So Richard Dawson is on Weird Records, but he’s like Weird isn’t he, a bit weird, slightly odd, a touch touched? My Mum says he needs to learn how to tune his guitar, my friends think I need to listen to something, or someone else, … but me, me I think he’s a bit special. You know… Sue’s in the Kitchen cooking tea now, so I better turn it down a bit.. she’s from Sheffield and the Ex was from Widnes so rather mistakenly I feel I understand Northerners. Dawson is from Oop North with it’s grey lid and it’s sideways rains and rustic vistas… Fuck me side three starts up like ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by The Who, this Northern Folk Soul Mod has got me.. on the run, mentally I won’t be the same again.
I love how he writes it as he sees it and sings it as he writes it, that’s very refreshing. I like what he sees too, the mundane daily business of seeking a spiritual existence in the Crab Nebula of daily grinding shite and in the vernacular of the unspectacular. The Hogarth, an empty bottle rolling windily on a street’s cobbled gutter, the glowing prism of coal light below the UFO in Black Triangle. He points at it in his lyrics, no judgement, but the music says otherwise, otherwise you wouldn’t get the soft cymbal in Freshers Ball. An obvious love song, to someone, whose Bobbie? Doesn’t matter, it’s probably made up anyway. Could be, who knows. Don’t know him, never been to a gig.
Slack Guitar nurses along, lifted by modern sounds of synth, and there are moments I’m thinking, ‘was he listening to the same Heavy Metal as me in the 80s and 90s’? Was he? I’m scratching about for easy categorising scabbings, exploring the slag heaps of a grim NORTH, so ‘File in Pop’, lifting up genre defining funguses to see if Dawson lingers below, eyes gleaming, taking the piss, launching out spores of musical diffusion, confusion and originality. He is is he?
The sleeves of this dbl Lp have lyrics on, that’s good. Some insight.
There’s a lot of shit talked about this guy and his music, so just listen and take from it what you take, I guarantee that it won’t be like anything you’ve ever taken from anyone before, and jee suss, that makes it worthwhile don’t it?
Russ Disciple meets Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio in spiffing Bexhill On Sea.
Recently Mr. Russell Bell-Brown and I met up for a bit of a chat about his musical production and his favourite Jamaican tunes. The tunes that signposted him along a long history of listening and collecting Jamaican music, those that mean the most to him and that he loves.
Russ grew up in the outskirts of London England and in the 1980s began to produce UK Roots Reggae, his first bigger break coming when early on in his career his music was frequently commissioned by and played on the Jah Shaka Sound System. A short while later and he and his bother Lol had started BSL (Boom Shacka Lacka) the Disciples own Sound System and both were ruining their backs lifting large bass scoops in and out of vehicles. Such is his dedication to the music.
Russ’s knowledge is deep and the musical selection for this show is chock full of high quality musical nutrition; the show is a must listen for lovers of U.K. Sound system and Jamaican musical culture alike.
It’s a relaxed affair and a damn fine listen. I urge you to check it out. Just search up Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio on Google and look for the 2019 December show.
The track listing is as follows:
Tommy McCook and the Supersonics – More Love – Treasure Isle 7” Single
Richard Ace – Hang ‘Em High – Trojan 7” Single
Pat Kelly – Workman Song – Gas 7” Single The Love Generation – Warwick Hill – Grape 7” Single Burning Spear – This Population – Bongo Man 7” Single Freddie McGregor – Go Away Pretty Girl – Money 7” Single Freddie McGregor – Homeward Bound – Studio One 7” Single Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Jungle Lion – Upsetter 7” Single Ital Winston – Ride On – Vital Food 7” Single Gregory Isaacs – Thief A Man – Advance 7” Single Cornell Campbell – Give The Little Man A Great Big Hand – Justice 7” Single Leroy Smart – The Road Is Rough – Sweet City 7” Single Bush Ranger – Ranger In The Workshop – Count Shelly 7” Single Fred Locks – The Last Days – Jahmikmusic 7” Single Don Hutchinson – What You Gonna Do – IMF 7” Single Pablo & Tubby’s – King Tubby’s Meets The Rockers Uptown – Yard Music 7” Single Hugh Mundell – Africa Must Be Free By 1983 – Rockers International 7” Single Yabby Youth And The Sons Of Jah – Jah Speak With Lightening And Thunder – TR Groovemaster 7” Single Wayne Wade – Black Is Our Colour – Mango 7” Single Frankey – Slavery Days – Maroc 7” Single Delroy Wilson – Big Man In Town + Version – Third World 7” Single Junior Ross & The Spears – Babylon Fall – Caribbean 7” Single Ras Midas – Good Old Days – Jaywax 7” Single Welton Irie – Blackman Get Up Pon Tan Foot – South East music 7” Single Trinity – Vampire – Flagman 7” Single Hugh Brown – The Big Licking Stick – Jackpot 7” Single I-Roy – Proud Black – Blank 7” Single Mikey Dread – & The Instigators – Robbers Roost – 40 Leg 7” Single Makka Bees – Nation Fiddler – Congo 7” Single Unity Stars – Africa – Nice 1 7” Single
Pachyman In Dub, released this year (2019) is an homage to all that was great about 1970s Dub Reggae.
