Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 30 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Ike Bennett & The Crystalites - Patricia

Today is the day for the surgery and Patti has a long day ahead of her so I want to keep this short and sweet...

Appropriately, "Patricia" is the track for today.  Ike Bennett and the Crystalites from 1968 doing a rocksteady interpretation of Perez "The King of the Mambo" Prado's hit he recorded ten years earlier in 1958.  

When Patti and I first got together six years ago this track became her signature ring-tone on my cell phone and to this day it remains as such.  And every Jamaican Independence Day, when our suburban backyard becomes an island oasis complete with jerk chicken, rice and peas, rum punch, scores of rambunctious children and lots of highly amplified Jamaican music, I always play "Patricia" so that regardless of where she is around the yard or in the house and whether she's minding the food, keeping the kids from drinking all the Ting in the cooler or engaging the guests, I love and appreciate her.  It's my simple way of paying my respect to the woman who has made my life so fulfilling and happy.  I plan to do so for a long time to come.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 29 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - John Holt - Stick By Me

You'll have to forgive me this week if I get a little sappy because it's gonna get personal.  No, I'm still going to have a track each day but I dedicate the entire week to my love Patricia Parker.  You see, on Monday she's going to be admitted to Johns Hopkins for a serious neurological procedure and to be completely honest… I'm scared shitless.  The thoughts of anything bad happening to her absolutely fills me with dread and fear and it is only my faith in God that I know everything will be okay.  As much as I'd like to perform this surgery to make sure it's done right, I can't because unfortunately I am not a surgeon nor do I play one on TV, so that aspect is completely out of my hands.  All I can do is show her my support and my unyielding love and this is the best way I know how to express it to her.  

So please… if you're the praying type please say a prayer for Patti and if you're not, good vibes are always appreciated.

We start things off this week with one of those tunes that really pulls-at-the-heartstrings.  John Holt's reggae rendition of a song originally written and performed by the American doo-wop group Shep and the Limelites, "Stick By Me" circa 1970/71 produced by the great Bunny Lee. 

I love you darling and that's no lie
Oh oh, stick by me, I'll stick by you
When you cry, I cry, too
Oh oh, stick by me and I'll stick by you
Remember my heart and my love belong to you
Oh oh, stick by me, I'll stick by you

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The 4nd Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

 What you're gonna hear in this fourth installment…

1.  Big Joe - Fisherman Skank
2.  Prince Jazzbo - Donkey Blind
3.  King Tubby - Homeward Dub
4.  Jackie Mittoo - Be Thankful
5.  The Wailers - Thank You Lord
6.  Upsetters - Dollar In The Teeth
7.  Mutabaruka - Postpone Christmas

Be sure to stop back tomorrow for the start of week 5!

Day 28 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Mutabaruka - Postpone Christmas

Now with Thanksgiving in the rear-view we can hop into this Christmas mayhem with both feet but I'm not willing or prepared to jump.  From 1983 and lifted from a 7" on the High Times label, Mutabaruka gives us today's tune appropriately titled, "Postpone Christmas."  The perfect bitter antidote to the premature start of the Christmas season.  You tell 'em Muta!

Mek we postpone Christmas this year
Mek we postpone Christmas this year
De people dem nuh still have noting fi wear
Postpone Christmas this year.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 27 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Upsetters - Dollar In The Teeth

Line up at the Walmart and have your credit cards at the ready, it's Black Friday.  And that means one thing… spend until it hurts.... at least that's what the retailers want you to do.  Today marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and the dreaded march to Christmas.  Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with Christmas itself and I do enjoy the seasonal festivities but it's shoved down our throats sooner and sooner each year and it has made me a bit of a Scrooge as December rapidly approaches.  But enough about that…

In the spirit of the gaudy outlay of cash that have the fat cats drooling in anticipation, I have decided to go with the Upsetters "Dollar In The Teeth,"  originally released as a single on the Upsetter label in 1969 and eventually on their LP Eastwood Rides Again in 1970.  Now get out there and empty your wallets!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day 26 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Wailers - Thank You Lord - Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it is time for yet another tune in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge.  I had absolutely no trouble in picking this one, an absolute classic!  "Thank You Lord" by the Wailers from 1967 has become a holiday staple for me over the last 25 years and while everyone else is enjoying the time with their friends and family I'll be spending the day at work... again!  And no I'm not talking about a couple years here and there, this is my 19th consecutive Thanksgiving worked!  It's absolutely infuriating and has now gone on for so long that it's completely ridiculous.  But I'm not going to dwell on the negative... 

