musicology #533

Jamaica #13

(Dobby Dobson – Your New Love)

As 1968 came to an end so the Rocksteady evolved into the early Reggae retaining the essential flavours, (walking bassline and one drop percussion), but from my observations between 1969 and 1971 two, (almost), seperate identities emerged due, (as far as I am aware), to commercial pressure.

First there was the local sound system/dancehall market, (the lifeblood), to satisfy but also there was the export market which at the time meant England. Certain Mod/ernist’s, (or whatever you want to classify them as), took to Jamaican music straight away as early as 1962/3 and for some, (Steve Barrow for example), it turned into a lifetime’s commitment. These same hipsters seemed to embrace and recognise not only the musical quality but also the authenticity that for me is a critical aspect of Jamaican musicology. In many ways ‘Reggae’ has always been a commentary on the life and times of the sufferer and for some, (me included), that is magnetic. When I say sufferer I don’t just mean financial but also the emotional and just as importantly the social..

In England the Reggae captured a younger generation who had watched and listened as Soul, (and ‘Mod’), went overground which resulted in a look towards Jamaica for fresh inspiration. Contrary to popular belief, (and I have it on the authority of young Cats who were there), racism was not as much of an issue as has been portrayed. The universal language crosses all boundaries and the music of Jamaica spoke to both brown, black, pink and white as young kids connected through it.

I’m not sure about other parts of London but I do know that Reggae was BIG on the streets South of the River Thames in places such as Camberwell, Peckham, Brixton, New Cross, Deptford and Lewisham where Jamaicans settled. (Not forgetting Notting Hill, Shepherds Bush, Willesden and Harlesden of course). Was Jamaican music as prevalent in East and North London? I have no idea but for sure it reached out to many areas and not only in the Capital. Again I have no personal connection with Cities outside of London so I can’t comment but one look at the charts of the time shows that Jamaican music certainly had the potential to explode…

Feels a bit like I’m losing the focus so I’ll step out of the writing and on with the music otherwise i’m in danger of getting sidetracked by social history which as important as it is doesn’t really affect the quality of the music.

First up is an absolute classic from a singer who has already graced themusicologist with the original cut of ‘Loving Pauper’..Dobby Dobson. Can’t lay my hands on the 45 to credit the producer right now but I know it’s on Punch and the year of release was 1969

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musicology #496

SoulBoy #15

(Sam And Dave – Goodnight Baby)

Staying on board the Soul Train for this week as there are far too many cuts and artists who have yet to be featured..Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, James Carr, Sam Cooke, Teddy Pendergrass, Al Green, Aaron Neville, Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke and on and on and on in fact a year still wouldn’t be long enough to dig deep into the Soul Cellar so another week is the LEAST I can do.

Too many pieces to choose from…must have lined up at least 5 cuts…just as I’m about to prepare one a next piece floats out of the speakers to distract my butterfly mind. So without further delay hold this piece from one of the great duets Sam Moore and Dave Prater. So electric were they on stage that Otis Redding refused to go on after them. 1965 release on the Stax Label.

musicology #487

SoulBoy #6

(Jackie Wilson – No Pity In The Naked City)

hmmm…themusicologist has been AWOL these last few days ! busy getting it all straightened out but the musicology is on constant playback in anticipation of hitting the right note. In truth I’m a bit lost for words at the moment but not for music and this one from Soul brother supreme Jackie Wilson is BOSS. For themusicologist Jackie is one of a handful of artists who personify the essence of Soul. Starting out with his performances as lead singer with Billy Wards Dominoes in 1953 right up to the 70’s Jackie was always trembling marrows with his vocal ability… and this is one of them.

musicology #384

Modernist #12

(The Drifters – Up On The Roof)

Modernist / Mod / Mods..for me the label is not the issue it’s the philosophy..the ideology that’s important and how it evolved to influence almost every ‘trend’ that followed. That’s what fascinates me. The narrative of the early sixties is well documented from almost every angle other than the ‘street’ perspective in part because the voice of the people is not one that is often heard. As Johnny Spencer said ‘by 1965 the essence and meaning was gutted from the original movement because it was a genuine threat to the staus quo’. For sure the consumer revolution had been managed as far back as the early part of the 20th Century but ‘Mod/ernist’ was never part of the equation because it came up from the street where the establishment had no control or initial interest other than in how to ‘capitalize’.

By the time I was born in 1968 the control was being fought for and for a moment the chance was there to bring down the system but by then the momentum was with the bourgouise intellectuals who when it came down to it didn’t realise that in the words of Martin Luther King there would be ‘No victory without sacrifice’. As the 70’s rolled on everything had been commoditized and the moment passed, (much to the relief of the establishment), who then went on, (in the 80’s), to destroy the working class by giving us ‘something’ to lose in the way of our own property which, of course, wasn’t ours anyway as it belonged to the banks that had sold us into debt slavery.

