Super Cat (Feat. Jack Radics) – My Girl Josephine

Release Date: May 95
Chart Position: 22

Well, this is an absolute joy. It’s a privilege to have Dancehall royalty such as SuperCat grace the Neggae Hot 90, and he does not let us down. My Girl Josephine skanks and crackles for 3m 43s of pop magic, and reinforces the very reason we do this every week. An old song I’d forgotten about has brought a little bit of joy into my life and I hope you enjoy it too.
For starters, Super Cat is one cool f*cker. I first became aware of him via one of the greatest mixes of all time, John Carter Live at the Social Volume 2. Every home should own a copy of this. SuperCat’s cut up vocals kick off the mix, sampled by Kenny Dope on opening track Supa. “Dada, now he’s a Super Cat man ah you a Don Dada” – These words have swirled around my head for days on end – the flat yet gravelly vocal style tough yet rhythmic. Like any DJ with borderline OCD I immediately snaflled up any Super Cat music I could find.
Super Cat, like Chakademus and Pliers, was a bonafied 80s Dancehall star. His production and credits lists on discogs read like a who’s who of the JA 80s scene, so it was inevitable that he would turn up at the Neggae party at some point. The fact that the crystalline production on My Girl Josephine was completed by Sly & Robbie should come as no surprise. It just sounds fantastic.
Filtered drum rolls, echoed toasting, tabla, huge horns section – I think this might be the greatest production on the Neggae hot 90. Everything sounds turned up to 11. Listen to My Girl Josephine, then go back and listen to Boom-Shak-a-lak. Makes the latter sound like a Stock Aitken and Waterman production frankly – and that’s no slight on Apache Indian by the way. This record is just too good.
Like Oh Carolina, Super Cat takes a big ole Fats Domino sample and makes something new out of it. Sampling Fats Domino was clearly a shoo-in for Neggae chart success, yet no-one thought of sampling Blueberry Hill – his most famous song. I’m just imaging Suggs toiling through it now actually. Probably best left alone.
Super Cat though. What a boy. Sounds like U-Roy, looks like Chris Kamara. And ably assisted by Jack Radics on the chorus, who if you recall from Twist and Shout was essentially a cross between Billy Preston and Baloo from the Jungle Book when he’s in disguise in an attempt to storm the monkey castle to save Mowgli:


He’s smartened up his act a little in this video though which is to be applauded.
Until this week’s review I’d forgotten all about this song. Upon first listen though, I was instantly transported back to the Student Union common room in Brooklands College in 1995. Whiling away the lunch playing 40p games of pool with Dom and Jonny, and trying to commandeer the jukebox with Britpop classics. In those days the battle for jukebox supremacy often involved running from class to the SU the second lunch break started, to load it up with a couple of quid to ensure the goths didn’t put crap like Ich Bin Ein Auslander on rotation.
Anyway, one day I was a bit slow off the mark, and some bloody girls had got there first. Josie Farnsworth and Phillipa Walker played 2 songs on rotation for the whole lunch hour – Waterfalls by TLC and My Girl Josephine (AKA ‘Josie’s song’). Waterfalls I could take or leave, but My Girl Josephine was just dandy. So thanks Josie, great choice (didn’t need to play it seven times in a row though.)
Score: a ten from me.
Super Cat, my man. After reading up on this fella, mucho respect to him. He grew up in the rough and ready Seaview Gardens neighborhood in Kingston (I know, sounds really tough, probably similar to West Byfleet if I had to guess), he is the older brother to Junior Cat and his nickname of “Wild Apache” was given to him by his friend and mentor Early B.
Early in his career he would DJ under the name of Cat-A-Rock and switch between that and Wild Apache until he settled for Super Cat. Anyway, his bio is fascinating, I love the names that they come up with and roll with. In my opinion, he nailed it with Super Cat.
So, onto the song. Another one that I really don’t remember all that well. I did a little double take when elder Vince posted the link on the communal Neggae message board. Super Cat? Nah, never heard of this guy. So, I click on the link, not knowing what to expect and I’m pleasantly surprised. This song compliments last week’s effort from Bob and has renewed my faith in sweet Neggae music. A stellar version of Fats Domino’s original. I love the intro, island toasting accompanied by horns and what appears to be some sort of snare, or not – I don’t know my instruments that well. I’ll defer to Vince for clarification on the light background drum type of noise. The big band style is a nice twist, something I was not expecting. Jack Radics and Super Cat really work well together. Sublime vocals to go with some fun and light-hearted lyrics. For me, it keeps you entertained and head bobbing from start to finish.
Score: I’m down with Super Cat. My Girl Josephine scores a very competitive 8/10. A nice treat and excellent addition to the Neggae Hot 90

Did he shoot Nitty Gritty? Didn’t he? Was it a member of his band? Was he involved in someway or another? Who knows? There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to it, but nothing concrete. At the end of the day I am not that familiar with this Nitty Gritty character and all I know is that Super Cat has absolutely kicked the crap out of this version of Josephine and for that alone should be proved innocent of anything he has ever done. Anyone who cant take a Fats Domino’s track and add this level of top spin gets a massive ‘iree iree’ from me!
This is amazing and the only disappointment I have is that I don’t remember this tune at all. If I had heard to before I definitely would have remembered it as its is maybe my favourite track on the list so far. I know that is a massive call but I mean it. Its authentic dancehall sound makes you listen with intent as it drops in. Its got great rhythm and peaks and troughs nicely, all the time building and building getting better and better as the track goes on. This has real pedigree and you know from the beginning that the tune oozes class and demands respect. This is Head and Shoulders (trademark Procter&Gamble) above the other stuff we have been reviewing lately or dare I say since the beginning of the blog. I normally pick no bones about how sometimes I really find this process a chore and how Thursday nights/Friday mornings can often fill me with dread. But hearing this makes me really change my tune and turns it into a joy! This has brightened up my day. Yes we just got pumped at 5-a-side tonight, yes Knivo dodged his round in the pub again, but you know what? Who cares! I always lose at 5-a-side and Knivo never buys a round, life goes on and so will this track! I enjoyed every minute of it including the easy going video of them hanging around that dusty old town that has a certain amount if charm to it, I’d even like to visit it someday.
Score: A magical 10/10 from me!

