Red Dragon – Compliments On Your Kiss (Ft. Brian & Tony Gold)

Release Date: Jul 94
Chart Position: 2

What a treat! I forgot how good this was until I played it for the first time in years this morning. A genuine piece of dance hall neggae that has not been chopped, sliced, diced, minced and forced through the neg-blender. Not a neg app in sight. It’s got a great horn section dictating a chilled pace of the song complimented by steel drums and sax action that really give it that Island feel which is refreshing at this stage of the competition. The lyrics are also delivered simply and efficiently.
I like the video and in particular two things really stick out for me. Firstly the bar they are all hanging out in looks cool, it’s the sort of place I would like to go and chill out. Plenty of seating, a good sized bar area, a little dance floor, band in the corner, nice punters, friendly barman and although it is clearly a tropical climate it looks fresh and not too hot. Secondly everyone looks a little more mature than the other vids we have watched. These boys have been around for a while and they are not trying hard to be something they’re not. Again refreshing versus some of the other stuff we have been reviewing recently.
Really sad that this lot only appear once on our list; however I am learning to appreciate that it is better to have one or two belters than to have a handful of crap (Ace of Base).
Score: A real joy that cheered my boring train journey right up this morning – 9/10 from me.

There’s more wrong with this song than there is right. I remember my Dad liking this one at the time, that instantly threw me off it and to be honest my opinion on it hasn’t changed much over the last 20 years. Its too forced and unnatural. Its as though some music mogul has said to himself..(in a fifties news hound voice) “OK got a toast man, now get me a crooner, a schmoozer, a face guy, a hit with the ladies. Get me Carlton Banks, can he sing? He’s not available? well get someone like him, a frat boy, yeah that guy. What? He looks too American? Just Rastafy him a little , take off his shirt, get him a waistcoat and a Malcolm x chain. Puyfect, a real doozy, were in business!”
These two are a poor mans Chaka Demus and Demus. It reminds me of when Phatts and Small released Turn Around in the wake of Stardust’s Music Sounds better with you.  On one hand you have the epitome of cool, pioneers of french house at the top of their game. On the other, two blokes East Sussex and that gangly fella who was putting one on Vannessa Feltz for a while.
Its a brave idea but I don’t like the whole doo-wop element. It all sounds a bit World War 2 USA and frankly that has nothing what so ever to do with Reggae, Neggae, Ska , roots or lovers rock. You half expect Biff Tannen clicking his fingers to this sort of schmaltz in his car in Back To The Future and we all know what him and his gang of herberts thought about Spooks and Reefer Addicts!
Not my cup of tea this one, the steel drums are a nice touch. A high point in an otherwise forgettable smokescreen of brylcream, velvet suits and 50’s style American Style Diners.  At least when Lou Bega churned out Mambo No. 5 he donned a suit reflectant of the backing music rather than dressing up like R Kelly and hoping for the best.
Red Dragon? Feed this one to the pigs.
Score: 2 out of 10 for the steel drums.

This is a rather awkward song all around. Initially this sent shivers up and down my spine as the sepia toned bar setting immediately had me thinking Dawn Penn was about to stroll in and start prancing around. The good news is that Dawn was at the hairdressers and couldn’t make it. By the end of the song, I was in a trance, stuck listening to the same dross over and over again.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written a review and I’ve missed my deadline by several days. This was generously extended by the Neggae Elders last week. It’s been a long day, and although I’m not feeling it, I will give this my best effort.
The song is slow and has no change of pace, didn’t keep me interested and was boring. Vocals were good, but the lack of imagination really sucked the life out of the tune.
The video was Dawn Penn/UB40 like. Bottom line, it was cack.
Score: Put me down for 2.8/10

