musicology #531

Jamaica #11

(Johnny & The Attractions – Coming On The Scene)

Penultimate cut of the Rocksteady excursion features a vocal group that go by the name of Johnny & The Attractions, (already featured on themusicologist), who waxed some of the most beautiful Rocksteady of the day. Amazingly, (or not so if you know a little about Jamaican music), next to nothing is known about these cats so I can’t fill you in on any personal details. All I do know is that the producer was Sonia Pottinger and the label it originally appeared on was ‘Gayfeet’ and the year was most likely 1968, an important year in themusicologist’s life as well as in the progression of Jamaican music as it was in this year that Reggae first emerged.

To be honest RockSteady was not a commercial success and is still to this day not well known, (outside of the community), which has always surprised me but then again if we look at what was going on at the time maybe it was too ‘simple’, slow or authentic to attract much interest in a world that was plunging headlong into complexity and inauthenticity but ever since being introduced to it in the early 80’s it never fails to reach out and touch my soul.

Anyway…enough of the sentimentality and on with the transcendental TOP RANKING musicology..


musicology #480

PoliceAndThieves #5

(Woody Guthrie – Pretty Boy Floyd)

Have to be quick with today’s on a mission ! so without further delay hold this cut from Master Woody Guthrie who I am a BIG fan of. Regulars to the musical diary might have already guessed that I hunger for authenticity whether in music or in life..too much bullshit angers me which is why ‘news’ doesn’t interest me at all. At the risk of seeming indifferent the conventional propaganda machine or to use it’s common name..the media has an agenda…the promotion and pursuit of Capital over happiness…money ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on…how much has been printed over the last year? something like 20 Billion?? and yet still the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. make no mistake the gap between the two is widening…how can that be?

Anyway…before I get involved hold this cut from Woody about outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd. Recorded in 1939 the song highlights Floyd’s apparent generosity to the poor which considering Guthrie’s Oklahoma roots and the mans authenticity I would imagine was true. Floyd’s funeral remains the States most attended funeral so he most have been popular for more than mere infamy… the outlaw is generally respected amongst the poor community and also revered for his generosity while his nefarious activities are often overlooked.

musicology #428

noExcuses #5

(Live Good – Burning Spear)

oi..3 days running !!
are the storm clouds lifting and is that the sun I can see trying to break through?
dont know for sure but what I am learning along the way is how authenticity can and does challenge existence. when someone wants to hurt and blame you for the muck in their life there’s a choice for you to make.
do you look to excuse, (blame), yesterdays behaviour and argue or do you genuinely take full responsibility for your actions, recognise your weakness and resolve to not make the same mistakes again? as the title of this theme suggests for themusicologist the choice I choose to make is, noExcuses.

Today’s cut is courtesy of the genius that is Winston Rodney a.k.a Burning Spear with a top ranking slice of the Studio 1 musicological ‘pie’…


musicology #314

Live&Direct #10

(Curtis Mayfield – Stone Junkie Live)

Penultimate cut of the current theme and then something new on Monday…not sure what it might be but as always I’ll let the music be the shepherd.

Today’s slice of the Live&Direct pie is courtesy of the man whose musicology ‘begat’ themusicologist with my earliest musical memories; brother Curtis Mayfield with a piece from the, what is today well known, set ‘Curtis Live’. Not sure how popular it was in 1971? with it’s militant message and hard hitting social commentary but as is always the case with Authenticity it spoke to me. I was no more than a babe in arms at the time but thanks especially to my Dad who was, (and still is), a BIG Curtis fan, the music and message of Curtis burned into my consciousness and has stayed there ever since. I have read somewhere that the experiences and messages learnt from the so called formative years are the ones that exert the most powerful influence on our character. If so then Curtis was, for me, one of my most valued ‘teachers’ (along with certain members of my family), and for that I am eternally greatful. So without further delay hold this, the second cut from his ‘Live’ set to have featured on themusicologist.

Recorded at New York’s ‘Bitter End’ in 1971 and featuring the combined talents of Craig McMullen, Joseph “Lucky” Scott, ‘Master’ Henry Gibson, Tyrone McCullen and of course Curtis Mayfield.

Don’t know about Elvis but for me ‘Curtis Lives’ and always will.

“Here’s something that I know everybody knows about,
I ain’t gonna point no fingers, I don’t want nobody to point no fingers,
But I, right on yeah…I think it’ll break it down…

Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

Times have now arrived in this nation,
There’s now a people with a different relation,
Black and white, yellow, red and blue,
All in the same bag we know it’s true,

They just,
Stone junkies, stone, stone junkies,
Stone junkies, stone, stone junkies,

Don’t let your mind become offended miss Lady,
‘Cause you ain’t no better than our typical Sadie,
You just got money, you can spend out at will,
But when comes aches and pains, you still use the pill,

I don’t mean nothin’,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie now,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie one mo’,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie now,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie yall,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie now,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

I know everybody whose heart is still thumping, (he died)
I know everybody whose heart is still thumping,
Is drinking, shooting, snorting, smoking on something,

I feel like I fell in a hole, you know that hit home everywhere,

Now that might sound funky so I don’t mean to mislead,
So you can retract the thought of you on drugs or on weed
That ain’t my business you know what you do
I’m just singing for the majority of you

Should I say mister,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

Please give my fellas a great big round of applause…”

musicology #305


(Fela Kuti – Mistake – Live)

Day two of the theme has an element of synchronicity for me as the performance was recorded in Berlin…what has that got to do with anything I hear you say? well not only does one of my most valued ‘brethren’ live there but the woman in my life is there today working on/at the film festival. Couldn’t resist or pass up this ‘oppo’ to throw down a second piece on themusicologist by the legend that is, Fela Kuti.

Recorded in 1978 a year after his Kalakuta Republic had been destroyed by a thousand soldiers during which horror his elderly mother had been thrown out of a window suffering fatal injuries with Fela almost being beaten to death for his non-stop scathing critique of Nigerian politics. Word has it that after the tour most of the band left him as he intended to use all the proceeds to fund his election campaign.

Perhaps THE most political musician of all time Fela was his own project and an ‘Existentialist’ in the truest sense. NEVER allowing anyone to deny him the freedom to say and do what he thought right. The hugely influential philosopher Martin Heidegger spoke about Authenticity in relation to one’s life and for themusicologist Fela lived life in a way that, (among others), Heidegger would have been proud of.