This week we’ve got one of my favourite modern reggae artists with his only Hot 90 entry; Supercat enters the fray ably supported by neggae collaborator Jack Radics. Super first tasted global success after taking advice from his American cousin (MC Skat) and got involved with the burgeoning Commercial Hip Hop Scene (Chipshop) appearing on a remix of Jump by Kriss Kross, RIP Daddy Mack, I’m literally pouring a Fruit Shoot in your memory right now. He then had a few more biggish songs without really troubling the UK chart. Then, at Sophia Loren’s insistence, he was included on the soundtrack of neggae fashion film ‘Prêt a Porter’ with this Fats Domino cover which burst into the charts and peaked at number 22 around the time of my 20th birthday, when the long summer days were mainly spent locked in a dark garage doing bongs until my Dad found my ‘hubbly bubbly pipe’ and clearly didn’t believe it was a prototype of water filtration tool designed to help 3rd world communities.
The song starts with some top Neggae drum samples in a similar vein to ‘Carolina’ with a declaration of love to his girl Josephine. Then the horns kick in shortly followed by the beat and piano and we’re off basically, the song is chugging along like a six pack of mini Heinekens and you can’t help but tap your feet. The production doesn’t change up much throughout but it doesn’t need too as the producer has lovingly reworked the original and kept a Michael Carrick-like simplicity to the whole piece, unlike last week’s overegged pudding of a rework. Vocally the Cat/Radics combo is as sweet a combination as Shearer and Sheringham v Holland in Euro 96. Without this song I’d go as far as to say this new wave of the new wave of Neggae classic would never have come to light or Nu-Wop as I like to call it.
Lyrically it’s a the Cat Radics combo imploring childhood sweetheart Josephine to remember the good times they had together as innocent youths and follows up with attempts to woo her with their dead Grandad’s possessions which include a car, a helmet, some Cuban cigars and a pocket watch. I’m not sure this is really going to work unless Josephine is in fact Miguel Angel Jimenez but you’ve got to credit the effort. I also have visions of the handover from the Grandad being a Caribbean take on this. The song carries on in this vein and like a David Lynch film there’s no definitive ending and you’re left to draw your own conclusions, personally I think Josephine is in the Black Lodge with Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper.
The video is actually reasonably stylish for a neggae effort with Jack and Super dressed like Bugsy Malone characters. There’s an old bloke in a suit dancing about who’s a bit of a worry, he can’t seem to put his tongue in his mouth and looks like my cat when he’s thirsty, it could be the result of a stroke but he’s smiling so like the end of a massage in Goa it’s a happy stroke. The heroine of the piece is dressed demurely for a neggae video which is refreshingly lacking in misogyny preferring to concentrate on her sunny demeanour and friendly manner, don’t get me wrong though she’s still a right facking sort and given half a chance I’d be up it in a shot. The gist of the video is that Josephine walks round with a rhythmic swagger, like a Jamaican Rooty Tooty, which is infectious and spreads happiness wherever she goes. How charming and harks back to a more innocent time before Shabba was even a potential stain on his dad’s stomach.
Score: 8/10 – A shame this is Supercat’s only entry.

James BC
This is a delight. What we have here is good-time twelve-bar rock ‘n’ roll meets good-time Neggae uptown – possibly the sunniest genre combination imaginable. There’s nothing complicated about it at all: Twist and Shout show-stealer Jack Radics and relative newcomer Supercat pass the mic back and forth over a bouncy Bitty McLean-style groove. Then again there’s no need for fancy stuff when you’ve already got everything you could want – a strong chorus (a Fats Domino cover, a quick poke about reveals), neg ‘n’ roll piano, industrious percussion and a neat horn break in the middle.
Compared to Twist and Shout this is a nicely controlled vocal from Mr Radics – he leaves the adlibs to his accomplice and only shows a hint of the raucousness he’s capable of, managing this time out not to sound like a complete maniac. Supercat has quite a polite deejaying style, which here is as simple and effective as the rest of the track. He might not be the quickest or the flashiest, but he scores big on charm – in fact I’d go so far as to say he’s a worthy successor to Fats Domino in that department.
It’s charm that makes this song: the whole package is just hugely likeable. Impossible to dance well to and impossible to sit still to, it would be guaranteed to unite any room, barbecue or major sports venue in joyous, terrible bopping. Sure it’s repetitive, but if that was a bad thing I wouldn’t have felt the need to keep replaying it as I’ve been writing – I’ve now played it seven or eight times and far from being bored, I’m enjoying myself nearly as much as the old geezer in the video.
I’d never heard this track before having to write about it, which just goes to show how rich the Neggae era was. The Shaggys and Shabbas may have grabbed the headlines but even the subs’ bench was packed with talent – much like the England squad at the time, when legends like Robbie Fowler or Ian Wright could barely get a game. Heady days.
Score: 9 out of 10



