21. Junior Tucker – Don’t U Touch My Baby

October 20th, 2017

Got about another 20 versions been sitting on a hard drive for a year, so here’s Junior Tucker’s 1993 tune Don’t U Touch My Baby. If you like jungle you’ll recognise the opening that was sampled a year later in the tune Warning  by Firefox (Roni Size) and 4-tree (his brother) – it also samples Shabba Ranks.

Junior Tucker was born in ’66 and – according to Wikipedia – recorded his first release aged 7. The first release on Discogs is from 1975 – as Little Junior Tucker – which would still make him only 9 years old. After a spell in New York (studying audio engineering) and London (for a short-lived contract with Virgin), he returned to Jamaica in 1991 and made dancehall through the 90s. He later became a born again Christian and moved to Florida, where he started making gospel and became a minister. In 2015 he returned to Kingston and opened his own church.

Here’s the 7″, produced by Danny Brownie for Main St.

Junior Tucker - Don't Touch My Baby

Don't Touch My Baby Version

Discogs: 7″, 12″ b/w Pinchers

 

20. Colin Roach – Hey Yo

January 31st, 2015

Back after a hiatus, with the 20th Sleng Teng version to make it onto the site.

This Jammy’s dubplate was released in 2011 on the Dubstore Japan label, which reissues dubplates and rarities on nice heavy press, period-labelled releases. I love a bit of crackle as much as the next vinyl nerd, but the pressing quality on the Dubstore reissures is fantastic, and as a result this vinyl comes across clean and loud.

While the label only credits Colin Roach, the label’s website also lists Anthony Malvo. The two recorded several combination 7″s for Jammy’s, including another Dubstore reissue on the China Town riddim.

cr-heyyo-web

The tune sees Roach and Malvo take on USA for the World’s 1985 charity song, We Are The World, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie:

There’s no date on the record label, but would assume this is another 1985 version. Roach and Malvo are in soundclash mode and big up Jammy’s – “We are the sound, we are the champions”, to the tune of “We are the world”.

 

19. Peter King – Step on the Gas

September 6th, 2014

Back to England for this one. Released on Fasion Records in 1985, it shows how quickly trends moved between Jamaica and the UK, with the top riddims from Jamaica being quickly versioned in the UK to tear up dances on both sides of the Atlantic.

John Eden and Paul Meme featured this track in their excellent UK vs. JA Lyric Maker mix. Paul Meme also wrote about the record in a Pitchfork overview of the fastchat mini-genre:

Peter King: “Step on the Gas” 12″ [Fashion; 1985]
Peter King is widely regarded as being the first UK fast chat MC, but he only appears on a handful of records. The fast chat MCs had something of an obsession with cars (see also Asher Senator’s fantastic “The Original Car Style”) and many of them were, supposedly, merciless second-hand car salesmen. But this record vaporizes all those clichés. One of two 1985 Fashion releases using a re-built, industrial strength, hyper-muscular Sleng Teng (check out the dub of Andrew Paul’s utterly amazing “Who’s Gonna Make the Dance Ram” for further evidence of the incredible heaviosity coming out of UK studios at the time)– Peter King is on devastating form, deploying his rough London accent to tell a remarkably tall story about being chased by the cops in a car full of fast chat stars. And the chorus is so utterly yet inexplicably hooky, too– “step on gas KICK down the accelera – tor”. Love it. –Paul Meme

Jahtari has a bit more on Peter King:

Peter King started off MCing in 1981 as a 19 year old youth at the legendary UK soundsystem Saxon. In those early days he was sparring with the Saxon MC Papa Levy and one of Peter’s first tunes was “Ganja Business A Money Business”. Peter’s
device was that lyrics, instead of just being endless but sensless rhymes, should tell a story even for people to identify with. Peter King is famous and known as the originater of a style – the fast chat style.