I am thankful for the family and friends who make my life worth living… the people who I unconditionally love and who unconditionally love me right back. I may not be rich, handsome, cultured, Ward Cleaver or Albert Einstein but I am that I am and it feels good that there are people who accept me as I am regardless of my warts, foul mouth, unconventional outlook on life and propensity for wasting money on booze, horror movies and reggae records.  I am thankful for the life I lead and for all those daily little things that make life worth living!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 25 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Jackie Mittoo - Be Thankful

Sticking with thankful tunes and providing you with something super laid back to soothe you after battling the atrocious holiday traffic... this one "Be Thankful" comes from the great Jackie Mittoo and his album Now produced by Coxsone Dodd and released on Studio One in 1970.  "Be Thankful" wasn't originally included on the vinyl release but thankfully it was included on the CD release years later.  So pour yourself the beverage of your choice, put your feet up and relax while Jackie takes you on a musical ride to Mellowland... a land where all days are sunny, the commutes are always easy, the kids go to bed early and the turkey is served with homemade cranberry sauce instead of that crimson gelatinous blob that still retains the can marks when squeezed out on the plate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 24 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - King Tubby - Homeward Dub

Slipping into something dubby for today... King Tubby is up with the tune "Homeward Dub" from the excellent 2004 CD compilation from Auralux called Whip Them King Tubby - Linval Thompson and Friends.  As you may have noticed, if you live here in the United States, I'm slowly slipping into a theme here for the fast approaching Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.  For those outside the States and are unfamiliar, Thanksgiving is the one of those big holidays where everyone makes their way back home to count their blessings with their loved ones and consume an absolutely huge dinner that leaves them comatose for the following 12 hours afterwards.  It also is one of the heaviest travel days in the United States and today's tune fittingly pays tribute to the journey home... with lots of deep down heavy bass of course.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 23 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Prince Jazzbo - Donkey Blind

Sticking with the DJ vibes for just another day... this time we've got a tune called "Donkey Blind" by the late great Prince Jazzbo.  Originally released in 1975 as the b-side to "Wise Shepherd" on the Canadian Action label, the dialogue at the top about one man's inability to "start" his donkey serves as a perfect analogy of me not being able to get my ass into gear on any given Monday morning.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 22 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Big Joe - Fisherman Skank

Hopping right into our fourth week of the Jamaican Music Challenge... we kick this week off with a DJ tune by the man Joseph Spalding AKA Big Joe called "Fisherman Skank."  Recorded and released in 1978 on the Gorgon label and riding the Weatherman Skank riddim, it makes for a nice Sunday treat.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The 3nd Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

What you're gonna hear in this third installment...


1.   U-Roy & Hopeton Lewis - Tom Drunk
2.  Melodians - Come On Little Girl
3.  Gregory Isaacs - Thief A Man
4.  Dr. Alimantado - Gimme My Gun
5.  Al Brown - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
6.  Twinkle Brothers - Ghetto Life
7.  Jacob Miller - All Night Till Daylight

Check It Here!


Be sure to stop back tomorrow for the start of week 4!

Day 21 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Jacob Miller - All Night Till Daylight

The 21st track in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge is by the legendary Jacob Miller.  Recorded and originally released in 1976 on Miller's album Tenement Yard on the Jam Sounds label, "All Night Till Daylight" has always been one of my favorite Jacob Miller tunes!  His trademark vibrato, feel-good lyrics and an uplifting horn-driven rhythm make this the perfect tune for a Saturday!  Enjoy!

