RUDEBOY: The Story of Trojan Records

I missed any news of this movie on it’s original release in 2018. It’s available on Sky on demand, so if you’ve got that, give it a spin and let me know if you think it’s any good!

Among the cast of legendary artists featured are Lee ‘Scratch’ PerryToots HibbertKen BootheMarcia GriffithsDave BarkerDandy LivingstoneDerrick MorganBunny Lee, Sly & RobbieLloyd CoxsonePauline Black and Neville Staple they’ve certainly got the right people on board.

Here’s the intro from the film’s website.

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RUDEBOY is a film about the origins and ongoing love affair between Jamaican and British Youth culture. A film that explores the power of music to break down cultural barriers and change lives and the eventual birth of a modern multicultural society – all told through the prism of one the most iconic record labels in history, TROJAN RECORDS. Combining archive footage, freshly shot interviews and drama – RUDEBOY tells the story of Trojan Records by placing it at the heart of a cultural revolution that unfolded in the council estates and shanty towns of the late 60’s and 70’s. The film begins in the 1950’s, as Jamaica is slowly transitioning to its eventual independence in 1962. We meet Duke Reid and his legendary Trojan sound system and explore the social and cultural conditions that give rise to the birth of the rude boy, the emergence of sound-system culture and the rise of the distinctive Jamaican sound ska. In Act 2 we land in Britain in the 60’s and look at the Jamaican immigrants’ experience through the eyes of a young Dandy Livingstone. We meet first generation Windrush immigrant Lee Gopthal and witness the birth of Trojan Records while Enoch Powell is giving his Rivers Of Blood speech. There is a growing market for imported ska and new rock steady sounds that Trojan records tap into. Act 3 tells a story of how working-class youth discover the sounds of ska and rock steady and the most the important subculture in modern British history is born, the Trojan Skinhead. A new sound Reggae emerges. Black and white unite on dancefloors as we build up to the landmark for underground skinhead culture and the ‘Spirit of 69’. From 1969 – 1973 Trojan becomes the most important Jamaican label in the world and is at the peak of its powers. The Tighten Up compilation series, spreads the Trojan word to the masses. The label begins releasing almost everything that is sent in as the volume of output becomes incredible. A new gold rush ensues with producers rushing over from Jamaica selling records to Trojan Desmond Dekker emerges as the first star of the underground scene. ‘Double Barrel’ by Dave and Ansel Collins give Trojan their first number 1 hit single. Ken Boothe inspires the lovers rock sound with Trojans second number 1 ‘Everything I Own’. Pop Reggae is born and Black identity and pride builds around these records as a new confident identity is cemented. But the good times can’t last forever as in 1975 the label over extends itself and folds. But the impact of Trojan records lives on, through the 70’s right up to the present day. Jamaican youth culture has flourished and is everywhere you look – it spawned 2Tone, the Notting Hill Carnival, Sound systems, the seeds of the Hip Hop revolution, club culture. The cultural impact of Trojan records has shaped the world we live in.

Grab the soundtrack

If that sparks your interest, you can grab the soundtrack on Amazon, here.

Durand Jones & The Indications

IMG_20180518_062449I don’t often post about music on here. But occasionally something or somebody comes along that I have to share… And you need to check out this Band. I was lucky enough to catch Durand Jones & The Indications last night, in a great venue – The Waiting Room – a tiny room beneath a pub in Stoke Newington (can’t remember the last time I paid £6 for a gig either – bargain of the century!).

They blew me away. Durand Jones’s vocal is up there with all the great soul singers I love – on occasions, it was as if he was channelling Donny Hathaway, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding – and these are not names I bandy about lightly. He’s really that good. He’s got a great, authentic delivery, and you really felt he was experiencing the essence of every song.

The band were tight – really tight – working as a unit – the drummer was an absolute machine. The rhythm section reminded me of Muscle Shoals’ finest – and the horns – tenor sax and trumpet – were Stax like in their attack – but mellow and gentle when they needed to be. There were shades of King Curtis as well – really nice stuff. Under it all was some beautiful floaty, hammond style keys.

The Indications have more than one great singer in the band – When the drummer Aaron Frazer guested on the lead vocals (Check out “Is It Any Wonder” below) it was incredible – think Sam Cooke meets Smokey Robinson – and as Durand himself said “The voice of an angel – how do I follow that?” he DID though!

It’s hard to say enough good things about this band… I’ve seen a LOT of bands at a lot of gigs over the years. I’m not into comparisons and superlatives – BUT I reckon this is the BEST band I’ve seen, and the BEST gig I’ve been to.

If you get the chance – do yourself a favour – and go and see these guys. Buy their records. They’re the real deal.

Durand Jones and The Indications Website
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RIP Prince Buster

This is a Lambretta blog, not a music one. But I’m going to take a moment to acknowledge the sad passing of musical legend Prince Buster.

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37 years ago (!), almost to the day, my life changed. That’s the day Madness performed their first single “The Prince” on Top of The Pops. The song (as was the band’s name) was tribute to someone I’d never heard of… Prince Buster. I knew that this was the group I’s been waiting for. Only a couple of years older than me, but with such a cool, fun, nutty vibe about them… the clothes! The music! Down to Woolies the next day, clutching my 75p, The Prince became my fourth record in my collection. (The others were The Sex Pistols “Silly Thing”, Allies Tartan Army by Andy Cameron, and The Birdy Song  – a gift form my Granny – honestly). The B Side of The Prince was just as good – if not better – a song called Madness – a Prince Buster cover. With The Specials in the charts with a cover of Al Capone, (retitled Gangsters of course) and Madness to soon release One Step Beyond, the influence ‘The Prince’ is undeniable. I was lucky enough to see Prince Buster live on several occasions… including with Madness at Finsbury Park.

I, like a lot of my generation, began to seek out the originals. Prince Buster was a revelation. Songs like One Step Beyond, Al Capone, Rough Rider, Wreck a Pum Pum and Big 5 are classics. The whole ska / mod / skinhead scene was inexorably linked to the world of scooters… so maybe, without Prince Buster – no Madness – no love of scooters – no Lambrettista Blog…

RIP ‘The Prince’ A true innovator, original rude boy and musical legend.

Music Monday: The Invisibles; (Could you) Get Lucky…

My latest musical discovery is a dutch ska / rocksteady band called The Invisibles… Watch the video above, and you’ll get a good idea of their vibe.

They do some great (unexpected) covers, and their own stuff too. There’s a whole bunch of videos that I highly recommend that you check out. Check out their YouTube page here.

Pop Artist

If I said the name Horace Panter you would probably think of The Specials, at least if you have a decent taste in music and you’re of a certain age! As Sir Horace Gentleman, he was (and still is) the bassist for one of the most iconic bands of the ’80s, spearheading the 2-Tone movement. What you may not know is that Horace and Jerry Dammers met at Art School… where they were both studying  Fine Art.

Today, Horace is very much a painter as well as a musician. He paints in a very Pop Art style… following the mantra of ‘elevating the mundane’, taking a fresh look at the familiar, encouraging the viewer to see ‘everyday’ objects/people with new eyes. I can see influences of British Pop Art’s leading figures, Peter Blake, and also of one of his pupils… Ian Dury (also an accomplished artist) in his work.

Horace’s paintings are often inspired by random events and people. One such painting, ‘The Scooterist’ resulted from a chance meeting with a posse of scooterists outside Coventry’s Transport Museum.The Scooterist © Copyright Horace Panter Art 2014

Horace was asked by local filmmaker, Richard Wood, to participate in promoting a charity event to raise funds for Clare House Hospice in Liverpool. This involved the car, HERBIE (from the eponymous film) being driven from Liverpool to Monte Carlo and Horace joined Lady Godiva (Pru Poretta) on its journey from The Ricoh Arena to the Transport Museum. This short journey was accompanied by a whole raft of vintage VW’s and an honour guard of local scooterists.

It is generally true that scooterists are fans of The Specials so while they were all busy snapping photographs of Horace, he decided to reciprocate and turned his camera on them. Sifting through his photographs later, he turned his attention to the remarkable detail on the scooters and decided to paint one with its rider on board in his typical icongraphic style. He says: ‘There were some amazing scooters … really detailed. All that stuff about pride in appearance, everything just right in terms of both scooter and scooterist, I love it.

Horace didn’t know who the rider was so he put out a call on Facebook and Twitter to ask if anyone could identify the mystery scooterist. Within minutes, responses started to come in and they weren’t all the same! However, half a dozen people pointed to Carl Barlow from the Low Numbers Scooter Club in Leamington Spa. 
It was definitely him, as other photos testified. Horace then contacted Carl by sending him a message on Facebook but by then Carl had had dozens of texts and emails from his friends to tell him that Horace had painted his portrait. Happily, mystery solved. Carl says ‘Over the moon that Horace has chosen to do the pic of me; it’s a real honour! I’m thrilled that he will be letting me have a print. It’s a wonderful painting … not just because I’m in it!’ I’m with Carl on that. There is a real ‘iconic’ feel to the work.