Bob Marley – Keep on Moving

Release Date: May 95
Chart Position: 17

James B-C
Keep On Moving comes from Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On, the second volume of Bob Marley’s greatest hits and neggae’s answer to More Abba Gold. Where More Abba Gold had Ring Ring, Honey Honey and I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do (must have been an echo in there), Natural Mystic had a similar mix of album tracks, overlooked songs and a few modernising remixes.
This is one of the remixes. I’d already heard Keep On Moving in its original form, somewhat underproduced by later standards, cropping up on one of the reggae compilations that were essential to any 90s household – clearly the compilers couldn’t afford Jammin’ or Buffalo Soldier so they scrabbled around for any old track they could get the rights to with the all-important Marley name on it. That version sounded a bit limp when crammed between Sweets For My Sweet and a dubbed out version of I Like To Move It Move It, but the remix has been beefed up to good effect with lots more percussion, trumpets, organ and a sax intro nicked from Baby I Love Your Way (though still preserving the obligatory old school reggae intro-drumroll).
Since there were 14 tracks on Legend, it stands to reason that the single from Legend part 2 would be the 15th best Bob Marley song. That sounds about right, and while it’s no Stir It Up, I certainly enjoyed revisiting it. The embellishments – even the Big Mountain tribute – add to the original song rather than drowning it out, helping Bob’s vocals and songwriting come across to the modern listener as they should – a good example of remixers using their powers for good instead of evil. Lyrically, it strikes me that this could be a sequel to I Shot The Sheriff – it’s a shame there wasn’t (to my knowledge) a third song to finish the story off, which would have been called either Damn They Caught Me or Living Under An Assumed Name In Costa Rica.
Extra note for Ed Sheeran fans only: The B-side to the CD single (which I bought at the time) was Pimpa’s Paradise. As a Bob Marley song that was a bit average, but there’s a brilliant update by his son Damien [] that I believe must have been the direct inspiration for Ed Sheeran’s The A Team. So without Keep On Moving, Ed might not have written the song that kick-started his chart career. Wonder if anyone read this paragraph.
Score: A pleasant, easy skankin’ 7 out of 10.

The Trombone. That is the key reggae horn instrument. The way it slides and bends is the sonic equivalent of the Yardie lean.
Then trumpets – always got to have trumpets. They parp and blast in unison to put some skank in your back as you move to the track.
But sax? Sexy, sophisticated saxophone?
I don’t know. Too Noo Yoik. Too much spiralling. And as Joey the Lips Fagan pointed out in the commitments to Brother Dean ” Soul has corners. You were spiralling. That’s jazz.”
Now we’ve seen a bit of saucy sax earlier on Baby I Love your Way, a song that is my Neggae guilty pleasure; my pressure point. It worked there, in that US Frat-Neggae, tie-dyed, listen-to-slightly-naff-music-because-you’re-a-bit-tipsy-on-holiday kind of way.
But here, stapling what it clearly a 1995 Sax solo onto the original Rasta prophet’s 1971 song of regret and redemption? Doesn’t quite work. It’s like Abigail’s Party with Denise Van Outen instead of Alison Steadman. Like Stevie Wonder duetting with Blue (oh, hang on).
Luckily, it’s a great song. So good that I’m able to forgive and forget the clearly cocaine-addled producer who decided it was a good idea to cover it in this horrid wailing.
It’s another Bob Marley old’un, regurgitated by Team Marley to cash in on the new found popularity thanks to the Neggae explosion.
And do you know what, if the Marley estate want to do that, then let them. He did invent the f*ckin genre. Let them do what they want. And that people, is why this year we should be allowed to win the World Cup. Make all the other teams play with their bad foot. Still probably beat us actually….
Anyway, the original was released in 1971 on the often overlooked and under-rated Soul Revolution LP. Produced by the Legendary Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, it is a beautiful Rock steady groover – telling the tale of Bob having to flee because of a crime HE DID NOT COMMIT. Happens quite a bit in Bob’s songs actually – I think the Rasta doth protest too much.
It was re-released here for Legend II and I think they just about get away with it. Listening to the vocals I assume these are from the same lost tapes as the Iron Lion Zion material (i.e. around 1980 just before his ascension to Zion) , and Sir Bob sounds as majestic as ever.
The I-threes are in fine fettle and when some horns proper finally arrive they sound just dandy. The beats are nicely electronic too without ruining the overall groove of the song.
The video couldn’t be any more 1995 if it tried. Watercolour animations, tie-dyed effects, Silhouettes of Bob dancing in the moonlight. And I swear at one point a magic eye effect revealed a dolphin shagging a unicorn.
This is the last we see of Bob on this list – he started it, he (more or less) finished it. Ta da mate, they don’t make ’em like you any more (welling up here I am.)
Score: 7/10, but I am also going to play my joker and go back and retrospectively change Iron Lion Zion to a 9.