Week 3 Mix coming a little later!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Day 20 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Twinkle Brothers - Ghetto Life

Staying with the roots for today's tune... this one is called "Ghetto Life" and it's by the Twinkle Brothers from their 1982 LP Underground on their own Twinkle Music label.  Brothers Norman and Ralston Grant first formed the Twinkle Brothers in 1962, cut their first track "Somebody Please Help Me" for Leslie Kong in 1966 and haven't looked back... still recording and producing today!  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 19 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Al Brown - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City

Up next is a smooth reggae cover of "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" by Al Brown.  The tune was originally recorded by Bobby "Blue" Bland in 1974 and released on his album Dreamer.  Since then, "Ain't No Love..." has been covered and sampled countless times from the Allman Brothers to Jay Z, with varying success and appeal to yours truly, but Mr. Brown's interpretation is absolutely killer.  Backed by Skin, Flesh and Bones who take on a bluesy yet completely roots vibe, Al Brown's sincere and heartfelt delivery calling for "more love in the heart of the city" is just as relevant today as it was the day it was recorded.

The Youtube clip for today's song is the Disco mix and is different than the version I will be including in this weeks mix on Saturday but unfortunately I can't find the version I have, from the 2001 Blood & Fire Compilation called Darker Than Blue, available for listening online.  Oh well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 18 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Dr. Alimantado - Gimmie Mi Gun

Riding the same riddim we've got a tune today that would make the NRA proud... it's called "Gimmie Mi Gun" by DJ Doctor Alimantado and is lifted from his 1978 LP Best Dressed Chicken In Town on the Greensleeves label.  The album itself was a collection of Alimantado's singles released from 1972 until 1977 and engineered by Lee Perry, King Tubby and Scientist respectfully.  In the song the Good Doctor states his case for gun ownership for the law-abiding citizenry of Kingston in need of self protection during one of its most turbulent and violent times.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 17 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Gregory Isaacs - Thief A Man

I can't believe I waited 17 days before throwing in a Gregory Isaacs track... I have the feeling there will be a few more to come in the remaining 348 days; everybody loves the Cool Ruler!  Today's song is "Thief A Man," released in 1975 on both Gregory's own African Museum label and the Advance label concurrently.  One of reggae's greats performing one of his multitude of great tunes!  As you can imagine with close to 500 of albums being released during his lifetime, it also appears on a multitude of compilations as well!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 16 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Melodians - Come On Little Girl Come On

The vocal trio The Melodians (Tony Brevett, Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton) got together in Greenwich Town area of Kingston around 1963.  They started recording for Prince Buster before stepping over to Coxsone Dodd's Studio One and in 1966 hey tracked "Lay It On" one of the first acknowledged rocksteady tunes.  In 1967 they moved over to Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label and soon after the next year they released "Come On Little Girl Come On" which is today's track in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge... a delicious slice of rocksteady goodness!  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Day 15 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - U-Roy & Hopeton Lewis - Tom Drunk

Starting off week three with a scorcher from Hopeton Lewis and U Roy called "Tom Drunk," produced by Duke Reid and released on his Treasure Isle label in 1971 and appearing on a heap a' various artists compilations since, it's a great, upbeat tune to get this week rolling properly... an all time favorite!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The 2nd Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

What you're gonna hear in this second installment...

1.  The Black Brothers - Give Me Loving
2.  Lloyd Charmers - Confidential
3.  Charlie Ace - Silver & Gold
4.  Scotty - Skank In Bed
5.  The Tonettes - I'll Give It To You
6.  Marcia Grffiths - Feel Like Jumping
7.  Michigan & Smiley - Compliment To Studio One

Come back tomorrow for the start of Week 3!

Check It Out Here!

Day 14 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Michigan & Smiley - Compliment To Studio

What the hell, let's finish off the second week with one more Studio One tune!  This one by Michigan & Smiley called "Compliment To Studio One" and riding the Pretty Looks riddim comes from their 1980 LP "Rub A Dub Style" on Studio One of course... dig it!

