Saturday, July 5, 2008

Punky Reggae Party - Punk and Reggae Influence Each Other

Though its obvious that 2-Tone took much of its inspiration from Jamaican music and culture, it was a two way street of respect and influence as Jamaican artists of the late 70's were inspired by Punk and Ska energy and its counterculture anti-establishment stance.

You don't need to look any further than Bob Marley and his reggae anthem "Punky Reggae Party" to see the link between UK ska and punk bands and JA reggae artists. The lyrics to the song name check leading UK punk bands and pick up Johnny Rotten's rant against corporate rock and roll.

"I'm goin to a party and i hope you are hearty
So please dont be naughty for its a punky reggae party
New wave, new phrase The Wailers will be there
The Damned, the Jam, the Clash, Maytals will be there Dr. Feelgood too
No boring old farts, no boring old farts, no boring old farts will be there!"

Here is a video for the song:

There is a fantastic story in The Guardian from last year that describes what happened when Punk and Reggae went head to head in the UK in 1977. The article by Dave Simpson includes this anecdote that sets the tone for the coming together of punk and reggae:

It's late autumn 1977, and the Stranglers are headlining a show in the Midlands. The support comes from the roots reggae band Steel Pulse. They know what to expect from a punk crowd: gobbing, cans being thrown. Steel Pulse are barely into their first number when a huge wad of phlegm shoots from the audience and lands on the hand of bassist Ron "Stepper" McQueen. The band's nickname for McQueen was "Psycho" and they fully expected him to live up to his name. "We all stared at Ronnie and we stopped playing," remembers Steel Pulse's singer, Mykaell Riley. "So there's this silence onstage, then eventually 4,000 punks went silent." McQueen didn't react, however. Instead, Stranglers bassist, Jean-Jacques Burnel, stepped out of the wings, waded into the crowd, identified the culprit, and knocked him out cold. Then he turned to face the crowd. "He just went, 'You fucking wankers. You love reggae,'" laughs Riley.

The inspiration and connection that punk and 2-Tone bands took from reggae can be heard on the Trojan Records CD compilation "Punky Reggae Party - New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980" which includes an introductory essay by Jean-Jacques Burnel of the Stranglers. The 2 disc CD charts the musical explosion of reggae and dub in the latter half of the seventies that served as inspirations for the punk and British ska bands forming around the same time. The comp features well-known pieces such as Dennis Brown's "Money In My Pocket" and Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic" (in an early Lee Perry-produced version) to cult favourites such as those by Junior Delgado, Prince Far I, Linval Thompson and Prince Jammy. Trinity's highly influential Three Piece Suit And Thing, using the rhythm from Alton Ellis' classic Still In Love With You, is followed by the big hit Uptown Top Ranking which utilizes the same rhythm, in its superior original Joe Gibbs production. Most if not all of the tracks were single A-sides, with half-a-dozen appearing in extended 12" mixes, such as The Congos magnificent Neckodemus, another Lee Perry production, in a different mix from that on their indispensable Heart Of The Congos album.

Here is the song tracking for this 2 CD album:

01. Lizzard - Milk And Honey
02. Lee "Scratch" Perry - White Belly Rat
03. John Holt - Up Park Camp
04. Gregory Isaacs - Mr. Cop
05. Bob Marley - Natural Mystic
06. The Heptones - Cool Rasta
07. Junior Delgado - Sons Of Slaves
08. Michael Rose - Key Of Keys
09. Glen Washington - Rockers (Nuh Crackers)
10. Prince Far I - (Under) Heavy Manners
11. The Silvertones - African Dub
12. Trinity - Three Piece Suit And Thing
13. Althea - Uptown Top Ranking
14. Gregory Isaacs - Hand Cuff (Hey Mr. Babylon)
15. Jimmy Riley - Tell The Youths In The Truth
16. The Mighty Diamonds - Danger In Your Eyes
17. Lee "Scratch" Perry - City Too Hot
18. Linval Thompson - I Love Marijuana
19. Gregory Isaacs' All Stars - Slum (In Dub)

01. Dennis Brown - Man Next Door
02. Jah Woosh - Marcus Say
03. Sugar Minott - The People Got To Know
04. Mikey Dread - Barber Saloon
05. Junior Murvin - Cross Over
06. Bim Sherman - Lightning And Thunder
07. Ken Boothe - You're No Good
08. The Morwells - Kingston 12 Tuffie
09. Michael Rose - Born Free
10. Trinity - Pope Paul Dead And Gone
11. Vin Gordon - Liquid Horns
12. The Viceroys - My Mission Is Impossible
13. Ashanti Waugh - Babylon Wrong
14. The Congos - Neckodeemus
15. Junior Delgado - The Raiders
16. Barrington Levy - Rob And Gone
17. Prince Jammy - Throne Of Blood
18. Barry Brown - Mr. C.I.D.
19. Dennis Brown - Money In My Pocket (12" Mix)

You can download the CD's here:

Punky Reggae Party: New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980 CD 1
Punky Reggae Party: New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980 CD 2

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