Tag Archive: reggae

  • Top 20 Great British Bands

    Yeah, afraid not lads

    The debate has been raging for months and years and will go on literally until the end of time, but I’ve finally cracked it – I’ve compiled a list of the Top 20 Great British Bands of all time… according to me. It was a painful, emotional and often unnerving experience, as I watched groups that  I adore trundle along the imaginary conveyor belt in my mind, only to clumsily fall off like overfilled cardboard boxes right at the very end. Amongst them The Rah Band who could boogie with the best of them at one point, Dexys Midnight Runners who were consistently excellent, Massive Attack who provided anthems for 1990s dope smokers, The Jam, The Smiths, New Order. Loose Ends. The Shadows. Average White Band. I secretly like Duran Duran and The Pasedenas. Even Wham! One of my guilty pleasures is Young Guns by Wham! I fucking love that track. But in the end I got there. You won’t find Coldplay, Keane, Radiohead, Blur or Oasis in this list. Basically because I don’t like those groups. Neither will you find Queen on account of me not standing them, which is unusual…

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    1. Small Faces

    Small Faces

    The greatest band of them all for so many reasons. They dressed in fine outfits made from continental thread, they weren’t alarmingly tall which is neither here nor there, but most importantly they made great tunes, made even better on account of Steve Marriott having the howliest British rock roar of all time. When Marriott eventually flounced off, they famously dropped the Small and employed a guy with a dreadful cough called Rod Stewart.

    2. The Beatles

    The Beatles

    Everyone likes The Beatles. Everyone. Even people who go on about how much they hate The Beatles secretly get home every night and dance naked in front of a mirror to Twist and Shout or Hey Jude. They’re just really bloody excellent, even Ringo who had a foghorn voice and was hilariously considered the twelfth best drummer in the band. Both Revolver and Rubber Soul would make my all-time top 100 albums list. The below track, however, features on neither of those records.

    3. The Specials

    The Specials

    For those who don’t remember 2-Tone, it involved wearing clothes that were a touch too tight and running on the spot to reggae played a touch too fast. So in short, it was fucking amazing, and of the swathes of bands that bum rushed the charts this one was the best. Their presence here means there’s no room for Madness, The Selecter, or Bad Manners. Although there never would have been room for Bad Manners anyway. No offense.

    4. The Kinks

    Kinks

    The quintessential English band, that’s what everyone says about The Kinks. They’d sing about things like sipping a cup of tea and bonking the vicar’s wife, or about a buxom man-women they met in a seedy Soho coffee shop. All with a wry smile, a cheeky wink, and a fist punched into the crease in their forearm accompanied by a big chorus of “phwoooar look at the arse on that!”. Without them we wouldn’t have bands like Blur, which may or may not be a good thing. It would mean no almighty cheese prick Alex James. Yeah, perhaps we hate The Kinks. Actually no, we love them. Sorry.

    5. Black Sabbath

    Black Sabbath

    Before he married a frumpy lady in a floor length Laura Ashley frock who was the opposite of his usual crumpet called Sharon Arden, Ozzy Osbourne was in a band called Black Sabbath, and they were really really fucking loud. So loud your ears would actually grow skin over them during the course of an album. So loud that voices in your head would start to exist just to tell them to stop. So loud that you wouldn’t hear an explosion unless it was actually in your face. So loud that they keep other heavy rock bands like Motorhead, Iron Maiden and the Zep out of the top 20. Which is ridiculous when you think about it, because the Zep were AMAZING and should definitely be on this list. And yet they’re not.

    6. The Rolling Stones

    Rolling Stones

    Old Rubber-Face and the girls have been around so long and now look so old and decrepit like a collection of line drawings wearing suits that it’s hard to remember that when they were younger they were great looking like hot European chicks and innovative like serious German scientists. They were dangerous innovators and over the years they have produced some outstanding music moments.

    7. The Jesus and Mary Chain

    Jesus and Mary Chain

    Don’t be fooled by the strange pissing noises and the fact these guys look precisely like glue sniffers, they’re the real deal. They’re artistes, which is French for artists. They’re also Scotiche, which is French for Scottish. The below clip comes with an introduction from the original Pixie Geldof – Paula Yates.

    8. Cymande

    Cymande

    As funk bands go, the US had it nailed, but Cymande could go toe to toe with any one of them in the 1970s. Formed in London in 1971, they’re still going, and if you listen to this stuff for long enough your trousers morph into flared jeans and some wicked sideburns just appear from nowhere.

    9. The Who

    The Who

    If it’s a loud 1960s mod band with buckets of attitude you’re after, try The Who. If you’re looking for solid 1970s rock featuring a man who was separated at birth from Kevin Keegs, try The Who. In the mood for a rock opera?…. you’re probably starting to get the gist of this. Like it when songs start all teasingly slow and then suddenly feature aggressive guitar licks and mad drum skills? I’m doing it again aren’t I?

    10. The Style Council

    Style Council

    The debate will rage until the planet finally explodes itself on account of global warming, but who is better, The Jam or The Style Council? Both Paul Weller groups, they divide people. One were all jackets and haircuts, the other soft synths, a bit of sax, and men looking like they’d oiled up and recreated Brideshead Revisited. In my case, I like to take The Jam from October to March, then from April to September I prefer The Style Council. At the moment, I’m in an April kind of mood what with it actually being April, so you do the math(s).

    11. The Coral

    The Coral

    Merseyside has a great tradition in churning out fantastic pop groups, and these cheeky chappies follow in a great tradition that follows The Beatles, The Farm, The Boo Radley’s and Cast. Yes, most of the bands just mentioned are utter shit. That was the joke. These guys aren’t though, hence why they keep The Zutons, The Las and all manner of other floppy haircuts in tight jeans out of this line up.

    12. Gang of Four

    Gang of Four

    Time was when you could go for a job interview in a stuffy office working for THE MAN during the afternoon, then head off to perform your political socialist mantras on The Old Grey Whistle Test in the evening without bothering to change outfits. Above are post-punkers Gang of Four. A band that keeps Orange Juice, The Pop Group and Magazine out of the running for reasons of being ever so slightly better.

    13. Soul II Soul

    Soul II Soul

    Jazzie B is the only human being who has ever dared to pick up a keyboard/guitar without looking like the world’s most stupid prick. Hence Soul II Soul keeps Young Disciples, Freeez, and Loose Ends out of the running. Just.

    14. The Clash

    The Clash

    Probably three of the greatest front men of all time stuck into a single band, Jones, Simonon and Strummer were like three Springsteens, only not quite so palatable in a good way. The Clash were also the pick of the 1970s British punk bands, so they keep The Damned and the Sex Pistols off the list.


    15. Arctic Monkeys

    Arctic Monkeys

    Definitely the most current band on the list, Arctic Monkeys are continuing the trend of nifty bands coming out of the Northern city of Sheffield, which is famous for making steel and generally being an incredibly depressing place for everyone involved – ABC, Pulp, Heaven 17, The Human League. Of that lot, these guys are possibly the best. They can’t quite beat local legend Joe Cocker though. Not yet.

    16. Aswad

    Aswad

    As a band, Aswad were far better than their international saccharine smash Don’t Turn Around would have you believe. An excellent, excellent reggae group, with an occasional singing drummer thrown in to boost them up to Warp Factor A Million on the Wicked-o-Metre. They keep UB40 out of the Top 20.

    17. The Slits

    The Slits

    Long before The Spice Girls, Girls Aloud, The Saturdays, The Sundays, The Mondays, Little Mix and One Direction girl groups were already going super strong in the UK. Look at The Slits – below in 1979. Their lead singer Ari Up invented a revolutionary one-legged dance, which she’d occasionally practice in one of London’s many parks.

    18. The Stone Roses

    PD*27599147

    For a strange period in the 1990s, everyone thought it was cool to talk in a Manchester accent and walk around like a really arrogant version of Charlie Chaplin with their feet pointing in opposite directions. That was entirely thanks to the Madchester explosion that started when these guys detonated a pop-funk-dance-rock bomb and ended when the shaved gorillas in Oasis started throwing their weight around because they’d just that minute taken a bunch of coke. Oasis didn’t make the list.

