIME
MY TIME WILL COME TO END ME
WILL I HIT OR WILL I MISS?

SICK OF TELEVISION TELLING ME WHAT TO DO
TELLING YOU WHAT YOU THINK IS GOOD
JUST ANOTHER LIE OR A PILL FOR A FOOL
SICK OF TELEVISION TELLING ME WHAT TO DO
TELLING YOU WHAT YOU THINK IS GOOD
A NEW MIND TO BREED FIRE TO FUEL

WHAT IS LIFE…
WHAT IS LIFE…

NO TEACHER TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO
WITH YOUR LIFE MAN WHAT’S IT TO YOU
NEVER TAUGHT THAT MIND WAS A TOOL
NO TEACHER TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO
WITH YOUR LIFE MAN WHAT’S IT TO YOU
WISE MEN ARE SO TREATED LIKE FOOLS

SEE THEM PEOPLE GET DA-RUM
SEE THEM FEAR AND WATCH THEM RUN
WEAPON IS THE LACK OF EDUCATION NOT A GUN
SEE THEM PEOPLE GET DA-RUM
SEE THEM FEAR AND WATCH THEM RUN
KEEP FROM YOUTH AND WATCH THEIR LIFE BURN

WHAT IS LIFE…
WHAT IS LIFE…

To buy the music of The Burns Unit click HERE

 

 

As a bonus the great reggae group Black Uhuru also released a song of the same name.

……………….as did a certain Mr Harrison

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, New Music, Reggae, Video | , , | 1 Comment

UB40

Actually “I be 50” but that’s not the point, though it is hard to believe it is 30 years since I bought the UB40 debut album “Signing Off” which was released by Graduate Records on 29th August 1980 with a free three track 12″ single as an addition to the ten tracks on the album.

Most people will unfortunately remember the band for their series of reggae based cover versions recorded for Virgin Records which transformed them from being a “protest band” to a somewhat sanatised band for happy loving couples to play at dinner parties as a token gesture to being reggae loving hipsters.

“Signing Off” however deserves to be re-discovered as it is another great debut album.

Signing Off was a mix of reggae and dub material which was lyrically politically charged and socially conscious, while musically it was reverb-heavy, doom-laden yet mellifluous, best exemplified in the hits “King” and “Food For Thought” as well as the searing “Burden of Shame”.

The opening track on the album “Tyler” was written about a young black American Gary Tyler, who was convicted of murdering a 13-year-old white boy, at the age of 17. UB40 intended “Tyler” to be their first single in the States.

“King” was a song written about the late Martin Luther King, Jr., questioning the lost direction of the deceased leader’s followers and the state of mourning of a nation after his death.

Perhaps the biggest success of the album was the song “Food For Thought”, which was an attempt to publicize and condemn the Ethiopian famine in Africa, comparing it with the Western over-indulgent celebration of Christmas, a full five years before Band Aid brought the subject to widespread attention. Subsequently it was also a prominent feature of UB40’s 2005 Live 8 appearance in Hyde Park, London – 25 years after the song had been first released. Both “King” and “Food For Thought” were released together as a Double A-side, as their debut single in February 1980. It topped the Indie chart for three months, reached #4 in the UK charts, and went on to sell half a million copies.

The original vinyl album consisted of a ten-track LP plus a 3-track 12-inch record which included the tracks “Madam Medusa”, “Strange Fruit” and “Reefer Madness”.

“Madam Medusa” stands up alongside the likes of The Beat’s “Stand Down Margaret” and The Specials “Ghost Town” as social commentaries on the Thatcher years.

“Madam Medusa” – UB40

From the land of shadows
Comes a dreadful sight
Lady with the marble smile
Spirit of the night
See the scourge of innocence
Swinging in her hand
Hear the silent suffering
That echoes through the land

From the tombs of ignorance
Of hate and greed and lies
Through the smoke of sacrifice
Watch her figure rise
The sick the poor the old
Basking in her radiance
Men of blood and gold

In her bloody footsteps
Speculators prance
Men of dreams are praying
For that second chance
Round her vacant features
Gilded serpents dance
Her tree of evil knowledge
Sprouts a special branch

Madam Medusa
Madam Medusa
Madam Medusa

Knock her right down
And then she bounce right back
Knock her right down
And then she bounce right back
She gone off her head
We`ve got to shoot her dead
She gone off her head
We`ve got to shoot her dead
Run for your life before she eat you alive
Run for your life before she eat you alive
Move out of the way cos`s you`re blocking out the day
Move out of the way cos`s you`re blocking out the day

To buy the music of UB40 click HERE

Just today I was reading the current NME in which Paul Weller as quoted as saying “this generation needs to stand up and fight”………….step forward the new Billy Bragg

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Reggae, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Story – Squeeze Box

Ali Campbell (UB40) has just released a reggae based covers album titled “Great British Songs”

He has “reworked” hits from the 60s and 70s starting with 1964’s ‘You Really Got Me Going’ by The Kinks and The Beatles’ ‘Hard Day’s Night’ and including songs by Rolling Stones, The Hollies, Rod Stewart, Free, and The Who and, last but not least, 1978’s ‘Baker Street’ by Gerry Rafferty.

