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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Alphabet Beats #142: U is for....U-Roy

U is for....






One of the things I've loved about doing this series Alphabet Beats is that it's given an opportunity to share some artists and musical styles that are maybe not as well known to people and today's spotlight is another one of those fantastic artists, he's nicknamed The Originator and for more than 50 years he has been plying his trade as one of the Supreme Reggae Artists (at 72 going on 73 he's still performing!).

Ewart Beckford (born 21 September 1942), known by the stage name U-Roy, is a Jamaican vocalist and pioneer of toasting. U-Roy is noted for a melodic style of toasting applied with a highly developed sense of timing.

He began back in 1961 as a DJ on Sound Systems working for Sir Coxsone Dodds and King Tubby and by 1969 he had released his first single, 'Dynamic Fashion Way'. In 1970 John Holt spotted him toasting over a Duke Reid track at a dance and recommended him to the Duke who promptly signed him to his Treasure Isle Label. Those first two singles released in 1970 ('Wake The Town' and 'Wear You To The Ball') established him as one of the most popular of Jamaican Toasters. In 1971 as a tip of the hat to John Holt he released his own DJ version of The Paragons hit 'The Tide is High'.

Below is just a small selection of U-Roy albums that are on You Tube in one form or another. Click on the links to enjoy.

The Music
    Version Galore (1970)
       Dread in a Babylon (1975) – produced by Prince Tony Robinson
    Natty Rebel (1976)
       Rasta Ambassador (1977)
    Jah Son of Africa (1978)
    The Originator (1980)
       True Born African (1991) – produced by Mad Professor
    Babylon Kingdom Must Fall (1996) – produced by Mad Professor
    Serious Matter (2000)
    Rebel in Styylle (2005)
    Pray Fi Di People (2012)

More U-Roy Albums

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Alphabet Beats: U2 Bonus iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE TOUR 2015


The Tour began on 14th May 2015 in Vancouver, Canada so I thought it would be good to play a little catch up from the start of the tour until now and pull out a few highlights. Click on the links to enjoy the music. The links are not necessarily in the order that they were performed.

14th May: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, Canada

 15th May: Rogers Arena, Vancouver
Bad.
One.


18th May: SAP Center, San Jose, CA


Missing numbers:
- Vertigo
- Iris
- Raised by wolfes

The setlist:
The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
Out Of Control / Do You Remember Rock'N'Roll Radio (Snippet)
Vertigo
I Will Follow
Mofo (Snippet) / Iris (Hold Me Close)
Cedarwood Road
Song For Someone
Sunday Bloody Sunday (Acoustic)
Raised By Wolves
Until The End Of The World
Invisible
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Mysterious Ways
When Love Comes To Town
Angel Of Harlem
Every Breaking Wave
Bullet The Blue Sky
The Hands That Built America (Snippet) / Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Beautiful Day
With Or Without You
City Of Blinding Lights
Mother And Child Reunion (Snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

 19th May: SAP Center, San Jose, CA
Bad.
One.

22nd May: US Airways Center, Phoenix

 
23rd May: US Airways Center, Phoenix

 26th May: Forum, Los Angeles

27th May: Forum Los Angeles
40.

28th May: Roxy Theater, Los Angeles.

Alphabet Beats #141: U is for....U2

U is for....






Currently out on their Innocence and Experience Tour U2 are demonstrating that they are still a live force to be reckoned with. Of course they are not without their critics (as the outrage to their latest album turning up on all itunes customers clouds attests) but on the face of it one would see that it's like water of a ducks back to them. Maybe away from the spotlight and the eyes of the media some of the criticism is deemed quite hurtful because more often than not it's not the music that people attack but the people who make up the band and metaphorically speaking the media and critics drag them over the torture rack and expose not only their musical lives but are even spiteful enough to launch assualts upon their personal lives. People justify it with the usual "well what did they expect they wanted to be in the public eye!" But that surely doesn't give reason to be so vicious at times about them, after all they are human beings first and foremost and then they are just four guys who wanted to make music together and I'm sure that they didn't sign up for the rest of the nonsense that followed.

It's true that Bono can sometimes be a little annoying, and we all wish he would just shut up sometimes but him and his band have opened up world issues that are going on that maybe we would never have really known about if he had just kept quiet! I throw that one out there as a freebie for your consideration.

Anyway, this is not the place to discuss these matters at present.


I first stumbled onto U2 prior to release of their debut album 'Boy' back in 1979 and found them a breath of fresh air to watch and to listen to. Since then I have fallen out of love with them (especially when Achtung Baby/Zooropa/Pop appeared), regained an affection for them when 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' was released, went back and listened to Achtung/Zooropa/Pop with many years distance and found there were actually a number of songs I was quite enamoured by, bought the live DVD's and finally went back to see them live on their 360 Tour for the first time since the Joshua Tree Tour. 'The Unforgettable Fire' is possibly my favourite U2 album and for reasons unknown 'Electric Co' off the debut is my favourite U2 song ever (though 'Kite' is a very close second)! The live Intro to 'Where the Streets Have No Name' still sends a shiver up my spine and hearing 'Walk On' brings a tear to the eye.

