Friday, July 29, 2011

A Little Espionage

In light of recent events in the news concerning the repugnant phone hacking scandal and its ensuing investigation, it really makes you long for the Cold War when spying, deceit and secret intelligence was the vile business of shady men in fedoras and dark trench coats who exchanged microfilms under the late night hazy glow of a streetlight. You long for when 007 protected all that was right in the world with his Aston Martin, his Beretta and his insatiable desire and success in "bedding" every oddly-named woman to saunter over to his Baccarat table. It was a lot cooler when issues of national importance were at stake and the players of these deadly games were dressed in tuxedos and equipped with deadly gadgets that left you in awe. Now we've got an 80 year-old billionaire and his wild-ginger-haired "Girl Friday" violating people's personal rights all for the sake of selling a goddamn newspaper! It's official; espionage is no longer cool!

Well enough about that... if you haven't already guessed, this mix is devoted to a little espionage. This baby is completely dedicated to spies, agents, informants and all the secretive business that goes along with their chosen professions...

1. Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Brothers - James Bond - Last Train To Skaville - Soul Jazz CD - 2003
2. Baba Brooks - Dr. No - King Of Ska Vol.2 - King Edwards CD - ?
3. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - Top Secret - Top Secret - Beatville CD - 1999
4. Horace Andy - Spying Glass - Dance Hall Style - Wackies LP - 1982
5. Dennis Bovell/LKJ - Cold War Dub - LKJ In Dub Vol. 2 - LKJ CD - 1992
6. Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Brothers - From Russia With Love - Last Train To Skaville - Soul Jazz CD - 2003
7. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires - Goldfinger - Jamaica Ska & Other Jamaican Party Anthems - Trojan CD - 2004
8. Ansel Collins - Secret Weapon - Double Barrel - RAS CD - ?
9. Tommy McCook & The Upsetters - Cloak & Dagger - Cloak & Dagger - Black Art LP - 1980
10. Linval Thompson - I Spy - Look How Me Sexy - Greensleeves LP - 1982
11. Sly & Robbie - Spy Vs. Spy - The Summit - RAS LP - 1988
12. Johnny Osbourne - Mission - Power House Selector's Choice Vol. 1 - VP CD - 2008
13. Winston McAnuff - Secret Dub - Diary Of The Silent Years - Makasound CD - 2002
14. Dave & Ansel Collins - Secret Weapon - Double Barrel - RAS CD - ?
15. The Revolutionaries - Secret Agent - Earthquake Dub - Hot Pot CD - 2005
16. The Upsetters - Thunderball - The Upsetter - Trojan CD - 2003
17. Mikey Dread - Industrial Spy - African Anthem - DATC LP - 1979
18. Lyn Taitt & The Jets - I Spy - Get On Up! Joe Gibbs Rocksteady - Trojan CD - 1998
19. Cornell Campbell - Investigator - The Bunny "Striker" Lee Story - Jet Star CD - 2005
20. Ansel Collins - Impossible Mission - Double Barrel - RAS CD - ?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jah Thomas is the man!!

I have always been a big fan of Jah Thomas - both as a DJ and a producer and now I'm a big fan of his honesty and integrity!

A few months back I came across this article in the Gleaner online, talking about how Jah Thomas was in the "specials" business - for those who don't know, a special is when an artist overhauls the lyrics to one of their most popular tunes and gives shout-outs to a sound system, a selecta, or in this case a blog...

I had been exchanging e-mails with Jah Thomas for a few weeks - never really with the intention of having him do some work for me, I was afraid that the cost would be beyond what I could spend for a complete re-do of his classic tune "Friday Night Jamboree" on the Heavenless riddim. So I asked him how much it would cost to do a couple drops and jingles that I could use in the appropriate mixes but then he made me an offer that was too good to refuse... so I nervously agreed to send him the money, not because I didn't trust Jah Thomas but because I didn't know how one goes about sending money via Western Union and I was afraid he would never get it.

That was on Monday afternoon and as promised, in less than 48 hours I received the jingles and the complete "dub-plate" of "Friday Night Jamboree" now subtitled "Suburban Jamboree" via e-mail! I've got to tell you... I was smiling ear to ear and listened to them repeatedly. It ranks up there as one of the best purchases I've ever made!

Now I don't use this blog to sell things or advertise but I just wanted to get out the word that if you're in the market for some top quality, professionally produced specials for your sound system, DJ set or for your own blog - shoot him an email or give him a call! And he has access to loads of other artists as well!

You will not be disappointed! Just tell 'em I sent ya!

Here's a sampling of a couple of the jingles - coupled with a tune called "Nite Life," a 12" on the J&B label...

An open letter to the good readers of Distinctly Jamaican Sounds!