“Squeeze Box” – Ali Campbell

Arguably a brave move, but one that appealed to the man whose distinctive voice has graced over 40 top 40 UK singles and 4 number 1 world-wide singles: “It’s always daunting taking on classic songs of this nature as you want to do them justice and at the same time give them a new feel – a reggae feel in this case. I chose songs that were iconic but they are not “obvious” choices that you would assume would work in a reggae style. How do you make ‘Paint it Black’ reggae? That is the appeal in some ways – that it’s not something you can imagine before you hear it.” he explains.

The track-listing for ‘Great British Songs’ can be seen below.

1. ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ – The Beatles
2. ‘Paint It Black’ – Rolling Stones
3. ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ – The Hollies
4. ‘Love Is The Drug’ – Roxy Music
5. ‘Honky Tonk Women’ – Rolling Stones
6. ‘Carrie Anne’ – The Hollies
7. ‘You Wear It Well’ – Rod Stewart
8. ‘Squeeze Box’ – The Who
9. ‘All Right Now’ – Free
10. ‘You Really Got Me’ – The Kinks
11. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – The Beatles
12. ‘Baker Street’ – Gerry Rafferty

If you are brave you can buy the album HERE

November 6, 2010 Posted by | Cover Stories, New Music, New Releases, Reggae, Video | , | Leave a comment

Friday Fun – How To Fail The Breathalizer

“Police On My Back” – The Equals

Well I’m running, police on my back
I’ve been hiding, police on my back
There was a shooting, police on my back
And the victim well he wont come back

I been running Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Runnin Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Saturday Sunday
What have I done?
What have I done?

Yes, I’m running down the railway track
Could you help me? Police on my back
They will catch me if I dare drop back
Wont you give me all the speed I lack

I been running Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Runnin Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Saturday Sunday
What have I done?
What have I done?

I’m running
‘M Running
Running

I’m running down the railway track
Could you help me? Police on my back
They will catch me if I dare drop back
Wont you help me find the speed I lack

I been running Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Runnin Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Saturday Sunday

What have I done?
What have I done?

Cos I’m running (police on my back)
Hiding (police on my back)
Running (police on my back)
Hiding (police on my back)

I’m running down the railway track
Could you help me? Police on my back
They will catch me if I dare drop back
they will kill me for the speed I lack

I’ve been running
I’ve been running

To buy the music of The Equals click HERE

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Humour, Old Music, Reggae, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Out Here In The Fields

“Out Here In The Fields” is a compilation of reggae “legends” covering songs of The Who and no it is not a week old April Fool.

“Squeeze Box” – Toots and The Maytals

To buy the album click HERE

April 8, 2010 Posted by | New Music, Reggae, The Who | , | 2 Comments

Monkey Man

monkey man

“Monkey Man” – Toots & The Maytals

Ay ay ay, ay ay ay,
tell you baby,
you huggin’ up the big monkey man (2x)

I’ve seen no sign of you,
I’ve only heard that you
huggin’ up the big monkey man (2x)

Is not lie, is not lie,
them a tell me,
you huggin’ up the big monkey man (2x)

Now I know that, now I understand,
you turnin’ a monkey on me (2x)

(repeat)

toots and the maytals

 

To buy the music of Toots & The Maytals click HERE

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Humour, Old Music, Photography, Reggae | , | Leave a comment

50 Years of Island Records – Bob Marley

bob-marley

Bob Marley & The Wailers are perhaps one of the definitive Island Records acts given it’s birth on the back of ska and rock steady.

With The Wailers Bob Marley brought reggae to the masses and remains even after his death a true icon of music.

I could spend weeks posting my favourite songs but if I have to choose only one this would be the one.

“Natural Mystic” – Bob Marley & The Wailers

exodus

To buy Bob Marley & The Wailers music click HERE

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Old Music, Reggae, Video | , | Leave a comment

The Property Developer’s Lament

 

The Propery Developer

The Propery Developer

In the year 2008 , the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Scotland and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me.

 

Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans.”

 

He gave Noah the CAD drawings, saying, “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.” Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard – but no Ark. ” Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark ?”

 

“Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed. I needed Building Control Approval. I’ve been arguing with the Fire Brigade about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbours claim that I should have obtained planning permission for building the Ark in my garden because it is development of the

site even though in my view it is a temporary structure. We had to go to appeal to the Secretary of State for a decision.

 

Then the Department of Transport demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage along the A9 for the Ark ‘s move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

 

Getting the wood was another problem. All the decent trees have Tree Preservation Orders on them and Scottish Natural Heritage say we live in a Site of Special Scientific Interest set up in order to protect the spotted owl and bats. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the bats and owls – but no go!

 

When I started gathering the animals, the RSPCA sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

 

Then the Council, the Environment Agency and the SEPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until an environmental impact study had been done and that I had to commission Millards to do a report on your proposed flood.

 

And then the Antonine Wall which is said to pass through the edge of the site, but which is completely invisible, was given World Heritage Status and we were told that we could not disturb it without Historic Scotland permission.

 

I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on how many BMEs I’m supposed to hire for my building team. The trades unions say I can’t use my sons and that polish immigrants don’t qualify. They insist I have to hire only CSCS accredited workers with Ark-building experience.

 

To make matters worse, Customs and Excise seized all my assets, what’s left after my bank got sold, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.

 

So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark. ” Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

 

“No,” said the Lord. “Looks like The Scottish Executive beat me to it.”

“Concrete Jungle” – Big Youth [MP3}

Listen:-

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2008 Posted by | Humour, Reggae | | Leave a comment

   

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