Saturday, September 03, 2016

Day 308 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Scion Success - Pain A Back

Wrapping up the week with yet another Greensleeves 12" single, also from 1984 and also completely badass!  This record "Pain A Back" by Scion Success, holds the distinction of being one of the first tunes produced in the United States to become huge in the Jamaican dancehall and there is a bit of an interesting story behind how it came to be.  

According to Beth Lesser's excellent book Rub-A-Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall...  In 1983, New York-based producer Hyman "Jah Life" Wright had worked out a deal with Greensleeves in the UK to release his material; both those he had recorded on his own and those he had completed while working in conjunction with Junjo Lawes.  Now the story goes that in 1983, Junjo stopped by Wright's studio on his way to London and was entrusted with a couple master tapes.  One tape contained the material to be used for an upcoming album by Carlton Livingston, the other carried tunes by a New York based singer name Scion Sashay Success (real name George Narcisse), which Jah Life intended to be used strictly for cutting dubplates in Jamaica for Volcano sessions.  Well some time had passed, Wright was happy hearing that his productions were in high-demand in dances all over the island but was soon horrified when he discovered that Sashay's singles, incorrectly attributed to a Sammy Levy, produced by Junjo Lawes and backed by the Roots Radics at Channel One, were topping the charts in England!  The songs had actually been produced by Hyman Wright and Percy Chin and recorded at HC&F Studio on Long Island. After some discussion with Greensleeves and I'm sure some not so nice conversations with Junjo, the labels were corrected.  Now the problem was that Scion Success wasn't really interested in becoming an international celebrity, the Jamaican singer who had emigrated to the United States in 1977 was content with doing his own thing with Jah Life.  In fact Success was so interested in maintaining his privacy outside of music that it took until 2001 before a photo of him appeared on any of his releases.   

A great tune riding the Hot Milk riddim and a song that I have enjoyed forever even though I was completely unaware of its convoluted backstory.

No comments: