Sunday, March 20, 2005

Matumbi - Law of the Land

London produced many fine reggae bands in the late 60's/early 70's. In the surge of popularity at this time, it was only natural that 2nd generation of the Windrush diaspora would swing into action, proving that labels such as the mighty Trojan didn't just have to chase the Jamaican sounds, but could go a little closer to home. And amongst them was the perennially excellent Dennis Bovell's outfit, Matumbi.

Ironically, they long masked the fact that they were from London, pretending for at least the first few promos that they were from the Island. Spotted at a Stockwell talent contest, they signed a deal with Trojan when they were only in their teens, and although it all ended in tears with the major domo Brit label, they still managed to create some fine, fine music, hoisting up the Lover's Rock movement by its bootstraps.

Bovell will forever remain a legend, not just because he was the co-creator of Janet Kay's "Silly Games", producer of the Slits and longtime Linton Kwesi Johnson collaborator. Still hugely prolific, the man remain one of the true London-based reggae pioneers.

You can also hear the roots of another British Export, Cymande, in this, their excellent cover of the Temptation's hit "Law of the Land", covered under pressure enforced by Trojan to skank up any other known hits.

Pressure or no, this completely eclipses the original. Killer brass, heavy orchestral stabs over a drop dead beat. Utter class.

(Incidentally, this has just been re-issued on an interesting looking comp, Ultimate British Breaks & Beats, available here)

link removed

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Spiked bandwidth...quelle surprise.

Thanks for listening in - a neat lesson for me on bandwidth limit...from now on, tracks will stay up for 10 days, and 10 days only.

For those of a Statto sensibility, Anne Sexton has been the clear favourite so far, with Lena Horne a close runner-up. Seems you're all of a sisterfunk mentality.

Next Mp3 will be up before the weekend...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Lena Horne/Gabor Szabo - Rocky Raccoon

Ex-Cotton Club chorus dancer, and the first black performer to get signed to a long term/vehicle contract with one of the big studios, Horne fought hard to fight against the antipathetic tokenism of a studio as happy to play the race card, as withdraw it for the Southern audiences. Cast in a succesion of "window dressing" roles, she baulked at neat stereotypes of overtly pigeonholed, demographic-enhancing race roles, and during the war refused to play to segregated army troops - where German POW's sat in front of black US servicemen.Unable to announce her second marriage to Lennie Hayton for fear of miscegenist retaliation, Horne struggled, and eventually won.

This fine version of The Beatles' Rocky Raccoon is outstanding for it's smoky grandeur, elegantly underpinned by Gabor Szabo. And I'm convinced that's Bernard Purdie laying down the drop-on-a-dime backbeat

MP3 Removed