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A Good Read

Posted (edited)

I've just started reading a book I got for my birthday.

I'm just past the bit detailing the origins of this particular scene. It features DJs who are respected for the exclusivity of their tunes above just about anything else. To protect their top sounds the DJs deface the record labels so that their rivals can't find the tunes - although the ones who can afford to go record buying in the USA try their damndest to discover what they are.

When tunes are finally uncovered, the shops are soon full of illegal bootlegs, so the DJs have to be really on their toes. They are expected to play the very newest, hottest sounds a few times each night, but also to have a continually changing playlist, turning up new records regularly. Consequently as well as searching for old, deleted records, the very best DJs are constantly pushing the boundaries and changing the music played.

A big tune can go for a lot of money - more than the average worker's weekly wage. The movement is driven by the working classes and the dances take part in less than salubrious venues and drink and drugs go hand in hand with the music. The crowds know their stuff and vote with their feet - only events with the best DJs are well attended and rivalry is intense.

Where and when does all this take place? The North and Midlands of England in the late 60s / early 70s?

Nope. It's jamaica in the 50s and people like Duke Reid, Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster are using a coin to scratch the info off their Jazz, Jump Blues and cool ballads' record labels, in order to protect their investments.

The book is Bass Culture - When Reggae was King by Lloyd Bradley. It's very well written and gives you a real feel for the times. Recommended.

Godz

Edited by Godzilla

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Posted

It came out about 3 years everywhere else apart from Monster Island.

But you're right. Best book on the subject by far, and I've read em all laugh.gif

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Posted

Thought you would have read it Pete.

We only get a supply ship here every couple of years laugh.gif

Seriously though, I knew there were some parallels but not quite how far they stretched. Can't wait to get to the Ska bit!

Godz

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Posted

Thought you would have read it Pete.

We only get a supply ship here every couple of years laugh.gif

Seriously though, I knew there were some parallels but not quite how far they stretched. Can't wait to get to the Ska bit!

Godz

link

Another thing - you know that stuff you were just reading about - have you heard some of it, don't mean to sound patronising - it's fabulous. EMI recently put a cd out called something like Jamaican Sound System Style which spans the years 1956 to maybe 1961, absolutely brilliant.

Can post a bit up if anyone wants to hear.

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Another thing - you know that stuff you were just reading about - have you heard some of it, don't mean to sound patronising - it's fabulous. EMI recently put a cd out called something like Jamaican Sound System Style which spans the years 1956 to maybe 1961, absolutely brilliant.

Can post a bit up if anyone wants to hear.

link

I'd love to hear some Pete.

If this is not the right place to post you could email the odd tune at:

tunes4chillin@yahoo.co.uk

Cheers!!

Godz

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Posted

'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life' is pretty good for the history of various 'dance' scenes.. from the earliest DJs, including Jamaica and moving on to the Northern scene (though must admit I got bogged down and couldn't get through the more modern dance bits).

Rach

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Posted

Heres 3 typical examples mate, a large percentage is new orleans influenced

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Cheers Pete.

Haven't heard these tracks before but they sounded pretty much as I expected after reading about the sound systems playing Wynonie Harris etc.

I thought the vocal style on the Ray Johnson song was particularly interesting as it sounds like a direct influence on the Jamaican sound

Godz

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