    19. Echo and the Bunnymen

    Echo and the bunnymen

    Although as a child the bitter disappointment of not seeing a rabbit on guitar or a big brown hare on drums would have me shouting and throwing bricks at the TV whenever these guys were on Top of the Pops, you just can’t fault them as a band. They’ve got all the ingredients: a guy on guitar, someone singing, a bloke playing bass, a wild feral animal smashing around on the drums. They keep The Smiths and The Cure out of the running.

    20. Public Image Ltd

    Public Image Ltd

    Johhny Rotten’s second most famous band, but my favourite of the two – they had a slightly less shouty thing happening, and proved once and for all that Rotten really can’t sing. Not that it matters.

  • Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 4

    1-10

    The Beatles Rain

    Now, after a week of carrot-dangling, we’re finally at the summit – celebrating the greatest UK Number One singles of all time. Each one is brilliant for a reason. The Kinks make the list for introducing the world to an early incarnation of rock music with “You Really Got Me“. Sinead O’Connor’s heartfelt rendition of a song written by Prince remains one of the most angry and emotional love songs of all time. The Rolling Stones had many decent smash hits, but “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” kicks all of them right in the underpants. “Billie Jean” makes the cut for not only being one of Jackson’s finest, but also because it’s one of his WEIRDEST – that people still dance enthusiastically to a song about an insane delusional fan is completely brilliant. The Beach Boys managed two UK Number One’s, the first of which, “Good Vibrations”, is a masterpiece of musical arrangement, and possibly the electro-theremin‘s finest hour. Paul Hardcastle managed to mix the dialogue from a documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder,Vietnam Requiem”, with serious synthesizers to make a dance record with an ideology. “Ghost Town” by The Specials also veered into the pop charts waving a political flag, this time spookily condemning Thatcher’s Britain, and creating a truly eerie pop/reggae fusion. The Jam kept “Golden Brown” by The Stranglers off the top spot with Weller’s ode to Woking, which is also a great rock record to dance to – just watch “Billy Elliot” if you don’t believe us. Althea and Donna were a shock one week/one hit wonder back in 1978, thanks to some sterling work by the late, great John Peel – if there is such thing as a cult number one, then this is it. And The Beatles were always going to be sitting somewhere near the top, and, as it is, they snatched the crown with probably the greatest A/B side combination of them all – “Paperback Writer” and (the EVEN BETTER) “Rain”. Only two other A/B combos came into contention throughout the 40 – “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields”, until we realised that it didn’t make it to the top of the charts, it peaked at Number 2. And “Start”/”Liza Radley” by The Jam. But, in the end, this one prevailed, whilst the other two didn’t. Hence, this is our best Top Ten ever. Enjoy…

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    1A. The Beatles, Paperback Writer (1966)

    1B. The Beatles, Rain (1966)

    2. Althea and Donna, Uptown Top Ranking (1978)

    3. The Jam, A Town Called Malice (1982)

    4. The Specials, Ghost Town (1981)

    5. Paul Hardcastle, 19 (1985)

    6. The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations (1966)

    7. Michael Jackson, Billie Jean (1983)

    8. The Rolling Stones, Satisfaction (1965)

    9. Sinead O’Connor, Nothing Compares 2 U (1990)

    10. The Kinks, You Really Got Me (1964)

    Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 1

    Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 2

    Top 40 UK Number Ones, part 3

  • 10 Greatest Follow-up Bands EVER!

    Absolutely including this lot…

    PiL

    The big news is that John Lydon is reforming his old group Public Image Ltd to go on some kind of tour. And that got us to thinking. PiL was Lydon’s second successful stab at the big time with a band, but what other artists have been lucky enough to enjoy two days or more in the sunshine? We decided to come up with ten of the best, with the likes of The Last Shadow Puppets, The Raconteurs, Gorillaz and The Foo Fighters all falling at the final hurdle…

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    1. The Style Council

    Style Council

    The Jam split up in 1982 and Weller formed The Style Council in 1983. Much to a lot of Jam fan’s disgust. Where were the spikey guitar riffs? Fuck me, is that a PIANO? The Style Council were much silkier and soulful. They wore lovely cardigans. It was picnic-pop, but totally brilliant. Weller’s finest hour?

