Sound System at the V&A Museum


Staying Power: Decks, Dance and Dialogue 1950-2000

Promotional image for Staying Power: Decks, Dance and Dialogue 1950-2000
  • What:
    Special Events
  • When:
    Fri 18 April 2014 14:00
  • Where:
    The V&A

SPECIAL EVENT: Explore the themes captured by photographers who have recorded the black experience.

A day and night event, open to all, to discover how photography has recorded the transformation of music, the wave of subcultures and the shifting disposition of a nation. Chill out with DJs in the garden, bring your photographs to our preservation experts, share your photo story with an oral historian, attend an image-making masterclass and show off your results in our pop-up display.

Jointly organised with the London International Ska Festival and Tighten Up Crew

Staying power is a partnership project between the V&A and the Black Cultural Archive (BCA) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund under the Collecting Cultures Initiative

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JUMPING THE SHUFFLE BLUES – Jamaican Sound System Classics 1946 – 1960


This 3CD collects well over three hours of bona fide sound system classics that were instrumental in shaping Jamaican music as we know it today. Quite who played what first is, like the mystery of the island’s first sound, lost in the mists of time, and in truth,who cares… ‘when music is this nice you gotta play it twice!’

Every tune on the release is known to have been played on a Jamaican Sound System at one time!

Yes every tune on the triple cd release is known to have been played on a Jamaican Sound at some point, and this issue doesn’t just comprise the known massive hits of the time, like Wynonie Harris’ – Bloodshot Eyes, but includes many tunes that took years to track down, tunes that weren’t attributed to their original artistes until people more knowledgable than I discovered them. Some tunes that until this release were more widely known by their sound system nicknames, the self penned titles found on labels where the original titles had been scratched out to prevent other rival Sounds finding out what the hell you were spinning.

Released on the 20th of June.

I recently spent a number of hours in the company of Mr Phil Etgart, one of the World’s most respected collectors of Jamaican music, who compiled and researched for this release, penning the excellent and extensive sleevenotes. You can here the interview I conducted with him at his home in Southern England on the Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio Podcast. This post though is intended to whet your appetite and to alert you to the release of this fine collection.

Essential listening.

This fantastic release charts the Shuffle Blues tunes from the USA that profoundly influenced Jamaican music in the early days of it’s creation and as such is essential listening for any lover, not only of just plain old good music, but in this case records that were without doubt played in Jamaica, by Jamaicans before the island even had it’s first record pressing facility!

The tunes included on the release are as follows:

LOUIS JORDAN    SALT PORK, WEST VIRGINIA
LOUIS JORDAN    REET PETITE AND GONE
JACK McVEA    TWO TIMIN’ BABY
FELIX GROSS    WHAT’S YOUR STYLE, BABY
GENE COY    KILLER DILLER
GENE PHILLIPS    ROCK BOTTOM
JOE LIGGINS    DRIPPERS’ BOOGIE (PART1)
GENE AMMONS    JUGHEAD RAMBLE
KING PERRY    GOIN’ TO CALIFORNIA BLUES
TODD RHODES    PAGE BOY SHUFFLE
CALVIN BOZE    SAFRONIA B
EDDIE CHAMBLEE    EVERY SHUT EYE AIN’T SLEEP
GRIFFIN BROTHERS, THE    RIFFIN’ WITH GRIFFIN
HAROLD LAND ALL STARS, THE    SAN DIEGO BOUNCE
JEWEL KING    3 X 7 = 21
JOE LIGGINS    LITTLE JOE’S BOOGIE
TEDDY BRANNON    MIXIN’ WITH DIXON
T-BONE WALKER    HUSTLE IS ON, THE
ARCHIBALD    STACK-A-LEE (PARTS 1&2)
RAY-O-VACS, THE    MY BABY’S GONE
CHARLIE GONZALEZ    I’M FREE
GRIFFIN BOTHERS, THE (FEATURING MARGIE DAY)    STUBBORN AS A MULE
JACKIE BRENTSON    INDEPENDANT WOMAN
JAMES WAYNE    TEND TO YOUR BUSINESS
JIMMY McCRACKLIN    LOOKING FOR A WOMAN
MARGIE DAY & THE GRIFFIN BROTHERS    BONAPARTE’S RETREAT
WILLIS JACKSON    LATER FOR THE ‘GATOR
WYNONIE HARRIS    BLOODSHOT EYES
ROY BROWN    TRAIN TIME BLUES
ZUZU BOLLIN    WHY DON’T YOU EAT WHERE YOU SLEPT LAST NIGHT
LESTER WILLIAMS    I CAN’T LOSE WITH THE STUFF I USE
BIG JAY McNEELY    BIG JAY SHUFFLE
LOWELL FULSON    GUITAR BOOGIE
ROSCO GORDON    NO MORE DOGGIN’
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD    KC LOVIN’ (AKA KANSAS CITY)
LLOYD PRICE    LAWDY MISS CLAWDY
SHIRLEY & LEE    I’M GONE
L’IL SON JACKSON    GET HIGH EVERYBODY
JIMMIE LEE    BLUE AND LONESOME
LYNN HOPE    HOPE, SKIP AND JUMP
PAUL BASCOMB    MUMBLES
ROSCO GORDON    TOO MANY WOMEN
LESTER WILLIAMS    BRAND NEW BABY
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW    COUNTRY GAL
HAL PAIGE    DRIVE IT HOME
AMOS MILBURN    ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER
SMILEY LEWIS    LITTLE FERNANDEZ
MELVIN DANIELS    NO MORE CRYING ON MY PILLOW
SONNY KNIGHT    BUT OFFICER
JIMMY LIGGINS    DRUNK
FLOYD DIXON    HEY BARTENDER
BB KING    YOU UPSET ME BABY
MIKE GORDON0    WHY DON’T YOU DO RIGHT
EARL CURRY    ONE WHOLE YEAR BABY
EDDIE CHAMBLEE    LA! LA! LA! LADY
CHAMPION JACK DUPREE    DRUNK AGAIN
JIMMY McCRACKLIN    BLUES BLASTERS’ BOOGIE
BILL DOGGETT    QUAKER CITY
SMILEY LEWIS    REAL GONE LOVER
CHARMS, THE    LING, TING, TONG
GENE & EUNICE    KO KO MO
BOP-A-LOOS, THE    SOUTH PARK MAMBO
JOHNNY ACE    PLEDGING MY LOVE
OSCAR McLOLLIE    CONVICTED
LLOYD LAMBERT    HEAVY SUGAR
T-BONE WALKER    T-BONE SHUFFLE
SHIRLEY & LEE    FEEL SO GOOD
BARBIE GAYE    MY BOY LOLLYPOP
CLARENCE ‘FROG MAN’ HENRY    AIN’T GOT NO HOME
SMILEY LEWIS     SOMEDAY (YOU’LL WANT ME)
SONNY KNIGHT    CONFIDENTIAL
ROY WRIGHT    YOU PROMISED
BIG MAYBELLE    I DON’T WANT TO CRY
DONNIE ELBERT    HAVE I SINNED
LARRY WILLIAMS    HIGH SCHOOL DANCE
FATS DOMINO    I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
DOC BAGBY    DUMPLIN’S
ETTA JAMES    PICK UP, THE
DAVE BARTHOLOMEW    SHUFFLIN’ FOX, THE
BOBBY DAY    OVER AND OVER
DOC BAGBY    YOU’RE SO DELIGHTFUL
LLOYD TROTMAN    TROTTIN’ IN
BIG JAY McNEELY    THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND
JOHNNY ADAMS    I WON’T CRY
DONNE ELBERT    WILL YOU EVER BE MINE

