Suggs feat. Louchie Lou & Michie One – No More Alcohol

Release Date: Sept 96
Chart Position: 24

Gouldy
‘And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain’

It’s the last one, unbelievable, after two years of toil, hardship, listening to some utter dogshit and having to bully Jonny we’re finally there. I’m going to start with a shout to the homies who didn’t make it.

Jamie – Started the blog writing about the Republic of Ireland’s 1994 World Cup campaign and often missed deadlines as he was dressing up his dog as Spiderman. Once he was told it was a nineties reggae blog the output improved dramatically. The China Black autograph story is my favourite neggae based anecdote ever, like a Jamaican Peter Ustinov. – 7/10

The late Keith De Vivre (God rest his soul) – Inconsistent delivery, often dependent on availability of class As, booze and whores. At best creative genius, at worst lazy f*cker. – 5/10

Franks – Who? I hear you ask, in a signing reminiscent of Arsenal signing Clive Allen he didn’t manage one review and then became the Neggae equivalent of Richey Edwards as he dropped off the face of the earth (well the Neggae message group anyway) – 0/10

Norm – Initially suspected of being under contract from Lilt, Malibu and Egg with the amount of product placement contained in reviews, soon grew into it and liked the gauging the kid’s reactions to songs proving that Neggae spans generations. Still not been fully forgiven for his role in the Dawn Penn scandal. – 7/10

James BC – Came late to the party and has consistently delivered on before deadline with a writing style that puts the rest of us to shame. Some very dubious scoring though, particularly the Shaggy efforts with Grand Puba and Maxi Priest. 7/10

Now to my two fellow survivors of Neggae, it’s been a journey which has been fraught along the way but we’ve come through the trials and tribulations to complete a historical document of the boom time of commercial Reggae. For this we can be proud of ourselves.

Jonny – After a very shaky start he responded positively to coaching, advice and  constant bullying from his fellow Neggae elders he really turned it round. The unsung hero of the blog, the Neggae Makelele, as he worked very hard to create very little and made the rest of us look good. – 9/10

Vince – Creator of the blog, without him there’d be no documenting of Neggae. Started off  strongly but then like Capello’s England rein lost the dressing room with a disciplinarian approach which included censorship and rejecting reviews, Jonny and I used to call him Postman Pat behind his back. Took a leaf out the Manchester United board’s book during the Moyes rein and promoted his star player to a coaching role which improved results immediately. – 9/10

Gouldy – The only reason I read this blog – 10/10

Now onto the last ever Neggae hot 90 entry and fittingly it ends with my old nemesis Suggs. The first thing I had to was refresh the link four or five times as I thought Vince had supplied the wrong one, it’s the f*cking ‘Macarena’ isn’t it? So basically we start off with the Macarena then the famous sax riff from ‘Tequila’ kicks in (I always preferred the Terrorvision song) so in summing up this production is Jive Bunny lite, abysmal. Suggs gurns his way through the song and ropes in Louchie Lou and Michie One to tell him off again, which is a bit weird and shows masochistic tendencies. Lyrically Suggs jokes his way through a description of alcoholism, making light of what’s basically a disease. Let’s look at some facts.

  • Every year alcohol causes around 4% of cancer cases in the UK, about 12,500 cases;
  • Heavy drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which can trigger type 2 diabetes;
  • Alcohol is linked to suicide, self-harm and psychosis;
  • There are over 8000 alcohol related deaths in the UK every year.

So nice one Suggs, laugh it up, can’t wait for your ‘Cancerbantz’ single.

The video is a confused mish-mash which starts off with cowgirls doing a line dancing version of the Macarena. The standard bloke on sax being lifted through the air on a wire shot, nice to see some originality in the Suggs-related canon of music videos. We continue to Suggs as a boxer, then the unthinkable hell of multiple Suggs. It finishes with Louchie Lou and Michie One dressed as Neggae versions of Nefertiti before the final act of everyone falling down, because they’re drunk, great stuff! I have to say it’s a shame a period of such epic highs and lows has to finish off with this shit but it does go a long way to explain the subsequent success of Embrace and other shit-pop bands, they seem like the Beatles in comparison to this. Suggs, you’re a wretch of a man.

Score: 1/10 – Farewell Neggae, it’s a shame your death was as dignified as Stephen Milligan’s.

Suggs+-+No+More+Alcohol+CD+1+&+2+-+DOUBLE+CD+SINGLE+SET-454207
James BC
Everyone agrees that the neggae era properly ended with Mysterious Girl, reviewed last week, but like that hilarious guy in assembly who had to keep clapping longer than everyone else, there was always gonna be one twerp who didn’t know when to stop. And it was always gonna be Suggs. If you look at the charts for 95-97 you’ll see that Suggsy somehow got embroiled in a single-releasing competition with George Michael – a big mistake as it turned out, since no matter how dirgetastic George’s tunes got, all EIGHT of them made the top three, while this, the sixth track to come off The Lone Ranger album, only got to number 24.
And that’s despite the efforts of Suggs‘s marketing team who, canny as ever, realised that the millions of people who had already bought The Lone Ranger would need an extra incentive to stump up again for this single, so they came up with this pretty substantially remixed version of the original song. On the album, Alcohol (not No More Alcohol) is as much a queasy, woozy, clammy cautionary tale as it is a knees-up. No More Alcohol, on the other hand, doesn’t let its knees drop for a second. It speeds things up, bins the original chorus and most of the instrumentation, loops the Tequila interpolation and mixes in the Macarena for added subtlety, plus another all-new Louchie Lou and Michie One rap.
Does it work? No, not really. If you want the Macarena, get the Macarena. If you want Tequila, get Tequila. If you want both of them, get Now That’s What I Call Butlins Chucking Out Time Volume 4. Suggs‘s contribution doesn’t add a lot when the original, menacingly double-edged lyric is completely lost in a fug of enforced fun. And even Louchie and Michie are in very poor form compared to their game-saving performance on Cecilia. I hate to say it, but their appearance seems almost like filler that is purely there to pad the track out to the requisite three minutes.
As for the video, most of it is classic Suggs mime-dancing and acting out lyrics, backed up by line dancing cowgirls who must have made an impression on Pete Waterman’s mind at least. Just over a year later the audition process was complete and “the mighty” Steps were unleashed on the public, with the glory of neggae a distant (though never fading) memory.
And that’s it. No More Alcohol, No More Neggae. That is to say, with the greatest respect to T-Spoon, Mr President, Kevin Lyttle, Sean the Paul, the Second Coming of Shaggy, Snoop Lion and all the rest who followed later, the neggae glory years were done. Let’s remember the highlights, not this somewhat shoddy afterthought.
Score: 4 out of 10