    2. The JB’s

    The JB's

    Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, James Brown ploughed through backing band line ups – mainly because he was a massive soul bastard, and paid everyone in either punches or peanuts. The JB’s provided the sound for his golden period in the early 1970s, succeeding The Famous Flames, The James Brown Band, and The James Brown Orchestra. Bootsy Collins on bass, “Jabo” Starks on drums, Fred Wesley at the back tromboning. So to speak.

    3. Public Image Ltd

    PiL

    Formed in 1978, almost directly after the Sex Pistols had imploded, PiL featured John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten), Keith Levene – once of The Clash – and Jah Wobble. Or, at least, the first line up did. Over the years, almost twenty thousand people could claim to have once been a member of PiL. You were probably in the band without realising it. Lydon’s best band.

    4. Humble Pie

    Humble Pie

    Small Faces were bloody excellent, Humble Pie weren’t too bad either – much rockier, intent on wooing audiences in America. They initially got together after Steve Marriott had failed to convince his Small Faces bandmates to allow Peter Frampton to join the group, so he flounced off and made Humble Pie instead. For the first half of the 1970s, they were a fantastic band, then Marriott went a little bit loco.

    5. New Order

    New Order

    After Ian Curtis decided to dance weirdly into the eternal night in 1980, the Joy Division morphed into New Order – a far more oily band, replacing their office temp outfits for short shorts, and highlights in their hair. All three surviving members– Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris – stayed on board, with the addition of Morris’ girlfriend Gillian Gilbert on keyboard guitar. As anyone who reads massive textbooks about war well knows, the Joy Division was a reference to the prostitution wing of concentration camps during the Second World War, New Order was incorrectly seen to be taken from a quote in Mein Kampf. The band are not fascists.

    6. Wings

    Wings

    Wings, though rather unfashionable to like, were actually a pretty decent band. Not, obviously, as good as The Beatles, but tracks like Maybe I’m Amazed and Live and Let Die would have been great additions to any Beatles back catalogue. In fact, the latter was produced by George Martin. They were also the only permanent band formed by any of The Beatles after the split, with McCartney leading the merry troupe for around ten years. He might even have been a Wing for longer than he was a Beatle. They enjoyed much chart success with Linda on backing vocals.

    7. Crosby, Stills and Nash

    Crosby Stills & Nash

    Crosby was once of The Byrds, Stills was once of Buffalo Springfield, and Nash was once of The Hollies. All very successful, sometimes brilliant, pop groups. Hence, this was seen as something of a supergroup project when the three formed in 1968. And yet, they’re still going. Or, at least, on and off. They were so-named to prevent any of the bandmates stealing the name of the group should any of them decided to leave – a result of bitter experience in the cases of Crosby and Nash – and Neil Young would occasionally join in, making it Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Rather cleverly.

    8. Lucy Pearl

    Lucy Pearl

    Like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Lucy Pearl was made up of three big names from successful R&B and hip hop groups. There was Raphael Saadiq from Tony! Toni! Tone!, Dawn Robinson from En Vogue, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest. Originally D’Angelo was supposed to join in too, but some kind of commitment clash meant that he couldn’t. In the original formation, they only managed to squeeze out one album – in 2000 – but the good news is that it was a corker.

    9. Big Audio Dynamite

    Big Audio Dynamite

    After getting royally booted out of The Clash, Mick Jones shuffled around for a bit, then eventually formed Big Audio Dynamite with reggae/punk legend Don Letts in 1984. With Jones on lead vocals for once, they became known for mixing punk rock with reggae, hip hop, and whatever kind of genre they fancied with an impressive degree of success and innovation. Their biggest hit came with E=MC2 in 1986. Which isn’t featured below.

    10. Gnarls Barkley

    Gnarls Barkley

    Both members of Gnarls Barkley have enjoyed musical success with other groups. Danger Mouse with the Damon Albarn cartoon vanity project Gorillaz, and Cee-Lo Green with the popular US rap group Goodie Mob – who were particularly popular in the 1990s thanks to their affiliation with Outkast, and the rise in popularity of raps from the Deep South. As Gnarls Barkley, everyone knows them for that great song about going bananas.

