Apache Indian – Nuff Vibes E.P (Boom Shak A Lak)

Release Date: Aug 93
Chart Position: 5

Apache Indian was firing on all cylinders by this point, with an EltonJohnesque 4 singles released in 9 months. And to top it off, with this effort he released a 4 track EP! We will not see him for another two Neggae years on this blog; he literally neggaed himself out, the poor sod. In this post, we are going to concentrate on the money track on the Nuff Vibes EP, the one you saw for weeks on end on The Chart Show – Boom-shak-a-lak.
Apache had put the hours in for the Neggae cause so was due a payday. Up until Boom-Shak-a-lak, his music was a fine blend of I and I and Mumbai, with traditional Indian instruments being complimented with Western black beats. As I’ve said before in this blog, this was ahead of it’s time and the likes of Punjabi MCTimbaland and DJ Quik clearly owe Steve Kapur some props. His lyrics were rich with knowledge and humour, and his loyal fanbase ensured he charted but never troubled the top ten. That changed with Boom-shak-a-lak, and I imagine it shifted enough units to clear not only his mortgage, but his Mum and Dad’s too. And good for him.
By and large, Boom-shak-a-lak is a replica of Oh Carolina. Same boing noise, same backing vox, same piano chords. EXACTLY the same drum roll. It’s doesn’t cleverly sample an old bluebeat record, rather just riffs around on the standard 12-bar blues. This probably saved Apache a few quid in royalty payouts, and bearing in mind the song has since been used in over 70 adverts will have hopefully repaid him handsomely.
I wish a bit more care was taken over some of the production. I can’t stand the flangey keyboard horn effect he’s used AGAIN instead of a real horn section. Even sampled horns would have sounded better. And the guitar solo is unnecessary; as far as I can see all it does is make the song four minutes long rather than three. The song would also be improved by a middle eight of some sort; the whole Carolina come bubble ‘pon me’ is the pop magic that has Shaggy sitting at number 2 in the Neggae Hot 90.
But there are some great moment here too. The bassline and beats huge – when you hear this in a club you know about it. Apache Indian’s dancehall growl is great; no modal Indian vocalisms on this track – we are firmly at the reggae end of the Banghramuffin Sliding Scale. And finally, “boom-shak-a-lak” – what a catchphrase! Sounds Jamaicanish… Quite similar too Booyakasha as pedalled by Ali G years later. If Apache came up with that himself I’m impressed, as are Nando’s – the turn of phrase is currently advertised all over the windows of the Woking branch.
a payday 7 – now go and have a lie down Steven.

So, Apache Indian shows up again on the Neggae Hot 90 with an absolute diamond. It appears that our Banghramuffin boy from Birmingham has been influenced by Shaggy on this one; deep, gravelly voice with a slightly slower tempo compared to Apache’s usual velocity.
The video may leave a little to be desired and in any another circumstance may detract from the scoring, but I have “bought in” to Apache Indian from the get go and fully appreciate his diverse and fresh approach. The cheese factor is acceptable and doesn’t go over the top. I do struggle to correlate the theme of video to the lyrics but the song is powerful enough for me to rate highly.
I enjoyed this from start to finish. Plenty of head bobbing material here, a must at a BBQ, have a lilt, better yet crack open a Cobra, wind ya body and enjoy Apache step up and nail it.
Chalk me up for a solid 8/10.

You can’t deny Apache Indian’s contribution to the British Neggae scene, I believe this is his 4th entry in the Neggae top 90, which makes him the most regular Brit in the Hot 90 narrowly beating Maxi Priest, proving that in the court of Neggae justice will be served. The intro brings it in nicely and sets the tone for the song, nothing too serious, something to stick on about an hour after you’ve eaten at the BBQ as bogling on a full stomach is even more dangerous than swimming.
The beat comes in, then, what’s that I hear? Yes, it’s sampling ‘Oh Carolina’, firmly cementing the Shaggy classic as the source for neggae, much like ‘Apache’ with Hip Hop. Overall the production is decent, not very Neggae or Indian it must be said, in fact it sound s a bit like something Fatboy Slim or Bentley Rhythm Ace might have churned out. Lyrics are standard Apache fair, a bit cheeky but nothing like some of our previous entries which are verging on lyrical rape.
The video starts off with clips of Apatch in India, where frankly he seems to be held in papal like reverence, why the f*ck he came back to England I don’t know, the man was a living god. The stadium scenes are akin to Ben Richards coming back to finish off Killian in ‘The Running Man’. It then cuts back to Apatch in some kind of warehouse recreating a very low budget musical with a chorus of dancing girls behind him. I’m not sure what Apatch is wearing in this video, it looks like he went into a spending frenzy at the Orange Juice rail in Cheapjacks. Overall this tune is alright, not earth shattering but not one you’d skip past either.
Score: 7/10

