Friday, December 22, 2006

A New Reggae Take On A Carpenters Classic...

I know I'm supposed to be on hiatus but I couldn't pass up sharing this with everyone! I was wandering around the web today looking for some Christmas mash-ups to round-out a wacky/varied genre Christmas mix I'd been working on when I came across the website of Mark Vidler. To be honest, I'd never heard of him until today but after giving this a listen I can honestly say I love the work he's doing! You have got to click-on or download this track - "Carpenters Christmas (Karen Meets Roots Radics Uptown)!" I never thought I'd live to see the day when Karen Carpenter was ridin' the "Love In The House" riddim! This one will definitely be making it into next year's mix. Merry Christmas all!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

As Promised... The Complete Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix

Here it is in its entirety for your Yuletide listening pleasure!

1. Carlene Davis – Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come To The Ghetto)
2. King Stitt – Christmas Tree
3. Johnny Osbourne – Christmas Stylee
4. The Joe Gibbs Family – We Three Kings
5. Gregory Isaacs – Christmas Behind The Bars
6. Yellowman – Where Is Santa Claus?
7. Eek A Mouse – Christmas A Come
8. Cocoa Tea - Christmas Is Coming
9. The Aggrovators – Santa Claus Dub
10. Ras Pidow – Winter Storm
11. The Wailers – White Christmas
12. Toots & The Maytals – Christmas Feeling Ska
13. Alton Ellis & The Lipsticks – Merry Merry Christmas
14. Jacob Miller – On The Twelve Days Of Ismas
15. Trinity – Video Christmas
16. Eek A Mouse – The Night Before Christmas
17. Michael Palmer – Happy Merry Christmas
18. The Granville Williams Orchestra – Santa Claus Is Ska-Ing To Town
19. Tiger – Tiger Claus
20. Freddie McGregor – O Come Let Us Adore Him
21. Dillinger – Hi Fashion Christmas
22. Jacob Miller – Deck The Halls
23. Trinity – All I Want For Christmas
24. The Ethiopians – Ding Dong Bell
25. Rico And His Boys – Silent Night

Friday, December 15, 2006

So Long For Now....

I'm glad everyone is enjoying the mix but... sadly I'm going to take this space to announce that I am taking some time away from Distinctly Jamaican Sounds. I initially started this blog in an effort to share my love of Jamaican music and I hoped that it would be a welcome place on the net for those who wanted to give this beloved and diverse music a listen. It's been a lot of work but I've enjoyed researching, writing and posting music for all to share over the last year and 2 months but it's starting to feel more like a job than something I enjoy doing. I don't mean to be a bummer at this festive time of year but in all honesty, I'm tired of not receiving feedback for my efforts. I appreciate all those who leave comments on a regular basis - you've kept me going throughout my time here but unfortunately this Christmas mix, that so many have taken the time to download, was the straw that broke the camel's back. I spent countless hours perfecting this holiday mix and posted it free of charge to spread a little Christmas good will and all I expected in return were comments - whether positive or negative - I just wanted people to tell me what they thought.

Obviously this blog is just another stop in the endless chain of free music downloads. What people forget is that MP3 blogs such as these aren't done my faceless corporations or record companies, they're done by actual people who have an appreciation for genres of music that stray beyond the mainstream only want to share their passion with others. If you get no reponse from your perceived "audience" it makes your life a lot easier just to keep the music and information to yourself.

It's been fun but now I definitely feel like a radio station whose signal never penetrates the studio walls - is anyone out there listening?

Again I apologize for being such a downer but it's been eating at me for a couple months now and I just needed to get it out in the open. Hopefully this time off will clear my mind and restore the pleasure I used to derive from posting here.

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year To All!

John AKA Reggaexx

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jamaican Christmas Mix - Part 3

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, it has come down to this. Here is the third and final chapter in the 2006 Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Jamaican Christmas Mix. So without further fanfare let's get to what you're about to hear!

Starting off we've got Michael Palmer with the song "Happy Merry Christmas" from the 1985 Greensleeves 12" which also included the Yellowman track heard earlier in the mix. A nice selection with production courtesy of Linval Thompson and a riddim which some may be familiar with whose name escapes me right now.

The mix then takes a decidedly ska turn with the Granville Williams Orchestra doing their interpretation of the holiday classic "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." Their version is called "Santa Claus Is Ska-Ing To Town" and it comes from the Trojan Christmas boxset. A wicked tune!!

Next we take a complete 180 with gruff voiced DJ Tiger and his song called "Tiger Claus" taken from the 1994 album on Profile Records called appropriately "Reggae Christmas." This is without a doubt the best track on the record and the newest track you'll hear in the mix.

Freddie McGregor takes the mic next and delivers a nice rendition of a Christmas Carol we all know. "O Come All Ye Faithful" is the fourth track and it's definitely a nice change of pace hearing it on a reggae riddim. This track appears on the RAS Records Christmas Album and it's one that I can listen to repeatedly during the season. Freddie has got such a sweet voice that the song just sounds very genuine and not something that was thrown together to get RAS's cash registers ringing.