Another disappointing track from Bob. Clearly in the mid nineties the ‘Dead Bob Fund’ was running a little light and they needed to squeeze a few more quid out of the archives. I feel they have sold Bob out a little bit, particularly with the cheesy intro which is a little bit Earth Song in its production. I think that he would have felt a little ashamed at what they had been up to. The track is a bit nothing really, listening to it I feel a little nostalgic, but more lethargic than anything as it sort of goes round and round without any real climax. From what I can tell the song tells the story of Bob being accused of murder. Although he claims his innocence instead of facing the judicial system and letting it runs its course he decides to go on the run from the law leaving his woman and two boys behind. Although he recognises that they will suffer he doesn’t seem that bothered as he hopes to find a piece real estate somewhere and when it all does down they will come a join him and they will all live happily ever after. Bullshit!! They will hate him for leaving them and never want anything to do with him. Do you really think that the real perpetrator will be found in his absence? No! Him going on the run will only fuel the fire of suspicion and result in everyone back home only even more sure of his guilt. I reckon that when he gets in contact his family they will simply inform the sheriff of his whereabouts and bring him to justice. Ah hold on! He shot the fucking sheriff as well! They’ll have to call the deputy! So lets get this right! He has admitted to shooting the sherif and is on the run for suspected murder. I highly doubt his Mrs will touch him with a barge pole! The more I think about it, he’s just a Caribbean Raoul Moat! Its just missing the verse when Michael Holding turns up and offers him a bucket of Jerk Chicken! So this is the second Marley track we have reviewed and they have been maybe two of the worst Neg hits on the list. His team had a shocker in the nineties! Average sound and a stupid tale being told – 3/10 from me.

It’s with a heavy heart I write this week’s review, another nineties rehash of a Marley classic. This for me started the mass commericalisation of his image which has culminated with headphones, Energy Drinks, coffee and Darren Reynolds tribute dolls. I hope Rita used the proceeds to buy a memory foam mattress and pillow because I don’t know how else she’ll sleep at night. The beauty of the original was the rawness of production, the simple catchy bass and understated guitar lick which gave the backing vocals prominence and an almost choral quality, it’s like a Gareth Bale run, simple yet effective.
The rehash starts with a terrible bit of sax which sounds like it should compliment a coffee advert, I can see it now, some bearded clunge dressed like a peaky blinder strolling through a Shoreditch market place greeting his zany unicycle riding mates he passes on his journey, all shot in sepia tinged black and white, I hate him already. Then with the vocals we’re also treated to a clunky artificial beat which has about as much groove as Ellie Goulding’s dancing. The backing vocals come in and they’re completely different to the original so in essence they’ve changed the best bit of the song and made it totes X-factor, all it needs are some pyrotechnics and Sharon Osbourne wittering on about her vagina at the end to complete the effect. The producer has decided to really overegg it as the song goes on and adds some unnecessary organ, horns and various other effects. All that’s missing is the bloke from Clock popping up and doing a rap midway through.
The video looks like something they’ve tried to pitch Enya and she’s responded badly;
‘Lads, dis is shoite, now feck off and and give it to Dana’
So they’ve gone back to the drawing board, cut out the Enya images and added in Bob to compliment this shameless cash in. The only thing this video would be useful for is if Marley Ltd decided to rival Crown and Dulux by bringing out a range of paints as it resembles a paint advert.
I’ve wasted enough time and energy on this so I’ll give it 1/10 for Bob’s vocals, however there is some positive neggae news this week

Bob Marley, a welcome change from some of the skank we’ve had over the last few weeks or dare I say months…. The beauty of Marley is his simple delivery and unique vocals that are instantly recognizable. You know, the same instantly recognizable vocals that Shabba has but instead of that warm feeling you get from listening to a Marley song, with Shabba you get that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach when your feeling queasy. Enough of that, we are her to talk Bob and that’s what we shall do. This is very soothing and song to listen to, however when you dig a little deeper into the lyrics, it doesn’t seem that he’s all too comfortable. Lot’s of looking over his shoulder. I don’t know what he did or what people thought he did but the turmoil is front and center for us to see (similar to the turmoil I’ve experienced recently from the Neggae elders who are far more disciplined than I am and can get a review drafted and finished in a timely manner) Anyway, Bob seems to make the best of it and sends a positive message in his lyrics. Essentially he’s saying “Keep you chin up old boy, things will be alright” The slower pace of this gem is not rushed, just the Bob Marley that we’ve all come to love over the years. His delivery is second to none. I’ve been head bobbing from start to finish. That’s a good thing for my soul (it takes my mind off not only being late with my review but the another polar freeze that’s on the way) In closing, this is a proper choon, excellent delivery, lyrics that mean something, a head bobbing beauty that has me pining for more. Thank you Robert Nesta Marley and please forgive my low score that I gave you for Iron, Lion, Zion. I know nothing (in Manuel from Fawlty Towers speak) A really enjoyable 8.5/10


Shabba Ranks – Let’s Get it On

Release Date: Apr 95
Chart Position: 22

James BC
This isn’t a pleasant listen at all. Even though the vocal style is still there, it’s hard to believe this is the same Shabba who made Mr Loverman. He must have been getting some very poor advice. The backing here sounds like an attempted Barry White homage, but the strings end up being more horror film than Love Unlimited. Strings rarely feature in reggae, and now we know why.
Then there are the lyrics. Shabba is trying to put the moves on yet another poor lady, who he rudely addresses as “Big body gal” right out of the gate, line 1 verse 1. Maybe he’s trying to capture some of the magic of Gal Wine, but you need to be a cheeky Chaka Demus to get away with that sort of thing, not a shouting Shabba. Later he starts up with “Shabba is a human waterbed” – so perhaps by this point in his declining career he’d gained a few pounds as well? Perhaps the song is supposed to paint a Fernando Botero-esque picture of plus-sized seduction? If so it won’t work because of Chaka’s Law: big body gal love slim body man, not men who resemble 1980s novelty bedroom furniture.
A bit of excess weight would at least explain the audible inhalations between each line, which you can’t stop hearing once you notice them. Something must be hampering Ranks’s lyrical flow: by the end the inspiration has dried up entirely and he’s resorting to “You do me and I do you.” Not exactly Marvin Gaye.
I don’t know who is singing the chorus, but I assume it’s not Maxi Priest because he’d surely at least throw in a “Shabba!” to liven things up. Whoever it is, it doesn’t provide much of a hook and Shabba keeps talking over it anyway. 
You have to feel a bit sorry for Shabba here. Overweight, out of ideas and with only RnB freaks and violin players to collaborate with, he tries to recapture the old Mr Loverman magic but the feeling is gone. My sympathy won’t make the song any better, though, and it’s all the more disappointing after the promise in the intro that it would be “action packed”.
Score: 2 out of 10.