Another one of those magical moments on this crazy journey and by far and away Apache’s best effort and a million miles from the Chok There car crash. The charts don’t lie.. well not often… OK quite often… but not in this case. Very unlucky to only get to No 5 and not take top spot but it did have Take That in their prime, Freddie Mercury, and Jazzy Jeff to contend with. All in all there was some pretty good stuff around in Aug 93!
The song is simply genius. A great 20sec intro tied up with a ‘BOING’ as we drop right into it and it all goes off left, right and centre. The Bhangra (of which I have never been a massive fan of preferring the reggae end of the Bhangramuffin spectrum) is mental as Apache roars us through it by growling unfathomable lyrics to an electrifying bass line. The melody actually goes nowhere, but we don’t want or need it to, it can stay in the same beautiful place all day without getting in the slightest bit boring and the guitar riff at around 2mins 15secs just adds even more class to this dancehall masterpiece.
The video is all over the place, but so is the song. Moving swiftly between studio Booty action to library footage of Apache being cool to basic large Boom-Shak-A-Lack font being plastered up at the chorus. Not too much imagination, but we’ll forgive him due the strength of the track.
Boom-Shak-A-Lack was on both the Clueless and Dumb and Dumber soundtracks – need I say more?
Score: Boom-Shak-a-9/10 from me.

I seem to remember liking this record a lot when it came out first time around. I would have been 11 years old and it was a tough time for my family. We were bouncing around a lot being semi homeless and I think at this particular point in time I would have been living somewhere on the borders of Maybury. Either in a half way house or as a lodger with some oddballs that my parents new from The Woking Workingmen’s club.
Maybury is the home of the Sha Jahan, Britain’s first Mosque and therefore the centre of Woking’s large Asian Community. I seem to remember playing a lot of Bread Crate Cricket this Summer and this song was very popular with a lot of the in field. It is slightly unnerving as a batsman, when a fielder is “winding his body” and “wriggling his belly” in the slips when your waiting for a fast ball. Not too dissimilar to the psyche outs in Baseketball.
Listening to the song now however I’m not sure I have the same level of admiration for it. We’ve done a number of Apache Indian reviews and with this one I definitely feel he’s on a rather sharp decline. The song basically takes the formula of Shaggy’s Oh Carolina and tries to replicate, all be it with an increased tempo.

  • The off beat Guitar riff is the same.
  • The drum roll is practically the same.
  • The haunting backing vocals are ripped off.

Then rather than just make Oh Carolina *2 , Team Apache thought they’d be ironic and whack in a cartoon “boing” sound effect. This replaces the boxing bell you hear in Oh Carolina but to much less musical and more of a comical effect.
To top it all, when the song runs out of steam and direction around the 2 minute mark, somebody decides to chuck in a crazy electric guitar solo.  What the hell has that got to do with Apache Indian or the Patois/Bangra crossover Culture he represents?
Clearly stuck for ideas himself Apache then decides to join in the whacky, madcap frivolity. What the hey? Surfs up Dude! He gets out a really small air Banjo and starts having a good old strum. Not sure if he actually has to look down to concentrate on his nonsensical finger plucking or he’s just getting carried away with the moment. The gurn he’s pulling kind of suggests that he’s actually loving it.  I’m sure he’d look back now clutching his face with both hands in disbelief.
From this point on you’ve got the standard English Girl, Indian Girl, American Girl A.N.Other girls ranting. This could go on and on, luckily they get bored themselves and knock it on the head after 3 and a half minutes.
Score: All a bit too fraudulent for my liking. Not his best work . 4 out of 10.



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