Archive for the ‘Dennis Bovell’ Category

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Listen: Di Black Petty Booshwah / Linton Kwesi Johnson LKJBlackPetty.mp3

I recollect LKJ’s FORCES OF VICTORY and BASS CULTURE albums suddenly being of great interest amongst our whole crowd. For whatever reason, they seemed like the first full lengths after that initial introductory (to us) influx of ’76 and ’77 releases (Max Romeo & The Upsetters, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Peter Tosh, The Mighty Diamonds, Jah Lion, Dillinger), and they were both non stop favorites for months. It never occurred to me some singles might actually be pulled from them, given they were such ‘album’ albums. I still thank the decision makers who chose to proceed otherwise.

The Sly & Robbie Taxi productions combined with acts like Steel Pulse and Inner Circle that raced toward a clean, syndrum, soul-less era of early 80′s reggae was just about to begin. FORCES OF VICTORY and it’s follow up, BASS CULTURE, bar a few others like Black Uhuru, basically ended my hardcore infatuation with most reggae music that followed, due to this new sound twist, uncomfortably merging expensive modern equipment with one of the only non flash earthiest genres left.

From BASS CULTURE, ‘Di Black Petty Booshwah’ was a nice example of LKJ’s countless A1 tracks. I still don’t get why so many songs ended up gracing 7″ singles that seemed to have no hope for airplay. I’m guessing in the case of reggae, the pockets of Jamaican communities around London might have been the target – but they weren’t exactly singles buyers like in the 60′s, where they?

My money would’ve been ‘Inglan Is a Bitch’ as the choice. If you’re going to end up being struck down at BBC playlist music meetings, you might as well make an unsettling statement.

But I’m well content to own the promo and stock of ‘Di Black Petty Booshwah’, complete with custom sleeve. It sounds just that tiny bit better than the album, given the nice wide grooves and the revved up speed of 45.

Listen: Straight To Madray’s Head / Linton Kwesi Johnson LKJBlackPetty Dub.mp3

Misleading title for the actual dub of this A side. I double checked via INDEPENDENT INTAVENSHAN – THE ISLAND ANTHOLOGY, a comprehensive double cd encompassing his work for the label, complete with dub versions of just about every song. And guess what – this isn’t included. So to the best of my knowledge, one needs to track down the 7″ if adding it to the collection is required.

While on the subject earlier of mischosen LKJ A sides, it’s worth wishing history had dictated a 7″ release of ‘Independent Intavenshan’ and it’s priceless extented dub version which can be found on the above anthology.

The Slits

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

SlitsTypicalUKA, The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

SlitsTypicalUS,  The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

SlitsTypicalPS, The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

Listen: Typical Girls / The Slits SlitsTypical.mp3

Did testing one’s musical tolerance begin in the 60′s via prog rock, or was it an on going process starting with jazz in the 50′s? It certainly hit full swing by the late 70′s. When art met punk, the first requirement seemed to be an inability to play. But the resulting cringe factor was admittedly addicting. There were a bunch of labels that bent over backwards to like the unlikeable, and then it started to spill to the majors.

I ended up being sucked into The Slits despite my intensions otherwise. A strong image, great sense of reggae/dub, spot-on producer choice (Dennis Bovell) and top packaging helped launch their Island period (about a year in length) during ’79. After all, they were the new GTO’s in my book, but to others, it all hid behind No Wave or some such genre.

Most of the plays I give ‘Typical Girls’ still result in a second spin, or lead me on to a couple of other tracks.

SlitsManNextPS, The Slits, Y, John Holt

Listen: Man Next Door / The Slits SlitsManNextDoor.mp3

How does anyone resist a cover of John Holt’s classic ‘Man Next Door’. I love the original. I love Massive Attack’s and I love this.

SlitsEarthbeatUKA,  The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

Listen: Earthbeat / The Slits SlitsEarthbeat.mp3

Then there’s always ‘Earthbeat’, their fourth single. Have to say, I basically preferred this one. By now they’d absorbed the studio tricks Dennis Bovell had passed along, and working with Nick Launay and Dick O’Dell as producers, seemed to have replicated themselves successfully. It was a time when they were almost mainstream, and could’ve had a hit. After all, John Peel favorites like Killing Joke and The Fall were finding their way into the UK singles charts. Howard Thompson signed this to CBS, if corporate proof is needed of that possibility.

SlitsEarthbeatPS,  The Slits, Island, Antilles, Dennis Bovell, CBS, Howard Thompson

Listen: Earthdub / The Slits SlitsEarthdub.mp3

Definitely search out the 12″, as the B side, dub version, ‘Earthdub’, is worth owning.


Monday, December 1st, 2008

Respect / Deborah & The Puerto Ricans

Respect / Deborah & The Puerto Ricans

Listen: Respect / Deborah & The Puerto Ricans DeborahRespect.mp3

Deborah made her debut as The Flying Lizards’ vocalist. Needless to say, she had a certain style and stuck to it. Kinda like Nico but without the heroin. She could cover just about any song and it would have you in stitches. I’m not sure if she took herself seriously. For the record, I still can’t get enough of the singles. This one featured The Puerto Ricans, who I believe were actually one guy: Dennis Bovell. He’d produced a lot of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s records, maybe all of them. Sounds like he wanted to sidestep the politics and have some fun. Unfortunately, there was no followup. And this may have been her final hour.