martin

----
Why are white people so shit at playing reggae? How comes a Prince Far I platter can make the walls shake but The Police just sound like a mobile ringtone?
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I seem to remember deciding it was a fundamental difference in rhythmic training - i.e. playing on the off-beat. I think it was Steel Pulse who had a section in their live show where they would ham it up and play "white man's reggae" really excruciatingly badly.l

Plus different production values (ie engineers getting rid of bass heavy distortion).

On top of that a lot of really bad white reggae has been more about appropriating the lot of the Kingston "sufferah" by well off rock stars.

Anyway - the case for the defence:

Jah Tubbys
The Disciples
Rhythm & Sound
Conscious Sounds
Twilight Circus.
On-U Sound.

- all of whom made the sensible decision not to have their own vocals on stuff.

Some of the german dancehall riddims being done at the moment are fucking amazing also.
 

martin

----
Yes, I agree with some of those cases for the defence (the others I haven't heard). And as for the sufferer bit, spot on. 'White Man in Hammersmith Palais' is a great song, but I don't think it's trying to actually pass itself off as reggae. Whereas that other song they did later, with Strummer going "No gangboss no, we don't want the whip!" was just atrocious.

And I suppose it's not just confined to whites - the Funkadelic 'reggae' track "Shockwaves" (off "The Electric SPanking of War Babies") is REALLY bad too
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
martin said:
YeWhereas that other song they did later, with Strummer going "No gangboss no, we don't want the whip!" was just atrocious.
not to mention their 'version' of police and thieves.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
martin said:
And I suppose it's not just confined to whites - the Funkadelic 'reggae' track "Shockwaves" (off "The Electric SPanking of War Babies") is REALLY bad too
There's an argument to be had about "authenticity" and whether it's just a JA thing.

Two further examples of why it probaby isn't.

1) I saw a documentary a while back about UK reggae and they had a guy from Chalk Farm studios (?) on and he was saying how all the (black/brit) session musicians were complaining that you just couldn't get the right sounds in a UK studio, that nobody understood the vibe etc. Then one day they got Sly and Robbie in, they just showed up, plugged in and it all sounded perfect.

2) I think it must be in Bass Culture where Dennis Bovell is talking about the snobbery of uk reggae fans and how nobody would by his records in the 70s (Matumbi etc) cos it wasn't from JA. So he pressed a load up made to look like JA 7" pre's and they sold really well...
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
this list of white artists who have had 'reggae (influenced) hits' on the list below speaks for itself.
(from, http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2822/is_1_24/ai_73712453/pg_5)



YEAR ARTIST TITLE

1968 Johnny Nash Hold Me Tight
1972 Paul Simon Mother and Child Reunion
1972 Johnny Nash Stir It Up
1972 Johnny Nash I Can See Clearly Now
1972 Staple Singers I'll Take You There
1973 Paul McCartney/Wings Live & Let Die
1974 Paul McCartney/Wings Jet
1974 Eric Clapton I Shot the Sheriff
1974 Elton John Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
1974 Stevie Wonder Boogie on Reggae Woman
1976 Eagles Hotel California
1978 10cc Dreadlock Holiday
1979 The Police Walking on the Moon
1980 Stevie Wonder Master Blaster Jammin'
1980 Blondie The Tide Is High
1983 The Police Wrapped around Your Finger
1983 UB40 Red Red Wine
1993 Ace of Base All That She Wants
1993 Ace of Base The Sign
1993 Snow Informer
1994 Big Mountain Baby I Love Your Way

the article also discusses 'authenticity':

"The mainstream Euro-American audience has continually demonstrated a propensity for adopting reggae-oriented material on the basis of its aesthetically pleasing surface qualities rather than for explicitly political or deeper musical content. Indeed, some research has suggested that this audience has in fact largely failed to comprehend what is actually being sung (Winer 36). Chart successes by reggae artists and pseudoreggae songs by white pop artists have utilized fragmented elements of the music's syntax while simultaneously divorcing it from the political polemics of Rastafari, and reggae culture in general. Paradoxically, then, the very popularity of reggae, which has led to its global adoption among various artists and audiences, has contributed significantly to its ideological delusion and creative dilution."
 

