Apache Indian & Frankie Paul – Ragamuffin Girl

Release Date: Apr 93
Chart Position: 31

Apache Indian has done a proper tracing paper job on Twist and Shout by Chakademus and Pliers here. It’s laughably identical. He even shouts ‘Mi Ball’ quite a lot, and It’s a brave man that copies the Man like the Chaka. In fact, it’s not even a good tracing paper job. It’s that stuff they used to make you wipe your Aris with at school.
izalBut what else can a Bhayya do, man? After tirelessly paving the way with all those ’93 breakthrough hits, he takes a year off to smoke the chillum and eat papads and the likes of the Yowbs, Ceedge, Pato and even f*ckin Sting all have bigger hits than him.
Apache did what we’d all do, copy a number one hit, go and film the video in JA with scantily clad chicks (of varying degrees of quality it’s got to be said) and enlist the help of a blind man. And Bob’s you ChaCha – he’d smashed it with a number 31 hit.
Touching on Frankie Paul, the guy’s got a great voice and fits in sweetly here. OK, so this is no Tu-Shen Peng (one of my FAVOURITE REGGAE CUTS OF ALL TIME), but it’s good to see Frankie gracing the UK charts. And one of the joys of reading up on this is you learn the following nuggets from Wikipedia:

Born blind, he has been dubbed by some ‘The Jamaican Stevie Wonder’… He sang for, and impressed Stevie Wonder, when Wonder visited the school that Blake attended, prompting him to pursue a singing career.

Nothing about the game of table tennis they apparently enjoyed though.
The video is similarly a facsimile of everything Chakademus and Pliers ever did, but again you can’t blame Steven for wanted to switch up the scenery from Southall to Montego Bay. Not sure why he let the local Looky Looky man jump behind the decks though.
Score: 7/10 – but only because I heart Steven Kapur and think he deserved his day in the sun.

So, I watched the video a couple of times last week when the review was supposed to completed, I didn’t get a great feel for it and in doing so only had negative thoughts about it. That would have resulted in another # type of review. Knowing that if I send in another review like last week, the elders may revolt, I had a sip of Marley’s Mellow Mood, listened to the song without watching the video and BINGO, a different song and a different attitude prevails. So, here is my review. I hope it’s better than my last effort.

Apache Indian makes a return to the Hot 90 with “Raggamuffin Girl” featuring Frankie Paul. This is a useful entry as it does a couple of things for me. It triggers great memories of Apache Indian from the Summer of ’93, Chok There, Arranged Marriage and Fe Real.
Unfortunately it didn’t capture my imagination like the others did. For me this is a little out of the box from Apache, which I’m OK with. I’m used to seeing him in more urban settings (London, Birmingham and the bustling streets of India). The beach setting, bandanna and island shirt gives me the uneasy feeling that he’s trying a little hard to fit in with the JA vybz – he may be better served staying urban. This is not a major deal for me since I’ve spent most of this blog, caning UB40 for lack of effort and creativity for their black and white videos and no creative value whatsoever. I feel a little hypocritical but that’s my right. I’ve been spoiled by great beach videos from Chaka Demus and Pliers who set the standard of head bobbing beach music and genuine island rudeniss.
The song starts nicely with a smooth guitar intro, swiftly gets to Apache in a slightly slower paced Bhangra sytle rap than I am used to (I still to this day use Chok There as the Apache Indian standard pace that I expect) good but not great, trying to be a little like Shaggy perhaps? Grinding voice, workmanlike but a wee bit over the top. That said, my head is bobbing at this point, I’m getting into the swing of things, the nice breaks by Frankie Paul help and give Apache some time to take a couple of deep breaths. Ok so it’s no Chaka Demus and Pliers, but these two do a pretty good job here.
Score: Put me down for a solid 7/10 – not his best, not his worst. I’m not going to nail the guy this, and you can thank Marley’s Mellow Mood for that!

It’s Monday morning, my ears are ringing with the desperate screams of children as strange half man half robot figures lumber past me with metal protruding from various limbs. ‘What’s going on?’ I hear you ask, ‘Has he taken one too many microdots watching Terminator and is now stuck in a dystopian future hell which only exists in his own mind?’ or ‘Has he discovered the lost tomb of Savile which is guarded by deadly peadobots?’
The answer is I’m in the waiting room of the fracture clinic waiting for my broken finger to get pulled about with no anaesthetic. The only thing that’s going to lift me out of this displaced digit funk is a neggae and Co-Dydramol cocktail, so on with the program.
The intro sounds like it’s going to be some kind of acoustic ‘Redemption Song’ effort but this illusion is quickly dispelled as Apache’s trademark production kicks in. Apache kicks in with his standard Brum toasting and is ably assisted by Reggae legend Frankie Paul, who has a similar dancing and dress sense to Stevie Wonder which is no surprise given he’s blind. That reminds me of a joke actually.