In ’82 he was the first MC to do that style with the tune called “Me Neat, Me Sweet”. After mashing it up on Saxon with this tune artists like Smiley Culture, Asher Senator, Tippa Irie or Papa Levy soon adopted the fast chat, wich was getting big all over and quickly spread to Jamaica and influenced jamaican DJ’s a lot. This style is the precursor of today’s drum and bass MCing as well.

There’s also a good interview on Small Axe with Peter King talking about fastchat.

Not much more to add really, except that the dub version includes an overdub of the James Bond theme tune.

pk-steponthegas-a-web

 

Vocal:

Version:

Dub:

18. Sugar Minott – Jammin in the Street

September 6th, 2014

Sugar Minott was one of the first DJs to have a Sleng Teng vocal released, appearing on King Jammy’s 1985 Sleng Teng Extravaganza pt. 2 with Jam in the Street. The version here, also from 1985, is on Minott’s own Black Roots label. In 1986 he released an album of the same name on the Wackies label, featuring a different version of the title track that departs entirely from the two Sleng Teng cuts.

The vocal cut starts with a bizarre WWII intro with machine gun effects – in this telling, the war seems to start ten years later, “September 1948, Germans recruit their armies”. The machine gun effects and screams continue through out the song, over the same lyrics as on the original Jammy’s version, with Sugar singing about rude boys fighting police in the streets and hoping that the police don’t search his house and find his big bag of weed.

sm-jammininthestreet-a-web

On the dub side, we get the same “September 1948” intro, and “duggu duggu” machine gun effects interspersed throughout the song, and the odd dive-bombing impression. For me, the original Jammy’s version works better with the harsh picture of ghetto warfare depicted in the lyrics – the WWII sound effects make it all sound a bit cheesy. Still a decent version though, and in any case Sugar Minott is a fantastic singer.

sm-jammininthestreet-b-web

17. Elephant Man – Shot Will Bark

May 25th, 2014

I’ve never been much of a fan of Elephant Man. In the early 2000s there was a concerted campaign against him by gay right’s groups because of his homophobic lyrics, and in 2012 he was charged with rape, although I can’t find any record of the outcome of the case. Musically, I find him a bit too macho and shouty, and he has a tendency to go for novelty/gimmicks.

Here he is over NYC label Massive B’s 210 Computa riddim (hence all the references to New York in the lyrics). Bobby Konders produced the riddim, an update of Harry J’s Computer riddim from 1986. I like Massive B’s productions – they have a nice fat sound to them, full of bass. Not exactly subtle, but they sound good loud. Rishi Nath has a nice profile of the label and soundsystem on the Red Bull Music Academy site.

massiveb-em-showwillbark-a

 

 

massiveb-em-showwillbark-b

16. Screw Driver – Computer Rule

February 7th, 2014

On this version, Screw Driver embraces the digi vibe, telling us “Computer rule all over the world” and shouting out Sunset producer Harry J. It’s fun for a while but gets a little repetitive. Harry J emphasises the message by “computerizing” Screw Drivers voice on and off through the tune.

Screw Driver - Computer Rule [Harry J ]

 

Harry J’s Version has a punchy bass line interspersed with claps and laser-y synths. It’s got a bit of an 8-bar thing going on, with short bursts of different percussion effects throughout the instrumental to stop it getting too samey.

 

Screw Driver - Version [Sunset]

 

 

15. Little Twitch – Good Wuk

February 7th, 2014

And so, after a short hiatus, here is Little Twitch on Steely & Clevie’s 1990 version of Sleng Teng.

The son of keyboardist Winston Wright, Twitch came up through Jaro and then Jammys in the ’80s.

Twitch rides the tuff Steely & Clevie riddim satisfyingly with some nice word play around S&C’s rat-a-tat drums and “Woah – Yeah” samples.

Little Twitch - Good Wuk [Steely & Clevie]

As you would expect, Steely & Clevie don’t put a foot wrong – a nice sparse, crisp digi instrumental with the odd vocal snippet from the various other cuts dubbed in for the Version.

