Friday, May 9, 2008

Starvation - UB40, Madness, Specials, General Public

With what's going on in Darfur and now in Myanmar I thought it appropriate to post this video of "Starvation" by The Pioneers that features a cornucopia of members of 2Tone era bands including The Specials, Madness, UB40, General Public and The Pioneers along with others (check out the Trumpet solo by Dick Cuthell who toured with The Specials).

Starvation/Tam Tam Pour L'Ethiopie was a double A-sided charity single released in 1985, and recorded by two charity ensembles formed specially for the occasion, also known as Starvation and Tam Tam Pour L'Ethiopie respectively. The aim was to raise money for the starving people of Ethiopia.

The idea of gathering artists together to make a charity record was copied from Bob Geldof's Band Aid project, which was number one in the UK charts at the time Starvation/Tam Tam was recorded in December 1984. Band Aid was criticised by some for featuring very few black musicians, and none at all from Africa. The Starvation/Tam Tam record was meant to rectify this.

"Starvation", a cover version of a Pioneers song, featured a number of musicians associated with the 2 Tone era (the group were originally going to be called "The 2 Tone All Stars"), including members of The Specials, Madness, The Beat and UB40, as well as The Pioneers themselves. It was produced by Jerry Dammers.

"Tam Tam Pour L'Ethiopie" was recorded in Paris and featured an ensemble of African artists. Many of the musicians in question were from French-speaking countries, but lyrics in a number of African languages - including Douala, Lingala, Wolof, Malinke and Swahili - also featured on the record. It was produced by Manu Dibango.

The record was released on the Zarjazz label and reached #33 in the UK charts, marking the only time that a record to raise money for Africa actually featuring African artists has entered the UK Top 40.

Proceeds from the record were distributed to the charities Oxfam, War On Want and Médecins Sans Frontières.

Here is the line-up that recorded the song and appear in the video:

Vocals: Ali Campbell, Robin Campbell, Ray Falconer (UB40); Jackie Robinson, Sydney Crooks, George Agard (The Pioneers)
Keyboards: Jerry Dammers (The Specials)
Guitar: Lynval Golding (The Specials)
Bass: Mark Bedford (Madness)
Drums: Daniel Woodgate (Madness)
Percussion: John Bradbury (The Specials), Geraldo Darbilly
Talking Drums: Gasper Lawal
Cornet, Flugelhorn, Trumpet: Dick Cuthell (The Specials)
Trombone: Annie Whitehead
Additional vocals: Dave Wakeling (The Beat/General Public)
Toasting: Ranking Roger (The Beat/General Public)
Backing vocals: Lorenza Johnson, Claudia Fontaine, Caron Wheeler, Naomi Thomson (Afrodiziak)

Here is the video. A lot catchier than "We Are The World" wouldn't you say?


Anonymous said...

Hi Marco, do you know whether this wonderful record ever got an issue on CD or mp3? I've been looking for it in a digital format for the longest time! Cheers, Andrew.

Andrew Cashin said...

Just wondering if anyone has an MP3 of this?