Reggae Music

Hey y'all,

I haven't written any sort of personal entry on this blog in a long time. There are a variety of reasons for this, the main ones being that people often misinterpret/ have nasty stuff to say about things I say on the internet (example) and I also spend pretty much all day on the computer with SF stuff (mostly emails) so I usually run away from the laptop as soon as I am done. But regardless of that, I still think blogs are cool and think about updating this blog all the time. Twitter and Facebook have some redeeming qualities but for the most part I think that reducing communication to 1 or 2 sentences is pretty depressing. This blog was the first Screaming Females internet site.

I end up in discussions about punk rock/ indie rock/ the music blog world/ the importance of twitter in music/ merits of music publicity/ shittiness of the latest hype bands/ and so on, almost on a daily basis these days. It gets tiring! But, thankfully, the other day I had a moment of clarity. I realized that for years I didn't really give a shit about rock music! Don't get me wrong, the rock radio, MTV, and SPIN magazine of the 1990s will always be my major musical foundation but for a few years in high school and right when I got to college the majority of what I listened to was hip hop, jazz, world music, funk/r&b and reggae.

So after my realization, I went to the always lovely Princeton Record Exchange and completely skipped the rock/ pop bins and headed to the back. That's where they keep the hip hop and reggae records. I came home with these AMAZING albums.

Black Uhuru - Anthem
I got the CD of this at some point in High School. While not generally seen as Black Uhuru's best album it WAS the first album to win 'Best Reggae Recording' at the Grammy's in 1985, thus solidifying its place in reggae history. This record is MAD '80s. When I first got it I couldn't stand the '80s production but after repeated listens, I got really into it. The Sly and Robbie rhythms help! Check out that cover pic!!! They look like they are straight out of MAD MAX 2.

Israel Vibration - The Same Song
This is such a cool find. I've actually been looking for a vinyl copy of this album for a while and when I finally found one... it is an original Jamaican pressing! Rad. The three dudes that make up the core of Israel Vibration were all afflicted with polio and met at some sort of polio clinic. The singing, melodies, and song writing on this record are amazingly uplifting and spiritual (even if you don't believe in Jah). I bought this CD after my sophomore year of college because I read a description of it that said something along the lines of, 'when Israel Vibration sing about the fall of Babylon, not only do you believe it is real but you feel joyous about it.' Amen to that!

Bunny Wailer - Blackheart Man
Of my three purchases this is the only one I didn't already own in another format. This is Bunny Wailer's first solo record and it is regularly acclaimed as one of the greatest roots reggae albums of all time. Bunny was one of the three core members of The Wailers (with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh). The first two (international) Wailers records were credited as THE WAILERS until after they split, when they were re-branded as Bob Marley & the Wailers. Bunny left first because he got tired of touring and being away from Jamaica (rumor has it that he quit the first time he saw snow Europe). Peter Tosh left soon after (famously declaring that he was not put on the Earth to be backup singer to Bob Marley). This record brings the original trio back together for one track. I haven't seen official mention of it but this may have been the last time that the three core Wailers appeared on record together.

What are your favorite non-punk/indie/rock/etc albums? Reggae suggestions are much appreciated!

ALSO!!!! We are still looking for submissions for our Maxwells show w/ Doodle Drag Art Collective. Draw something, anything! It doesn't have to be great, we just want to get people involved. See the whole run down here - http://screamingfemales.blogspot.com/2011/02/open-call.html
Please send either Doodle Drag, Screaming Females, or Marissa an email if you plan to participate!

-Jarrett D


Steve said...

Jarrett! I'm making a weird mixtape now of a bunch of foreign/non-indie stuff, it might have some reggae-ish stuff on it. Can I send it to you when I'm done?

Screaming Females said...

Sure! Via real life mix-tape or internet?

Anonymous said...

I don't listen to reggae often but I really love Willie Williams' Armagideon Time. I think everyone loves that one thanks to The Clash, though.

As for other non-indie/punk stuff, John Zorn's Bar Kokhba stuff is really groovy and lately I haven't been able to get enough of the Budos Band.

Raymond Bally said...

Augustus Pablo East Of The River Nile my favorite dub album.

Screaming Females said...

I have the Augustus Pablo/ King Tubby record "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown" but I don't have "East of the River Nile." That is one of those records on my 'always look out for' list.

I haven't listen to too much John Zorn but I did have a few burned copies of Naked City stuff (his jazz/punk/grind band). Totally listened to that stuff a lot during my freshman year of college.

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjon said...

I'm not big on reggae (yet...!) but I am a huge advocate of checking out Curtis Mayfield. I like Superfly more than his self-titled, but it's still great.

Screaming Females said...

Totally have Superfly! Wish I had more money to check out the rest of his catalog!

angela Bell said...

Fela Kuti!! jazz, afrobeat, funk......soooo good! any 60's soul, Timothy McNealy, Linda Lyndell, Salt....really great.

angela Bell said...

and serge gainsbourg,.....get serge, that's all i can say.

TUtrumpet10 said...

I like early stuff..

The Melodians are a interesting blend of reggae & gospel.

There are also some cool compilations from some of the labels other than Trojan.."Duke Reeds Treasure Chest" is cool as are most anything from Beverly

I also really enjoy early Ska; the "Intensified/MORE Intensified" collections are a good place to start.
The production values can be shocking to "modern ears" but the collections are aptly named.

I have most of this on Cassette..I'm not sure how much is available on vinyl, some things can be had on CD.

thom said...

I recently picked up Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Composer of Desafinado Plays" and it's so great. Definitely making me excited about spring. Bossa Nova #1.

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjon said...

Oh, and not sure if rap is your thang, but a duo by the name of Blue Scholars is something to look into. The MC spits some very socially aware and poetic knowledge, over some very original, yet old-school beats. Worth at least checking out a song or two!

American Pancake said...

I am not into raggae ,(unless you count "Watching the Detectives" by Elvis Costello- ha) but I do like to pull out old, old cassettes, vinyl or stuff downloaded on itunes. Lately I have been bathing away my stresses in the lush sounds of the Beach Boys 1973 Holland Album which when I share with friends they are like "we didn't know the Beach Boys sounded like that..." awesome songs like "Sail on Sailor"- "Funky Pretty" - and the amazingly endearing - "California - Big sur and California saga - The Beaks of Eagles"-- (spoken word like some old disney movie)- and "Steamboat".