So I think enough of my nattering, let's get on with the music.

The Albums
    Boy (1980)
    October (1981)
    War (1983)
    The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
    The Joshua Tree (1987)
    Rattle and Hum (1988)
    Achtung Baby (1991)
    Zooropa (1993)
    Pop (1997)
    All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
    How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
U218 Singles (2006)
    No Line on the Horizon (2009)
    Songs of Innocence (2014)

The Soundtrack4Life Top 20
U2
08. Bad.
04. Walk On.
02. Kite.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Alphabet Beats #140: U is for....U.K. Subs

U is for...



 U.K. Subs (Then)
Charlie Harper (Vocals), Paul Slack (Bass and Vocals), Pete Davies (Drums), Nicky Garratt (Guitars and Vocals)



It was Charlie Harper's 71st birthday four days ago, and I didn't forget it but wanted to celebrate it with a bit of style by spotlighting the U.K. Subs here on Alphabet Beats. 71 Years Old! And he's still out there doing what he's been doing for almost five decades!

The past 10 years or so has seen some stability with the line up as there had always been a bit of a turn over of members and the only original was Charlie. It's not quite a Trigger's Broom scenario (if you like Only Fools and Horses you'll get that!) and I saw recently someone saying that if it was Charlie Harper and your Granny on Bongos it would still be the U.K. Subs (or something to that nature)!

Whatever the case, the U.K. Subs are still making new music and recently released 'Yellow Leader' and are one letter away from completing a batch of albums in Alphabetical order! Inbetween there have been loads of compilations, reissues of older albums, Live releases, and a truck load of impressive singles. Click on the links to enjoy the music. There's music from all but one of the albums released in the Alphabetical Series.

I know there's a few old punks out there who might roll their eyes seeing a post about the U.K. Subs but they play a huge part in my own Soundtrack4Life and therefore they have every right to be included here.

Enjoy the noize!


 U.K. Subs (Now)
Alvin Gibbs (Bass and Vocals), Jamie Oliver (Drums), Charlie Harper (Vocals), Jet (Guitars and Vocals).


The Music

    Another Kind of Blues (1979) (UK No. 21) 


    Brand New Age (1980) (UK No. 18) 


    Crash Course (1980) (UK No. 8)  
   

    Diminished Responsibility (1981) (UK No. 18)  


    Endangered Species (1982)


    Flood of Lies (1983)  


    Gross Out USA LIVE (1984)
Couldn't find any tracks on You Tube for this album. 


    Huntington Beach (1985)  



    Japan Today (1987)  


    Killing Time (1988)  


    LIVE in Paris (1989) 


    Mad Cow Fever (1991)  


    Normal Service Resumed (1993)

Occupied (1996) 


    Peel Sessions 1978-79 (1997)
These Three Sessions make up the album.


    Quintessentials (1997)  


    Riot (1997) 



    Time Warp GREATEST HITS (2000) 


    Universal (2002) 


    Violent State Live (2005)
Couldn't find the whole album on You Tube so here's a selection of tracks.



    Work In Progress (10 January 2011)


    XXIV (6 February 2013)


    Yellow Leader (2015)

The Soundtrack4Life Top 20
U.K. Subs
17. Rat Race.
16. Killer.
08. Warhead.
05. Rockers.
04. C.I.D.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Alphabet Beats #139: T is for....Trojan Records

T is for....






The Story of Trojan Records
(from their Website)
On July 28th 1967, British-based Jamaican music company, Island Records launched a label to showcase the output of one of the most popular and successful producers of the Ska and Rock Steady eras – Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid. The imprint, called ‘Trojan’ after the title Mr. Reid had acquired during his early days in the music business, surprisingly failed to fulfil its potential and folded after a matter of months. And this may well have been the end of the Trojan story had it not been for the creation of a new Jamaican music company, launched in the summer of ’68, which was in need of a suitably dynamic name.

The result of a merger between by Island Records and its distributor B&C, ‘Trojan Records’ promptly launched an ambitious programme of issuing singles on a variety of labels that highlighted music from every producer of note, ranging from British-based music makers such as Robert ‘Dandy’ Thompson, to such esteemed Jamaican operators as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Edward ‘Bunny’ Lee and, of course, Duke Reid himself.