Firstly happy new year to our followers, but to be honest I’m feeling pretty negative about the whole neg-train post Christmas and this will show in the quality of my review this week.
The first week after a period of neg downtime is seriously taking its toll. Friday mornings for the last few weeks have been about how much food and booze I can put away before lunchtime and before having to leave the house. Now we are back to reality where I have to get up at the crack of dawn to write something, just anything to avoid being cyber bullied by the other elders.
My high hopes of the young Jewish drummer Franks bringing some new found life into the blog have been dashed – he retired without a single submission. If such musical inspiration has so little passion for the genre I am starting to wonder if we are all wrong about it? Further to this it now means we are now paying off three reviewers, the financial pressures are far from over and my expenses will never get paid. Looks like that Capri Sun and Rasta Wig will be coming out of my own pocket!
Vince the grump is back and it has only taken until the 9th day of the new year for him to remind me that Negbatz coupled with a few too many pints of Estrella do not mix. The simple notion and joke of being late and a half hearted request for an extension was batted back swiftly from the dictator including language that I cannot repeat on here and a threat that I my position can easily be replaced. Given the debacle since his little brothers’ departure I doubt that? (But please Vince don’t take that the wrong way and fire me!). Clearly he didn’t get those Johnny Gill socks he was after for Christmas.
Lastly after finally looking like we have found a more than capable replacement for mini-Synan, Keith De Vivre and Franks the downside is that James BC can seriously write and I am feeling a little intimidated by the thought of having to raise my game between now and the end of this blog. Instead of doing the right thing, manning up and investing some extra time in wording an eloquent and well thought out review, for this week I will be reverting back to a teenage state and shall deliver this entry in Facebook/txt speak. So here, *ahem* goes:

Shabba.ranks dun a gud tune hear and I like it is really chilled out and I like its vyb.when i herd it 4 the 1th time in years it remindeded me of gud times with my m8’s. I am shure that it is was used in a movie from 90’s, just cant not remember which 1? Boyz N The Hood, Mo Money,New Jack City? Somink like that?
Shabba is his normal self and it is easy n well quik to pic up his deliver style. I got know clu what he be wrapping about as I cant hear his words proper,but I expct that from him n doesnt’ bother me 2 mch. I actually like that bout him.I tried 2 look on interweb for words 2 song bt culd not find know words 2 song. I fink that no1 else across the world with interweb compooter got no ideas neever?
The best bit bout Shabba I fink is that althou I no understand his word the sampl is always v strong (bit like Loverman,Housecall). Nw dont get me bad,ths is not good as Mr Loverman or Shabba other gud songs but is stll a gud song that I like much.

My petulance is back firing on me and the above few lines have taken me twice as long as if I had applied myself correctly. Think next week I will go back to English.
Score: A solid offering form Shabba – 7/10 from me!

Let’s Get it On by Shabba and his ever changing wardrobe is this week’s delight. I’ll give it to him, that boy knows what he likes and isn’t shy about it. In one scene he’s gyrating in the Island equivalent of a Rab C Nesbitt string vest. Classic, not many people can pull that off and look the part.
Shabba Ranks and my pal from Govan, Rab C Nesbitt. The more I think about these two characters, the more I find they have in common. I have a hard time understanding either of them. They both talk gibberish  be it slow and steady or a fast paced rap (in Rab’s case rant). They both gyrate, Shabba for the ladies, Rab for his next pint of beer.
So, my wife just came in and said “What’s taking you so long to write your review? How much is there to write about that song? You’ve played it 5 times in a row and it gets worse every time!” Apparently, I’ve spent the last hour playing Shabba and Rab C Nesbitt clips and she is now a little agitated because not only is Shabba not exactly appropriate for the little ears in my household, neither is Rab C.
So, in closing, I will keep this short and sweet.
Shabba puts out a fair to middling tune, starting off with a classic line about him being your waterbed, and the pillow on your head. How can you go wrong with such a lyrical genius you say? A fashionista and pioneer of the organic island rap that is attempted by many but never duplicated to the high standards that Mr Ranks has set. A man so comfortable in his skin, he shows it all…..all the time. It just seems that everything Shabba produces sounds the same, just different lyrics. Even the videos are borderline the same. Girls in bikinis, Shabba in various states of undress, grinding vocals…… you know the drill.
I used to give credit for artists that showed some willing with the video aspect of their production, but I’m starting to get a wee bit bored of Shabba’s inability to be more creative. Maybe if he and UB40 got together – no, on second thoughts, scrap that.
Score: Put me down for 5.5/10 Shabba Nesbitt did ok, just didn’t blow me away.

