Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rare 2-Tone Spin-off: Pauline Black with Sunday Best Featuring Lynval Golding and Neville Staple

I remember spying a small article in the NME back in the summer of 1984 that mentioned a new project called Pauline Black with Sunday Best was about to release their first single.  The song, "Pirates On The Airwaves" heralded pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and others that broadcast music illegally from ships moored in international waters outside the U.K. I searched high and low for the song with out any success for many years only finding a copy online about five years ago.

In addition to Black on lead vocals, the band included 2-Tone refugees Neville Staple and Lynval Golding of The Specials who had just left the Fun Boy Three.  The band was rounded out by a teen aged Wayne Lothian on bass (who later played with Special Beat, General Public and Dave Wakeling's version of The English Beat here in the U.S.), Phil Graham on drums and a young guitarist/keyboardist named Jeremy Edwards who helped write the song.

I was reminded about this rare song by sad news earlier this week when Black posted about the untimely passing of Edwards on her Facebook page:
Very sorry to hear of the passing of Jez Edwards. I shall forever remember him as the fresh faced young teenager who played keyboards on a single 'Pirates On the Airwaves' that I did with Lynval Golding & Neville Staples as the short- lived band Sunday Best. My condolences to his family and friends. Pauline.
"Pirates on the Airwaves" is a fun, lighthearted and bouncy funk song coated in an 80s pop sheen.  The song has never appeared on any record, CD or compilation, making it an early 80's musical curiosity for fans of 2-Tone. Below is a short clip of the band making a very rare UK TV appearance. Edwards is playing guitar along with Golding.  

Rent & Watch "The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee Scratch Perry"

The announcement that Lee "Scratch" Perry is performing on Friday April 12th and Friday April 19th at the 2013 Coachella Music Festival and touring with The Selecter on a few dates on the West Coast means that there will also be screenings of the 2011 acclaimed documentary, "The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee Scratch Perry" in Southern California during April.  Produced and directed by Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough and narrated by Academy Award Winner Benicio Del Toro, the documentary is a feature length film about one of the most fascinating and influential artists of our times.

The film begins in rural Jamaica, probing Perry's youth as well as the events of his peak musical production years in Kingston, in which he mentored a young Bob Marley, created the sound of Reggae as we now know it today, pioneered a new genre of music he called Dub, invented what was to become the remix and produced international hit songs for artists from Junior Murvin to The Congos to Paul McCartney to The Clash.  He did all of this while working out of the infamous Black Ark Studio, a shack that he built with his hands that he later burned to the ground in a fit of rage.

Equally a documentation of a musical culture and a fascinating character study of genius and madness, the film is a sight and sound clash of visual and aural styles, utilizing some fantastic stock footage, photographs, concert video, audio clips, music video clips, and an exclusive, candid interview with Perry at his home in Switzerland. Filmed in Jamaica, London, Switzerland, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Colorado, the film charts Perry's influence on music.

If you can't make it to Coachella or to any of the shows Perry is playing with The Selecter during their just announced U.S. tour, then consider renting and streaming the entire documentary below for the super low price of just $4.99.  A French language version is also available.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Selecter Announce US Tour With Lee "Scratch" Perry That Includes Coachella Festival Dates

More exciting news for American ska fans! Pauline Black, lead vocalist of The Selecter has announced via her Facebook page that the band will embark on their first U.S. tour in a decade! And if that wasn't exciting enough, the band will be joined by Lee "Scratch" Perry on four of the dates!
FOR ALL AMERICAN FANS OF THE SELECTER: I am very proud to announce that The Selecter will be playing Coachella Festival in Indio, CA on Saturdays April 13th & 20th in USA!!! this will be part of an eight show tour, dates to be announced very, very soon.
The U.S. tour dates are sandwiched in between the band's Coachella Festival dates including stops in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Sacramento:

April 13th - Coachella Festival, Indio, CA
April 14th - Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas, NV with Lee 'Scratch' Perry
April 15th - The Glass House, Pomona, CA  with Lee 'Scratch' Perry
April 16th - Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA with Lee 'Scratch' Perry
April 17th - Ace of Spades, Sacramento, CA with Lee 'Scratch' Perry
April 19th- TBA
April 20th - Coachella Festival, Indio, CA
April 21st - Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ

Before heading across the pond this spring, The Selecter are gearing up to release a new 10 track album titled "String Theory" and will kick off a 20 date UK 'String Theory Tour 2013' that runs from February 28th through March 31st with special guests, premiere Bristol reggae band Talisman.

