Round 5: DJ (part 3)

From Brad Paul:

Round 5, Part 3 Selection: DJ 

Bobby Culture and Nicodemus, “Going Home” (1983)

Here’s one from the great Tidal Wave album; One of my all time favorite albums, period. Recorded in 1983 this sweet vinyl featured Bobby Culture, Nicodemus, Brimstone and Fire, and Louie Rankin. The album counted 10 lovely biscuits with the artists going both solo and in combination.

The chemistry is supreme throughout and the rhythms are hard and tight. Something special was clearly happening when these DJ’s and players entered a New York studio to record (Joe, you’ll be especially interested to know that it was the same studio where Sugar Minott, Herbman Hustling and Sister Carol, Black Cinderella were recorded). The album is just magic.

 “Going Home” takes a photo finish victory over the other 9 tracks, but it is just one of a number that could have made for a good pick. Here, the teamwork and interplay between Bobby Culture and Nicodemus is really a joy to listen and the driving rhythm is like a steady train moving down the tracks.

Gregory Isaac’s “Confirm Reservation” showed that ‘longing for home’ could be a good thematic hook for reggae, and while perhaps ever present in roots and Rasta-inspired music, the almost rural romanticism of “Going Home” is rather interesting and somewhat unique for DJ style. But that makes sense because to my ears there is something very traditional about this song even as it also fits perfectly within the new sound of early to mid 1980s DJ, UK and Jamaican alike. Maybe it’s also because the song’s “letter to Maria” refrain is lifted from a 1969 tune by Guyanese-born singer named R.B. Greaves and later popularized by Tom Jones. Now we all know about Jones, but this Greaves is one groovy cat, too, I must tell you. Check out this old chestnut of him performing the original.  

Recycling pieces and elements of old ska, rock steady, mento or American R & B tracks was nothing new to reggae DJ’s and artists, of course, but the original Greaves number (“Take a Letter Maria”) interesting enough also became a bit of a standard among Country and Western artists along the way, which only makes sense given the influence country music seems to have in Jamaica.

“Going Home.” Modern yet traditional. Polished yet organic. Edgy yet soulful. 4:20 minutes of pure talent laid down on vinyl. 

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