Pachyman, an obvious enthusiast for Roots Rockers Reggae and the sonic qualities of that genre, delivers into ’nuff skanking ear worms deep and heavyweight baselines, like Robbie Shakespeare in his own Barbell label days, with the accompanying phasing and echo effects of Dub Master King Tubby straight outta Drummilie Avenue and some oh so tasteful keyboards over the top in the style of Winston Wright or Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey. You can hear the influence of producers like Bunny Lee and Lee Perry and the mixing touch of engineers like Errol Thompson and the then Prince Jammy. pachyman.bandcamp.com
His lines are choice, and he’s listened and absorbed, you can tell he has a great ear and he has heard what you have heard, and he has heard the word and that word is DUB. He plays everything and very musically indeed.
Each tune is a little ‘Dub’ gemstone, shining brightly on it’s own, and what I enjoyed was that he has treated each ‘Dub’ as a stand-alone production in their own right, i.e., unlike their 70s counterparts, they are not the re-cycled versions of vocal or instrumental original songs, they are stand alone tunes in their own right and his love for the genre rings true all the stronger for this treatment. They are each a little Dub imagining. I’m hoping we may hear a Deejay version of this Lp, or even that he retrospectively gets some singers and players to produce one away originals on the rhythms he’s created, because those rhythms are strong.
It suffers a little from the outboard he’s used to create it, as the sound at times can seem a little flat and the audio field isn’t as wide as you might want to enjoy, but something about the bottom end and mid range sound, the lack of a truly clean and crisp top end and the flat Mono nature of the mix down gives it more of an original feel. It sounds like an Lp produced, perhaps not at a leading studio of the time like Channel One, but perhaps somewhere where they hadn’t quite got the sound totally sussed yet, working on a smaller budget, possibly making it all the more accurate and retrospectively correct, .. has he gone to the ultimate degree to produce a truly ‘retro’ sound? Probably not, but it’s fun to play with the idea that the concept might just go this deep.
I only found out about this Lp a number of mere months after it was released by Permanent Records in the USA, and with no European distribution and already SOLD OUT but the time I knew of it I was left to hunt down a test pressing, pay through the nose for it and then pay the import tax when it came into the country, making it considerably more expensive than many rare Lps of original material I have sourced through the years. But, I believe it’s worth it, which says a lot I think for the quality of the music and the ear of it’s creator.
Check out ‘Jumpy’, my favourite tune of the Lp, but they’re all good. I suggest your roll up on a copy.. soon.
The Half of Six Record Listeners Club is a social occasion, an evening where Mike & Sue, your hosts, invite a special guest to chat about the music they love. Mike & Sue also have the occasional disagreement about which records are good ones and which are not so good.
So, all too often you turn on the radio, or listen to a show, it’s genre specific, you don’t get surprises and you leave un-edified, and without new artistes to listen to, or any real surprises. Not at this podcast, two music lovers, partners in crime and life discuss their favourite music, normally with a guest who brings her or his records to their cozy hideaway on the Isle of Skye (sort of). We’re big music fans, so expect some great tunes and we’re also both highly opinionated about the music we love, so don’t expect agreement, You’ll be party to the occasional domestic moment, in amongst the mix.
The first podcast of this music review show, in which Mike & Sue introduce themselves and play you some of the music that means a lot to them. In the future we’ll have a guest on most of our shows sharing their musical loves (and hates quite possibly), but we thought you’d like to get to know us first, and what the show is all about, or rather, will be about. Please come join us for a cozy look through our record collections as we take a wee dram by the glowing turfs on our imaginary homes’ hearth, in the wilds of the Isle of Skye. On this edition you’ll hear music by a wide variety of artistes, including The Bevis Frond, The Clash, Anne Briggs, Hal Paige, The Cure, Bill Doggett, Bill Haley, The Cardiacs, The Fuzztones, Daniel Romano and much much more besides, we aren’t genre driven, so expect a wide but pleasing array of musical styles. Mike & Sue
Rush is the name I give to any something I’m working on that isn’t finished, rough mix, demo, whatever, it’s like viewing a rush of the ongoing edit.. so.. anyway,
There’s a road called Calum’s Road on Raasay an island off the Western coast of Scotland, it’s one of the Inner Hebrides, a beautiful road made by one isolated man who was fed up with no one doing anything to get a road into his tiny village of Arnish, where at that point, he was the only person there living. It’s a tale, a story this road of Scottish independence, of Highland clearance and it’s evils, and of one man’s determination and strength. The road is a beautiful place on lots of levels, I’ve travelled it twice and wanted to try to write something that expressed my feeling for the man, his toil, the scenery and the journey, the mechanics of it, and somehow this happened, unlike anything I’d normally do, to my ear it sounds like a combination of William Orbit, Lemon Jelly, and some old blues fart (that’s me I’m on about!)
Let’s be honest the best thing about a tribute act is often the inventive and amusing names they dream up for themselves, like ‘Björn Again’, ‘By Jovi’ or ‘Fake That’.