I still have my fingers crossed that The Selecter might include an East Coast stop or two on this tour as well. Keep your eyes open for that!

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra Announce Short U.S. Tour

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (commonly abbreviated by fans as Skapara or TSPO) who are celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2013, have just announced a rare mini U.S. tour that will include two performances at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2013 on Friday April 12th and Friday April 19th, as well as a stop in New York City on Sunday April 28th at Stage 48 with opening sets by Dave Hilyard and The Rocksteady 7 and The Pandemics (led by Bigger Thomas trombonist Chris Malone). I suggest if you live anywhere near New York City and you want to catch TSPO at Stage 48 (which is a relatively intimate venue), that you get your tickets before the show sells out (I already have mine!).

Founded 25 years ago by two of the original members who bonded over a Gaz Mayall ska cassette tape in a Tokyo record store, the 10 piece band have gone on to create their own unique version of Jamaican dance music, that includes rock, punk, jazz, surf, pop, with a heavy dose of mad stage antics.  TSPO has grown from a fervent cult fan base into one of the most influential and respected bands in Japan and of the global ska music scene. Their massive repertoire includes 17 studio albums, 35 singles and many DVDs, compilations, soundtracks, members' side projects, countless TV appearances and multiple collaborations with some of Japan's biggest names in music.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the band, this snippet says it all really:
"Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra are legendary, essential, and flawless. They don't make mistakes. They are a robot of skank sent from the future to teach us how to get down. Ten lions, one god. Ska music. "
As a special treat, check out a nearly two and half hour plus live TSPO show from late 2011. Its incredible from both the band and the tireless Japanese fans who dance in unison for the entire show!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Story Of Wayne Perkins & "Concrete Jungle"-- The Unsung "White" Wailer Who Changed The Sound Of Reggae

Many fans of reggae cite the Bob Marley & The Wailers instant classic album "Catch A Fire" released forty years ago, as one of the very first albums that turned them into fans of the genre.  While many listeners have assumed that the striking guitar solos featured throughout he album were played by Peter Tosh, the fact is quite a few of them were performed by Alabama-born, southern rocker Wayne Perkins, who was recruited to play on the record by Island Records president Chris Blackwell while mixing it in London.

After recording the album's basic tracks in Jamaica in 1972, Marley took the tapes to London where he worked closely with Blackwell to flesh out the Wailers' bare bones sound into something more palatable for American and European audiences. Have a listen to the original version of the song the band recorded in Jamaica.

Perkins, then a Muscle Shoals studio sideman, was asked to provide lead guitar overdubs on three cuts: "Concrete Jungle," "Stir It Up," and "Baby We’ve Got a Date." His contributions to the pioneering LP weren’t actually mentioned on the original liner notes — indeed most listeners assumed they were hearing Peter Tosh — but Perkins received credit later. The late Timothy White, a Rolling Stone editor and author of a Bob Marley biography, made sure Perkins received his due, calling him "the unsung white Wailer." Have a listen to Perkins sinuous, meticulously phrased improvised lead that smoothly spans three octaves!

According to an interview that Perkins conducted with the Birmingham City Paper in October, 2009, he confirmed that Blackwell was specifically trying to appeal to a rock audience and that he believed that Perkins' distinctive playing honed at Muscle Shoals, particularly on album opener "Concrete Jungle," would help launch Marley and The Wailers out of Jamaica and make them stars.  To that end, Blackwell went as far as to commission graphic artists Rod Dyer and Bob Weiner, to design a rock style album cover depicting a Zippo lighter (see above). The sleeve functioned like a real Zippo lighter case, opening at a side hinge to reveal the record within.

