01. Return To Sender
02. In The Ghetto
03. Blue Moon
05. It’s Now Or Never
06. Baby I Don’t Care
07. Suspicious Minds
08. I’ll Remember You
09. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
10. Crying In The Chapel
I was actually in attendance at this 1984 Gregory Issacs gig at the Brixton Academy in South London and I was thrilled to see that it posted on YouTube.
I wish I could claim that I was there to see the “Cool Ruler” because I was such a hip teenager, but I was really only there because my friend had free tickets and we thought we’d be able to get really stoned at a reggae concert, frankly. And I only lived a few blocks away from the venue at the time.
“The Lonely Lover” had the crowd (especially the women) in the palm of his hand before he even opened his mouth to sing. As you can see, the audience went totally nuts when he walked onstage. I may have gone into the show completely ignorant of Issac’s music, but I left a fan. He’s backed here by the Roots Radics.
01. Intro/Top Ten + Number One
02. Out Deh + Tune In
03. Top Ten
04. Private Secretary
05. My Only Lover + All I Have Is Love + Love Is Overdue
06. Cool Down The Pace
07. Mr. Brown + Storm
08. Slave Master
09. Soon Forward
10. Sunday Morning
11. Night Nurse
12. Front Door
“Night Nurse” brought the house down, but the entire set is scorching hot from start to finish. It was also released as an album
I saw Gregory Issacs performing in New York, years later at SOBs, and by then he was a near toothless crackhead shadow of the confident performer seen here at the absolute height of his powers. His voice was shot by then and so was he. Issacs died of lung cancer in 2010.
Apparently Prince Harry has aspirations to become a reggae selector. From The Sun:
The 27-year-old has become obsessed with the music since his trip to Jamaica earlier this year — where he met Rita Marley, widow of legend Bob.
Harry has been learning how to mix records old-school style on the decks, getting tips from a club DJ who is a close pal. And recently he has been adding to his huge house music collection with reggae on vinyl, snapped up from specialist online stores.
A source said: “Harry has always been interested in music, but Jamaica was a real eye opener. He started looking into reggae as soon as he got back to the UK.
The young prince now hopes to get good enough to play at parties. The source added: “He’s unlikely to ever DJ in public — but if he did it’d be the party of the year.”
Gor any Veras Arry? I suppose the fact that Harry has a “huge house music collection” shouldn’t come as surprise, as he has made a cheeky wee visit to rehab in the past. But reggae?! That’s madness I tells ya! Madness!
Boots Sex Dread is the name of an anonymous reggae act (is it a band or just and MC? or two MCs?) who brought out a one-off single in 1980 that became instantly notorious. Both sides of the release feature heavy dub riddims coupled with explicitly gay toasting. Like, REALLY explicit.
One side is titled “Rinka” and features an MC coming out: “Mi black and mi proud and mi a Rastafari/And mi a ‘omo-sek-shual”. There then follows an hilarious list of anal sex euphemisms. The flip is titled “Prenton Pressure” and features a different, coarse voiced MC regaling us with the story of how he met his Asian boyfriend, and how their sexual relations in a cornership store room (involving lots of bizarre condiments - Brillo Pads?!) were interrupted by the boyfriend’s mother.
Information on this record is scarce, but rumors about who the authors/vocalists may be have been rife since it was first written about in the NME on its 1980 release. The theory that has gained most credibility is that Boots Sex Dread is the work of the British comedian and actor Keith (father of Lily) Allen. An anonymous source close to Dangerous Minds can semi-confirm this:
It was rumored to be Keith Allen. And Rinka was supposed to be named after Norman Scott’s dog who was shot by the hit man hired by Jeremy Thorpe. [Background: Jeremy Thorpe was the leader of the British Liberal party from ‘67-‘76. Norman Scott claimed to be his gay lover, and Thorpe was aquitted on charges of conspiring to murder Scott in 1979.]
But this was the story running the rounds when Julie Burchill banged on about it as being gay Reggae. Not convinced, but it sounds like it could be him. He is an accomplished pianist, as I found out when I spent 3 nights on the batter with him, whilst he was filming Shallow Grave.
Keith had a character he played on Channel 4 late night back in the early 80s, where he played a gay miner, who’s dad was gay and his father before him, etc. Led to religious people saying he shouldn’t be allowed on TV etc, as they thought Keith was genuinely gay.
There a bit more info on this story over at the Uncarved blog. Here are sides A and B of Boots Sex Dread (even the names have been confused over time):
Boots Sex Dread “Rinka” NSFW
Boots Sex Dread “Penton Pressure” NSFW
Boots Sex Dread is rare as hens’ teeth, but it was re-issued not too long ago, so keep an eye out and you might find it.
A Fistful Of Dub is video mix featuring new and old dub and reggae recordings with clips from Spaghetti Westerns—not a mashup but an imaginary soundtrack where cowboys meet engines of rhythm.
01. ‘Black Panta’ - Lee Scratch Perry
02. ‘A Ruffer Version’ - Johnny Clarke and The Aggrovators
03. ‘Dread Are The Controller’ - Linval Thompson
03. ‘Cool Rasta’ - The Heptones
04. ‘Tel Aviv Drums’ - Glen Brown
05. ‘Dubbing With The Observer’ - King Tubby
06. ‘Funky Ragga’ - Dave and The Supersonics
07. ‘A Useful Version’ - Prince Jammy
08. ‘Magnum Force’ - The Aggrovators
09. ‘Electro Agony In Dub’ - The Grynch featuring Tippa Irie
10. ‘President Mash Up The Resident’ - Shorty
11. ‘Steel Plate’ - Fat Eyes
12. ‘Diplo Rhythm’ - Diplo
13. ‘Streetsweeper’ - Steely and Clevie
14. ‘X- Perry-Ment’ - Lee Scratch Perry
If you love Reggae, if you love music, then you’ll love this excellent 3-part documentary - Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music. Originally shown on the BBC in 2002, parts of this documentary have been on YouTube over the years, but now some kind soul has uploaded the whole series for our delight. How wonderful. Enjoy.
Terrific documentary from 1980 on the roots of reggae. Director Howard Johnson interviews some of the seminal figures in the pioneering of ska, rock steady, toasting, sound systems and reggae. Deep Roots Music - Revival/Ranking contains some rarely seen archival footage of the early Jamaican music scene. This IS deep. Truly informed and informative with some great great music. With cinematography by the masterful Roger Deakins. Close to three hours of non-stop ranking!
Featuring: The Skatalites, Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster, Lee Perry, Bob Marley, The Mighty Diamonds, U Roy and many more.
Jamdown, the holy grail of reggae films is finally coming to DVD. Other than a screening this past July 17th in London, this French documentary, directed by Emmanuel Bonn, hasn’t been shown theatrically or made available in any form since it was briefly released in France in 1981. Jamdown is essential viewing for anyone who loves reggae
Reggae historian Roger Steffens has described Jamdown as:
[...] a melodic time machine that transports us magically to a time of massive creativity as reggae was emerging to the outside world. We see some of its most rootical exponents at the height of their powers. The film’s re-emergence after three decades is almost miraculous, and it should not be missed by anyone who cares about Jah Music.
The film features some thrilling footage of The Congos and Toots And The Maytals recording at Lee ‘The Upsetter’ Perry’s legendary Black Ark Studios.
The Jamdown DVD hits the streets this Tuesday, July 27.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.