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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.
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.
I 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Mr Charles, is originally made his name as a stand-up comedian, and ‘punk poet’ before making it big as an actor, probably being most famous for the iconic role of Dave Lister in Red Dwarf.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!
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”.
The 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.So 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.
Lambrettista is back after a short break (at the seaside with the family in sunny Broadstairs, Kent… highly recommended!) Now I’m back, I’m kicking off with a blog recommendation… check out the “You Don’t Need Speed” blog here… Scooters, music, style and more from Lambretta riding Pete, based in The Steel CIty… Sheffield. As well as putting together a very enjoyable blog, Pete can sort you out with enamel badges for you club or event… and has a nice stock of Punk, Ska and Mod button badges in stock here too. As well as the more commonly seen Trojan ones, I love the ones from the more esoteric ska record labels… Bigshot, Doctor Bird and Treasure Isle… bang on.
I find it amazing how countries around the world have adopted the scooter scene ethic… often with the same music and fashions as those originally found in the UK. I know the scooters are Italian, and the music is Jamaican, but the culture is pure British. Except it’s not. It’s GLOBAL. As this video from Bogota (that’s in Colombia, South America for all you geography dunderheeds). And I think it’s pure brilliant.
BTW, As well as Colombia, this blog has readers in Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. Most of South America in fact. So if you own, ride, or are just interested in Lambrettas and you live in Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Bolivia or Paraguay… please get in touch, send some pics, let me know what’s happening in your neck of the woods. There are a few places around the world untouched by the “Lambretta virus” but, as I’m finding out… not many!
I’m loving this tune, and video by Cantabrian Reggae band Smooth Beans. (Cantabria, in case you’re Spanish geography is a little rusty, is the area around Santander in the North. I know it, slightly, from family camping holidays near Castro Urdiales, many years ago!). Any way, the Beans appear to have the Ska/Rocksteady / Skinhead Reggae sound down really well… a genre of music that particularly appeals to me. The video is pretty good too, featuring a nice Eibar Lambrettta (or should that be Serveta). I’m not an authority on these Spanish machines, so I’m not sure if the SX/Jet style headlight was ever fitted to a S2 type machine… but hey… the scooter looks pretty damn good, loving the sidecar too!
Thanks to The Scooterist blog for the heads up on this.
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