C.J Lewis – Dollars


Release Date: Dec 94
Chart Position: 34

Norm
We’ve got CJ Lewis and Dollars to critique this week. It’s tough to follow in the footsteps of the sublime Ini Kamazoe. We were treated to an absolute belter that left Neggae towers a house divided. Personally, I thought it would have strolled to #1. But that’s the beauty of this blog, each to his own, we are individuals and our opinion counts, even if you’re wrong if you didn’t give that song a 10/10.
CJ is up against it if we’re being honest. It’s a little like David Moyes following Sir Alex. Decent but a wee bit of a of a let down. I think that we will all agree that CJ peaked with “Sweets for My Sweet” and “Everything is Alright – Uptight” Both of those are uplifting powerful neggae beauties. Dollars falls short, I’m trying to figure out what it’s missing. Oh, that’s it, I’m waiting for a CJ like “Ribbydibbydibbyboombahdeh” type intro or break, sadly I was left wanting for some CJ silliness and it didn’t materialize. That’s OK. I’m writing this review listening to “Everything is alright” so I’m good.
“Dollars” apparently very hard to find on the internet which amazes me, I’m sure it also amazed Neggae elder Vince as he had to buy this and upload it to YouTube for us to enjoy. Many thanks Elder Vince for providing us some head bobbing material. I’ll be honest, I had forgotten all about this one but after a few listens, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It fits my simple criteria for decent neg, island sounding rap (not the Orkney Islands sound) fast enough to keep you involved, Malibu worthy, BQ party worthy. This ticks all the boxes and I wouldn’t hesitate to put this on the playlist at a summer soiree (for those that aren’t quite sure what a soiree is, it’s a party.)
Score: Put me down for 6.5/10 – a decent tune but no ribbydibbydibbydoombadeh.

c-j-lewis-dollars-vinyl-clock-sleeve-90s

Jonny
Right, so after a few great weeks back onboard the Neg train what have we here? Dollars by CJ Lewis this week, I love CJ! An artist who is true Neg through and through and has knocked out some of the best tracks we have reviewed date, Sweets for my Sweets is one of my all time favourites. I think I’m going to put my feet up, crack open a brewski and see what he has to offer. After the slight kerfuffle last week when we had to jump ahead to Hot Stepper and Vinnie had to go buy the CD just so we had a version to listen to, I’m quite looking forward to this….I love neg reviewing….here we go…
What the hell is this sh*t?!
The bottle of Becks I’ve just opened is a year out of date! Maybe the competition to win two tickets to Soccer City (a whole city based on Soccer!!) in Johannesburg to watch the World Cup final in 2010 on the side of the bottle could have given it away? I must talk to the wife about our ‘first in first out’ fridge management process, it has clearly failed! Back to grab another one.
Right second round, fresh, chilled, in date becks in hand, some peace and quiet and hit play…
What the hell is this sh*t?!
This time the Becks is fine, but CJ’s offering is well below my expectations.
CJ sounds great and it impossible to miss his instantly recognisable tones and delivery, but the song is awful. In fact if anyone else had delivered it I doubt it would have ever been released. It goes nowhere, is repetitive and after 1min 30secs I want to kill myself. Don’t recall this one in Dec 94; I may have been caught up in all the Stay Another Day by East 17 hype?
Vince paid 99p for this just so we could review it! Think someone has pulled one of Knivo’s tricks on you mate and got the exchange rate between Dollars and GBP wrong! This is a 10p job if ever I have heard it.
Score: 3/10 from me and more importantly a massive dent in my over inflated opinion on CJ, I feel as if a part of my soul has been torn away.

Keith de Vivre
Keith hasn’t been happy for the last week…
Since the news came through that this was going to be another CJ Lewis review there has been a cloud hanging over this hairy, perfectly coiffured, moustached head. I mean… does the neg 90 really warrant a third batch of Ceedge…?! As mentioned last week, it’s also a bit off that this reviewer has to sit through a second dose of the big man within 4 entries! This isn’t what Keith signed up for.
All that, coupled with the fact that since getting back from Turkey wednesday night I’ve been laid up, bedridden and tackling a crippling bout of “Ottoman’s Arsehole”, with a fever and sweats to rival that of any 70s entertainer on hearing the phrase Operation Yewtree.
andrex_toilet_rolls_whiteAnd so, through bleary eyes and hallucinations to rival that of one un-named Neg elders’ glastonbury friday night, I finally sat down – on the can – to get through the chore that was numerous viewings of Ceedge’s 4th album track.
But who knew!?
Dollars is an up-tempo beaut that was exactly what this sick cat needed. It’s no Sweets for my Sweet, granted, but it bubbles along nicely like a lovely little horse, on a jamaican beach, with a big grin on his face. If there’s a video for Dollars out there somewhere, i’m hoping it’s this:
b1fTo paraphrase Shawshank: “I have no idea to this day what CJ is singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think he’s singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it”.
shawshank_mozart-thumb-425x238-32080Or it’s about wanting dickloads of money. Either way is fine with me.
CJ, all is forgiven. Whilst I don’t see this one troubling the top spots come judgement day, i’m giving you a solid score for seeing me into the light after a torrid couple of days.
Score: 6/10

Gouldy
I’m coming round to the idea that the idea of CJ Lewis is a lot more palatable than the reality and the Dion Dublin lookalike quiz whizz has strengthened this aspersion with this offering. Starts off ok with a dubby bassline and a bit of cowbell but goes progressively goes downhill after that. As the song starts chugging along loads of zany sound effects start being introduced, this makes it sound like the Stoppit and Tidyup crew are all beatboxing behind it and frankly it’s not good. A banjo is then introduced into the mix, which is never a good thing, country and neg doesn’t work, as evidenced here, reggae covers of C&W yes, country and neg, no.
Lyrically it’s a hip hop influenced paen to the mighty dollar, not original and he’s saying nothing new. This is humdrum neggae, an album track at best and CJ’s long player could never be accused of being all killer and no filler.
Score: 3/10 – preferred him when he played up front for Coventry.

Vince
So big bro John and I are currently in La Furia Roja to visit our kid Jamie and the latest addition to the Neggae clan, Louis Synan. Aside from eating a lot of shellfish, burping and feeding the little fella, cheap Spanish plonk and family bonding, I’m committed to reviewing this little known top 40 hit from CJ Lewis. I couldnt find the song on youtube, lastfm, itunes, beatport or Amazon (shame on you all) so purchased the CD from discogs for 99p. Obvs this took delivery time, which meant we missed the cutoff point for last week and were forced to switch in Here Comes the Hotstepper. Exciting sh*t I know.
Yet again, we have another hit from the true home of Neggae, Birmingham. It’s quite apt that just as Brum has dominated this chart, it also dominated our evening last night. After a meal together we ventured our to Calahonda High Street to take in some local culture at Scruffy o’Hanranan’s Irish pub. While in there, seventeen eighteen year old lads entered on an Inbetweeners-like first holiday, shouting things like, “Bostin, y’am boi-in’!”. And while generally harmless fellows, a couple of episodes highlighted that they were worth keeping an eye on:
1. Jamie entered the gents, after the lock opened. The young BrumLad in there, assuming Jamie was one of his little mates, had his pants round his ankles, and had adopted the touch your toes position – therefore presenting an opportunity for the next entrant. Cue slightly embarrassed “Sorry mate! I thought yow were Bazza!” and rushed re-clothing.
2. After Jamie told the other 16 lads what had just happened, that guffawed unanimously. ToiletBoy, a little put out, then tried to get his own back on Jamie by asking “Want a chewy mate?” and proferring a small chewable sweet. Except it wasnt a sweet, it was a viagra capsule. Cheeky chappy.

On to the song though – and all in all its a decent effort. It’s the first time CJ Lewis has been brave enough to offer up an original melody rather than iterpolating another song, for which he should be commneded. And while the song doesn’t really go anywhere, its a pleasant enough skank around the perils and adentures of chasing lolly.
Score: 6 out of 10.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.7

Advertisements

Ini Kamoze – Here comes the Hotstepper

Pret-a-Porter video:

Original video:

Release Date: Jan 95
Chart Position: 4

Vince
Let’s get this straight from the start – this is the greatest Neggae boogie-monster song of all time. Academics may question it’s reggae credentials (which I will confirm later), but then academics should spend less time reading and writing and more time getting their swerve on. Let’s just check those opening samples shall we?

1. “Champ!-am!-a!-a!-a!” – opening war cry from Champ! by the Mohawks.
2. “Hit it!” Naughtiest boy in hip-hop Slick Rick with a line taken from La-di-da-di.
3. “Na-nana-nana... etc” Wilson Pickett’s song about his Nan (not technically a sample but you get what I mean).
4. “I’m coming” – scratched vocals from Bobby Byrd’s b-boy staple and then finally..
5. “Here comes the Hotstepper!” – not the vocals, but that bubbling, throbbing b-line lifted from Taana Garnder’s Heartbeat that carries the song along.
114129464

It is without doubt the greatest opening combination of samples in pop music. Better than De La. Better than Dre. And it was put together in career-defining fashion by Neggae uberproducer Salaam Remi. We’ve heard from Salaam before on the Neggae blog, finding his feet with Shabba on a couple of duffers. By this stage he’d clearly learnt his studio chops – and would go on to produce Nas and Amy Winehouse to name but a few.

