Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dancehall Classics

Angela Lansbury is a hot gal

Chaka Demus & Pliers, "Murder She Wrote" (YSI link) 256 for DJs

Junior Reid, "One Blood" (YSI link)

Terror Fabulous feat. Nadine Sutherland, "Action"
(YSI link) 256 for DJs

Let's stay in Jamaica and continue to look at some classics from dancehall years past. I've always felt that a dancehall classic is all the more impressive because of the sheer number of releases that come out every year. For a particular song or version to achieve the status of classic, it needs to shine that much brighter than the hundreds of other releases that come out of every month, many on the same exact riddim.

These three tracks come from the early 1990s, the period when dancehall became the dominant Jamaican sound. I believe that these are all good starting points for people looking to get into the history of the music, as it's a nice midway point. I specifically went with songs that I think you'll know even if you don't them. In other words, the classics that nearly everyone has in their crates, that you've heard so many times that they're almost embedded in your DNA.

The first track, Chaka Demus' "Murder She Wrote," is the first dancehall track I can remember hearing it. In fact, it's song that I would see often on MTV Jams, as the video runs pretty consistently on that station devoted to rap videos (I'm guessing that there just aren't that many reggae videos). As familiar as that refrain is, it's the bassline that immediately hits when I listen to it again. It dropped in 1993 on the Bam Bam riddim. You can cop the full-length album, although nothing comes close to this one song.

Any fan of hip-hop knows "One Blood" by Junior Reid. Hell, we just posted a song by Reid and he's sung on a few others, my favorite of which is the Wu Tang Clan's "One Blood Under W" off The W. Reid takes the show here, as his voice is hard to forget. There's a wailing quality when he sings "One blood," a marked contrast to the more rap-deejay style that we've come to expect from dancehall. It came out in 1990 and hasn't lost any of its charm yet. Cop the album here, although again this is by far the highlight.

Finally, one of my favorites, Terror Fabulous' "Action." I know that you've heard this one, it's been killing dancefloor for 10+ years (released in 1994). It's a classic male-female duet, with the great Action riddim providing a percussion-heavy track that features a great bass interludes throughout. Buy the LP, Yaga Yaga, which is the crowning achievement of the man's career.

-Le Disko vs. Royal Rumble. Celtics vs. Sixers. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Duke vs. UNC. Yeah, this is real serious, LA, so get to Safari Sam's (5214 Sunset Blvd.) and see a DJ throwdown.

-Boys Noize continues his US tour with a stop in Riverside, CA tonight. He's joining DJ S!N and Luv Tek at their Sunday night weekly, Era Disco. Again, I've caught Boys Noize a few times in the past few months and consider him one of the best. Get to the Ultra Lounge (3252 Mission Inn) and see if you agree.


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