Perkins related the experience of playing the memorable solo:
"We were in the middle of working on a Smith Perkins Smith album in London, and I ran into Blackwell on the spiral staircase at Island Records. He said that he had some reggae music that he wanted me to try to play on. I really wasn't familiar with hardcore reggae. He wanted me to 'do that Southern rock guitar thing, or whatever you do.' So I met Marley, but just briefly. I didn't know any of these guys. And the first thing I noticed when I walked downstairs was that the basement was in a fog. Lots of [marijuana] smoke. It was too funny. I tried to get down to business."
With guitar in hand, waiting to begin recording his part, Perkins requested an explanation of how to approach this music with which he was unfamiliar. "Blackwell explained that the bass drum, sock cymbal, and the snare [drum] are on the one and three [beats]. He told me to ignore the bass guitar because it was more of a lead instrument [as opposed to a bass's typical role as a rhythm instrument]. It's great music, but it's kinda weird in that everything feels like it's being played backwards. 
'Concrete Jungle' was the very first thing that I was handed. That was the most out-of-character bass part I'd ever heard. But because the keyboards and the guitars stay locked together doing what they're doing all through the song, that was sorta my saving grace. I thought I could follow the song, but I still didn't know what I was going to do on guitar. So I started doodling on the front of it, and I told the sound engineer to start over about halfway through it. Then I started picking up a little something here and there. I nailed that guitar solo down on the second or third take, I think. It was a gift from God, because I really didn't know what the hell I was doing. And then Marley came into the recording room. He was cartwheeling, man, he couldn't get over what had just happened to his song, he was so excited. I couldn't understand a damn thing he was saying. And he was cramming this huge joint down my throat and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. He got me real, real high."
Finally, below is an interview with Perkins discussing the iconic solo.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Best of Bigger Thomas Now Available: Digital Release Retrospective Features 21 Tracks Over 25 Years

The advent of 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of my band Bigger Thomas!  And to mark the occasion, we have released "Ska In My Pocket: The Biggest & Bestest of Bigger Thomas" a digital only release featuring twenty one of our favorite songs taken from the four albums and two demo tapes we have recorded since forming in New Brunswick, NJ in 1988.  We feel it is a fitting way to honor our musical legacy and use it as a springboard for an EP of new music we plan to release later this year. Click here to download the album. You can stream the album below:

This compilation tells a story that began a quarter century ago when the original members of the band (Roger Apollon, Marc Wasserman, Jim Cooper, Steve Meicke, Sean Moore, Kevin Shields and Steve Parker) first met one another and has continued through to today's band which still includes three of the original members (Apollon, Wasserman and Cooper) with long time members John DiBianco, Spencer Katzman, Rob George, Chris Malone and Roy Radics. Though a love for ska and reggae music originally brought us together, each member has brought a diverse set of musical interests that we developed into our own sound with 2-Tone ska (The Specials, The Beat, The Selecter), UK reggae (Steel Pulse, UB40) and punk (The Clash, The Jam, The Police) as the foundation. Like our cherished musical influences, our goal has always been to write and perform music that gets people dancing and thinking too.

Each member of Bigger Thomas has contributed individually and collectively to these unique hybrids of ska, reggae, pop, calypso and soul that appeared on four albums -- Bigger Thomas (1989), Resisting Success (2004), We Wear The Mask (2005) and Steal My Sound (2010) as well as two demo tapes we recorded in 1988. These 21 songs reflect the best of the diversity, creativity and originality we have developed writing and performing together all these many years. Most importantly these songs are a testament to the brotherhood we have built and that has endured through the ups and downs that our shared musical life has thrown at us over the last twenty five years. We hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we have enjoyed playing them.

Many thanks to Scott Benson and Steve Shafer (Duff Guide To Ska) for the combined effort on the art work.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rare Chrysalis Records Song Lyric Sheets From The Specials 1979 Debut U.S. Album

Hot on the heels of the announcement that The Specials are planning a 2013 U.S. tour, I wanted to share very rare song lyric sheets from the U.S. pressing of the band's first self-titled LP released on Chrysalis Records in 1979.  The lyrics were available if you sent a a SASE (remember those boys and girls?!) to Chrysalis Records.

Long before the Internet and smart phone apps made it possible to search for song lyrics in the blink of an eye, many of us who came of age in the 80's would do our best to decipher and decode the sometimes unfamiliar and unusual lyrics we heard sung by our favorite U.K. bands.  I remember many lunchtime debates with high school and college friends about lyrics that our American ears either misheard, misunderstood or frankly could not understand from the likes of The Clash "(I'm the White Man in the Palais" -- What is a palais?) , The Jam ("He smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs" -- What is a Wormwood Scrubs?) and The Selecter ("I love my collie, it makes my feel so high" -- How can a dog make you high?). Add to that list The Specials, whose lyrics confounded many a teen aged American ear. Lines like "Oh no, no gimme no more pickney" and "Try wearing a cap!" were completely lost on us.

