ricouka, Island, Rico, Howard Thompson, Eddie & The Hot Rods

Listen: Africa / Rico RicoAfrica.mp3

ricoukb, Island, Rico, Howard Thompson, Eddie & The Hot Rods

Listen: Afro-Dub / Rico RicoAfroDub.mp3

The last two weeks of March ’77 were pretty amazing. Corinne and I went to England together for the first time, bought into one of those airfare/hotel packages that landed us at a very low rent lodging near King’s Cross. Even today, it’s not the most upscale of areas, but then – forget it. NOTHING was open past 11pm. By day, there was a nearby, old style cafe serving traditional English fry ups for breakfast, and a cornershop or two with loads of Cadburys, bottles of industrial strength, just-add-water orange drink, greasy cornish pastries and battenburg cakes. It drizzled the whole two weeks, and was cold. There was no room service and the TV went off around 12:30. All the other Americans in our traveling group hated the place. We, on the other hand, were in paradise.

Howard Thompson and I had become fast friends the previous fall, a mutual bonding over Eddie & The Hot Rods, who he’d signed to Island. Every day and night in London was spent with him. We went to every club, every show that mattered, and got to hang out at Island. Just off the canteen in the back was the Island studio, which on one particular day, Rico and his band were rehearsing in. MAN FROM WARIEKA had just come out. All the punk fans loved reggae as well, we were no different. And Corinne really loved it. We sat mesmerized watching these guys. The room was thick with pot smoke, they were on fire and we were in England.

The first thing Howard handed me on our initial visit to his office at 22 St. Peters Square was this single. Even more than a great record, it’s a time travel back to two weeks of every kind of bliss imaginable.

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