Oh god, not this berk again, the Tom Cleverley of Neggae makes another appearance in the Hot 90, but much like Cleverley’s international career, no-one knows why. Whenever a Shabba song comes up I get the same feeling as I used to on Sunday nights when I had homework to do for Monday.
‘Hmm, I should really have done that instead of berking around with my mates all day. It’ll be fine I’ll do it after London’s Burning’ ‘Right London’s Burning has finished I’ll do the homework, actually, hold the bells, Hale and Pace is on. I’m pretty sure I can knock up a project on the Cabinet War Rooms in 20 minutes anyway.’
Cut to Monday morning – ‘Dad, yeah I feel quite ill, I don’t think I should be going to school today really’.
I don’t remember this the first time round and was bracing myself for a bastardisation of the Marvin Gaye classic but fortunately we’re spared that potential nightmare as this is in fact an ‘original’.
The intro is standard Shabba, some accapella toasting which I think I understand and he finishes the opening stanza with the declaration ‘relaxing flute’ which is strange because I didn’t have him marked down as a fan of James Galway.  Then the beat kicks in and yet again its neggae credentials are questionable as it’s more of his budget RnB sludge, more Teddy Sheringham than Teddy Riley. The one plus point of the production is the guitar lick they loop throughout but otherwise it’s mid-tempo formulaic dirge, I prefer this Shy FX version as there’s more drums and less Shabba, but I digress. Lyrically the song is standard Shabba fare as he lets the world know about his sexual prowess, personally I wonder what Freud would make of a man who feels the need to release 14 albums proclaiming himself the greatest lover of all time, actually fuck Freud I think he’s got a tiny cock and suffers from erectile dysfunction.
The video starts off with some close up of Shabba’s face and it struck me his eyes weren’t fully developed in the womb as he can’t open them properly, it’s like a newborn calf or Moley from ‘Wind in the Willows’. He then stands under a tree with more roots on display than a Westfield wedding, the tree’s roots are incredible and by far the most interesting thing about this whole production although I did find myself wishing they were actually some kind of carnivorous space worms which were going to kill and eat him. I think the plot of the video is some kind of Jet-ski treasure hunt which naturally involves a lot of ‘big batty women’ bogling under waterfalls and in swimming pools, beats Anneka Rice though to be fair. Then a mermaid appears which brings up one of the age old conundrums that’s foxed mankind throughout the ages, can you bang a mermaid? I understand how you can get a chew but actual sex? Do fish have vaginas? Would you want to have sex with a fish vagina? I don’t know and it’s making my brain hurt, did Darwin have any theories on this I wonder. The whole sorry affair culminates with Shabba and his Jet Ski bredren finding a load of treasure, which will keep Shabba in string vests for years to come, whilst Shabba does another shoutout to James Galway and goes for a bit of Daliesque surrealism by comparing himself to a water bed.
Score: 4/10 – let’s turn it in you bombastic ballbag.

So this is it then, the final appearance of Shabba on the blog. No-one’s ever really liked him, probably because he has an annoying habit of waving his tumescence (musically and physically) all up in everyone’s collective grill. Nothing wrong with getting all excited around the ladies – but come on mate, a bit of light and shade eh?
The 6th song, and its the 6th song about banging basically.
He sticks to the tried and trusted Neggae-NewJack crossover sound, with his Ragga toasting complimented with softer US soul production. I for one was always partial to a bit of Swing, and actually think this is one of his better efforts. The strings are well produced, and the female vocals compliment Shabba’s standard foghorn riddims. At times the minor key groove reminds me of the closing credits of the Fresh Prince, or the Isley Brothers Between the Sheets. And whatever way you slice it, Shabba’s opening lyric of “I’ll be your Waterbed” is pop genius.
The video is decent enough – all of the indigenous beauty and beauties of Jamaica on show in a typically exotic promo. And of course the sex-mermaids, naturally.
I’m surprised at myself for not owning or even remembering this song first time round – although with hindsight my swingbeat infatuation that started in 1991 had  probably come to an end by now. And by 1995 Britpop was entering its imperial phase – I imagine I picked this record up in HMV in Guildford, only to put it down and pick up Some Might Say by Oasis instead. The beginning of the end for Neggae.
Score: No hard feelings Shabba (unlike yourself) – 6/10


Pato Banton ft Ranking Roger – Bubbling Hot

Release Date: Apr 95
Chart Position: 15

Firstly, huge apologies for the 5 week gap since the last review. the death of Keith De Vivre hit us pretty bad here at Casa del Neggae, and it’s only now we’re out the other side that I realise how black things were.
Norm literally cocooned himself in his egg over Christmas, only coming out to baste his naked body in Kenny Rogers Roastin’ Syrup. Gouldy wandered from Woking pub to Woking pub, sidling up to 19-year-olds, drunkenly trying to persuade them that CJ Lewis is the natural forefather to Disclosure and Rudimental. And Jonny, well Jonny seriously thought about ending it all. He went to his local chemist, and typically loyal to his P&G overlords, intended to do himself in with some Gillette Pro-Fusion Glide razorblades. Unfortunately he didn’t have the requisite £12 on him to purchase said product. For the first time ever I think we’re all happy that Gilette are the pharmaceutical equivalent of a back street loan shark.

As for me, well I toyed with the idea of going to a four-piece a la the Stones for a few weeks in 74.


