Archive for the ‘12″’ Category

19. Peter King – Step on the Gas

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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

14. Clement Irie – DJs In My Country

Monday, 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.

11. Jean Adebambo – Irie Feeling

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Back after a period of not being able to record vinyl.

This is a lovers rock Sleng Teng. Jean Adebambo recorded a string of singles and two albums in the early ’80s, largely on her own label, Ade J. I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of lovers rock, despite it’s recent revival, but despite that I actually quite like this tune. Like Smiley Culture’s Try A Ting, this is clearly performed by a full band giving it a mellower sound than most versions. And Jean Adebambo has a great voice, with nicely layered vocals throughout the song. The song featured on the 1985 album Off Key Loving and later appeared as a B-side to the single All The Way in 1987.

Jean Adebambo - Irie Feeling (Ade J., 1987)

8. Colour Man – Vengeance

Monday, April 15th, 2013

As far as I can tell this is the only release on this label, which I assume is named after Sir Garfield Sobers, captain of the West Indies cricket team from 1965-72.

I hadn’t heard of Colour Man either, but it seems he released a couple of albums and a few 7″s between 1982-87.

The vinyl has no date on it but given the dates of Colour Man’s other releases I think it’s safe to say it was around ’85-’87. He comes in with a biblical theme: “I’m back with a vengeance / Got to make mention of my intention / The only deejay go on stage with the bible in his right hand and mic in his left hand” but the song isn’t hugely religious, more a lyrical showcase.
Colour Man - Vengeance [Sir Garfield]

Colour Man – Vengeance [Sir Garfield]

Steely & Fluxy do a good job on the rhythm track with a strong digi feel. The track has a liberal dose of “yeah!” and “nice!” samples which always remind me of Dave Kelly productions. The producer is listed as G. White, who again I’ve not heard of.

Steely & Fluxy - Version [Sir Garfield]

Steely & Fluxy – Version [Sir Garfield]

2. Smiley Culture – Try A Ting

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

This is on the aa-side to the 12″ version of Smiley Culture’s ‘Noff Personality’, released on Culture Records in 1986 a year after the original Jammys Sleng Teng. It appears that this 12″ and the 7″ version which preceeded it are the only release on Culture Records.

Smiley Culture - Try A Ting

This version is notable for being played by a proper backing band, the Instigators. According to Reggae Reviews the Instigators were an early incarnation of Mafia & Fluxy (I assume it’s them rather than this midlands band from around the same time).

The lyrics are basically just a long list of different types of weed… (“Sleng Teng have a whole heap a names…”)

Smiley Culture – Try A Ting
The Instigators – Try Dub

Smiley Culture - Noff Personality // Try A Ting (front) Smiley Culture - Noff Personality // Try A Ting (back)