Nomadic Picó Picante is going down today and certainly is not to be missed. I am very happy to have been asked to put together a mix for the event, which you can listen and download below or on Pajaritos’ soundcloud. The selections are a bit of a departure from some of the sounds previously featured on this site, tending more towards the digital with heavy doses of electrocumbia and funana along with some dancehall, soca and etceteras here and there–recorded cdj-style, live and direct from home sweet Homes avenue. Do be sure to check out the other mixes for the event created by some of my favorite Boston based Djs: Riobamba and Malagón (Pajaritos), OXYcontinental, Wayne and Wax, Ted Thousand and False Witness.
Between this, Boston Carnival, and the august edition of Ruffneck Fashion this weekend is shaping up to be a proper way to send off the summer
Filed under b/quilla, boston, cabo-verde, chicha, colombia, cumbia, dancehall, dub, events, hip hop, mixxups, peru, suriname, trinidad
From Jamaica to the Uk, Toronto to New York and even Boston–the eighties of reggae, digital dancehall in the world of sound
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Watch Your Approach – Chris Wayne
Sound Boy – Little Kirk
Don Sound – Danovan Champion
Crowd A Come Back – Sleepy Wonder
Roughneck Fashion – Tenor Fly
Don In A Town – Ninjaman
Price Gone Up – Cobra
Long Mouth Special -Gazan
Raggamuffin – Hopeton Junior
Time So Hard – Al Campbell
Serious Times – Errol Strength
She Turns Me On – Courtney Melody
I stumbled across this picture today and thought it would be a nice one to share here. Prasanna Balasundaram, my good friend and at that time neighbor, took this shot of the Gladdy Wax crew in action at Clissold Park in the Stoke Newington area of London. An elder statesman of the North London reggae scene, Gladdy Wax ran a record shop in Stoke Newington for many years, and has operated his beloved sound system for over three decades. Before establishing himself in London, Gladdy cut his chops in Birmingham on the infamous Quaker City sound (more info here).
P also took the photo that is on the header graphic of this blog, along with many others documenting revival sound system events around London in the spring and summer months of 2008. I will continue to post some of my favorites of these images in an ongoing series here, so–maximum respect to Prasanna Balasundaram out of Toronto, Canada. Don’t stop shooting my friend!
Another great LP from the Boston area was lent to me last week (thanks Joe). Ethiopian Dread is producer and vocalist on the 1983 album “Rasta Liberty”, singing both in English and Amharic over some heavy original riddims provided by the Zion Initation crew. Ras Ipa (Ipa Fenton) and Danny Tucker both lend a hand on the recording as guitarist and background vocalist respectively, alongside Iraka Reid and Ifuse Silcott holding down the rhythm section. Recordings were completed at Downtown Studios in Boston and then sent to Kingston for mixing at Harry J Studio by Barrington Murray. The label is ZUFAN SOUND with no street address but a PO Box that bears a local zip code.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard another reggae album containing lyrics sung in Amharic (by an Amharic speaker that is… the Abyssinians don’t count) but am curious as to how this type of thing was received at the time both by reggae stalwarts and Ethiopian expatriates living in the area. Roots reggae has not traditionally lent itself well to fusion or experimental genre-bending, indeed the very notion that many hold of ‘roots’ music is by definition incongruous with any form of mutation or dilution. On the other hand, given the space occupied by Ethiopian/Amharic traditions within Rastafari discourse and the cosmos of reggae–this hybrid is potentially less (or at least distinctly) dissonant than, say, “London Calling” by The Clash.
Two of my favorite cuts both feature on the A side–Ethiopia and Help Jah People exemplify the deep-roots vibe that rides through the entirety of the disk. Click on the song names to take a slice and be sure not to sleep on this Boston reggae gem if you come across it in the bins.
SInce the last post on Boston area reggae I regretfully haven’t answered many questions about the labels and artists that were brought up. I have, on the other hand, continued to run into interesting releases on the likes on Mastermind and MJH Records, as well as the pieces pictured above.
Clockwise from the left we have a Waynie Ranks 12″ on Taurus records with a Courtney Morris cut Extacy on the flipside. The only address/phone number listed is the VP distribution info in Queens, but I’m pretty sure its a Boston production given that all of the artists and producers feature elsewhere on local releases of the time. Taurus also likely has a connection to the mainstay Blue Hill Avenue record shop bearing the same name which is sadly the last of the Jamaican/Caribbean record shops that is still open today. Record shops catering to the city’s West Indian population were for some time a thriving cottage industry in the area–they were certainly still a common feature of the landscape still while I was growing up in Dorchester during the nineties. The next disc is another Leroy Webb and Twin Dread production from 1991–‘Gwan Skylarking’ featuring rhythms by Mikey White and a host of local vocalists like Major Jackson, Errol Strength, Lady Lee and Ras Coley. The record was mixed by Junior Rodigan and Michael McDonald at Phillip Smart’s famed HC&F Studio in Freeport, Long Island. Taurus II records lists an address on River St. not far from the aforementioned record shop.
The I-Tones were a pretty successful reggae act in the Cambridge area for a time and put out a number of records including an LP called ‘Something We Share’ in 1987. This song apparently had a video that you can see here. Another of their bigger tunes was a nice rendition of Love is a Pleasure by Freddie Kay that came out on a 45. Healin of the Nations’ ‘Love is the Answer’ LP is the final label scan, coming out on the HUB Records imprint. This album received a lot of praise from the Boston Globe at the time of its release (1982) and is one of the more solid boston released full length that I have heard yet. Danny Tucker shows up in the credits as a background vocalist on 400 Years–making this an even more interesting find and reminding me of how I really need to track down that Take Us Home 45.
Warming things up for the launch of RuffNeck Fashion this weekend we have another mixup from yours truly–dj TriZlAm. This selection moves around a bit, much in the fashion that will be on showcase Sunday–featuring vintage sounds from West Africa and the Caribbean with a heavy dose of Trinidad, Colombia and Jamdown in the mix.
I hope to see all of you raggamuffin ruffneck youths this sunday, February 26th at ZuZu–come help us nice up the place and get this thing started out right.
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Me Te Ase Me Mpe Nsa – Akwaboa’s Band
Tout Cote – Sec Bidens
Bounika – Le Simandou de Beyla
Spanish Amigo – Dennis Alcapone
Double Attack – Lizie & Delroy Wilson
El Alacran – Ray Fernandez y su Corte
Descarga Guajira – Cachao y Su Combo
Serenal – Cyril Diaz and his Orquestra
Gee Bongo Lay – John Buddy Williams’ Band
Busca Perro – La Cumbia Moderna de Soledad
Currucuchu – Emilia Herrera
1st Session – Baba Brooks
Coming up in just under two weeks, myself and Kangsen Feka Wakai will be launching a new monthly party–RuffNeck Fashion at Zuzu in Central Square (Cambridge, Ma). We already have some great guests lined up for the coming months so mark the date, last sunday of every month. Here you can find a page with information about upcoming events and a short blurb that Kangsen put together for the event.