“But is it really reggae?” I hear you cry.
Well I think it just about qualifies. For starters, this isn’t just any old hip-hop reggae crossover, with some American doing his best Jafaican patois. We are talking about the man like the Ini Kamoze, who’s skylark sing-song tone is 100% JA. The imagery too; “Juice like a Strawberry… Start like a JackRabbit..” – this isnt your standard hip-hop fare. It has more in common with the metaphorical lyrics common in roots reggae than urban motifs pedalled by your Marrows, Broaduses or Carters. Yes the beats are hip-hop but the overall feel is that of a Neggae dancer – it’s a piece of piss to mix into Could you be Loved by the way.
Standing on the two dolpins noses of Neggae and the Pret a Porter OST, Ini Kamoze glided into the Aquarium that is the British charts in early 1995, peaking at 4. The momentum ensured he singed a beefy contract with Universal after years of pop wilderness. In 2005 he would earn another bumper paycheque as Damian Marley would sample his seminal 1981 cut World A Music on Welcome to Jamrock. Here at Neggae Towers we reckon there was a Neggae revival around the early noughties (Neggae 2.0) – with Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, Kevin Lyttle and Marley all regularly troubling the charts. It seems to go in 10 year cycles, so expect to hear from Ini shortly.
Score: 10 obviously.

Keith de Vivre
There was a nasty rumour on the negvine this week.
There was talk that we were going to be reviewing another CJ Lewis number (“Dollars”). Now, i’ve got nothing against CJ personally but considering i’m only here for a couple of weeks I thought it would be a bit much to have to sit through another make-weight. I’ve never heard “Dollars”. I don’t want to hear “Dollars” and, unless by some nasty quirk of fate by the neggae elders it gets chucked into the mix next week, I don’t plan on ever listening to “Dollars”. It’s probably shit.
“Here Comes the Hotstepper” on the other hand is anything but…
With a moniker sounding like some kind of Japanese streetwear brand from 2001 (the future), when you heard the name “Ini Kamoze” for the first time, you expected big things. A typical exchange in the spring of ’95 for instance would have been something like:
“Have you heard the new one by Ini Kamoze?”
“I haven’t. Ini Kamoze? Sounds big.”
And big it is. Gloss over the fact that it samples the arse out of about 12 other songs, this is a corker. I have two memories from when this song was doing the business in the ‘hit parade’:

Firstly: Chris Waddle.

waddle

For some reason it’s stuck in my head that the Waddler moseyed on to the set of Danny Baker’s (saturday night BBC1?) talk show to Ini. Seems strange to think Waddle was once a prime time chat show guest. Stranger still that Danny Baker never had another chat show.

Secondly: It soundtracked my first visit to the local “naughty pub”.

oaktavern

A sheepish 16 year old pup was I when I walked in with my sisters boyfriends (two sisters, separate boyfriends) for a midweek beer. Quivering round the pool table I went, scared to show the skills I had in case someone took umbrage with my talent. Then… Hotstepper came on and I was a man. Strutting round the table like I owned the place, necking bottles of K like it was water. I must have had at least 4! Probably had a bottle of Hooch as well – I didn’t care! That’s what this tune can do to you. It can make you a man.
What men don’t do though is watch films about the fashion industry. “Pret-a-Porter”…. jeez. A complete over-hyped turkey that justifiably bombed at the box office, it rode the coattails of Ini to get anyone to see it at all. Consequently, the video (the second of two made) is pointless movie tie-in filth of the highest order. To be fair, if i’d just made “Pret-a-porter” and watched it back for the first time, i’d have been on the blower to Ini straight away as well.

“Ini. I’ve made an absolute dog-dirt of a movie and I need your belter of a song to get the people in.”
“Yeeeeah, maaaan”.

My final score reflects this violation and so would have been marked higher, but when I think about the video now all I picture is Julia Roberts’ hairy pits. It’s not in the video, but it just does.

robertsScore: 8/10.

Norm
Here comes the Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze, probably my favourite tune on this blog, followed closely by Shaggy and Oh Carolina. Plain and simple, this song is BAD ASS (arse if you are reading this in the UK) The video is BAD ASS, the bassline is BAD ASS, everything about this is BAD ASS (That’s a good thing by the way!) There aren’t many songs that capture your attention and keep you hooked from start to finish, for me this is one of them. The first time I heard this on the radio it was a ‘holy hell’ type of moment. What is this? Who is this? So I make my way to Woolworths to make a strong purchase from Nick Birmingham. This single and some pick and mix later I’m in heaven. Back home this golden nugget of Neg got played over and over again the only way you can listen to this, LOUD and with a little bit of swagger. Yep, that’s how I was rollin’ back in the day. Ini Kamoze and Shaggy, the two beasts of the Neggae era. Definitely head bobbing material, a BBQ must, a nightclub must and Walkman favourite. Simply put, you could neck a bottle of mailbu during this song and all would be OK.
I’ve really lost track of my review here, damn. Unfortunately that’s what happens when I am forced to listen to one of my all time favourites. Yeah, it’s that good, had it playing at my wedding and my kids love this song, a timeless classic that will live on in my heart forever and ever, AMEN.
Score: Put me down for a 10/10