The original painting has been sold. There is a limited edition of 35 prints (40 x 23 cm) available from the galleries listed on Horace’s website: HoracePanterArt, where you can check out his other work, including his series of ‘Cassette’ paintings. You can also check out his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.

A big thank you to Clare in helping me put this post together.

Awooga! The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show

15274_1_review-craig-charles-xmas-funk-and-soul-show-53-degrees-preston_banI don’t cover a lot of music on this blog, it’s a Lambretta site after all… and everybody has their own taste in music. But there’s a show I’ve been addicted to for a long time, and that’s BBC 6 Music’s Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show. A lot of my readers, I know will already be fans, especially if you are in the UK, but even those further afield needn’t miss out due to the magic of the internet.

Mr Charles, is originally made his name as a stand-up comedian, and ‘punk poet’ before making it big as an actor, probably being most famous for the iconic role of Dave Lister in Red Dwarf. He’s been in a ton of other stuff, notably driving a taxi in Northern soap Coronation Street. But enough of that. Let’s get onto the funky souly show!

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Since 2002, Craig has been hosting a weekly radio show on BBC 6 Music, which, in my humble opinion, plays some of the best sounds you are likely to hear. Clearly, with a name like the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show, you’re going to expect a couple of things. 1, it’s hosted by Craig Charles, and 2, there’s going to be some Soul, and some Funk. Well. You ain’t gonna be disappointed on either score. There’s plenty of proper, good old fashioned SOUL, and Señor Charles manages to cram 2lbs of FUNK into a 1lb bag! But it’s more than simply soul and funk… there’s music from the 50’s to the 80’s from Jazz, R’n’B (PROPER R’n’B mind) Blues and Gospel. Sometimes he’ll go back to the 40’s for a bit of Jump Jive. There’s often a bit of Ska or Reggae in there too, a huge dollop of Latin and Afrobeat, as well as a bit of Disco and Hip Hop; and the occasional rockier or punkier track… as long as it’s got “a wiggle on” and it’s kinda Funky, Monsieur Charles will give it a spin! It’s not all old stuff from the vaults either, Craig has consistently sought out and championed the finest new bands, from the UK, US, Europe and around the world. And it’s amazing how much really good funk & soul is being made today.

Since the show’s been running Craig has had everyone from James Brown to Paul Weller as special guests… and you definitely want to be around when he unlocks his “trunk of funk”.

Recently there has been a shorter show on BBC Radio 2 straight after the Main Event… and while it’s a great hour, to me, it serves as a light dessert to the smorgasbord of the main 3 hour programme. When I can I listen to both, then I listen again, on erm, “listen again”.

1509856_10153971835380467_688393321241214848_nThe Godfather of Soul, James Brown had the epithet “The Hardest Working Man in Showbusiness” But I think CC could give him a run for his money… Working all week on Corrie, 3 hours of the CCF&SS on 6 Music, another hour on Radio 2, and I haven’t even mentioned his live show yet, so I will. Yep, he does it all live, taking the Craig Charles Funk & Soul  Club live at various venues… the next is the Brixton Jamm on the 19th April. I haven’t caught him live yet, but I imagine it will be a cracking show.10014592_615898988478478_518503251_nSo you might get the impression I’m a bit of a fan of the show. You’d be right. If for some reason it’s passed you by, you can check out the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show on the BBC 6 Music Website, on Facebookage, or the Twitterati.

If for some reason you can’t listen to the show online, you have once more option… you can get it on vinyl. Well, not vinyl, that shows my age… CD or MP3. There are a couple of great albums that showcase the kind of thing you’ll hear on his show, here and here.

One more thing before I go, and this is important. The show is best listened to with you sunglasses ON. I recommend these.

 

Le Voyage Exceptionnel – EuroLambretta Avignon, The Movie

So here’s the mystery. I’m sure I posted this video ages ago. Back in June in fact. But there it was, when I went into my “Dashboard” (WordPressers all know what I’m talking about) sitting in the “Pending” category. So if you’ve seen it before, apologies, but not too many, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate the opportunity of seeing it again. I’ve since posted an article about Woodsy’s fine still imagery that you can check out here, if you missed that.

From Manchester, England to Avignon France. And Back. By Lambretta.

If you only watch one video about EuroLambretta, watch this one. Brilliant visuals from the first frame to the last with a great soundtrack. Hit the full screen button, crank up your speakers to 11. If you don’t want to sign up for the next Euro after watching this, there’s something wrong with you.

This is the best scooter video I’ve seen since this one. In fact, I think it’s better.