Bitty McLean – Pass it On

Release Date: Oct 1993
Chart position: 35

Vince
So it was now October 1993, and the first summer of dread was behind us. Maybe some of us could sense something had changed. The man who ran the t-shirt stall in Woking Market might have noticed he’d shifted a few dozen more Bob Marley t-shirts. Perhaps people were walking to school or work with 7% more skank. Who knows. But what we do know, is that the iriefication that would happen in the following summer would make ’93 look like folk club.
So the year wound down with the sophomore effort from Neggae’s Young Player of the Year, Bitty McLean. And, though it pains me to say it, this is an absolute stinker. I’m not going to put the boot in because Bitty strikes me as a decent chap – so I’ll keep this brief and above all professional.
The song couldn’t sound more 1993 if it tried, with that warm, safe production sound favoured by the likes of M People and Simply Red. I probably half-watched Bitty performing it on TOTP, while flicking back my curtains to concentrate on a Magic Eye book, wearing a global hypercolour t-shirt under a woolen waistcoat, with Jamie whipping round Ghost Valley on the SNES in the background.
The intro is way too long. 45 seconds of meandering church keys that build to no climax. 16 bars of a LIDL Funky Drummer sample then leads us into some godawful 90s house piano thunderchords; it really does sound like an M People b-side. For all Bitty’s pleading that “In the kingdom of Jah Man shall reign” there really isn’t much reggaying happening here at all. We’re a long way from the Wailers original, a joy of a song that sees Bob, Bunny and Peter channeling gospel soul through their roots challis. Shame.
Rather than call it a day at the three minute mark, Mclean throws in a key change and we’re off again for another 150 seconds of sweet neggae muzak. It’s like All Around the World by Oasis – and at least Noel could blame that abomination on all the wanger he was putting on his cornflakes.
Score: I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. 3/10
Bitty-McLean-Pass-It-On-369759

Jamie
This is horrible. Eggy. Bitty what are you doing?
In my opinion, and it is a much debated subject concerning the Neggae chart, this should not qualify. OK, Bitty is deemed a Neg Artist on a previous merit (It keeps raining) but this is not a Neggae song. Its weak by any genre and I felt ill after waiting for it to do something for 5 minutes on a Thursday Evening.
Thats five more minutes I could have spent listening to Abs from 5 getting ahead of himself on ITV’s Big reunion. In fact Abs the Turk and his dual patois personality are probably more Neggae than this entry. Even sporting what looks like a really bizarre World War One  toupee, he’s more Caribbean than Pass It on.
Its disappointing to say the least. Bitty’s first assault on the Neggae chart was good, it took a fats Domino song and improved on it with Reggae influence and decent beats and percussion. Sadly this follow up does none of the above. I’ve listened to the Bunny Wailer Original. That’s Reggae. What this is I don’t know. Gospel Piano and Cheap Electronic drum beats.
If Paul Tucker from the Lighthouse family and Heather Small had a love child and that child grew up to write the score for the Sister Act 5 – Chaos in Kidderminster straight to DVD movie, I imagine that this is what it would sound like. Horrible, and to think I smiled and got slightly excited when I saw this weeks subject matter. I’m not angry, just very disappointed.
I hate being Neggy but that’s just not what I call Neggae.
Score: 3 out of 10 (purely because he has a voice and a likable face).

Gouldy
Another cover version, although neggae has truly touched my soul this does seem to suggest a dearth of original song writers in the genre. This time it’s a cover of a decent enough Wailers song that’s not included on ‘Legend’1 so I can see the logic in taking it on. The intro causes alarm bells immediately, a really dodgy synth sound which sounds like someone playing Club Nouveau’s ‘Lean on me’ whilst tired and emotional.
Someone then presses the beat button on the Casio and it limps in like Derek Redmond on the home straight (apologies for that link, I’m welling up). The overall production is badly dated for the 1970s never mind the 90s, clearly the likes of Wakeman, ELP and Hammer didn’t play a big part of Bitty’s musical education as his butchery is the synthesizer equivalent of the fall of Rome, it’s set back civilisation years. He makes a token gesture to the decade he’s living in with some Soul II Soul like strings at around the 2 minute mark but the overall effect is particularly poor considering he starting off on the other side of the mixing desk. The vocals are ok but nothing can save this and the record company must have agreed as there’s no promotional video to be found. The song basically sounds like it should be advertising a local restaurant in the cinema in 1979, maybe a West Indian kebab fusion, ‘Jerk and Turkis now open, pass it on, pass it on’.
Score:  2/10 – Shitty Mclame, and with that fiendishly clever wordplay I firmly cement my place as the Wilde of Neggae, plus the whole thing in prison which I try to block out.

The most popular album amongst racists trying to prove they’re not racist;  MORI poll, March 1996.


Jonny
I don’t remember this the first time around, not sure what I was up to in October ’93 (?), however I am pretty glad that I don’t as it is total shit! Is this really the same Bitty McLean that delighted us and the musical world with It Keeps Rainin’ (Tears From My Eyes)? Surely not? Had he had a stroke or something since then? It’s a lazy effort to cover a Bob Marley classic that just seems to go on and on forever without any concern for the poor listener holding a knife to their wrists. 5 mins of noise pollution, it’s as simple as that. It got to no 35, I’m not sure how many copies it sold, but it was too many as far as I am concerned! It’s all such a shame.
Score: 2/10 – Nice one Delroy!

Norm
Woah, that was a long winded 5 minutes and 9 seconds. Bitty Mclean is back with us again, unfortunately Pass it on isn’t as uplifting and neggafied as I think it was intended to be.
I feel like I should be in church on a Sunday (which is not a place I frequent, so therefore makes me a little uneasy), in the deep south breaking it down and praising the lord. I get that this is more more about social responsibility than the big man upstairs but in my opinion seems a little over the top and could have been wrapped up in two minutes instead of five. here’s its pros and cons…
Pros

  • Bitty Mclean – his unique and pure vocals give the song credibility and command you to listen to the whole song just on the off chance it gets better.
  • No video, which actually helps the overall video. A bad song accompanied with a terrible video really could have made this a long and arduous 5 minutes

Cons

  • A little too gospel for my liking
  • The pace of the song is too slow – little chance of getting your swerve on to this at a BBQ
  • The synthesizer bassline sounds artificial
  • The whole thing is a gospel/neggae/jazz-club hodge-podge.

Score: Sorry to come down so hard on my man Bitty but it’s a 3.5/10. Damn I feel bad now.

NEGGAE SCORE: 2.7

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