 Jonny
Unfortunately I am going to have to start this review with an apology. Last week I gave Pato and UB40 a 10/10 and yes I still believe that it is a good entry on the neg hot list, however I may have been a little hasty. I recall breathing a big sigh of relief that we were covering something half decent vs. the shit that had come our way in the preceding weeks and I think I let this cloud my judgement. I fell into Jamie Synan’s trap of letting my emotions rate the song vs. logical thinking, this was weak and I am sorry.
So on that note I will set my stall out early on this one. We either downgrade last weeks 10/10 to a 9.5/10 or Ini Kamoze’s entry (and my other full houses) are given an 11/10. This has to be given a superior rating.
The tune is mental and the infamous “nah, nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah” intro smashes you in the face like a Capri Sun popping after being held under pressure. Mock it if you will, but as the old and trusted “nah, nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah” is good enough for Macca, then its good enough for me. Without such simplistic bridges the musical world would be a very different place. This offering is about as banghra as I like my neg, any more and it would start to lose marks in my books, but the balance here is just right.
There is no arguing it has to be one of the best dance floor fillers that we have reviewed to date. This was big just around the time that Goldsworth Park started to commercialize the use of its community hall on the lake. I remember now on a few occasions through the summer of dread going to a number of discos there and for some reason specifically ‘hot stepping’ pretty hard to this with Norm. They had a bar that sold beer in cans, Hoffmeister and John Smiths only I think (its a little hazy), no draft or bottles. Somehow I remember that we managed to either get served or we stole a few and sat outside in the evening shade drinking warm Hoff. Life was pretty sweet! Everyone would drop  everything to hit the D Floor when the DJ played this gem! I believe I opted for a more traditional skank, where as Norm was a bit more flamboyant and took up a more intrusive strut that involved a knee bend of approx 30 degrees, one hand on the back of his head, the other hand out stretched pointing at girls as they walked past, all to a not so subtle gyrating of the hips, eyes closed of course. I can’t remember 100% the details, but I am almost certain we both went home alone those nights.
Score: An Absolute belter, only negative is that he didn’t manage to make anything else anywhere near as good as this – 10/10 from me (but assumes a downgraded Pato and the UB’s to 9.5/10)

Gouldy:
Having spent the last 3 days on a pilgrimage trying to find 2Unlimited in Amsterdam for the nance blog you’ll have to forgive me if this is a little flaky. This week we have a neggae first, Ini Kamoze is the first artist in the hot 90 to have named himself after the protuberance of his belly buttonnnnnnnnnnnnnn, AHHHH SPACE BATS!, *ahem*, sorry about that. When you find out his real name is Cecil it becomes apparent why, Cecil ain’t getting on no Greensleeves compilation.
The tune starts off with a clarion call to the dancefloor with a load of scratching then goes into ‘Buddy’, or is it ‘Doing our own dang’ or is it ‘Mony in the middle’? and therein lies my problem with the production;

  1. It’s hip hop production, not neggae;
  2. It sounds like something the Native Tongues would come up with in two minutes and give to PM Dawn, ‘here you go fatty, that’s got number 37 written all over it’.

Lyrically Ini is basically giving it the ‘Big I am’, he is the hotstepper (murderer),he’s a lyrical gangster (murderer) and he’s also very good at BBC quiz ‘Pointless’ (murderer)*. In fact the lyrics are stronger than the music, a neggae rarity as Ini sets out his stall as Neggae’s Marlo Stanfield.
The original video is shot in one of my old neighbourhoods, Sheerwater, where Ini seems to be the only person with running water. Even Newton Faulkner uses it at one point, I hope he’s remembered Ini now he’s made his fortune inflicting all that sickly, ginger shit dirge on the nation. However I’ve an important message to the young lady at 1m05, water isn’t going to clear up that yeast infection my dear, get down to boots and load up on vagisil. Ini is filmed in a load of questionable outfits throughout the video, it looks like the ‘Hotstepper’ look incorporated

  • Orange string vest;
  • Safari suit;
  • Massive black combat trousers;
  • Catepillar boots doen up so tightly the tongues resemble elongated shin pads.

Looking at this I can see why the youth were attracted to the parka and adidas stylings of Britpop, you can’t bust an orange string vest in Addlestone, you’ll be burned at the stake.
That’s me done for this week, I’m off to start my own tribe of pygmies and we’ll live down the Basingstoke Canal wearing the ears of our vanquished enemies as necklaces, I realise that might seem a bit strange but the Lizard King told me it’s the only way to get rid of Space Bats.
7/10 – more of a warm shuffle than hot step.