Steely & Clevie - Version [Steely & Clevie]

14. Clement Irie – DJs In My Country

September 9th, 2013

And after wishing I had better version of the Pickout Sleng Teng, what should I come across in Reckless – Clement Irie’s DJs In My Country. It’s the same ’89 version produced by Lloyd Dennis and featuring Steely & Clevie, but it feels much more rounded than Wayne Wonder’s Rebbie Jackson cover. Where Wayne Wonder’s vocal doesn’t seem to fit the riddim at all, Clement Irie offers up some more standard DJ fare, riding the riddim far more comfortably.

Clement Irie - DJs In My Country [Pickout, 1989]

“I gwan tell you bout some DJ in my country / Who ram stage show an cork up party” intones Clement, before cycling through a roster of 1989’s popular DJs and disparaging them in various ways based on their lyrics.  One example references Papa San’s 1986 Animal Party: “Everybody know say San a de animal man / But me never know so til me go Clarendon / Him have a lot of animal pon de land /  Like goat, sheep and also ram.”

Elsewhere he calls out Red Dragon, Daddy Lizard, Flourgan, Sanchez, Tiger, Major Mackerel, Ninjaman, Dominic, Jim Irie, Junior Demus, Early B and Peter Metro.

I have a big soft spot for lyrics which reference reggae/dancehall history, so I’m already drawn to this tune – but in any case Clement Irie has a good, energetic flow and humorous lyrics.

The version is the same version as on the Wayne Wonder track, although this recording is slightly crisper.

13. John Wayne & Colonel Lloydie – Kill A Sound For Me

September 9th, 2013

“This is a case of emergency” Colonel Lloydie says in a computer voice at the start of this track, before launching into a parody of Tenor Saw’s Pumpkin Belly, one of the most famous Sleng Teng versions – altering Tenor Saw’s memorable lyrics to “How dubplate war go a sound bwoy belly / Don’t ask me that ask my sound posse / From all over the country / Dem said Lord dem never know / Dem said Lord dem never know / That my sound a really bad sound”.

John Wayne & Colonel Lloydie - Kill A Sound for Me [Sudden Attack, 1993-4]

John Wayne & Colonel Lloydie – Kill A Sound Boy For Me [Sudden Attack, 1993-4]

John Wayne then cuts in with some abrasive DJing on a similar tip – “Any sound test my sound dem dead / Dem dead, dem, dead dem dead”. His delivery echoes his earlier version on Sleng Teng, “Call The Police” from 1985.

It’s a bit shouty, but the combination style works quite well together with colonel Lloydie’s Tenor Saw imitation. Still I can’t help feeling this doesn’t offer anything the Tenor Saw original doesn’t do better. Unless you’ve always wished that Saw had done Pumpkin Belly as a soundclash tune.

The version is a bit more interesting – it’s good a good, tight, minimal ragga feel to it and some interesting sounds bouncing around in there. The track was produced by Chris Meredith in 1993-4. It’s credited as mixed by Dr. Marshall, who mixes in small snippets of the different vocals on the riddim, giving a slightly more dubby feel than a straight up instrumental version.
John Wayne & Colonel Lloydie - Version [Sudden Attack, 1993-4]

Chris Meredith – Version [Sudden Attack, 1993-4]

12. Wayne Wonder – You Send The Rain Away

June 22nd, 2013

Following on from Jean Adebambo’s beautiful singing in post #11, here is Wayne Wonder doing his best to massacre Rebbie Jackson and Robin Zander’s 1986 song, You Send The Rain Away.

Can’t say the original does much for me, and neither does Wayne Wonder’s cover from 1989 on Lloyd Dennis’s Pickout Records label. It’s a shame because the version on the B-side is a stomping digital cut interspersed with orchestral synth stabs which could be great if accompanied by a suitable vocal. I’ll just have to keep a lookout for other Pickout versions.

Wayne Wonder - You Send The Rain Away (Pickout, 1989)

Wayne Wonder - Version (Pickout , 1989)