It just seemed wrong though – too symmetrical for the shambolic beast that the Neggae blog has become. So, like Mick did with Ronnie Woods, and the Jacksons did with Randie, I went in search of our fifth member.
We signed a promising young Jewish drummer who wanted to explore his suspected Jamaican roots on his mother’s side – only for him to resign before commiting his first emoticon to screen. He shall forever be known as the Lady Jane Grey of Neggae.
Then last week we hit the jackpot – longtime Neggae sage and comment King James BC has taken up the mantle of seeing the good ship Neg home through the final 28 songs. Welcome aboard James.
So, on to the song itself, and you’ll be glad to know that after that catharsis this will be short and sweet.
I bloody love Bubblin’ Hot. It’s an example of all that was good about Neggae and 90s pop in general. Like much of the best reggae, it is choc full of samples and interpolations that are derivative yet inventive. I spotted:

All of this stirred and mixed to perfection with a sprinkling of Digitized beats and bass – just like the soup inna pot in fact. The sung melody is easy and infectious, and the return of the two-tone hero that is The Beat’s Ranking Roger can only be applauded.
The video is a fantastic global-hypercolour, psychedelic romp – imagining our two Neggae bards stuck in dead-end catering jobs waiting for the record comapny men to come and whisk them away to stardom. Which they do. I imagine somewhere in a Jerk Hut kitchen Levi Roots saw this and thought, “that’s exactly what I’m going to do. In about 15 years time.” Note too the clever juxtaposition of black and white check – preferred stupid trousers of kitchen staff and also favoured styling of two-tone rudebwois.
Also, I can’t help but notice similarities in tone and style between this video and the vastly inferior Country House by Blur and Damien Hurst five months later. Of course, due to their Art-school heritage, Team Hirst were garlanded with using the comic-book look and feel of the 60s and sevs, while our Neggae boys were overlooked. Scorned even. It reminds me of what my Dad used to say whenever Matt Le Tissier did something amazing yet blasé –  “If a Brazilian had done that we’d all be ravin’ about it for months.”
Damn Straight.
Score: For seeing me through the toughest wobble this blog has known, a life-affirming 9.

Hello, I’m James and this is my first neggae review. My main qualification for getting recruited seems to be enthusiasm so I’ll do my best to carry on the good work all the others have put in so far. Fortunately I remember this particular song from the first time round, and even owned it, so I have a bit to say.
I first heard Bubbling Hot on the Chart Show, which did a nice line in previews by neggae second-stringers like Saint and Campbell and Junior Reid. I liked it so much that I rushed out and bought Pato’s album Collections on tape from WH Smith in Birkenhead. Maybe this was a common response – it would be one explanation for the single’s underwhelming performance (only number 15).
Weirdly for a relative newcomer to the charts, Pato’s album turned out to be a best-of, the sleevenotes claiming that he had been around since the early 80s. I’m still not sure whether that was an elaborate hoax – credits such as drummer David “Skins” Forskins are suspicious – but either way, it neatly filled out Pato’s character as the fun-loving but vaguely problematic uncle of neggae. There is:

  • a song where Pato does a Tom Lehrer-inspired rap with all 50 states of the USA in it, plus Puerto Rico.
  • an eight-minute political opus with the ominous title “Pato’s Opinion, Part Two” where at one point he promises to “fight against sodomites” (sadly not a single so no video dramatising this was produced)
  • an anti-drugs anthem “Don’t Sniff Coke” which must have warned dozens of young neggae fans off the evil white powder, recommending sensi as a healthy alternative assuming your girlfriend hasn’t run off with it.

In other words it was money well spent.
Bubbling Hot makes it three co-credits in three singles for Pato – commonplace today of course, but new enough in 1995 for someone to write an angry letter to Channel 4 Teletext about how Pato was piggybacking his way to success on the reputations of other people. That might have been a fair point when the collaborators were Sting or The Great Ali Campbell, but in this instance it’s more like Pato is doing Ranking Roger a favour, or trying to. A member of The Beat in the Two Tone era, Roger clearly jumped at the chance to become a 90s neggae also-ran as well as an 80s ska also-ran, so here he is, bubbling hot just like a soup in a pot.
Coming back to the song now, it’s actually better than I remembered. The groove is bouncy and cheerful, with piano, organ and horns blending together to make a pleasant fusion of neggae and old-fashioned ska. Where it falls down is the lyric, as it’s not really about anything – it’s basically a showcase for the toasting skills of Pato and Roger. I’d suggest that this may have been a mistake: if the 482 seconds of confused religious musings on Pato’s Opinion were a bit much, this goes too far in the other direction and the lack of any actual content leaves the vocals a bit exposed. Pato is not exactly CJ Lewis in the rapping stakes: once on Live and Kicking he tried to give an exhibition of rhyming virtuosity which collapsed when the best he could come up with for ‘polo mints’ was ‘wooden stilts’. I never saw Andi Peters so dismayed at the way a segment was unfolding.
Roger may be a sort-of legend who helped fill up side 2 of many respectable ska compilations but his style seems a tad off the pace when competing for the neggae pound against Shabba, Apache Indian and the rest of the new generation. Even his name dates him: he clearly chose it between 4th and 11th February 1978 when Althea and Donna were at number 1, erroneously thinking that ‘Ranking’ was going to be the in-word for the next ten years.
In brief, then, this is pretty enjoyable stuff but not going to set your world on fire. The soup metaphor is OK but also a little close to novelty when combined with the jolly groove. One extra point for the dance-along-a-lobster bit in the video – they don’t make ’em like that any more.
Score: 6 out of 10 but I’m new to this and I might be being over-generous.

(The whole ‘5th Neggae writer transfer debacle’ caused such a delay to this article that Gouldy’s typically zeitgeistesque Xmas gags make no f*cking sense whatsoever on 6th January. Apologies for losing the dressing room, won’t happen again – Vince.)
It’s yet another entry for everyone’s favourite Neggaeist from the Emerald Isle, Paddy O’Banton who’s joined by Ska stalwart, Ranking Roger of ‘The Beat’ fame. The track starts with a Bontempi version of the clarion call ‘Assemble the buglers’, which is very apt at this festive time of year and can be heard at many an office Christmas party in various guises. In fact as its Christmas I’m going to get everyone in a mood of festive jollity and intersperse my review with cracker style jokes (the kind you pull at Christmas rather than racists from the deep south).