NEGGAE SCORE: 9

Pato Banton (feat. Ali and Robin Campbell) – Baby Come Back


Release Date: Aug 94
Chart Position: 1

Gouldy
There’s been a bit of a weird atmosphere at Neggae Towers this week, with Neggae Elder Jamie moving out to look after his newly arrived Neglet. Good luck with that mate, I think you should film a slo-mo action montage with you in a Dredd wig and ‘Brothers in Arms’ playing in the background.  As I was saying the ambience has been like Ramsay Street in the aftermath of Helen Daniels’s death, I for one miss having a dog dressed up as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry running round the house. Hardest hit has been his older brother Vince, who’s just been sitting in his room, staring forlornly at his Toby Anstis poster and listening to Big Mountain on loop. There couldn’t be a better moment for this neggae classic to come around frankly and with the fresh impetus Keith De Vivre is bringing to the blog I predict exciting times ahead.
This week’s entry isn’t messing about, it’s straight in with a skanking bass and driving ska horns instantly adding the neg to the original arrangement by the Eddy Grant fronted ‘The Equals’. Neggae’s elder statesman weighs in with his usual reliable contribution and this isn’t some limp cover to pay the tax bills, he’s singing this with heart. I like to think he’s emotionally dragged back to his childhood in Dudley, playing dominoes with his brothers, Robin, Alistair, Darren, Malcolm, Donald and Fraser. Whatever his motivation it draws out a passionate and emotive performance as he begs his disgruntled lover for forgiveness. Then our favourite Irish neggaeist comes in and lists the possessions his ex has run off with;

  • Colour TV;
  • Bob Marley CD collection.

Having come back to his flat to discover all his entertainment missing all Pat wants to Pato+Banton+-+Baby+Come+Back+-+5-+CD+SINGLE-73488do is have a jif and consider his options, then the full horror of her ransacking is uncovered, she’s nicked his bag of Sensi. This is heinous stuff and frankly makes Lorena Bobbit’s revenge look a minor misdemeanour. The rest of the song carries on in relentless fashion with some keys giving it all a sixties vibe, if Ram Jam Holder had got the Austin Powers gig ahead of Mike Myers this song would be the theme. The song ends with Paddy begging his love to come back, although the last two pleas are for his CD collection and bag of Sensi, which makes me doubt the sincerity of his words.
The video opens with the doors to some ‘Ready, Steady, Go’ type sixties scenario and the Yowbs onstage then cuts to Paddy O’Banton arriving home from wetherspoons after his postal round to discover his flat’s been done over and all he has left is a seventy year old TV and one of Lulu’s hats. Then we get a real peek into how technology has moved on, David Bowie and Mick Jagger planned to sing a duet over satellite link up during Live Aid but had to abandon the idea due to technical issues. Now just ten years on Pat O’Banton and Ali Campbell mange to not only duet over satellite link up but are actually able to do it 40 years apart, we’re through the looking glass people. Obviously Pat’s a bit annoyed, he’s lost his missus, TV, CDs and Sensi so he sits down to watch a bit of the Yowbs time travelling. Weirdly he then spots his ex in the audience of the Yowbs crowd from forty years ago and can’t believe his eyes, we know it’s not a Sensi induced hallucination as that’s been nicked. Pat’s sitting there wondering what the hell is going on frankly and it’s at this point he notices the aerial’s not plugged in, intrigued he investigates and suddenly everyhting’s gone a bit ‘Automan’, Pat’s transformed into a dapper sixties type and then it goes full ‘Poltergeist’ as Pat jumps into the TV to be reunited with his lady. It transpires she hadn’t left at all but had travelled back 40 years to watch a gig by a band that weren’t even born then. If I’m honest it’s all a bit confusing and reminds me of the time I went to see ‘Pulp Fiction’ in a state of bonged out inebriation, fell asleep countless times and every time I woke up there’d be a character I’d already seen get killed doing some kind of monologue. It does raise the interesting question that Pat was probably solely responsible for introducing Sensi to the sixties and creating a whole counterculture, similar to the Happy Mondays and Ecstasy in Manchester.

Score: 9/10 – It’s a neggae mod classic, there’s even a scooter in the video, also if Pat hadn’t travelled back to the sixties music wouldn’t have evolved and we’d still be listening to people playing the washboard.

Keith de Vivre
After last weeks dirge that was CJ Lewis and his Best of My Love atrocity comes this absolute belter from Banton and his brummie bredren. A deserved number 1, if there’s any justice in the neggae world – and I suspect there won’t be – this will be there or thereabouts come judgement day. Or whatever it is you’re planning to do with all this. I can’t remember and I can’t be bothered to check as i’ve been hungover for 38 hours now, so i’m going to keep this short.