With Jamaica's Independence Day less than a couple weeks away my girlfriend and I decided to throw our 2nd annual JA Independence Day Party... now I had already been planning on doing the usual Jamaican food and drink but I decided to do one better and pulled together my resources to set up the turntables and mixer on the back deck, with amplification and speakers of course, here in the semi-quiet suburbs of rural Maryland, to give the guests and the neighbors something to remember. I conferred with my long-time friend Nick and he was more than psyched to load up his vinyl and play a few sets as well - hence, Suburban Hi-Fi was born. Now I have no intentions to be battling David Rodigan or Mighty Crown - I just wanted to start something here in my own backyard that hopefully will become a regular event...

Why Suburban Hi-Fi you ask? Now, being that I'm a suburban guy who has spent his entire life not more than 5 miles from where I was born and where I grew up, I decided to embrace the stereotypical imagery one conjures of the suburbs and not put on fronts that I'm a tough urban guy who knows his way around a ratchet or a 45 Magnum... now that doesn't mean I'm gonna go soft on the music though! You're still going to hear the same bad-ass stuff you expect from Distinctly Jamaican Sounds but with the smiling face of a 50s era "everyman" as my persona - I am first and foremost a fan of Jamaican music and regardless of where I live, it's my one true passion!

When I started D.J.S. seven years ago I had every intention of creating a blog that showcased Jamaican music and presented it to the seasoned, casual and even uninformed listener without the stereotypes... as my Halloween mixes attest, I am quite the fan of the odd juxtaposition and Suburban Hi-Fi is just another way of attaining that goal.

When I wrote the obituary for this blog in November of 2009 I said, "I wanted to show to everyone that Jamaican music is not all the same sounding, one-sided music only discussing topics of oppression and struggle that only appeals to a select few. It is a vibrant well-rounded complex musical genre capable of discussing anything and everything!" Now, aside from the fact that the rumors of Distinctly Jamaican Sounds' demise being greatly exaggerated, this is still how I feel and in case you haven't noticed I have recently rediscovered my enthusiasm about blogging and remembered why I started this thing to begin with... it's all about sharing the vibes and exposing others to a music that has been with me for most of my life and has provided me with joy, comfort, wisdom and a deep profound happiness... and for that I am forever grateful and I will continue to spread the good vibes to anyone who has an interest in listening.

One Love!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Prince Psalms Medley

The other night I was at the gym, of all places, and this Volcano session from Spanish Town, St. Catherine circa July 1983 came up on my Ipod. I hadn't listened to this one in years and when Buru Banton gave the mic to melodica player Prince Psalms I nearly fell off the treadmill. This is some bad-ass shit here, if you'll excuse my language! A medley of tunes from the era ridin' the Storm riddim with Danny Dread at the controls! Pure niceness!!!

To download this session in its entirety you can find it here at Jayman and Andrew's wicked tribute to Volcano at Who Cork The Dance!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dennis Brown - The Crown Prince of Reggae

Dennis Emmanuel Brown (born February 1, 1957 - died July 1, 1999) was one of Jamaican music's greatest voices. He began his career in music in the late 1960's at the age of 11 and was prolific in all the various sub-genres of reggae from roots to digital dancehall. Bob Marley often named Dennis Brown as his favorite singer and in turn dubbed him "The Crown Prince of Reggae" so the legend says.

There has been a multitude of biographies on his immense career and the tangled web of producers and releases throughout his lifetime and they explore the topic with a lot more space and time than I have to offer.

What I'm offering is a 15 track sampling of some of my favorite Dennis Brown tunes for your listening pleasure...

1. Concentration - Riding The Roots Chariot - Pressure Sounds CD - 1998
2. Wolf & Leopard w/No Conscience - Trojan 12" Box Set - Trojan CD - 2003
3. Moving Away - Musical Heatwave - Trojan CD - 1993
4. Equal Rights Style w/Big Youth - Joe Gibbs 12"
5. Don't You Cry - G.G.'s Reggae Hit Stable Vol. 1 CD - Jamaican Gold CD - 1998
6. Look What You're Doing - King Tubby Meets The Reggae Masters - Charm CD - 2001
7. He Ain't Heavy - Studio 1 7"
8. A True w/Dhaima - Joe Gibbs Revive 45's Vol. 1 - Rocky One CD
9. Let Love In - Phil Pratt Thing - Pressure Sounds CD - 1999
10. Westbound Train - Niney & Friends: Blood & Fire Set - Trojan CD - 2005
11. No More Will I Roam - Musical Heatwave - Trojan CD - 1993
12. Sitting And Watching - Spellbound - Joe Gibbs LP - 1980
13. Foundation - Stagecoach Showcase - Yvonne's LP - 1982
14. Money In My Pocket/Cool Running w/Prince Mohammed - The Mighty Two CD - Heartbeat CD - 1992
15. I Like It Like That - Stagecoach Showcase - Yvonne's LP - 1982