In an effort to remedy any Transatlantic cultural confusion, someone at the Chrysalis offices in New York had the bright idea to create a song lyric packet (probably transcribed and typed up by a Chrysalis Records intern).  We aren't talking about anything fancy here!  Just the song lyrics (without any explanation of what the songs were about) typed up on standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper with a few Walt Jabsco's and checkerboards added for a bit of design and then mimeographed. The only problem is that the official Chrysalis lyric sheets for The Specials American release were also wrong in many instances! 

Below are scans of each song lyric page the record company distributed. How many errors can you find? Many thanks to Gene Meredith for sharing these with me!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Specials Announce U.S. Tour, South By Southwest Dates

The Specials are finally returning to tour the U.S! The band announced today that they will perform two dates at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas this coming March as part of the first leg of a larger North American tour that will also include Vancouver, B.C. The band will be without co-vocalist Neville Staple, who announced he was leaving the band a few weeks ago

According to an announcement made on the band's website today:
The Specials will start the first leg of their 2013 USA tour in March. Starting in Chicago the tour will route through Austin, Texas with two confirmed dates at the huge South by South West Festival of Music and Film on March 13th and 15th. Followed by shows on the West Coast. Dates and Venues will be posted soon on this website.
The Specials also addressed the departure of Staple on their website, stating:
We are very sad Neville cannot join us on The Specials UK tour in May 2013 or indeed on the future projects we have planned. He has made a huge contribution to the fantastic time and reception we have received since we started and reformed in 2009. However, he missed a number of key shows last year due to ill health & his health is obviously much more important. We wish him the very best for the future.
This is great news for fans of the band who did not have a chance to see the band on their most recent visit to North American in 2010 (when they played a handful of shows in Toronto, Los Angles and New York) and in 2011 when they made a few TV appearances. I selfishly hope that they will include one more stop in New York before they head back across the pond for good!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Next Electric Avenue Show: The Scofflaws and The Bullbuckers on Saturday, January 19, 2013

The first Electric Avenue show of the year will kick off on Saturday, January 19, 2013 with the long awaited return of 90's NYC ska heroes The Scofflaws and the NYC debut of Wilmington, Delaware-based 10 piece ska and soul band The Bullbuckers! Doors are at 8:30 pm and the cover is a reasonable $8.

The Scofflaws are a Huntington, Long Island, New York-based third wave ska band that debuted in 1988. Known for their rambunctious live shows, technically proficient horn solos and tight arrangements, the band were one of the top third wave ska acts of the '90s and one of the most beloved bands on the now-defunct Moon Ska label, as well as the epicenter and focal point of the once-thriving Long Island ska scene.

The Bullbuckers penmanship, and accents are from the States but the music's heartbeat at it's source starts in Jamaica's roots including elements of mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dub mixed with soul, jazz, latin, a splash of rock, and hip-hop.

Electric Avenue is a partnership between myself and my fellow New York City-based ska blogging friend Steve Shafer (AKA Duff Guide To Ska). We have teamed up to present monthly ska and reggae shows at Characters NYC, a midtown Manhattan Irish pub (243 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue in Manhattan) with a big back room ideally suited for live music.

Since last fall, we've been undertaking this labor of love--doing it for free (the bands split 100% of the cover, nobody else takes a cut)--to support ska bands and their fans, and have some fun in the process. Electric Avenue shows already have featured some of the best acts on the ska scene, including King Django, The Snails, The Frightnrs, Destroy Babylon, Bigger Thomas, Beat Brigade, Doomsday!, Los Skarronerros, and The Pandemics. The Facebook Electric Avenue event page can be found here. And take a moment to "like" the Electric Avenue FB page, so you keep up on our shows.

In between sets, Steve will be selecting a great mix of trad and modern ska--with a helping hand from Kames Jelly on the decks. To get you in the mood, here are a few videos of each band:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Paris DJs Soundsystem Presents Free Download: Outernational Ska & Reggae Dub Covers MIx

As the late, great John Peel once said, "I know loads of cover versions that are regarded as being better than the original."  Its a sentiment that I ascribe to whole heartedly, and one that the always excellent Paris DJs collective has dedicated their time and passion to celebrating.