Second week mix will be uploaded today!  Stay tuned!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 13 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Marcia Griffiths - Feel Like Jumping

Sticking with Studio One and with 1968 as well... a huge rocksteady tune by Marcia Griffiths and an absolutely blistering performance by the Sound Dimension called "Feel Like Jumping."  And with an upbeat tone and joyous lyrics it works well for a Friday too!  Originally pressed on the Studio One label and repressed a multitude of times on Coxsone as well, it's guaranteed to get your feet moving!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day 12 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Tonettes - I'll Give It To You

Stepping over to Brentford Road for the next track... a Coxsone Dodd, Studio One rocksteady production from 1968 featuring the Webber Sisters (Merlene and Cynthia Webber) AKA The Tonettes and it's called "I'll Give It To You." A brilliant upbeat rocksteady rhythm coupled with some perceivably risqué lyrics make for a great listen and one of my all-time favorite Studio One productions bar none!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 11 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Scotty - Skank In Bed

Up next is a tune from David Scott AKA Scotty called "Skank In Bed" and it's basically the DJ version of Lorna Bennett's classic cover of the Dusty Springfield song "Breakfast In Bed."  Bennett's vocals are interspersed throughout the track and the end-result is one that I've always dug.  When Scotty breaks down the riddim and "calls out" a talent-less trespasser in the studio halfway through the track... absolutely classic!  Produced by Harry J in 1972 and originally released on his namesake label and simultaneously on both Island and its Blue Mountain imprint, it's a killer tune!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Day 10 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Charlie Ace - Silver And Gold

Onto the tenth track in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge and it's a good one... Vernel Dixon AKA Charlie Ace, one of early reggae's often overlooked DJs, gained notoriety when he started recording with Lee "Scratch" Perry in the early 70s.  But it was what he did outside of the studio that became legendary, Charlie Ace began distributing music by converting a Morris 1000 van into the Swing-A-Ling mobile recording studio; the image of the festively hand-painted van becoming absolutely iconic to fans of Jamaican music.  What we're gonna hear today is a tune from 1970 called "Silver and Gold," produced by Phil Pratt and released in the UK on the Punch label.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Day 9 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Lloyd Charmers & The Hippy Boys - Confidential

Keeping with the late 60s vibe we're pulling out an organ-heavy slice of early reggae!  Lloyd Charmers and the Hippy Boys from 1969 with a little tune called "Confidential," which was originally released in the UK as a single on the Camel label...

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Day 8 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Black Brothers - Give Me Loving

I have always found that rocksteady works beautifully with Sunday mornings... it has a lot to do with the slower pace and for the most part the heartfelt lyrics that were seemingly running rampant during this era of Jamaican music, case in point... The Black Brothers "Give Me Loving" featuring Lyn Tait & The Jets.  A cry for love in a "strange world" is something we can all identify with and this one simply rocks!  Produced by Derrick Morgan in 1968, it's the kind of tune you could listen to on a loop!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The 1st Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

What you're gonna hear in this first installment...

1.  Ken Parker - Sad Mood
2.  Chosen Few - Chain Gang
3.  General Echo - Boom Boom
4.  Tony Tuff & Jah Thomas - Fire Bun/Family Affair
5.  Hugh Mundell - Going Places
6.  Joe Tex & U Black - Friday Evening
7.  Bunny Wailer - Ballroom Floor

Come back tomorrow for the start of Week 2!

Check It Out Here!