Resolve_10x

Pop history is littered with cover versions that are arguably better than the original. …Watchtower (Hendrix); …Rising Sun (Animals) Rocket Man (Shatner). For me, this is up there.
Anyone who gives this anything below an 8/10 needs to have a long hard look at themselves, preferably whilst being slapped in the bits with a two-tone cap.
Score: 9/10


Atkins
The first no 1 we have reviewed for a while and what a gem! Good original which Robin and Ali stay true to and arguably deliver as good as if not better than The Equals, but Pato’s verses really sweeten the deal. It was the fourth biggest selling singe of ’93. Which in a year that included East 17’s Stay Another Day, D:Ream with that one they did and Manchester United’s creatively titled Come On You Reds is a massive achievement!
Love the vid which seems to be on an early TOTP set. People generally happy and skanking away to the tune cutting to Pato thinking of the girl that has left him. Don’t worry mate with this type of groove you’ll easily pick something else up.
Score: 10/10  9.5/10 from me! These boys should have done more together, although I reckon Pato could get tiresome after a while; berk factor would be very high.
Update – Jonny retrospectively downgraded after realising if he gave this a 10 he would have to give Here Comes the Hotstepper 11 or 12.

Vince
It really is all downhill from here, so let’s savour this pinnacle of Neggae pop perfection. After Baby comes Back, there will be a few more spikes in the neggae QA chart – but for me this is the point in the story where Neggae gets usurped by its chirpsy, British neighbour Britpop. 1995 rolls into view soon, and the likes of Some Might Say and Country House deservedly start taking the top spot instead of Suggs and Ricky from Eastenders. But let’s concentrate on what we have here…
Pato Banton is yet another Brummy Badbwoi – the sheer talent that this great city from the middle of England produced in the 80s and 90s was quite remarkable. Having  cut his teeth in the 80s with seminal artists the Beat and Mad Professor, he was given a long overdue leg up to chart success by a couple of UK pop stalwarts. The Campbell brothers are on hand to provide the sweet UB harmonies we all know and love here, and the song was produced by Sting’s team.
And what a marvellous thing it is to – a 90s ska-house monster with some beautiful touches that for me improve on the Equals’ original. Gone is the lumpen, proto-glam stomp, replaced with a skanking ska-house thump. The horn flourishes in the build-up to the bridge are a masterstroke, as are the hammond organ stabs and solo.
Like Suart Barr at Thursday night 5-a-side, Pato himself is ‘the difference’ here. We all know about the Marley CDs/Colour TV/Bag a Sensi lines (by the way, what an absolute cowbag she was to do that to him), there are two other vocalisms that are just as inspired.
“Biddy-bye-bye-bye-bye, biddy-bye-bye-bye-bye!”
Hello Pato! Whata cracking entrance, I know who’s now in charge of the song.
and:

“Every time me think of my Liza (Baby come back)
Water come a me eye (come back”)

lizatarbuck009

I’m not f*ckin surprised you’re crying. She’s a fine specimen of a woman. But you’ve spooned it, plus she’s taken your bits and bobs. Probably for the best anyway as you’d only mope about getting toasted listening to Legend. Dust yourself down, iron a shirt, and go out there and get another one.  Beautiful counter-melody though.
The video is yet another time travelling odyssey, but at least Team Pato have spent some money on the thing (unlike the Happy Shopper effort form last week). There is narrative consistency, I liked the leccy special FX and especially liked the bit where he dived into the telly.

This song hung around the charts for an absolute bloody age – 4 weeks at number 1, but it rattled around the top 40 ’til nearly Christmas – and I remember starting to hate it quite vehemently. Can’t find a clip, but it prompted Spitting Image to parody the video. I think the words got changed to “Baby we’re CRAP!” or something tedious. At the time, I thought it was the funniest thing since Round the Bend, but that’s because I was a 15 year old berk that didn’t know pop class when he saw it. Now I’m a 34 year old berk who does, so it’s a 9/10 from me.
Score: What I said above.

Norm
Alrighty then, that’s two weeks in a row now that we’ve been treated to some good old fashioned Neg . The Yoobs and Pato team up for a pretty amusing and well put together tune and video. This has to be one of the better efforts that involves UB40 for me. Their reggae tones seem to be amplified in this offering. Pato adds a nice twist to the proceedings  coming in at around 1.04 to talk his way (too slow to actually label rap) through his mistakes with his lady friend. The best line of that verse was about coming back with his colour tv and cd collection of Bob Marley. I’m not sure if the comedic levels of the video and the inclusion of one of my favourites, Pato made me lighten up and appreciate their ability that I have overlooked in reviews past but the Yoobs have gone up in my estimation – at least for this week. The video had me rolling, watching Pato faff around with the tv, dodgy hat and his missus on the tube. The back to the future type electric shock from the tv cable was genius but not as genius as the acrobatic lunge that Pato made to go head first into the TV. Overall, a nice tune with the usual UB40 horns and bassline, complimented by a great video. Well done UB40 for at least trying to come up with something interesting although it was probably Pato Banton’s artistic influence that made this all come together.
Score: 8/10 – Good stuff chaps. Not all of 1994 was a let down.