Who is Paris DJs you ask?
We're a team of creative music strategists monitoring emerging music trends. Our international network of artists, DJs & labels is growing day after day. We produce reggae, afro, soul, and more audio goodness, to be released on the newly launched Paris DJs label. We share exclusive free podcasts delivered to more than 50,000 avid audiophiles each month. We publish cutting-edge reviews, interviews and music. And finally, we're a worldwide reference site for soul, funk, afrobeat, reggae/dub, latin, alt hip-hop, jazz, jam bands, electronic, soundtrack and library lovers.
For the last seven years Paris DJs have consistently distributed some of the very best musical podcasts anywhere in the world.  As a New Year's present to all their listeners, they have just distributed their final podcast mix, which just happens to be a fantastic (and free!) diverse mix of ska and reggae covers of songs by Nirvana (Little Roy), Cher (Bang Bang Rock Steady), Nu Shooz (Analog Players Society), Diana Ross (Eva Smart), Jimmy Cliff (Madness) and Sceamin' Jay Hawkins (The Ska Vengers) among others. Go here to download the mix.

I'm in love with the Brooklyn-based Analog Players Society take on the 80's dance cut "I Can't Wait" by Nu Shooz.

Here is track listing:

01. The Decoders - Walk On By feat. Noelle Scaggs
(Burt Bacharach & Hal David cover, from 'Walk On By' digital single, 2012 / self-released)
02. Little Roy - Dive
(Nirvana cover, from 'Battle for Seattle' album, 2011 / Ark Recordings)
03. Grant Phabao & The Silvertones - Old Man River
(Jerome Kern & Oscar H&mmerstein II cover, from the upcoming 'Keep On Rolling' album, 2013 / Paris DJs)
04. Dub Colossus - Crazy in Dub
(Beyonce cover, from 'Dub Me Tender' album, 2012 / Real World)
05. Tomorrow's Children - Bang Bang Rock Steady
(Cher cover, from 'Bang Bang Rock Steady' 7 inch, 1967 / Island)
06. The Upsetters - Jungle Lion
(Al Green cover of 'Love & Happiness', from 'Double Seven' alum, 1973 / Trojan)
07. Analog Players Society - I Can't Wait
(from 'Hurricane Season In Brooklyn' album, 2012 / Studio Brooklyn)
08. Eva Smart - Upside Down
(Diana Ross cover, from 'Upside Down' 7 inch, 1980 / Empire)
09. Dub Kweli - Away Dub
(Glen Brown's 'Dub Happening' vs Zap Mama feat. Talib Kweli's 'Yelling Away', from 'Dub Kweli' mashup album, 2010 / self-released)
10. Lee Fields - You're The Right Kind Of Girl (Grant Phabao Remix)
(exclusive reggae remix, from 'Paris DJs Soundsystem - Dis Is Good For You' compilation, 2012 / Paris DJs)
11. Madness - Vietnam
(Jimmy Cliff cover, from 'Forever Young: The Ska Collection' compilation, 2012 / Salvo)
12. Prince Fatty - Ali Baba (Featuring Winston Francis & Alcapone)
(John Holt cover, from 'Prince Fatty Vs The Drunken Gambler' album, 2012 / Mr Bongo)
13. The Ska Vengers - I Put a Spell on You
(from 'The Ska Vengers' album, 2012 / self-released)
Total time : 47mn 47s

Read Excerpt From Lynval Golding of The Specials Autobiography "Back In Time"

Lynval Golding, the guitarist and prime mover behind The Specials reunion which kicks off again this May, has been busy collaborating with Paul 'Willo' Williams author of the definitive history of the band 'You're Wondering Now -- The Specials from Conception to Reunion' on his autobiography "Back In Time".  Read an interview I did with Williams about Golding's book back in 2011 here.

The book will touch on Golding's experiences with The Specials and relate the inside story on the band's improbable reunion in 2008 and the effect and impact that has had on him, his family, his band mates and fans of the band around the world.  It will also explore more personal issues related to his experiences as an child immigrant moving from Jamaica to a pre-multicultural Britain.