Sly & Robbie’s contribution to the popular music of the last quater of the 21st century is impeccable and beyond reproach. In the late 70s and early 80s their cutting-edge approach to production coupled with pop sensibilities produced hit after hit. Pull up to Your Bumper Baby, Spasticus Autisticus, Wordy Rappinhood – all bonafide pop standards produced by these two ‘scientists of sound’, along with many more. In the ’90s, they turned their attention to their homeland, and developed the idea of a male duet – featuring the rough and ready rhymes of a hypeman offset by the sweet vocal melodies of a singer. The result was Chakademus and Pliers’ Tease Me, the archetypal Neggae hit. It’s fair to say they pretty much own this genre.
Which is why, although not without its charms, Compliments on your Kiss falls a little flat in comparison. It’s like the family movie Hugo; lovely and moving station-based yarn that it is, it’s directed by Scorsese man! You can’t help but compare it with what he’s capable of and feel hard done by. My children couldn’t understand why I was a little deflated after suffering Hugo with them, so immediately after we all sat through a double-bill of Casino and Goodfellas. Their silence spoke appreciative volumes.
Occasionally, the genius of Dancehall’s very own Lennon and McCartney shines through. The steel drum refrain is so hooky you’d think its a sample. It’s not. I’ve checked. And as for what I can only describe as the ‘magic wand’ sound effect – incredible. I didn’t think they could top the cat miaow noise on Tease Me but they’ve only bleedin’ gone and done it here.
Brian and Tony Gold were Neggae journeymen, and bring their experience to the table here with some solid performances. I’m not sure which one toasts and which one sings. Maybe they interchange lead and rhythm, Neggae’s very own Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards. Who knows. What I do know is that although they share a surname, they are not brothers nor are they civil partners. Again, I’ve checked online so you don’t have to.
Elsewhere in the song, we get a middle-of-the-road croonathon which rhymes girl/world, tepid toasting and a godawful sax solo. Three times around the block then home. No dancehall moves to be thrust during a daggering breakdown (see here), and no oriental flute to signify a change in the direction of the song (Tease Me). All the way along, Sly and Robbie’s safe yet infectious riddim floats us back to the shore. Us Brits lapped up this grandma’s favourite, and yet again those celtic Neggae-slayers Wet Wet Wet denied Neggae another number one.
Score: A slow and steady 6 from me

‘It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you, without more neggae to step to, step to, step to, step to wikkywikkywikkwah’

It’s been an unproductive couple of weeks at Neggae Towers which culminated with one of the Elders having a mental breakdown over car keys. However now the cranial zaps have been banished we should be back on track, speaking of tracks this is a lovely one to restart the neggae rollercoaster with.
Brian and Tony Gold (not siblings, neither of their surnames are Gold, neggae is one crazy musical genre) first got together in the eighties to perform at talent contests in Kingston, however they soon graduated from singing outside the Bentall Centre and were releasing their own records in the early nineties. Their popularity spiked in 1994 when they teamed up with Leroy May, who was better known as ‘Red Dragon’ (Neggae fact, he named himself after his favourite Darts outlet having been impressed with the customer service he received when ordering a replica Bob ‘The Limestone Cowboy’ Anderson stetson).
This starts well, with compliments to all the nice and decent girls, a neggae motto the Daily Mail could get right behind. The beat shuffles in rather than skanks but this is a good thing as the mellow lead vocal drifts into your ether and is complimented beautifully by a little steel drum break. I close my eyes and suddenly I’m not sitting in the concrete utopia that is Woking, I’m transported miles away to the sea front at Margate, bliss.
One of the Pyrite brothers gets involved with a bit of toasting and it’s all nice, I can feel myself visibly relaxing after my boardroom ordeal, it’s massage by audio. The lyrics are fairly basic, the song’s protagonist is infatuated with his current squeeze and whenever he thinks about her gets a lob on. It’s not world changing stuff but it’s Neggae, who cares? The video is standard Negfair, they’ve set up in the same bar Dawn Penn used but it’s a much more tame affair, more like the aftermath of a christening rather than a celebration of someone being released from Prison . I’d quite like to go there and have a beer, in my mind you can watch cricket form the porch of the bar whilst enjoying a beer.
Score: This song’s like watching Zidane play, effortless magic – 9/10



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