Thursday, June 02, 2016

Day 215 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Lone Ranger - Love Bump

As promised, we're gonna stick with yesterday's riddim for another day and it's gonna be a long one!  So let's fast forward to the early-70s, after years of enjoying the top spot as Jamaica's number one studio, Coxsone Dodd was starting to feel the effects of musicians jumping ship to record for "hipper" up-and-coming recording studios and producers like Channel One, Joe Gibbs and Randy's.  Amazingly the classic Studio One sound had started losing popularity with the listening public but reemerged in a roundabout way when the cooler studios started to re-do a lot of the riddims created over at Brentford Road.  Channel One was working with the Mighty Diamonds at the time and gave them two re-worked Studio One rhythms to work with and once word got back to Dodd he became livid.  The Diamonds scored a hit with "I Need A Roof" which was an update of the rhythm Larry Marshall had used for his song "Mean Girl" in 1968 and followed it up with the classic "Have Mercy" which was the studio's take on The Cables "Baby Why" backing track, also recorded in '68.  Maybe it was the sense of familiarity or the deep-seated love of the Studio One rhythms themselves but they soon became all the rage among all the newer studios on the island as they fought to produce the next big tune.  According to the excellent book Rub A Dub Style by Beth Lesser, it was Sugar Minott who finally got through to Coxsone and made him realize "the value of his riddims."  Minott at the time was selecting and singing for a sound system called Sound of Silence and was both playing and using Studio One versions for practice and approached Dodd about doing an album that wouldn't require making any new riddim tracks... "He could sing on what Coxsone already had in the vaults."  Well to make a long-story short, the reaction was positive and when sound system owners and selectors started hearing new songs on beloved, authentic Studio One riddims they flooded back to Studio One for dubplates.  

Case in point, today's track, and the 214th in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge, "Love Bump" by Lone Ranger which was recorded at Studio One and released in 1981. As Ranger himself explains,  "Bob Marley was around in those times - well, you know Bob Marley and the dreadlocks - he was going to foreign countries and the white people were starting to locks.  Hippies all turn on to Bob Marley music.  They were coming to Jamaica a lot.  During the period of time, we had some problems in Jamaica with the tin mackerel.  Mackerel used to come in tin and some bad batch would come to Jamaica and you would eat it and get ptomaine poisoning and bumps.  All that was going on in Jamaica.  Somehow, people got it mixed up and thought that the "hippies" were bringing the 'bumps' in.  So it turned into a big controversy - some people said it was the food, some blamed the hippies.  So, Ranger tied it all back to another 'bump,' the 'love bumps' as Jamaicans would call a teen's first pimples.  "You know when you're young and you fall in love, you start to get pimples on your face, they say, 'Oh, that's a love bump.  You're in love.  You have a girl," Ranger explains."

So after all these years of never quite understanding the lyrics to "Love Bump" it is all finally clear! 


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