Tuesday, March 09, 2004


Photo of Prince Buster at the 2000 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

And now for something completely different:
Some of my absolute favorite reggae cuts from four masters of the genre.
Dig in.


Prince Buster - "Ten Commandments of Man"

Mighty mighty Prince Buster is the king of ska and unimaginably influential in a James Brown kind of way. He was one of my dad's favorite artists so I got a healthy dose of him growing up.

The links below will give you a better overview of the man than I can, I'll just say that I still have cause to listen to Prince Buster at least once or twice a month.

This is a really funny song, almost tipping into novelty but just so damn funky that you can't help but forgive its noisomeness.

Meet Cecil Bustamente Campbell.
"Cecil"? Can't blame the guy for the nom de guerre.
Cecil don't sound like it skanks, do it?
Interview with the Prince
Buy the Greatest Hits album from Amazon.
A total no-brainer. At least half the songs on here are certified ska classics and the other half are great listens.
You MUST get this, if only for "Al Capone" and "Orange Street". Thank me later.


Third World - "1865 (96 Degrees In the Shade)"

Third World's been around long enough that they can boast that their first big gig was opening for the Jackson 5. Thirty years old this year and still going, Third World attributes its longevity to its crossover malleability; incorporating elements of funk and RnB to traditional reggae stylings

"96 Degrees" is Third World's biggest hit and is probably recognizable to even the reggae-unconscious among you. It's terrifically catchy and frankly moving, but I had long wondered as to the exact meaning of the lyrics until I did a bit of googling and discovered a bit more about the Morant Bay Rebellion. You'll have to excuse my ignorance and potentially alleviate yours.

Hell, it was news to me that cotton even GREW on trees.

As per the usual, you can find this 1977 reissue at Amazon.
Sing Along.
Check out Island (Mango) Records Third World back catalog, replete with tons of sound samples


Lee 'Scratch' Perry and the Upsetters - "Clint Eastwood"

The George Clinton of Reggae, Scratch is four foot eleven of pure thunder, obsessively prolific (which I appreciate), astonishingly innovative and quite likely utterly out of his mind.

His pioneering work with the Upsetters throughout the seventies set the stage for all manner of dub and mix artists for the future. He's probably better known out in the UK than over here in the states, hence his inclusion for all you clueless Yanks who haven't partaken of the Scratch experience.

Lee is obsessed with comics and spaghetti westerns, which explains the rather odd title of this tribute.

Clint Eastwood IS tougher than Lee Van Cleef, you know.

Lee "Scratch" Perry Bio
Scratch Fan Site
Lee's official site
Purchase a "best of" album from Amazon that contains this track.
Be careful when seeking to purchase Lee Perry material as it has been relentlessly bootlegged (a good chunk of his catalog was actually stolen) and spliced into inferior recordings. Check Lee's official site, listed above, for a list of bogus works to avoid.


Yellowman - "Lost Mi Love"

You couldn't WRITE a story like this guy's: outcast albino becomes the number one MC in Jamaica and a massive crossover artist, popularizing dancehall in America.

Yellowman's music tends toward the ruffneck; his legendary beef with The Lone Ranger makes the 50/Jah spat seem weak and his lyrics are often devoted to glorification of those old gangsta habits: cuckolding, violence, drugs and gaybashing.

This particular track from his debut album finds him in a mackin' state of mind, warning all the men that their girls may well run off with "the boss DJ" and "never come back until the very next day".

Yellowman has such natural fluidity and mellow tone that he sounds like he's hardly trying. Perfect for that "on-the-nod" night.

"I wan' L-O-V-E love you, I wan' K-I-S-S kiss you."

Yellowman Bio
Shanachie has the best of the Yellowman catalog for sale but the site is difficult to maneuver. Of course you could just get it from Amazon, but I would always prefer to give you a direct route to the publisher whenever possible.


If you enjoyed today's score, I must INSIST that you go check out the ASTOUNDINGAMAZINGHOLYSHITWHOKNEW compilation of Mp3reggae goodness that's over at Rank's Reggae Revival... over 80 full length tracks including classic and rare stuff by Prince Buster, Toots and the Maytals and Delroy Wilson.
Totally choice.

And if that's not enough for you, you'll find more cuts by The Skatalites, Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker and The Pioneers over at This is Ska.

Fire it up, mon.


Both of the "Letter B" CD's went out today, so my two little test monkeys should be on the lookout for something prior to Friday. Wheeee!
All those in a b-boy stance are hereby ordered to go check out this video of Kenny Muhammad and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
I've been leaving it on in the background for a half hour at a time. So, so fresh.
Thanks Chris!
There's a lot of reserved talk about Nellie McKay floating around musicblog land these days; no one wants to jump the gun and sign on unreservedly to what could be the most ubiquitous new artist since Norah Jones and then have to be reminded that they raved about the song that's being played at Starbux for the millionth time and is now making everybody nauseous.
Well to hell with it, I'll say it loud and proud: I'm totally feeling Nellie. She's the newer, cuter, less annoying Tori. Go download her live NPR set and demos and then tell me what YOU think.
Traffic is pointedly DOWN here at th' Hut. Is my patina dulling? Are you looking for the newer, shinier, better blog? Well fine! Just don't expect to come running back to me when they start posting monthly! No, that's fine; go ahead with your new hotness!

And after all we've been through together... sniff.