martin

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Yeah, I did wonder about it being a cultural JA thing. But then that wouldn't explain , as you say, Bovell or even Aswad ('Live and Direct ' is surely up there with anything the Mighty Diamonds recorded?). Also, I know it was turntables and not instruments, but the Saxon MCs, Top Cat and Macka B have knocked out some of the best dancehall I've ever heard.
 

martin

----
matt b said:
"The mainstream Euro-American audience has continually demonstrated a propensity for adopting reggae-oriented material on the basis of its aesthetically pleasing surface qualities rather than for explicitly political or deeper musical content.
I once saw some interview with Celine Dion, where she described her favourite music as being reggae, as it "makes me imagine I'm lying in a hammock on the beach". But even so, even if white bands ditch the consciousness and just want to write a reggae song about getting pissed or laid, they still get the music hopelessly wrong.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
martin said:
But even so, even if white bands ditch the consciousness and just want to write a reggae song about getting pissed or laid, they still get the music hopelessly wrong.
Ah, but what about two tone? Maybe that's not really reggae in the same way that "white man in hammersmith palais" (hereafter known as wmihp!) is not really reggae.

Anyway, how come the Jonathan King-produced "Johnny Reggae" by the Piglets isn't on that list?
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
martin said:
But even so, even if white bands ditch the consciousness and just want to write a reggae song about getting pissed or laid, they still get the music hopelessly wrong.
as john has hinted at, germaican records have hit big in JA over the past couple of years (JA vocalists in general, though)- it is a consistently good label.


authenticity is a bit murky:

macka b went to JA and had some minor hits, i fink.

dennis brown, lee perry etc have all recorded in the UK, which when released in JA have been well received.
 

martin

----
2-Tone...hmmm...well, I love the Specials, Bad Manners, Selecter, Beat etc so this is a bit of a hard one. I don't want to overdo the 'race' thing (ie- it'd be a lazy cop out to say "some of those bands had black members"). Wasn't it meant to be ska rhythms mixed in with punk and pop though? As for the Piglets, I've never had the delight of hearing this.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
in that article Matt B linked to said:
Jones, Simon. Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to UK. Basingstoke, England: Macmillan, 1988.
I've been after this for ages if anyone sees a copy!
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
john eden said:
Ah, but what about two tone? Maybe that's not really reggae in the same way that "white man in hammersmith palais" (hereafter known as wmihp!) is not really reggae
two-tone is a distinct entity in its own right isn't it?- taking ska and anglo-cising it. 'authenticity' not an issue for two tone in the same way as it is for wmihp ;0


john eden said:
Anyway, how come the Jonathan King-produced "Johnny Reggae" by the Piglets isn't on that list?

i'll flame the author mercilessly
 

john eden

male pale and stale
matt b said:
as john has hinted at, germaican records have hit big in JA over the past couple of years (JA vocalists in general, though)- it is a consistently good label.


authenticity is a bit murky:

macka b went to JA and had some minor hits, i fink.

dennis brown, lee perry etc have all recorded in the UK, which when released in JA have been well received.
It's not just Germaican, there's Natural Mystic, Seeed and others as well. :) Plus a vocalist called "Gentleman" who is white, who has gone down well in JA.

Papa Levi scored a number one in Jamaica with "My God My King"...
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
john eden said:
It's not just Germaican, there's Natural Mystic, Seeed and others as well. :) Plus a vocalist called "Gentleman" who is white, who has gone down well in JA.

seeed produces for germaican too, natural mystic turns up .
gentleman is originally from the uk. he's had top 10 pop hits in germany
 
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minikomi

pu1.pu2.wav.noi
.jp also has some nice reggae sounds coming out .... occasionally. sometimes its also really bad. . .

papab has one of the nicest reggae voices i've heard though. 'tsunagarou' is a good place to start!

though i think the riddims jamaican
 

redcrescent

Well-known member
matt b said:
gentleman is originally from the uk. he's had top 10 pop hits in germany
Gentleman's from Köln and as German as you get! Huge in German-speaking Europe, and deservedly so, I think ('Dem Gone', etc.).
He works with top JA talent, producers like Bobby Digital, Calibud and Don Corleone provide riddims, and it shows. Jack Radics is a long-time associate, too.

(In keeping with the Conny Plank theme, Gentleman's also recently recorded at his studio with the Firehouse Crew.)
 
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