NEGGAE SCORE: 9
Update NEGGAE SCORE after Jonny changed his mind: 8.9

C.J Lewis – Best of My Love


Release Date: Jul 94
Chart Position: 13

Vince
Here he is again then, the wiseman of Neggae, to tell us all ‘what a gwan‘ in this crazy place we call Planet Earth. A Neggae soothsayer if you will, nay –  a Neggae prophet. St John the Braptist. Nostrademus (and Pliers). CJ Lewis is going to take a melody from days of yore and fold in lyrical wisdom from the now to take us into from the future.
OR, he’s going to toast in exactly the same way as he’s done on his last two hits over a obvious pop sample anf over a happy shopper beat because it’ll shift a few more cassettes  In the words of Alan Partridge: “People like them, let’s make more of them.” Pop music consumers generally accept a degree of replication when a new artist suddenly hits the big time. Pop history is littered with follow-up songs that, give or take a melody line or a few different words are exactly the same as the initial chart smash. This was particularly prevalent in the 90s. Some examples:

Artist Pop Smash “We’re on to something here..”
Rednex Cotton-Eyed Joe Old Pop in an Oak
Scatman John The Scatman Scatman’s World
Prodigy Firestarter Breathe
No Mercy Where do you Go Please Don’t Go

Et cetera. Even the greatest band of all time did it (with this and this). The trick is, to get your foot in the door, but then go away and enhance your craft. Keep repeating the same old trick, and the public will view you as lazy or arrogant and won’t buy you records. As my Dad succinctly put it while watching CJ Lewis sleepwalk through this effort on TOTP “He’s taking the f*ckin p*ss now.”
And the song starts of so well too. There’s a sneaky little KC and the Sunshine band sample that fools us into thinking that young Steven James Lewis is going to go all Eric B & Rakim on our asses. Alas no. The rest of the song and video is a lazy yet uplifting homage to 70s disco; inoffensively cheery, like musical Schloer. CJ toasts, the guys and gals bob about in charity shop clobber and polyester wigs and everyone is happy.
The song is congruent with the whole everything-goes-in-20-year-cycles theory. Throughout the 90s There were tons of other Disco inspired pop hits (off the top of my head Kylie’s Step Back in Time, Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around, BucketHeads the Bomb). So in a way, I find it quite heartwarming that Neggae is following the cultural norm and CJ is representing our chart in the great merry-go-round of borrowed ideas that is pop. I too cashed in on this phenomenon, and hosted a suburban facsimile of the popular disco revivial night CarWash. It was exactly the same in many respects, but was held at Bisley Pavilion instead of Berwick Street and the average age of the clientele was 16¾.
Score: For reminding me of those Halclyon days (when Norm got caught eating the bouncers’ sandwiches) – 5/10.

167804_01_360

Gouldy
After last week’s Lauper debacle I was hoping for some actual neggae this week, when I saw that it was Eggheads favourite CJ Lewis my heart leapt. It’s back to a cover of sorts, this time the Emotions disco classic of the same name, CL had latched onto this 20 years before Daft Punk, ze seely Fronch roobots. The intro to this is like some lost native tongues classic, even sharing a sample with ‘Say No Go’  but after 20 seconds the Neg kicks in. Well I say that but I’m not sure it does, I’m finding it hard to differentiate between this and the original musically, I mean they’ve looped it a bit, chucked a couple of hip hop type samples over the top but have they made this neggae? I don’t think they have, it’s a bit lazy. The only neg in this are CJ’s vocals and lyrically they’re a bit humdrum, the usual sentiment of ‘oh your very presence enriches my existence due to the deep love we share’. This might be true for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t take long for apathy to set in, followed quickly by bitterness and finally leading to the apex of a strong relationship, hate. Get with the programme CJ. I’m a bit disappointed in CJ actually, as an egghead and quiz champion this was an opportunity for him to lay down some serious knowledge, edutainment for the masses, along the lines of ‘did you know Uganda borders Rwanda’, but alas he serves up the standard lovey dovey nonsense.
The video is shot outside Cliff Huxtable’s house and features some burrrrrrrds and bwoys in both modern day (in 1994) and sevs outfits shaking their booty, which I believe is now referred to as ‘twerking’ in modern parlance. I’d always assumed it was referring to a Yorkshire native’s place of employment as in;

‘Kes, where are you off to at this time you daft apath?’
‘Down pit twerk’

Seems I was wrong and it is in fact the most popular dance move since the ‘Dougie’, which I’ve never heard of either, it was all waltzing and foxtrots in my day. Not a lot of imagination has gone into the video, it’s hardly ‘Back to the Future’, in fact it’s not even up to Wu Tang standard when it comes to time travelling music videos. After my initial excitement about this song I realise a lot of it was rebound excitement after the Lauper fiasco really this is a bit meh.
Score: 6/10 – Gains a point for the fact my friends and I substituted the chorus for ‘you’ll get the rest of my glub’ when it was released.

