Reggae

The opening chant of Vivian Jackson’s debut single in 1972 is what gave him his nickname of Yabby You (or sometimes Yabby U). (more…)

For Jamaicans, and an older generation of fans, Horace Andy is one of the legendary reggae singers from Jamaica. For a younger one, he’s synonymous with Bristol as the guest vocalist on some of Massive Attack’s best tunes. (more…)

I know there are those who find roots reggae a little tiresome, seeing it largely as a vehicle for rambling about Rastafarianism while smoking humungous quantities of marijuana. To be fair, there’s a lot of that. And I love it. (more…)

Vocal trio The Abyssinians followed their seminal debut Satta Massa Gana with their second single, Declaration of Rights in 1972.

Never has a call to revolution sounded so sweet and heartfelt, the smooth harmonies of Bernard Collins and brothers Donald and Lynford Manning floating over the inventive bass lines of Leroy Sibbles.

With their devotional lyrics singing the praises of Rastafari, The Abyssinians were at the forefront of what would come to be known as “conscious” reggae.

This is the original version of the song, which they re-recorded for their debut album Satta Massa Gana which took its time to arrive belatedly in 1976.

The riddim was also used by Coxsone Dodd for DJ versions by toasters Sir Harry (Musical Rights) and Big Joe (Version Of Rights), as well as a horn version by Cedric Brooks (Father Forgive).

Numerous other artists have covered the song, including Johnny Clarke (with a dub by King Tubby and Prince Jammy) and The Mighty Diamonds, and many more have used the riddim, including Gregory Isaacs (Cease Fire), Sugar Minott (Thank You Jah) and Leroy Smart (Let Your Heart Be Pure).

I never get tired of this song. It’s probably my favourite by Elvis Costello – certainly up there with Oliver’s Army and Accoidents Will Happen. A miniature film noir in song, it’s brimming with tension, musically and lyrically. And Nick Lowe’s production gives it the element that all the best songs exhibit. Space. (more…)

I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated an album as eagerly as I awaited the first Clash album. (more…)

The Mighty Diamonds were one of the leading vocal harmony trios to come out of Jamaica alongside Culture, The Gladiators, The Abyssinians and Black Uhuru. (more…)

Satta Massagana was the debut single of The Abyssinians, arguably the greatest of all the vocal groups to come out of Jamaica. (more…)

RIP Robbie Shakespeare, king of the bass guitar and one half of the peerless reggae rhythm section Sly & Robbie. (more…)

Another weather-appropriate tune today, to mark the onset of brass monkeys and taters. This is, to the best of my knowledge, the only cover version by New Order.

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