Dillinger, The Brentford Harmonics and Coxsone Dodd take the next track called "Hi Fashion Christmas." This one is on the crucial Reggae Christmas From Studio One CD on the Heartbeat label. The songs is actually a medley of Christmas favorites performed by the Harmonics while Dillinger does his thing riding the riddim. Another favorite of mine!

I couldn't let this mix go with only one Jacob Miller track from "Natty Christmas" so up next is "Deck The Halls." But instead of "boughs of holly" Jacob is wishing for "lots of collie," which isn't necessarily bad if you dig that sorta thing!

From the album called "Yard Style Christmas" is another fun one by DJ Trinity. This one is called "All I Want For Christmas," and like Jacob he's gone beyond the traditional. Instead of his "two front teeth" our man Trinity is asking for a lover and some money to name a couple. This is a nice one and I think you'll like it!

The eighth track in our final chapter is from the Ethiopians and it's called "Ding Dong Bell," A superb rocksteady track that not only works well at this time of the year but remains pretty listenable year-round. In my opinion this is one of the best Jamaican Christmas tunes ever recorded because it gives you a distinctively Jamaican feel while relaying a worldwide sentiment that everyone can identify with.

Finally we've reached the end... the ninth track in this mix and the 25th in total if you but all three mixes back together is courtesy of Rico Rodriquez and His Boys taken from a 7" on the Fab label out of England. A nice mellow way to finish it all up.

Now that you've read all that below is the link...but before you go I want to wish everyone who's been following along over the last 3 weeks a Merry Christmas and more importantly a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Be cool everyone see you again sometime.

Download Jamaican Christmas Mix Part 3

I'll be posting the complete unchopped mix the week of Christmas for those who might have happened across the mix late and at the last minute don't have time to download the individual chapters before packing the family up in the one horse open sleigh... or probably more accurately piling into the car and getting ready to do battle for last minute gifts at the local mall. Oh before I forget... the Distinctly Jamaican Sounds Christmas Mix makes a great Christmas gift for all those on your list! Grandma will love it!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jamaican Christmas Mix - Part 2

After much consideration I've decided to put a rush on the Jamaican Christmas Mix. Originally I was going to space it out so that the last part would be available right before Christmas Day but I discovered by chance that the mix goes great while doing online shopping and probably while going through the tedious chore of wrapping those purchases when they arrive in the 6-8 business day period that said online merchant specified. If I hold back until Christmas day a lot of those who downloaded the mix will not have time to enjoy it so here is the second part! Part 3 will be up next Monday!

Starting off part 2 are the Aggrovators with the dub version of Johnny Clarke's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," a wicked track simply called "Santa Dub" from the Trojan Christmas boxset.

Now, the next track follows in a similar vein as "Let It Snow" and "Winter Wonderland," songs that don't necessarily mention Christmas outright but have become lumped in with the traditional Holiday tunes; songs about winter itself. This one is by the late Rastafarian Elder, turned solo artist/dub poet in the mid 90's, Ras Pidow and appeared on his album Modern Antique. The song is called "Winter Storm" and recounts how he left Jamaica when he was in his 60's and witnessed his first snow fall, something he had only read about. It's really a great song and to experience this weather occurrence, that many of us may be all too familiar with, through his eyes really gives it a unique perspective. The riddim should also be familiar to those who know Bob Marley.

Speaking of Bob Marley, the next track is "White Christmas" courtesy of The Wailers (Bob, Bunny & Peter) from the CD called Christmas Greetings From Studio One. Done more in the doo-wop style of the Drifters 1954 rendition than the traditional Bing Crosby version I think you'll dig it!

The fourth track is a little upbeat number called "Christmas Feeling Ska" from Toots & The Maytals and like the previous Wailers' song also borrowed from the Christmas Greetings From Studio One CD.

Alton Ellis is up next with "Merry Merry Christmas" a Christmas track from 1972 which is available on the aforementioned Trojan Christmas boxset.

Jacob Miller follows Alton with a wicked Christmas song called "On the Twelve Days Of Ismas" from his spectacular set called "Natty Christmas." Some serious messages inna lighthearted rockers style! If you own one reggae Christmas album this would be a good choice!

For the next track I need to send out a massive thank you to CaptainOT over at A Christmas Yuleblog who hooked me up with this tune. DJ Trinity's "Video Christmas" which originally appeared as a 7" on the Thunder Bolt label some time in the 80's. Thanks again Capt'n!!!

The final track in this part of the mix is from Eek A Mouse and originally appeared on the 1988 RAS Records A Reggae Christmas album. The song is "The Night Before Christmas" and is Hylton's take on the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" which was originally published in 1823 and later became known as "The Night Before Christmas." It's a little wacky but what would you expect anything less from Eek A Mouse, especially during this period in his career.


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