Bootstrap Example


Jamaica's great gift to the world was born in 1968 when the musicians started messing with the rocksteady template, losing the backbeat, rounding the sound out in a less regimented way. Some claim that Studio One were first to declare on 45 via Larry Marshall's “Nanny Goat”. For sure, there was a flood of new songs in the reggae style in '68; I have 171 tunes tagged from the likes of Lee Perry, Hugh Malcolm, The Pioneers, Max Romeo and Desmond Dekker and many more. I class dub reggae and reggae as one and the same. I made no special allowance for the term “dancehall” when it rose to prominence in the 1980s as it was basically digitized reggae. However, this has grown to be a problem in the 21st century; more and more tunes termed as “dancehall” are being delivered devoid of any reggae roots. I therefore listen closely to “dancehall” records these days, depending on motifs embraced they've been known to land in my Pop, Reggae or R n B categories.

The Jukebox Pick (of 7,120):

 Picture On The Wall

 (Ossie Samms)

 The Natural-Ites and The Realistics

 10 out of 10 “Utterly perfect” Reggae

 Released as a single circa April, 1983. 14-year-old me fell deeply in love with this tune at the very point of it's birth; it's burned deeply into my psyche and soul and will remain so until the day I die. 2-Tone was my first love, and now it was time for a deeper exploration of JA music - even if this one was made in the UK (I'm so sorry Jamaica)! The Natural-Ites were a Nottingham based vocal trio (Ossie Samms, Percy McLeod, Neil Foster) who modelled themselves on their great heroes, Culture. (At this stage, it might be pertinent to add that Culture's “Lion Rock” grappled so hard to win my Reggae #1 spot that I remain emotionally drained after the internal battle!) Although they would later consolidate as one cohesive group (The Natural-Ites) in the early days they were backed by The Realistics (usually 7 or 8 members strong), each free to express their own identity. The musicians were top-notch but unheralded, which was par for the course in the UK reggae scene at the time. We can gauge a sense of just how good they were by a little anecdote about Albert 'Itico' Barnes, a trumpeter who'd been touring and recording with Culture as part of their impressive horn section. Legend has it that when Culture stopped off in Nottingham in 1983, Itico heard Natural-Ites, hit it off with them, decided to stay, joining the group! Noble, peaceful and loving, the song celebrates Haile Selassie I, Jah to the Rastafari: “He sit upon the seat of justice (true, true), Defending the poor and the weak and the fatherless, In my house there's a picture on the wall, Rastafari sit upon his throne”. It reached #1 in the UK Reggae chart, but mainstream chart success proved to be elusive, the single peaking at #97 in October, 1983, several months after release. Still, the fact that they made it that far as a wholly independent entity was an achievement in itself. Championed by John Peel all throughout the year, “Picture On The Wall” was voted as the 10th best song of the year in the listeners annual poll, The Festive 50. This was another fine achievement within the confines of Peel's post-punk-indie-centric listenership. Respect is due.

Some favourite artists:

Bob Marley, Prince Far I, Culture, The Specials, The Beat

The Jukebox pick:


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