Williams has just released an excerpt from the unpublished book on Facebook which describes Golding's gut wrenching memory of leaving Jamaica as a young boy for England without his mother.
"On the day, there was me, my sister ,my auntie, my two cousins Alvin and Sandra and as we walked up the gangplank I was the last one of us to board but I knew something wasn’t quite right. My mother. I couldn’t see her. I suddenly went through a strange mode. Imagine the sort of scene where a very young child would be clinging onto his mother’s skirt, not wanting her to leave, a separation anxiety, well, that’s what I did. It was a total bombshell, I simply thought mum was coming with us. I was so upset, I had just got back to being with her after her time away and i was so distressed.  I recall my auntie shouting “Come on Lynval!” as she made her way to the top the gangplank to get on the ship. I just stopped in my tracks, looking at her, then back at my mum, totally torn between the two. I shouted to my mother to hurry up and come with us. I was in floods of tears as was my mum. It was a horrible heart trending moment. My auntie screamed at me to get on board but I had now decided I wasn’t going! I didn’t want to be without mum! Again, the chaos continued when my auntie yelled at me to get on board, and I told her I wasn’t going but realistically There was no option for me, I was to go no matter what but I still tried to get to mum, then the truth hit home like a hammer blow when mum, through her tears, just said “I’m not going with you.” And I was dumbstruck and I was crying so badly.  I screamed again “ I don’t wanna go !” but my mum, in a soft way to try and placate me, said “ You’ve got to go now".  That was it. My auntie came and grabbed me to get me on the ship but I was devastated. Like my heart had been ripped out. As the ship pulled out of dock, there were people waving and cheering and all I could see was my mum. She was waving and crying. I could hardly raise a hand to wave back I felt so weak. My auntie said “Lynval-Come on you’re 11 years old, act your age!” But being eleven years old, I was still a child, I wanted my mum like any other normal eleven year old would, being that age meant nothing to me.  I was grieving like someone had died.  I recall that on the way to England, we would stop at various ports, people would get off the ship, stretch their legs and have a walk around the towns, do a little shopping and buy some souvenirs, but I wouldn’t get off. I was too scared to get off.  I was just too traumatised. I had been scared to get on that ship and I was scared to get off it. My auntie and the others with us couldn’t understand my predicament, they didn’t have a clue how I was feeling. They simply thought well, y’ know, “you’re just a kid, what do you really know?, you’ll be fine,” a REAL sort of blasé attitude towards me but they didn’t realise then what sort of trauma I was in, that’s kids can be devastated and emotionally wrecked, as I was and I remained that way for a very long time..."
Golding recorded "My Tears Come Falling Down Like Rain" off the "Guilty 'Til Proved Innocent" LP with a pre-reunion version of the band that alludes to this story.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lee Perry's Letter To The Japanese Government Regarding Paul McCartney's 1980 Incarceration

On January 16, 1980, Japanese customs officials found 7.7 ounces of marijuana in Paul McCartney's luggage as he entered the country, resulting in a 10-day stay in a Tokyo prison and the cancellation of the Wings tour of Japan. After being released, he was told never to return to the country.

One of the more interesting highlights of the whole ordeal came when the slightly eccentric but iconic reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry — sent a message to Tokyo's Minister of Justice in an effort lend his support to McCartney and make a case for the many benefits of the collie weed. His entertaining plea can be enjoyed below.

McCartney and his wife Linda had befriended Perry during a visit to his Black Ark Studio in Jamaica in 1977 where they recorded two reggae tracks that Perry produced and that Linda sang lead vocals on including "Sugartime" originally performed by The McGuire Sisters in 1958 and Mister Sandman, originally performed by The Chordettes in 1954.

The backing band included McCartney on organ along with members of the Black Ark studio band including Billy Gardner on rhythm guitar, Boris Gardner on bass, Mike "Boo" Richards on drums and Winston Wright on keyboards.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Free Digital Album from The Expanders: "Old Time Something Come Back Again"

To celebrate the New Year, SoCal reggae giants The Expanders have released a fantastic free studio album worth of old-school Jamaican tunes titled "Old Time Something Come Back Again" that they have performed over the years. The band pay homage to traditional “rockers” style reggae from the 1970's and they have dedicated the project to Leonard "The Ethiopian" Dillon and all the Jamaican Singers and Players who provided the inspiration. For your free download of these songs, go here.

Taking their name from classic reggae studio bands like The Observers, The Aggrovators and The Upsetters, The Expanders aim to carry on the tradition of Los Angeles reggae/ska bands who strive for a vintage JA-style sound. While other L.A. bands like Hepcat or The Aggrolites specialize in “ska/rocksteady” and “skinhead” reggae respectively, The Expanders focus more on “country roots,” which is the kind of reggae that was played by Jamaican groups like The Ethiopians and The Mighty Diamonds, as well as on early 80’s rub-a-dub styles like that of The Roots Radics.

Check out the band's inspired take on Peter Tosh's "Cant Blame The Youth".