  • Album covers analysed: Dr. Alimantado

    Best Dressed Chicken in Town, eh?

    Alimantado

    Sometimes an album cover can read one thing, and say another. In the case of reggae music’s Dr Alimantado, the album title suggests a finely turned out chicken, yet on inspection you’ll notice: a. A serious lack of chickens. And b. That no one is even close to being the “best dressed” anything. In fact, it’s safe to say that everyone is remarkably badly dressed. Of the two main men on the cover, the first (Dr Alimantado, on the left) hasn’t bothered putting his shoes on properly, his flies are undone, and his denim jacket is draping strangely from his left arm. His friend in the street is in the midst of a seasonal confusion, with an outfit suggesting that it’s hot enough for a short sleeved shirt, yet cold enough for a thick woolly hat. It’s wardrobe decisions like that which will forever confuse the throbbing brains at Interestment towers. Like those people who wear scarves with t-shirts – what are they trying to say? No matter, it’s a great great record, and here’s a track from it…

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Incomprehensible Singers

    No room on the list for this poser…

    sting

    It’s always a complete joy to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today Debs – a fantastic writer with a very arched eyebrow – thought she’d point her magnificent microscope at strange popstars who sound like they’re singing gobbledigook. She had this to say…

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    Many of us have had a special relationship with song lyrics at one time or another. Perhaps they evoked the memory of a loved one. Perhaps they recalled the time we were unceremoniously binned by that same loved one as they made off into the sunset, cackling and smearing Marmite onto our best friend. Whatever. The fact remains, lyrics have a magical power that can drag your emotions from exquisite joy to murderous loathing at the mere drop of a stylus. However, there are certain artistes who deny us this experience, simply because they open their mouths and a garbled string of consonants emerge. This lot are ideal listening material if you think the evening may become the sort of nightmare you don’t ever want to remember again…

    1. Michael Stipe, R.E.M

    If nasal slurring is the order of the eve, M. Stipe’s your man. Interesting fact – the title is the only regularly intelligible part of his repertoire, resulting in that embarrassing tendency to start singing along with zest only to fade off in garbled shame: What’s the frequency Kenneth!! whatc – er – shuh huh huh…Ahem.

    2. Bjork

    At best: sounds like a distressed child trying to talk mid-tantrum but who can only gasp out certain words due to wrenching sobs. At worst: it’s the vocal equivalent of shredding a dictionary through a powerful ceiling fan. And an Icelandic dictionary at that.

    3. Caleb Followill, Kings of Leon

    “Spainjer in the spoon gee cow!” strains Caleb at the beginning of Closer, sounding in desperate need of a pint of WD40. Followill manages to enunciate only one word in eleven – somewhat like those drunks who mumble constantly apart from the swear words that they manage to bellow out with all the clarity of a top-grade elocution graduate.

    4. Sean Paul

    Is, when slowed down and fed through an expensive piece of audio equipment actually reciting from the Yellow Pages: Romford and Ilford Districts. True story. Perhaps.

  • Thursday Love Song: Jimmy Cliff

    Jimmy Cliff, Many Rivers to Cross

    It’s Thursday, the official day of love. And not just the good kind of love – the love that involves all the massages, the licking, and the erections – we also celebrate the other kind of love. The love that punches you right in the underpants, rips your beating heart from your chest are hurls it into a pot of bubbling chip fat. Yeah, that’s right, the crippling kind. Here, the wonderful Jimmy Cliff soothes his own broken heart with a song about soldiering onwards and upwards against the odds.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Michael Jackson cover versions

    Apparently this guy died… or something

    mj

    No doubt the next seven or eight months are going to be taken up with newspapers really trying to figure out a few Jackson mysteries. How did he die? Did he really monkey around with those kids? Did he actually do it with a woman to make babies? All questions that we can’t answer, so we won’t be wasting your time by even remotely trying. When it comes to Jackson, we know two things: 1. Waking up with the man must, even just for a nanosecond, have given you a glimpse into what it’s like to be Ronald McDonald’s wife. And 2. These are the four best cover versions of MJ classics…

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    1. Billie Jean, Shinehead

    A slower version of the classic song about a deranged stalker, this one even features a big doff of the cap to spaghetti westerns. A brilliant reggae track. Just brilliant.