My partner Sue and I often lay awake until the wee hours giggling as we make up pretend ones, like ‘UR40’ or ‘Poxy Music’, it’s all just a bit of fun. Isn’t it?
There is nothing worse to me than someone who could be writing their own tunes and performing them instead playing someone else’s once famous tunes badly to a crowd of pissed up fat 40 to 50 year olds, out for a night, and a bittofalaff. The very same people who should have celebrated talent in their local pub at the age of 20 and helped propel a local band to the stardom they now celebrate second-hand, with some flaccid version of David Bowie or Pink Floyd. The same people who missed a decent band the first time around when they were occupied with lusting after Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo.
To be fair, I’ve been, I went to see the ‘Australian Pink Floyd’. I thought, after years of anti-tribute venom I should experience what I intrinsically knew I would hate. I went with some lads from work too as a social thing. Open minded believe it or not.
Walking out of the gig was an experience of feeling like I was amongst people who had never been to a real gig.
The only time in the performance where anything real and true happened (a visual moment of anti – Trumpism during the song ‘Brain Damage’) became the highlight of the whole night. Instead of coming away from a concert where significantly more of it was ‘real’, performed, and no doubt repeated, but at least of their own songs and with their own hats, and haircuts, their own faces, and the guitar brand they really liked to play, I was leaving un-elated after seeing just what exactly?
Frank fucking Zappa people!!
I walked away confused by the experience. I wanted to shout, ‘I saw Frank fucking Zappa at this same venue in the 80s’, ‘The real Frank Zappa‘, but frankly, I wasn’t sure anyone there would have known who Frank Zappa was. Pink Floyd post Syd attracts a certain T-shirt wearing flabby version of Dave Gilmour in my opinion. You know, people with a Dark Side of The Belly and a membership of Camra, the real ale club, a certain balding type of gentleman sometimes accompanied by a long-suffering Mrs Gilmour. The kind of chap who was studying for his A’Level Chemistry exam when you were getting stoned and err…. listening to Frank Zappa. 😉
These are the same people who are all singing along to the two tunes they know at the tribute concert, the same people who stay in a Travelodge that night and catch a train back to wherever in the morning, because the term ‘partying all night’ was never, let alone at the age of 50, in their vocabulary. It’s ALL worse than an 80s night at Butlin’s Bognor Regis, and believe me, that’s my idea of a waking hell. Very few of these people are musicians, or care about the state of popular music. They have lots to answer for & let’s face it, the musicians who pander to them have plenty to answer for too.
It’s understandable though, if you can’t get your latest project off the ground and you’re not a progressive house DJ, what chance have you got but to play to a series of Wednesday night crowds on the ‘Converted Toilet Block’ circuit up and down the nation for ‘eff all monetary recompense but a whole heap of pain? OR you could earn some proper money playing drums for the new Def Leppard tribute band now gigging to large crowds, large tasteless but wealthy crowds up and down our fair country. Oh and I bet you’re thanking your lucky stars for the accident you had with that Flymo 18 years ago now aren’t you!!
This is the crux of my unhappiness, though musicians earn good money at this, they are in effect, doing others out of the support that could come their way by pandering to a PUBLIC that if it only HAD ANY TASTE and could access and see and hear a local band, they might support that instead of this tribute band fakery. And let’s be honest, it’s not a tribute to their band of choice, it’s a money earner.
Do you think The Doors or The Velvet Underground, or the The Sex Pistols want their memory diluted by watered down versions of themselves? I doubt it. If you were a true fan surely the last thing you would do is create a shit version of your favourite band, the band you mythologise, and all copyist versions, will, therefore, by default be, shit.
It’s the Bagpuss Effect
The whole nostalgia trip, of going to see a poor copy of something you once thought you knew is like those conversations about the 70s cartoons you once loved; ‘Awww, do you know Bagpuss’?.. or doing that impression of Ivor The Engine to the guys at work.
These are conversations that leave everyone smiling and that leave you feeling warmly smug about your past life, yet that also leave you knowing, you ain’t never going back there and that looking backwards is like eating air, namely extremely un-fulfilling.
Going to see a tribute band is like that. You know it’s not Mötorhead up there on stage, because environmental health won’t let them play at 140db anymore and even in the low light you can see that the lead singer has stuck that fuckin’ wart on with blu-tack! What is the point of not seeing Lemmy, Lemmy WAS MÖTORHEAD!! Well him and Philthy Phil and Fast Eddie were the true Mötorhead in my opinion, but that’s another argument for another day.
I don’t mean a Covers Band.
There is nothing wrong with playing someone else’s songs as cover versions in your set, but dressing up like them, or having plastic surgery to make your face look like the plastic surgery Paul McCartney once had, just ain’t on. It’s about as honourable as playing army in your back garden and then wearing the uniform and medals of a real soldier on Armistice Day at the local war memorial.
I care about music and it’s place in our hearts and Tribute Bands make a fuckery of all that is important to me, and I think should be to you if you as I do love popular music.
However Sue, my partner, whose’ opinion I trust says that the Bowie Tribute she went to see was very good. They were called Absolutely Bowie.
But they weren’t were they, and that I guess is my whole point.
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