Apache Indian Feat. Maxi Priest – Fe Real

Release Date: Nov 92
Chart Position: 33

This is so close to being a carnival anthem, just a shame (like Iron Lion Zion) that from the get-go the song is ruined one by poor production choice. The bontempi keyboard facsimile of a horn section completely cattles the groove. When it’s not there on the verses the groove is tight; the sliding breakbeat will always curry favour with me, as do the fleshy Hammond chords.

Both Maxi Priest and Apache Indian are great vocally, and surely only the John Terrys of the world wouldn’t enjoy the sense of multicultural unity the song creates. Maxi’s cod-punjabi crooning towards the end (“Curiar look so nice in o them sari”) is I think a great British pop moment. The song is like Ebony and Ivory’s cooler, less showbizzy younger brother. Can’t help but think about that horrible clip when Darcus Howe was started on by Asian yout’ on a channel4 documentary. The complete opposite of what this song is appealing for. Very sad.
I honestly think this is crying out for a Nextmen remix (I hear similarities in this recorded 15 years later). Fe Real could easily be this good!
Score: 7/10

I see this as the first original neggae tune, although Iron, Lion, Zion charted first it was an old song remixed, this was a true mould breaker. I love some of the production on this, the bassline and beat sound like they’ve been nicked off Teddy Riley and having the tabla in the background is nice touch. Apache Indian is fairly pony as MCs go but he gives it a go and doesn’t offend whilst Maxi Priest’s vocals are as sweet as ever.
Not one for the purists, but that’s the whole point, this is just a feel good summer pop song which has been influenced by other genres which were popular at the time. I can’t find the video and the mists of time have clouded my memory of it but if I were making one now it would include a multi cultural street party, children dancing and some kind of water fight, like a Benetton advert with added Vimto. One to stick on at your Gran’s barbeque.
Score: 7/10

Now, we’re on to something here. This song is FE REAL. I like it, for me this is where it begins and is the epitome of chilled out summer music. For me it is essential to have a fast paced rap intro that you can’t really understand until the last couple of words then transitioning into chilled vocals. This qualifies.
Apache Indian has a unique voice and for some reason I like the cheesy rap with Maxi’s vocals. The song has a good blend and it doesn’t take too much effort to listen to it.
Thumbs up for me.
Score: 7.5/10

I simply don’t get how this only got to number 33 in the charts, especially given how early it was during the neggae movement. It was new, it was fresh, it was the future (for the next four years anyway) and has everything that makes neggae great. Simply a brilliant summer tune that is dead easy to listen to – both must have’s when it comes to basic Neggae requirements.
I am trying to find weaknesses, but keep on thinking of more positives….the horn style intro, the chorus line, Maxi’s vocals…..I like it all even the Apache Indian MC’ing (which typically I struggle to warm to). This was the catalyst and although I feel there were better tunes in the years to come this paved the way for neggea artists to follow in.
A must have for the record collection!
Score: 8/10 (purely as I know that there are bigger tunes coming)

Is it reggae ? Is it Neggae? Remove the bass line and this sounds like the demo track on the keyboard I got for my 10th Birthday. As much as I enjoy listening to Maxi Priest I don’t think that is one of his finer moments. The “Bontempi” horn section sounds a bit like a karaoke backing track. It does give this one a “music by numbers” feel.
In later years other Afro-Asian Neggae acts would follow in the footsteps of this single. As much as I would like to rank this up with China Black’s Searching (guilty pleasure) , I cant seem to help but draw comparisons to the UK’s 1995 Eurovision song contest entry from Love City Groove.
Although there were some bad decisions made in the production process, there are a few nice touches. The subtle tabla gives it Indian character. The break is solid and the bass line carries it home. Apache Indian is Apache Indian and Maxi Priest gives a complementary variation on vocal styles.
A for Ambition yet D for delivery on this one for me.
Score: An indifferent 5/10



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