… in fact over 80 tracks chart sound system classics on this three cd set.

Go buy your copy for under a Tenner Now!

Smiley Culture RIP – Dies in bizarre police raid knife incident


Smiley Culture, Police Officer no give him producer...

Smiley Culture is dead at 48.

Tuesday 15th March 2011

More crappy news as one of the few Reggae stars to cross over into the mainstream charts dies in a bizarre incident at his home involving the Police.

Police were apparently interested in his possible involvement in a conspiracy to supply Cocaine and were at his home to make an arrest when the incident, in which David Emmanuel, aka Smiley Culture may have possible inflicted injuries on himself. This comes from a statement by the Met police.

Smiley rose with the Saxon sound system and the fast chat UK toasting style, and his twist of chatting with a London accent and talking about the realities of growing up in the UK under the Suss laws of the 70s and 80s took centre stage as he rose to fame, mainly on the power of two tunes, ‘Police Officer’ which was sandwiched in between a release and re-release of his tune ‘Cockney Translator’.

On a purely personal note, I bought both at the time on 12″ fell in love with the Cockney accent and cheeky lyrics and the story telling of Police Officer.

On a recent visit to Chris Lane the part owner and producer for Fashion records the label that had the original hits with Smiley a few weeks ago, we spoke about those days and the sudden impetus these hits added to his work with Fashion, though we didn’t touch on his personal relationship with Smiley Culture, I wish I’d asked him more about the MC, in retrospect.

TIGHTEN UP presents: TRASH & READY!!! SUNDAY 21 MARCH 2010


TIGHTEN UP presents:
TRASH & READY!!!
SUNDAY 21 MARCH 2010
@ CATCH
22 KINGSLAND RD
SHOREDITCH
LONDON E2
Doors: 8pm – 1am
Gate Pressure: FREE!

Music Policy: Old-School Dancehall & Digital Reggae Sounds inna 80’s styleeee!

Special Guests: DUB ORGANISER SOUND (DAVE HENDLEY & STU TOLHURST)

The Tighten Up Crew present a brand-new, second-hand ting called: TRASH & READY showcasing THE RUFFEST, TUFFEST OLD-SCHOOL DANCEHALL & DIGITAL REGGAE SOUNDS with resident selectas: MISTAH BROWN & TIM P plus UK Sound System legend CHAMPIAN MC (Jamdown Rockers) pon di mic…

This month we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the riddim that changed Jamaica’s musical landscape forever, creating a legacy that continues to mash down sound barriers to this day! When Wayne Smith & King Jammy dropped the awesome “Under Mi Sleng Teng” back in ’85, it divided opinion more than any previous evolutionary development in Jamaican popular music. You either loved it or hated it… or were just plain confused by it! 25 years later, this Dancehall anthem is recognised all over the world as a true classic and the riddim, (One of the most versioned EVER!), is rightly hailed as a true musical landmark regardless of genre. Sleng Teng’s influence has spread like wild-fire to pretty much every other contemporary musical style; from Jungle to House, from Hip-Hop to mainstream ‘Pop’ and beyond. If that ain’t a good enough excuse for a party – we don’t know what is!!!

Joining us for this extra-special Jamdown Knees-up will be two of our top spars and favourite selectas – ‘DANGEROUS’ DAVE HENDLEY & STORMIN’ STU TOLHURST – collectively known as DUB ORGANISER – the Kent Coast’s ruling Sound! These guys have choons for days and extra days so run come check it!

Expect anything and everything inna 80’s style & fashion – from Yellowman & Sister Nancy through to Supercat & Cutty Ranks and beyond… Oh, and more cuts of Sleng Teng than you can shake a Rod of Correction at!

THIS EVENT IS OPEN MIC SO IF YOU HAVE POSITIVE LYRICS… BRING DEM COME!!!

See you there…

The Tighten Up Crew