Day 7 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Bunny Wailers - Ballroom Floor

An upbeat tune for a Saturday!  "Ballroom Floor" is one of Bunny Wailers best tunes and it comes from one of his best albums, Rock N' Groove from 1981 on the Solomonic label.  Bunny takes a departure from the conscious lyrics for a twirl on the dance floor and this song never fails to put a smile on my face.  Backing by the Roots Radics with "special guest artists" Sly & Robbie on drum and bass, dig it!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Day 6 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Joe Tex & U Black - Friday Evening

Yes, folks it's Friday and nothing could be more appropriate than this ode to one of the sweetest days of the week!  A Joe Gibbs/Errol T produced combination stylee on the Real Rock riddim with Joe Tex and U Black called "Friday Evening" from 1979 on the Belmont label!  You'll see some inconsistencies with my story when you check out the attached video because the Belmont release states that the A-side is called "Rub A Dub Evening" but the original release a year earlier on the Joe Gibbs label clearly titled the vocal side as "Friday Evening." Maybe Gibbs didn't want to relegate the playing of this tune to just Friday so he flipped the titles on the later release?  Regardless, some sweet vibes for the end of the work week!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Day 5 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Hugh Mundell - Going Places

Hugh Mundell was one of a multitude of voices in reggae music that was silenced way too early.  Under the wing of Augustus Pablo, Mundell was only 16 when his debut album Africa Must Be Free By 1983 was released in 1978 to critical acclaim; Rolling Stone even gave it five stars.  Around that time, using the alias Jah Levi, Mundell recorded a handful of 12" singles and performed live for a heap of sound systems including Kilimanjaro and Volcano Hi-Fi... and it would be safe to assume it was where he met Henry "Junjo" Lawes and in 1980 recorded the album Mundell at Channel One with the Roots Radics doing the backing and eventually released in the UK on Greensleeves.  Today's song "Going Places" was on the aforementioned album and has always been in the top 5 of favorite Hugh Mundell tunes!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Day 4 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Tony Tuff & Jah Thomas - Fire Bun/Family Affair

Plain and simple... I love this tune!  On "Fire Bun" Tony Tuff delivers some badass fire and brimstone lyrics over a rousing horn-driven riddim followed up with some free marital and relationship advice from the man Jah Thomas!  Released as a 12" on the GG Hit label roundabout 1979 and cryptically labeled as being produced by Laws, quite possibly Henry "Junjo" Lawes I assume, it makes for a nice listen!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Day 3 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - General Echo - Boom Boom

The fact that General Echo is mostly remembered for his bawdy and vulgar "slackness" lyrics is a damn shame... the guy put out some wicked "family friendly" stuff through the course of his unfortunate short-lived career and this tune is one of them.  Today's track is called "Boom Boom," appropriately riding the Baba Boom riddim, was recorded and released in 1979 on Dudley 'Manzie' Swaby's namesake label.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Day 2 of the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Chosen Few - Chain Gang

It's Monday... it's back to work... it's time to get back in line for the chain gang.  Day 2 of the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge is a reggae reworking of a Sam Cooke classic by the Chosen Few... it's the perfect way to start another week.  And though calling my office job a chain gang may be a bit of an exaggeration, okay a huge exaggeration, it sucks to be staring about work week in the face.  This tune comes from a 1989 release on the Ethnic Fight Records label of a session originally recorded in 1975, remixed and released years later.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Day 1 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Ken Parker - Sad Mood - I Am Taking The Plunge... The 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge!

In an effort to keep my blog from becoming a stagnant once-a-year stop on the web, I have decided to do something to keep up my involvement with Jamaican music on a more frequent basis... I have decided from this point forward, I will post a song a day for the next 365 days!  From this point until November 1, 2016!  I will post a little write-up about each as well as a video clip for those interested in just hearing today's song.  At the end of each week, I will mix the seven songs together, upload them and provide a link for uninterrupted listening or download... and much like the Spooktacular, the "week long" mixes can be pieced back together for a gargantuan 365 track uninterrupted mix!

And we begin now with the first track in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge with a little rocksteady number by Ken Parker from 1968 called "Sad Mood."  It pretty much sums up how I'm feeling today and I figured it would be a good place to start.  Produced by Bunny Lee and originally pressed as a single on his Lee label and in the UK on Island, it appeared on a multitude of various artists albums as well.  The slow, almost moping feel of the tune works wonders on a day like today.

November 1st, to a Halloween fan such as myself... the saddest day of the year.