Interpret my musings how you will but I know how it was to live through these times with a narrative of Mod/ernist as the guiding principle which is after all an Attitude rather than merely a fashion trend. In my opinion part of why the lifestyle of Mod/ernist has been, (and continues to be), so enduring is the underlying principle at the heart of it which is to follow your own path and, (as much as you can), decide for yourself what to do, wear, listen to, watch, read, learn etc.

Today’s 1962 cut by the Drifters is so well known that it is easy to dismiss it as nothing more than pop but if you listen to the words it speaks the language of pure Mod/ernist, the cats who met, walked, talked and lived together metaphorically

“Up On The Roof..way up where the air was fresh and sweet and away from the hustling crowd and all the Rat Race noise down below…….right smack dab in the middle of town..”

Listen Tune…

musicology #106

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #29

(The Style Council – With Everything To Lose)

penultimate slice from the Paul Weller tribute selection and the second of two from his time spent in the Style Council, (the Humble Pie years), along with Mick Talbot formaly of, (relatively unknown), UKPressure band the Merton Parkas and ‘keeping time’ the young Steve White, (didnt the Pie have an unknown young drummer?),

not suggesting that this was the way he planned it..just another example of synchronicity I suppose.

this cut taken from the album..Our Favourite Shop, (not only a great album but, for me, one of the best LP covers of all time !!), reminds me of having just left school and going on holiday in what was then called Yugoslavia. this album was the soundtrack for that holiday and the few months that surrounded it, (memories are made of this), there are at least six pieces on the album that could have been the final choice and there’s nothing between them so I just picked this one mainly for the lyrical content..

Paul Weller at his poetic best..telling it like it was, (and is still)

“From the playground to the wasteground, Hope ends at 17
Sweeping floors and filling shelves, Forced into government schemes
11 years spent to dig out ditches, Forget your schoolday dreams
Guarantees and lie-filled speeches, But nothings what it seems
Qualified and patronised and with everything to lose

No choice or chance for the future, The rich enjoy less tax
Dress the girls in pretty pink, The shit goes to the blacks
A generation’s heart torn out, And covered up the facts
The only thing they’ll understand Is a wall against their backs
The only hope now left for those, with everything to lose

with everything to lose, with everything to lose

In desperation empty eyes, Signed up and thrown away
There’s drugs replacing dignity, The short sharp shock repaid
There’ll be no money if you dare to question Working the Tory way
The truth is up there carved in stone, Where 21 dead now lay
A family’s loss for a few pounds saved, With everything to lose

With everything to lose, with everything to lose
With everything to lose, everything to lose…

lyrics Don Weller….lyrics.

message received, (in ’85), and understood.

musicology #88

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #11

(Humble Pie Feat Steve Marriott – Strange Days)

penultimate piece of musicology magic from Mr Marriott and friends…can’t believe it’s gone so quick.

one of the many things I ‘love’ about the geezahh is his obvious dedication and commitment to communicating using the ‘universal language’. Not only as a vocalist or musician, (could, and did, play most of them), but also as a performer.

most people can sing, (some can play instruments), but what seperates the legends from the rest of us is how they deliver…Steve Marriott delivers as good as anyone and deserves to be ranked in the uppermost branches of the musical tree so that the sun can shine on him from morning to night..

hold this piece of 1971 Rock, Rhythm&Blues from one of the great English bands..Humble Pie .. telling it like it is…quality piece of musicology. a Glyn Jones/Humble Pie production..lyrics courtesy of Steve Marriott.

musicology #86

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #9

(Steve Marriott – Help Me Through The Day)

What / Who Is Mod? … for themusicologist there are only a handful of cats who can lay claim to the title. one of them is Steve Marriott …

Why? because he lived life to the full, often at the extremes, always on the vanguard and didn’t compromise his personal values. Selfish? .. probably, Obsessed…almost definately, Dedicated….100%

Not suggesting that these qualities are the only, (or even most important), Mod credentials but if you dig deep enough they are, in themusicologist’s opinion ones that are ever present….another vital ingredient would be the love of Soul, Blues, Rhythm & Blues…without this you can’t be Mod !!

the aim is still to let the music do the talking and believe me I’m trying but the six/six/six is inspiring themusicologist to ‘nail me colours to the mast‘ ..

hold this cut from his solo album, simply titled Steve Marriott, (not his choice of title I hasten to add), recorded in 1975…pucker