Trojan’s rapid growth during its first year was due in no small part to the development of a working class youth movement that embraced Jamaican music as part and parcel of its culture: Skinheads. The purchasing power of this fast developing demographic resulted in an explosion in sales and in the summer of ‘69 the company enjoyed its first mainstream hit with ‘Red Red Wine’ by a little known British-based singer Tony Tribe. Its success was soon eclipsed when the Upsetters, the Pioneers, Jimmy Cliff and Harry J’s All Stars all made their way onto the higher reaches of the mainstream listings. The Trojan bandwagon rolled on remorselessly into the new decade, with the likes of Desmond Dekker, the Maytals and Bob and Marcia all flying high on the British Pop charts.

In the spring of 1971, Dave and Ansel Collins’ ‘Double Barrel’ provided Trojan its first UK number one, while further chart entries followed with hit singles by Bruce Ruffin, Greyhound and the Pioneers. Aside from their overtly commercial output, the company also highlighted music by artists largely unknown outside Jamaica, many of which would later become major international recording stars - among these were Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and a Kingston-based vocal trio called Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Trojan remained hugely successful over the next year or so, with further major hits from Dandy Livingstone, John Holt, Ken Boothe and the larger than life ex-bouncer, Judge Dread, but in 1975, after experiencing financial difficulties, the label acquired a new owner in Marcel Rodd. Rodd’s inexperience with Jamaican music proved costly and despite signing new deals with a number of up-and-coming producers, Trojan struggled, but as the seventies came to a close, the ‘Ska Revival’ brought a dramatic upturn in its fortunes. The success of bands such as the Specials and Madness sparked renewed interest in vintage Ska and Reggae classics and for a time Trojan thrived once more. Unfortunately the good times were not to last and in 1985, with the Ska boom long since over, Colin Newman - an accountant by profession and avid collector by nature - purchased the label. Under Newman’s direction, Trojan’s primary focus was upon its formidable back catalogue, with various specialists employed to ensure it maintained its position as the world’s leading vintage Reggae record company.

Some 15 years later, Sanctuary Records became Trojan’s fourth owners, paying over £10 million for the privilege. Over the next few years the label went from strength to strength, its already vast catalogue augmented by those of RAS and Creole, resulting in an astoundingly diverse range of releases, highlighting everything from Ska to Dancehall. The Trojan Records story took its last dramatic turn in June 2007, when the Universal Music Group purchased Sanctuary in its entirety, so bringing the Jamaican music imprint back under the same roof as Island, the label that had been instrumental in its creation some 39 years before. Universal maintained the catalogue for the next 7 years, issuing numerous acclaimed collections and reviving the much-missed Trojan Appreciation Society, before reluctantly selling the imprint to BMG, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s biggest media companies, Bertelsmann.

Much has changed since the summer of 1968, yet despite the rise and fall of numerous music trends and the development of new formats on which music can be acquired, Trojan Records has consistently maintained a significant and relevant presence in an ever-competitive market. And such is the vast wealth of music at its disposal there is no reason why it should not continue to do so for many, many years to come.


For a full record of all the singles released by Trojan Records Click Here.

The Music
As there is so much music I thought I'd just share a few favourite Boxset Compilations and Albums.
Click on the links to enjoy the music

Disc 1.
Disc 2.
Disc 3.

Trojan Rocksteady Boxset.
Trojan Sixties Boxset.
Trojan Explosion 20 Reggae Classics.
Trojan Rare Groove Boxset.
Trojan Jamaican Hits Boxset.
Trojan Instrumentals Boxset.
Tighten Up Volume 1 (1969).
Tighten Up Volume 2 (1969).
Rocksteady Soul - Duke Reid.
King Tubby's Special 1973-76.
Best of Toots and the Maytals.
Queen of the World
Side 1.
Side 2.
Red Red Wine Volume 2
Side 1.
Side 2
Reggae Blast Off - Byron Lee and the Dragonaires
Side 1.
 Side 2.
Double Barrel - Dave and Ansell Collins
Side 1.
Side 2.
Reggae Power - The Ethiopians
Side 1.
Side 2.
Liquidator - Harry J Allstars
Side 1.
Side 2.
Young, Gifted and Black - Bob and Marcia
Side 1.
Side 2.
Trojan - Beatles Tribute Boxset.
In Person - Gregory Issacs.
Voice of Thunder - Prince Far I.
Dread at the Controls - Mikey Dread.