Q – What does Miley Cyrus eat on Christmas Day?
A – Twerky

Paddy and Roger have a little, and very respectful I might add, introduction for each other then the neg skank kicks in. Lyrically the song is a paen to world peace by using the example of their unity producing bubbling hot (like soup in a pot) neg sounds and they don’t discriminate who they’ll rock either, the rich, the poor even the middle classes, they really don’t discriminate. One can only ponder how different the Korean situation would be if these two had been sent over to do a concert on the North/South border. I know what you’re thinking ‘this is a thoughtful and incisive reading of the current political situation Gouldy, but its Christmas mon, where’s the fun?’

Q – What does the Queen call her Christmas Broadcast?
A – The One Show


Production wise there’s so much to like in this, Piano, Hammond, Horn section, Sax and police siren, coincidentally the last three were also the exact order of events at Michael Barrymore’s infamous pool party. This combination makes for a bubbling hot neggae soup of joy which just can’t help have you bogling round the Christmas Tree. Stick this on and you’re guaranteed an irie Yule time like all the best Carols it’s full of joy, hope and love (not you Vorderman, pedaling payday loans you shameless harridan).

Q – How do you know if Wayne Rooney’s Santa’s been in your garden shed?
A – You’ve got three extra hoes.

The video starts with Paddy and Roger working in a kitchen for Tony Dorigo and it’s clear the working relationship is under some considerable strain. The two heroes are left in charge of a vat of suspiciously green soup and as events unfold it becomes apparent what’s caused that colouring as it starts to resemble the time Jonny Atkins OD’d on Mince Pies and started hallucinating. First a Lobster starts dancing to the delight of Pat and Rodge then in a potassium based nightmare beyond the wildest dreams of Warhol and the Velvet Underground as a banana expands to an extraordinary size and starts chasing our hapless heroes round the kitchen. The soup also seems to contain soothsaying qualities as well which allow Pato to see a future in the recording industry which culminates with a gold record, I’m beginning to suspect they were following the Ken Kesey soup recipe as shit is going off the scale, there’s not been a kitchen this crazy since Spatz closed down. The video culminates with Tony Dorigo telling off a clearly mashed Pat and Rodge who are saved from the worst of the bollocking by a couple of AOR dudes turning up with a record contract.
Score: It’s not quite scotch bonnet broth but it’s still got a kick – 8/10

It’s been another whirlwind few weeks at Neg Towers with a resignation and the appointment of a new elder. With Jamie’s extended paternity leave continuing to cause admin issues due to a lack of the appropriate forms being completed and correctly filed and now the resignation of Keith with his ludicrous pension pay out, Neg Towers Corp’s cash flow is in big trouble. My expenses for 2 Capri Suns and a dreadlock wig are now 2 months outstanding! Who’s accountable I hear you ask? Nobody apparently! Bullshit! That’s what it is! The scams that these guys have pulled will be talked about in a similar vein as the Expenses scandal and the Vegas skim! I just hope Franks has got stronger morals that the other guys.
Anyway I am not part of this gruelling and seemingly endless pantomime for the money. I’m in it for the love if Neg and my weakness to deal with any sort of peer pressure.
I was looking forward to this review having only fond memories of this track and had eyeballed it as another Neg Blockbuster. But on reflection I can only admit to being 70% sure about it. It is well up the Jokey Neg end of the scale and for that I think it loses marks purely because I considered it a proper Neg track and I feel a little let down. I feel slightly similar to the day (in the mid 90’s I believe) I read the Radio Times and whooped for joy that Teen Wolf was on TV that evening, only to have it described by them as “Fun for all the family in this likeable comedy”. What!! Teen Wolf isn’t a comedy I thought! it’s a drama tackling some serious teen issues about what life was like as a teenager that I felt I could relate to (the only differences between me and Scott Howard were that instead of 2 pretty girlfriends I had none, instead of being good at basketball I was average at golf and instead of having a fat guy that people mocked on the team, I was that guy! But apart from that we were similar). After watching it for the hundredth time and on reflection after the film I thought to myself….maybe it was a comedy? Maybe it’s not that believable? Maybe I don’t believe in anything anymore?
Anyway that’s the way I also felt after remembering this as a real game changer of a track, only to turn it on for the first time in years to see Pato Banton and Ranking Roger dressed up like something from Wily Wonka in joke kitchen! I felt empty and cheated, like a fool…
Score: 7/10 – the tracks still OK, just a little disappointed that’s all.

Pato Banton and Ranking Roger are an interesting pair. Honestly I have no recollection of this bad boy.
I love the introduction “Just like a soup in a pot, we are what? Bubbling hot” Now that’s the way to get started. What could go wrong? Dressed in chefs whites, these two berks are prancing around the kitchen rehashing the bubbling and hot in one way or another for the next couple of minutes. The highlight of this video was them mucking around with the dancing crab.
There is little else to say about this one. It’s not his worst, not his best, it just feels like this is Pato being Pato, churning out some slightly above average tunes.
It contains the typical Pato offerings. Good vocals, solid instrumentals, amusing video but no real depth or meaning to his lyrics. If there is any cryptic message in this one, it has gone right over my head.
Score: A fair effort, nothing else. C’mon Pato step your game up! 5/10.