Q: ‘Why can’t Frankie Paul read?’
A: ‘Because he was educated in the Jamaican state school system which at the time couldn’t afford to provide Braille versions of the books they were required to study.’

Frankie was a legend in his own right at the time and the way they got him to appear on this track was to tell him it was in fact Elton John he was guesting with. They played him ‘Circle of life’ with his vocals dubbed over the top and went away happy with his envelope, although he was a bit miffed when he got to the bank and they wouldn’t accept Monopoly money.
Neither production nor vocals are particularly original although the one note sax in the background is a nice touch, giving an air-horn carnivalesque feel to the whole thing and the wobble board effect after three minutes is a nice touch if rendered a little sinister by recent revelations of a foliage based police investigation. The vocals from Frankie are effortless and more than support Apache’s broasting which is of its usual standard. The subject of the song is a Ragamuffin Girl who Apache is besotted with, she sounds like one sassy lady who’s not going to put up with any of his nonsense and he’s got Frankie pleading his case. I can’t help thinking Apache shouldn’t be erring on the side of caution here and taken a lesson from his Neggae bredren Bitty and Pato, who both found themselves on the wrong end of a ballbuster.
The video is standard Neggae fair, beach, women (I think anyway, some of them may have been early exponents of the Jamaican athletics federation’s lax attitude towards hormone injections). I can’t help thinking Apache missed a trick and didn’t utilise the word ragamuffin to produce a reggae version of Oliver. Imagine that;

Apache – Oliver
Smiley Culture – The Artful Dodger
Musical Youth – Fagin’s gang
Chaka Demus – Bill Sykes
Maxi Priest – Fagin
Sting – Mr Brownlow
Louchie Lou – Nancy

It’s a sure fire winner, pisses all over ‘The Wiz’, I’ll have a word with Nick Love.
Score: 7/10 – A solid effort and welcome relief from some of the recent Pache efforts.

I just realised that we are now into April 95 and we have reviewed almost two and a half years of neg hits. Only another 18 months to go! Did you know that the following crimes carry a lesser sentence than 18 months in prison:

  • Burglary with a firearm
  • Illegal sale or transfer of handgun
  • Operating a boat while certificate or right to operate is suspended or revoked for reckless boating while under the influence

Anyway, just a small insight into the way I’m feeling about it all right now.
So this weeks offering is from Apache who I have had mixed feelings on in the past, so I am going in to this not confident, but with fingers crossed that it will please me. But it hasn’t!
For starters the pair of them, both Apache and Frankie Paul, look like total berks, berking around being complete berkoids! They sound terrible, almost like Zig and Zag! But worse than this the song is very poor and I found the verses almost child like in their delivery. The chorus I warm to a little more as it is at least catchy, but put it up against some of the gems we have covered and it simply can’t compete.
The video is what it is, a neg vid with zero imagination and even though at the beginning of this process I would have been applauding this but i’m now getting a little tired of it all. Beach tick, booty tick, etc, yawn, yawn, yawn. Why the hell do they need all those speakers? There are only two chicks there, I am sure they could hear it well enough if you played it top whack out of some headphones! However the clip on sun glasses I do like, you don’t see them as often as I would like!
Score: Just about a 3/10 from me, the clip ons contributed at least a point to this.

Keith De Vivre
The shitter with arriving late-doors at a party in the mid-90s is that, whilst there would still be plenty of tunes to come, many of the belters will have already been and gone. That, and the best poon (Karen Fennell) will have already been picked up by the spawniest get in the year (Luke Rathers) who’s probably flashed his Vauxhall Calibra key fob (his dad’s) under her beautiful face to entice her away, even though he said he wasn’t going to even be there and didn’t even fancy her, yet takes her home anyway because his parents are in Monaco for the weekend but it’s bang out of order because she’s well off her tatts and…

My point is that the hot-90 has already seen the best of Apache Indian. Rightly, he’s got sackful of big tracks already on the list, and this will no doubt get a half decent mark, but it’s not a classic for me (even if Mrs De Vivre does think it’s ‘wicked’).
Maybe i’d enjoy it more if it was still summer. But take a look outside, people, it’s not, and my S.A.D. isn’t in a good mood. Apache’s growling on Boom-Shak-a-Lak was a ruddy delight, but here it’s like a spoof or he’s cranking it up purely for effect, like Orville. Or Kelly Jones.
But I do like the Indian. He’s the neg equivalent of going to a Masala Zone and sitting down to a curry/jerk chicken banquet.
Hi Dragons, i’m here to tell you about “Jerk Zone”…JERK ZONE
However he’s clearly not the highlight on Raggamuffin Gurl – that would be the beautiful sounds of Frankie Paul.
He shouldn’t really be wearing lenses that thick in Jamaican sunshine though, he’ll do himself some damage. (Sorry)
Score: A seasonally affected 6/10