The Soundtrack4Life Top 20
Trojan Records
20. Skinhead Moonstomp - Symarip.
19. Under Heavy Manners - Prince Far I.
18. Rocksteady - Alton Ellis.
17. The Tide is High - The Paragons.
16. Love of the Common People - Nicky Thomas.
15. The Liquidator - Harry J Allstars.
14. Hit the Road Jack - Big Youth.
13. Double Barrel - Dave Barker and Ansell Collins
12. 007 (Shanty Town) - Desmond Dekker and the Aces.
11. Rudy, A Message To You - Dandy Livingstone.
10. Guns of Navarone - The Skatalites.
09. Wear You To The Ball - U Roy and John Holt.
08. Johnny Too Bad - The Slickers.
07. Long Shot Kick the Bucket - The Pioneers.
06. Sweet and Dandy - Toots and the Maytals.
05. Stir It Up - The Wailers.
04. Wonderful World, Beautiful People - Jimmy Cliff.
03. You Can Get It If You Really Want - Desmond Dekker.
02. Help Me Make It Through the Night - John Holt.
01. Pressure Drop - Toots and the Maytals.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

S4L Presents: New Series - Music is the Doctor #2

Welcome to the second  'Music is the Doctor' on Soundtrack4Life. Basically what you are going to get is a 20 Track Playlist featuring new and old tunes and some thoughts about each track. 


Today we have a theme - The Senses!





Sight
Someone's Looking At You - Boomtown Rats.
I am reading David Byrne's book 'Bicycle Diaries' at the moment and have just reached his chapter on Berlin and his description of the Stasi Museum in the city. I remember going to the Stasi Museum in Leipzig and being fascinated by the manner of "observation" the State had upon its citizens and this track by the Boomtown Rats always makes me think of  "Big Brother is Watching You!"

I Can See For Miles - The Who.
Currently this tune is the theme music for the latest in the CSI franchise, CSI Cyber. It's one of my favourite songs by The Who.
City of Eyes - Spizz Energi.
Similar themes to the Boomtown Rats tune but brought perfectly up to date here in the 21st Century by Spizz Energi. He released this last year as a single and mighty fine it is to.
 
All Seeing - The Alarm.
Where the view of the Rats and Spizz is a scenario that speaks of fear I love that in this song The Alarm bring a touch of comfort and encouragement when we consider "Someone" watching over us.


Sound
Listen to Your Heart - Stiff Little Fingers.
 Could have easily chosen the Ramones song with the same title but SLF one will do for now. They released some real quality singles and I never tire of recommending their 'All The Best' Compilation that contains pretty much all the singles and b-sides from the early days of the band.

Eardrum Buzz - Wire.
I love this band. They quickly progressed from the Punk scene to forge an identity of their own and some of the music they have released down through the years just speaks quality.

I Hear You Knocking - Dave Edmunds.
I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Dave Edmunds. Can't put my finger on the why but I can remember this one when I was a young kid and he still manges to invade my ears from time to time with his cool sound.
 
Listen to the Band - The Monkees.
I've always had a wee fear that one day my hearing would disappear (my wife would probably say it's on the way with my selective hearing!) and I'd never be able to enjoy music again! It's a most unpleasant thought!

Taste
Taste of Cindy (Acoustic) - Jesus and Mary Chain.
They are known for making noise so when they did an acoustic session for John Peel it was rather delightful to discover under the feedback some beautiful moments like this one. 

The Coffee Song - Yvonne Lyon.
I thought my good friends Yvonne and DL would get a real kick out of seeing a piece of music they created sitting inbetween three bands whose music is absolutely nothing like theirs! 

Eat The Rich - MotΓΆrhead.
Don't recall if this was done for a soundtrack but it's a real barn burner of a tune.

Familiar Taste of Poison - Halestorm.
 Love this band a lot, and Lzzy Hale is a quality front woman who rocks hard.


Touch
Why Can't I Touch It - Buzzcocks.
One of the many great B-Sides from Buzzcocks. Many of their B-Sides could quite easily have been A-Sides.
Touch and Go - Magazine.
Second single from former Buzzcock Howard Devoto. They were a real quality band. Was really pleased to get the chance to see them on their reunion tour a couple of years back. Howard as ever was flamboyant.
 
(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear - Blondie.
Blondie has loads of great singles and a close second to my favourite (Union City Blues) would be this one penned by bassist Gary Valentine.
Touch Me I'm Sick - Mudhoney.
The whole grungy thing passed me by a bit but this one I always found fascinating.

Smell
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana.
I can't put my finger on it but I was never a huge fan of Nirvana. Maybe a song here and there I find fascinating but overall they never really gripped me. I do like this tune though.
Smells Like Nirvana - Weird Al Yankovic.
This cracks me up. I wonder what Nirvana would have thought about it.
That Smell -  Lynyrd Skynyrd.
For no other reason that it mentions smell! 
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose - Jimmy Dickens.
Chosen for the daftness of the title alone, who knows what it means!

The Clash Special on Gary Crowley's Punk and New Wave Show (26th May)





Happy Birthday Siouxsie Sioux


Born on this day in 1957


Live Shows
Click on the links to enjoy
Rockpalast (1981).
London (1983)
London (1985)
Mexico (1995).

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