    2. Thriller, Ian Brown

    Ian Brown has never had the most syrupy voice in the world, but his drawling monotone somehow works when singing Thriller. An unexpected masterpiece.

    3. Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Derrick Laro and Trinity

    Another reggae interpretation of a Jackson classic – this time Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough from Off The Wall. This very nearly, but not quite, improves on the original. Excellent.

    4. Human Nature, Miles Davies

    A few rock versions almost took fourth spot, but in the end we plumped for this Miles Davis trumpet version of Human Nature. Not because it’s particularly good, but because it’s Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson. Yes, Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson. That’s Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson. The legendary trumpeter Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson…

  • Great British Band: Ian Dury and The Blockheads

    Ian Dury and The Blockheads, What a Waste

    As modern British songwriters go, they don’t come much better than the late Ian Dury. A brilliant lyricist, backed by a great band – really really great in fact. Above is our favourite of their songs, narrowly pipping Spasticus Autisticus

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  • Great British Band: The Pop Group

    The Pop Group, She is Beyond Good and Evil

    Anyone who’s had the pleasure of visiting the West Country will already be fully aware that sometimes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – even though it talks like a farm hand, it appears to be quoting Nietzsche. Above is The Pop Group from Bristol. A fine band.

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  • Great British Band: The Selecter

    The Selecter, Three Minute Hero

    The second greatest 2 Tone band to ever come out of Coventry, The Selecter were bouncy and fantastic. Above is their greatest song.

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  • Happy Birthday Grace Jones, here’s Smiley Culture!

    Smiley Culture, Cockney Translation

    Grace Jones – quite possibly the greatest women to tread the earth – turns 57 today, and what a life that strange and intriguing woman has enjoyed. She’s bashed Russell Harty in the face on live television, she’s spoken in a robot voice many many times, and she pioneered the must-have 80s flat top. Plus she is responsible for the best party record of all time – Pull Up to the Bumper, a song all about how complicated it can be parking a car on a busy day. And don’t forget that she was in by far the most luxuriant of the Bond films – A View To A Kill. Don’t mind if we do. Anyway, we thought we’d get her a gift, so we squeezed into leotards, and talked it through in a mirrored night club dance studio, one half of the room snapping their fingers and demanding that we give her some lovely candles for the bathroom, while the other side did a series of sensational pirouettes and insisted that it was a Smiley Culture clip or nothing. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Grace Jones!

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  • Album covers analysed: UB40, Signing Off

    A sign of the times…

    ub40

    Anyone who’s ever had the joy of partaking in some of the country’s many benefit options should feel a warm breeze of recognition for this, the greatest of the UB40 albums. The cover is an exact copy of an Unemployment Benefit Attendance Card from back in 1980. Being that it was the beginning of the Thatcher era – when rich people were rewarded with neon wine bars, and poor people with AIDS, heroin and canal bridges – much of the country would have been familiar with this particular document. This obviously makes the sleeve a massive political gesture, and also a nod backwards at where the band were when they started hoiking their curious brand of UK Reggae around Birmingham. Owners of the original record will tell you that the sleeve is also fashioned from a strange cardboard material, which might make it seem authentic, but also means that it can be mistaken for actual post. A bold move, UB40. Below is the best track from the album…

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Falsetto Male Singers

    Not including a certain legend…

    prince-falsetto

    As a gentleman, you are expected to coat yourself in a luxuriant mane of soft fur, and talk as if your testicles are the size of grapefuits, swinging heavily around your knees. That, we are told, if what it takes to be a man. Hence, whenever you see groups of tough guys in a pub/bar, the accompanying sound will often be a rumbling deep hum, like thunder rolling in from the east. It’s weird, and frankly unnecessary – especially given that some men can casually step up to a mic and allow their natural pitch to soar through the airwaves without a care in the world. Prince is a long time master of the falsetto, but even his macho flexing couldn’t budge this little gang of real men. Our top four reads thusly…

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    1. Curtis Mayfield

    curtis-mayfield-falsetto

    One of soul music’s finest, Curtis would often soar up to womanly notes, yet the hard hitting political nature of his songs kept his vibe firmly in the manly camp. A fine figure of a gent, and sorely missed.

