Thursday, May 19, 2011

RIP Lloyd Knibbs

We will have our tribute to the legendary Skatalites drummer after we're done with our 5th Vespa Jamboree this weekend.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Poly Styrene (Marianne Elliot-Said) 1957–2011

On April 25th, 2011, Marianne Elliot-Said, better known to the world as Poly Styrene — the singer for classic UK punk rock band X-Ray Spex — died after a bout with breast cancer. Her third solo album, Generation Indigo, was released to shocked fans the following day. X-Ray Spex has stood the test of time and taste to stand out from the English punk rock mid-late ’70s era. Their initial handful of singles and debut album – Germ Free Adolescents – some 16 songs total – still stand as strong statements in a field of often now-faded thrashers.

So why was Poly Styrene awesome? She was a chubby, mixed-race (Somali/Scottish-Irish) teenage girl with braces in awkward, brightly colored clothes who could barely hold on to the tune. And despite the mentions of this by the critics of the time and later, and the insistence that she was the antithesis of a rock band front person, she was, in fact, the perfect front person for X-Ray Spex. She was just awesome. What she did was brilliant, and it was popular. X-Ray Spex were a chart success in the late ’70s: they were on Top of the Pops, and recorded sessions for John Peel.

Poly would go on to release some very different solo material shortly after X-Ray Spex broke up the first time around, before vanishing into a Krishna-tinged haze for a bit. X-Ray Spex re-emerged in the mid-’90s to release the little known album Conscious Consumer. The Spex did not get far after that after Poly was run over by a fire engine. Poly came back strong during the last decade with two solo albums, an X-Ray Spex reunion (the Roundhouse reunion show was released on CD/DVD in late 2009) and the holiday singles “City of Christmas Ghosts” with Goldblade in 2008 and “Black Christmas” in 2010. She will be much missed.

X-Ray Spex Live at the Roundhouse, London in 2008.

Revisit and remember Poly:

Germfree Adolescents

Conscious Consumer

Live @ The Roxy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rocksteady by The Tennors

I first heard the song "Hopeful Village" which was performed by LA ska band Hepcat on one of their live shows which we were able to get a copy off. as we all know Hepcat is one damn good band and their rendition of the song is pretty potent, simple yet affective and sweet to the ears. No mumbo jumbo and they stayed close to the original arrangement although their vocal harmonies is more soulful, but it doesn't mean that that the original is an inferior or lesser version. The song is best when interpreted or done by the composers and originators themselves. Ive been a fan of Jamaican music notably ska, rocksteady and reggae for many years now and there are so many that i have not heard of until now. There are so many things to learn and to listen to. It may take a lifetime to do it. Anyway lets focus on our featured artist for today - The Tennors.

The Tennors may be a footnote on Jamaica's music
al history but they were one of the pioneers that heralded Jamaica's music industry. Founded by George "Clive" Murphy and the late Muarice "Prof" Johnson, they were known as "The Tennor Twins" at first and became "The Tennors" when they were joined by Norman Davies at which time Maurice became the lead vocalist of the group. They had their first cut "Pressure and Slide" recorded at the legendary Studio One studios of Coxsone Dodd which became one of the big hits of 1967 although they claim that they never received any royalties for the song. Rather than deal and continue recording with Coxsone, the group formed their own record label and singed many artist. with teh death of Johnson, teh group became a duo again anbd continue as songwriters. They offered the song "Ride Yu Donkey" to may artist but was turned down so they decided to record it themselves an became a hit in 1968.

They became a trio again when Ronnie Davies j
oined in 1968. Other singers who were in the Tennors included Nehemiah Davis, George Dekker, Howard Spencer, and Hilton Wilson. The trio backed singer Jackie Bernard on "Another Scorcher", and moved towards reggae with the song "Reggae Girl". This vocal group became one of the most outstanding in Jamaica, and their consistency earned them the title of best performers in the JAMAICA FESTIVAL of 1973 when they performed the song "HOPEFUL VILLAGE", later to be released on the now famous Duke Reid’s "Treasure Isle Label". THE TENNORS also found their international niche when many of their recordings became favorites around the world.

There are so many Jamaican vocal group and The Tennors hits me right on the spot. You know the drill. Listen, enjoy and be mesmerized.

01 Ride Yu Donkey
02 Weather Report
03 Another Scorcher
04 Baby Come Home
05 Want Everything
06 Good News
07 World Is A Stage
08 Give Me Bread
09 We Got Soul
10 Pressure And Slide
11 Grandpa
12 Massi Massa
13 Sufferer
14 Run Come
15 Hopeful Village
16 Cleopatra
17 Gee Whiz
18 Biff Baff (Traitor)