Keith de Vivre
Choo Choo!
CJ’s back and rolling back into town looking to repeat the success of his 2 previous charters. “Sweets for my Sweet” of course smashed down in summer 1994 and – as covers go – I found it an absolute bloody delight. But more importantly, it reminds me of buying an unbelievably marked down Donnay tennis racket in the Stevenage Sport & Soccer in ’94. With England not being at the World Cup that year I got into tennis in a big way. It’s not something i’m proud of, but they were great days none the less.
DonnayRed94-1

I have, however, absolutely no memory of this follow up and even less idea what The Ceedge is singing about here. What I do know is that if you lifted his vocals and laid them over “Sweets for my Sweet” nobody would be any the wiser. Judging by the gloriously happy vibe throughout though, my guess is he’s singing about peace, love and mashing bits with ‘honeyz’. Or perhaps he’s telling us how they’re all having a great time on THE CLEANEST STREET IN AMERICA (seriously! look at it!) Or maybe, just maybe it’s a thinly veiled tale for us about how the subway train that bookends this video is actually THE CEEDGE’S VERY OWN TIME MACHINE!!
Bear with me doubters, the evidence is all here… 0.17s: The 70s/90s fashion split screen teaser of things to come; 0.21s: SUBLIMINAL FRO-DANCER!; 1.12: More split; before chucking all subterfuge out the window from 1.15 onwards with full on disco time-shiftin’. I’ve been to Flares and Reflex enough times to know that this is EXACTLY what the 70s looked like, which just hammers home for me Mr Lewis’s dimension-jumping credentials.

CJ BROWN
Dr. Emmet Brown discussing Ceedge yesterday.

Apparently Ceedge had a couple of other albums after this one, but little was really seen of him after 1995. Some people have suggested he went into music production, others say he started a BMW dealership in Ryslip. The truth is he’s spent the last 20 years rattling around space-time, dodging Libyans, getting into scrapes with Biff Tannen and trying not to accidentally f*ck his own mother.
I just hope he took time out of his busy schedule to ride the time-rail back to ’77 to apologise to the Emotions in person for this abomination. Or at least let me borrow it for a bit so I can go back to the Stevenage West Gate Centre, circa May 1994, and smash my ears in with a freshly purchased Donnay tennis bat so I won’t have to listen to this drivel 19 years later.
Score: Timelord or no Timelord, don’t mess with disco classics. 3/10

Norm
Thank you Jeezzuuss, we are back and so is one of my personal favourites, Mr CJ Lewis. Best of my love is a nicely blended summer “choon” mixing CJ’s love for strong, fast paced island rap and some pop-disco beats.
I think we’ve come through stronger now after a tough few weeks in the boardroom at Neggae Towers. The inclusion of Lauper, the shall-we-shall-we-not on China Black, what’s Neggae? What’s not Neggae? Mixed reviews and some generally tardy performances all around by some of the elders. All shaky stuff. I’m not going to name names but you know who you are. I say that in jest as I am essentially two weeks late writing this.
Anyway, back to CJ and the “Lewisettes” A great summer song, a true morale booster for the younger generation and not to mention a must at any BBQ.
The video is a touch on the urban side, possibly New York. The 70’s theme had me in a time warp and placed in the kitchen of Bisley Pavillion making a cheese sarnie. Full marks to the background crew in the vid, not much creativity from CJ. Well, let’s not dwell on the Visual. Let’s praise the back to neggae music we are presented with. Great pace from start to finish, excellent vocals / rapping from CJ, innovative theme with decent dancers. Overall, very enjoyable, not offensive and absolutely Malibu worthy.
Score: 7.5/10 for me. Solid work again CJ!

Jonny
Yes! CJ’s back, back again. CJ’s back, tell a friend! I’m not going to lie, I’ve started to struggle with the stale neg whiff that’s been hanging around in the air for what seems like a few months now. So seeing Mr Lewis on this weeks agenda was a welcome surprise!
Now, I’m normally not a big fan of covers. But I think he’s done a good job here. I don’t need to go into details about how great the original song is, its a classic, and I do think it is his recognition of this that helps him out. He’s left the heart and soul of the song intact, not really changing too much to the overall structure of it, but has added just the right amount of neg twist to it. Too little or too much of that stuff and it can really back fire on you.
Score: Its no Sweets for my Sweet, but is a fair offering from Seven James Lewis. 7/10 from me.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.7