    2.Antony Hegarty

    antony-hegarty

    Hegarty, the guy behind Antony and The Johnsons, is an intriguing man/woman/man, with a voice not a thousand miles away from Nina Simone at times. He could shatter glass, he’s that excellent.

    3. Junior Murvin

    junior-murvin

    If you’re going to have one track that defines and overshadows the rest of your career, then it might as well be Police and Thieves. It’s an amazing Lee Scratch Perry produced track, and finds Murvin singing like a mouse in a helium balloon. And to great effect.

    4. Jimmy Somerville

    jimmy-somerville

    Somerville’s success was built on singing a bit like Sylvester, but a more hysterical white Scottish version. At times, his frantic squealing was quite remarkable. As below.

  • Listen to Interestment on Last FM!

    Anyone fancy a dance?

    dancers

    Last FM, to those who don’t know, is an excellent website where you can design your own radio show playlist. We’ve saved you the trouble by making up one of our own. Simply click here, listen, enjoy, and feel free to recommend any artists you think we might have overlooked.

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  • Great British Band: Musical Youth

    Musical Youth Live

    It’s easy to forget how good Musical Youth were. A gang of kids from Birmingham, they won a Best New Artist Grammy in 1984. The Beatles won the same award in the 1960s. Above is a great live show.

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  • Great British Bands: Aswad

    Aswad, Roots Rocking

    On the subject of drummers that sing, Drummie Zeb from Aswad certainly deserves a mention as well. As a band, Aswad were far better than their smash hit Don’t Turn Around suggested. An excellent, excellent reggae group.

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  • Happy Birthday Gary Barlow, here’s some Reggae!

    Cornell Campbell, Fight Against Corruption

    He’s so busy riding the crest of a new wave that we wonder if Gary Barlow will even stop to celebrate his 38th birthday. No matter, we decided to get him a present anyway, and, as usual, things got pretty heated and a fight broke out. One half of the room wanted to splash out and get him a new baby grand piano to go with his resurgent pop career, while the other half thought just a nice reggae song about keeping it real would suffice. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Gary! Take THAT!

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  • Great British Bands: The Specials

    The Specials, Enjoy Yourself

    In these times of penny counting, rooting around bins to fill your stomach, wearing hats to stay warm, it’s worth holding onto a few of those joyous messages spread by The Specials. Above is one of them. Fabulous band.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Reggae Singers

    It’s not as studenty as you’d think…

    take-me-to-your-dealer

    Sometimes Reggae suffers a little for being synonymous with irksome students sitting at home fashioning bongs from old coke bottles and hose pipes, who simply adore spliff-based humour (see above). But, as a form of music, it’s completely brilliant. You just need to remove the slurring trustafarians from the equation. We’ve been listening to the stuff for years – only, in our case, without anyone called Seb forcing us to have some more weed every five minutes. Our four favourite singers go like this…

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    1. Gregory Isaacs

    gregory-isaacs

    Famous for his ode to love making, Night Nurse (covered by Simply Red), Isaacs has been going strong for around forty years. His voice is about as syrupy as reggae voices get, his nickname is Cool Ruler, and Financial Endorsement (below) make us choke back the tears every single time.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: All-girl bands

    No room for the Pussycat Dolls, weirdly…

    pussycat-dolls

    These days you can’t turn a simple corner without bumping into at least three girls with guitars on their way to another gig. Or some heavily made up chicks in matching lingerie talking to Swedish electroclash producers. And yet, there was a time when you’d need to trawl through wastelands just to find a drummer with a pair of tits. Here are Interestment’s favourite all-girl rock and pop groups:

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    1. ESG

    esg

    The Scroggins sisters hail from sunny New York city, the notorious South Bronx to be precise. In the late 70s, they picked up some instruments and began to produce heavy bass driven, rhythmic post-punk music. Thirty years later, and they are still completely brilliant.

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