12 inchers

M/A/R/R/S – Pump Up The Volume/Anitina

I bought both of these when they first came out back in ’87, but my original copies are long since lost (or in one case, stolen) so it was nice to finally replace both with near-immaculate copies in one fell swoop recently.

Conceived as a collaboration between 4AD label-mates Colourbox and A.R.Kane, the project was quickly expanded to incorporate the dj cut-up style of Dave Dorrell and C.J. Macintosh (later of Nasty Rox Inc.) which produced the surprise #1 smash “Pump Up The Volume”, which I’m sure we all know and love/hate. But it’s actually the A.R.Kane-orientated ‘AA’ side called “Anitina (The First Time I See Her Dance)” which still holds me enthralled.  It’s a non-retro slice of psychedelic pop, incorporating elements of noise, dub and nascent dance beats (although tellingly, its the then-current dance elements which have dated least well) which served as a perfect aperitif for their subsequent debut album ’69’, which this writer still considers one of the best the late eighties had to offer.

The remix version is actually superior in my view – more skeletal with a clipped electro-flavour in the beats. No doubt you can compare and contrast on youtube or whatever, but nothing will beat the sheer depth and sonic intensity of these 12″ records blasting  from my rig today…

12 inchers

Wayne Smith/Prince Jammy – Greensleeves Disco 45s

A couple of totally spectacular 12″ singles from the dawn of digital dancehall. Prince Jammy’s ‘Sleng Teng’ riddum basically ushered in a new era in Jamaican music, and although the follow-up collaboration with Wayne Smith, ‘Ickie All Over’, doesn’t quite hit the same heights, its still a nifty tune, with an alternative vocal version by Tonto Irie on the flip (entitled ‘Life Story’), and some sweet dub instrumentals too. I think its quite collectible. Shame it doesn’t have an original Greensleeves bag as well, but you can’t have everything.

Edit: Just seen a little article on the Sleng Teng riddim over at The Guardian. Truly an historic recording!


Andy Fairley – System Vertigo (ON-U LP61)

Lovely find for 50 new-pence this lunch time in Crewkerne.  Have piles of ONU stuff on the shelves here – dating right back to the first releases and spanning all the Tackhead, Dub Syndicate, Mark Stewart releases and associated Pay-It-All-Back compilation etc – late 80s I was seriously into that stuff …   so damn nice to find something I have not heard before from this period.

The backing band is the normal suspects – basically Tackhead/DS with David Harrow on programming duties – and of course Sherwood on the desk.  What you get is a very funky/dubbed out racket – quite extreme in places and damn damn nice.  I am familiar with Fairley through the copious use of his sampled vocals on numerous other ONU releases – in particular all that late 80s Gary Clail stuff – and in fact sort of remember seeing him along with Mark Stewart live in Brighton sometime or other – man how memories fade !!

The house is currently under dub-attack – and very welcome it is too !!

12 inchers

Renegade Soundwave – Biting My Nails (Club Mixes)


I was a big fan of Renegade Soundwave when this was released back in 1990, so it’s a bit of a mystery why I never bought it in the first place. Admittedly “Biting My Nails” wasn’t one of my favourite cuts from their debut Soundclash album, but I’d assumed my devotion was rabid enough to encompass all the 12″ spin-offs. Wrong!

Well, it’s finally found it’s way into my collection 20 years later, following a chance encounter on Kingswood High Street, and I’m very pleased with it, thanks very much. The ‘Sound System Plays A Renegade Tune’ mix in particular still sounds very strong – a stripped-back booming 808 workout. And let’s not forget the graphics: another excellent example of Junior Tomlin’s distinctive airbrush work that graced many a record sleeve of the period. Good gear.


Black Magic

Black Music

One of several soul/funk/disco compilations I found in the PDSA this week. Apparently they’d just arrived that morning, so I was able to cherry-pick the best stuff.

Released in the mid-70s on Arcade Records, ‘Black Music’ is a pretty decent survey of then currently popular music by black artists. As you’d expect, it’s mainly soul and funk, with Rupie Edwards’ “Ire Feelings (Skanga)” the only representative of Jamaican reggae. I vaguely remembered the song’s catchy ‘skanga, skanga’ refrain from childhood, as this was an unlikely top 10 hit back in November 1974. The interesting thing I notice about the song now is that it is, in essence, a dub reggae track, almost totally stripped-down to the backing rhythm, with occasional flashes of guitar and organ, lashings of echo etc. Yet it has a full vocal on top, which seems quite unusual to my ears. And I’m sure it would’ve been a bit of an oddity at the time. The only example of a hit novelty dub record in the UK charts?

Also nice to finally have The Tymes’ “You Little Trust Maker”, even though that one jumps a lot near the end (the vinyl isn’t in great condition unfortunately) along with the O’Jays’ magnificent “Love Train”. Lots of warm sounds from my childhood leaking through here.

It still has the original price sticker, which reveals that it’s first owner bought it in Woolworths for £2.49.