Neil here with a little special Xmas 2017 something for you all…it’s “Floppy Gifts For Xmas”, the charity single I co-wrote back in the early 1990’s for radio station B97 in Bedford (UK) to help raise money for their Xmas Kids Toy Appeal.
Now listen and weep, mwah ha ha haaaa! (actually I’m quite proud of this and we made money for a great kids charity, so huzzah all round!) I’ve created a new sing-along video for the single – huzzah!
Written by Paul Garner & Neil Gardner
Performed by Paul Garner, Neil Gardner, Neil Bentley, Tim Page, B97 Crew, Yamaha Crew
Recorded at The Bunkers, Bedford, 1994
Thanks to B97/Chiltern Radio & all who helped make it possible.
For the final vinyl review of the Ramrock Records Review Week, I return to the genius who is Ghetto Priest and the album EVERY MAN FOR EVERY MAN. Ten tracks of reggae bliss and perfection. An album of stories told by a master wordsmith at the height of his musical powers. Ghetto Priest has delivered a timeless gem of an LP, every song taking you on a different journey with effortless grace and a sense of rhythm and groove many other musicians can only dream of. There are no stand-out tracks because EVERY track stands out. This long-player demands a single sitting, and while your ears will always be rewarded by a quick dip in and out, the sense of completeness and message you get from listening from start to finish is immense.
There is no repetition of themes or styles here, each track is its own reggae masterpiece. The blend of vocals and instrumentation is a marvel to behold, neither one dominating, but both equally crafted to create a greater sum than its (already epic) parts. This is an LP that rewards multiple listens, and also works well both on speakers (crank it up, nod that head, jam out) and on headphones (let those rich, highly styled vocals and instruments infect your brain and soothe your soul).
A shout-out to the packaging design…this LP sleeve has a joyous and slightly sensual feeling to it, an unusual texture that makes it oh-so-pleasing to hold. But the tour-de-grace is the incredible cover art, which is part street-art, part modern classic. It shouts out at you with a Bond-villain quality, but memorises and tempts you to come closer and indulge in the miraculous music within. I want a second coy of the album just so I can hang a copy on the wall and display the cover as the modern artwork it most definitely is!
Rather than a track-by-track breakdown, let me instead just exhort you to buy this album if you have even just 1% love of reggae. This will enhance your life, pleasure your ears and lighten your day – and I wouldn’t be surprised if it also brought peace to the world, fixed that broken pipe under the sink, cleared up the cat’s lumbago and brought all the boys to the yard, it’s THAT good!
Thought: What a way to end the week! Thank you Ghetto Priest for preaching the purity of your music!
P.S. This has been a great, fun experiment for me and Bob here in the nook, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it with us. Many thanks must go to Jo Wallace of Ramrock Records for supplying the vinyl and not expecting anything of me but to enjoy listening to some vinyl…what an amazing person she is. Thanks also to all the musicians who have created such luscious and deeply moving music…you are all very special people with world-changing talent, be proud! Please help spread the word about the Listening Nook and let’s see if between us we can bet those subscribers up and views increased, and then use that to continue to preach the gospel of #vinyl and #newmusic together!
Side A: pure gold plated musical perfection embossed into a shiny spinning platter. Funky, soulful, playful and utterly beautiful. Aretha-like vocals that paint a story-scape blissfully of an evocative time and place. Great use of saxophone and modern production techniques, but with genius smaller interludes and breakdowns. You can’t help but dance, dance, dance! A simpler composition, not too busy, which allows you to focus on the astonishingly beguiling and exquisite vocal performance. This whole track is gorgeous from first note to last. A modern soul-dance insta-calssic. Like all the tracks from Tom Glide’s outstanding DIVAS GOT SOUL album, this fits perfectly within the vibe of that album but also manages to stand clear and proud…no mean feat considering the quality of the other tracks!
Side B: Another of those cheeky and astoundingly good Ashley Beedle North Street Remixes, alongside a Stripped Back Remix – both add to the track’s wealth of beauty and form the perfect companion pieces.
The Dissent “Trust In Me” – get ready for a deep, dark, dusky reggae take on a beloved Disney classic. Taken from The Jungle Book, the track oozes with sultry sauciness and is slathered with sexy sumptuous soft vocals, hypnotising and terrifying in equal parts. A mystical and mythical slow jam stuffed with sinful suggestion and curious connotations. Arabesque in vibe with great use of the organ and a whiff of drum and bass beats. The son invades your mind and insinuates intself into your soul. The dark underbelly of the jungle but with oh so lustful and enchanting vocals.
Thought: You’ll never watch The Jungle Book the same again! Truly terrifying, but in a superbly sexy way!
Side A: a head-nodding masterclass in warm trad-reggae song writing and performance. Big horns mix anthemically with warm rich vocals suffused in reverb. Luscious trumpets sound over staccato guitar, as a story unfurls in your ears and you are transported to a groovier, warmer place. An absolute blinder of a track and a voice sent to Earth from Reggae-heaven!
Side B: A North Street remix by Ashley Beedle, plus a Dub remix
Thought: sun shining tropical vibes with so much warmth it heats up a cold and dreary suburban living room
Side A: Absolutely blinding rhythmic and soulful smooth n funky. Gorgeous male vocals with a Commodores vibe and nothing but sheer gloss from top to toe. A real big-band feel slathered with warm and groovy instrumentation. A real classic 70s r’n’b attitude – shades of Al Green, Al Jarraeu, Lionel Richie. A modern soul funk epic with astonishingly beautiful vocals all held together by tight-as-a-nut brass, bass and drums. A contender for the first track on a male edition of DIVAS GOT SOUL?
Side B: Two North Street Remixes by the ridiculously talented Ashley Beedle. First is slower, smoother, groovier and more romantic than the original, and the second is a stripped back version allowing you to really focus on those astounding vocals.
Thought: If Galaxy chocolate bars were made into 12″ vinyl, THIS would be the result – gorgeous and addiction-forming!