Jonny
So here we are at the final hurdle and how fitting that it is a massive low vs. last week as it typifies this whole experience. Mysterious Girl was masterpiece of summer fun that cheered everybody up when they were down and reminded us all of care free open air boozing. This unfortunately only reminds me of the lows of the era.
Is this even neg? Is Suggs even a person? Strictly speaking do cowgirls line dancing on a beach classify as neggae, reggae, or anything like that? I don’t think so. Having said that and given that this is the final review I am not in quite as bad a place as I would normally be with it, although I am not softening my opinion of Suggs. The only positive I can take is that it reminds me of the Macarena which does bring back some great memories, most fondly of cheap nightclubs and loose girls which were both very important parts of my life almost 20 years ago.
I’m not going into too much detail of the tune, it is what it is really, a classic irrelevant Suggs affair that did nothing other than cheapen the movement.
Score: 2/10 from me on this one.

So there we are, I made it, I must confess there were times when I thought I would buckle. But unlike Synan Jr, Rushie, Keith and Norm (couldn’t bring myself to include Franks) I didn’t bottle it. I hope that my irrational anxiety of ‘new message’ alerts will ease now.

Vince
In the history of pop music. genres often end with a whimper rather than a bang, a sold-out, wheezing, end-of-the-pier facsimile of their more vital selves only a few years earlier. The Beatles conquered the US in ’63 because all the original rock’n’roll rebels has been replaced by sugary momma’s boys. Elvis, Richard, Berry and Lee Lewis through a combination of the draft, finding God and incarceration (for underage sex – natch) effectively went missing – and the first wave of rock n roll limped to a close with the likes of Gene Pitney, Bobbys Vee and Vinton. Clean cut, good looking guys that would shift units but stay out of trouble.
The excellent recent BBC4 Northern Soul documentary Living for the Weekend thoroughly examined the death of this Great British movement. Northern Soul was built on a finite stock of rare, 60s soul hidden gems. When these started running out, the key DJs of the scene panicked in two different directions. The Wigan Casino ‘purists’ wanted anything from the 60s with a 4/4 beat, so head DJs such as Russ Winstanley started scrabbling around for anything that had the ‘Wigan Stomp’ – even turning to ropey instrumental TV themes. At rival nightspot the Blackpool Mecca, Ian Levine was trying to move the genre forward, exploring the burgeoning New York disco scene. His acolytes loved it but the purists hated it, to the point where they printed and wore “LEVINE MUST GO” T-shirts. Levine would go out of his way to troll them, and ended up playing blatantly homosexual disco-pop such as Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real). Years later he would regret this decision, stating his playlist became so pop it wasn’t much different from that at any Youth Club Disco up and down the country.
Neggae too, ends in a similarly forlorn fashion. Suggs cashing in on the summer holiday hit Macarena – complete with line dancing cowgirls and (ashamedly) making Louchie Lou and Michie One spit a few bars in the only Neggaeish part of the song. Suggs has killed Neggae, pissed on it, dressed it up in a “Y VIva Espana” summer dress, put some lippy on it, had his way with it, and then put it away in his dungeon ready for the next time he’s bored. An ignominious end to one of the last truly great pop movements.

I’d like to thank everyone who has written, read, shared, commented or liked anything on the Neggae blog – its been hard work but much fun. Watch this space for the Wikipedia page, Guardian articles, OED definition and BBC4 documentary which will all be worked on next.
Score: zero.

NEGGAE SCORE: 1.75

Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl

Release Date: Jul 96
Chart Position: 2

Jonny
This is Tunage Maximus, arguably the absolute pinnacle of the movement and another massive raise of the bar. Peter James Andrea enters the arena and with it leaves all females open mouthed in amazement, a few of us guys as well. I can still hear the girls from college with their cheap perms and Benetton bags talking about ‘what a right sort he is’, blokes playing it down but secretly looking in awe at his pristine physique as he splashes around in the waterfall. A few blokes must have turned on the back of this? Not only did he look immaculate, the tune was amazing and when we now look back at everything that made neg good, this has everything and more. Bubbler Ranx also does a nice job as Peter’s wingman, roasting and toasting like a seasoned pro with a number of nice bridges.
I cannot believe that this did not make it to no 1 in the UK that summer, and actually the only place it did make the top spot was New Zealand (I thought they hated Aussies the same as Scots hate the English in that annoying little brother type way?). However looking it in a bit more detail he was up against Mark Morrison and Gina G, which were both massive and enjoyable tracks. Maybe this signified the beginning of the end and it was time for House to stand up and be counted (last night we sat listening to KISSTORY and reminded me of how great late 90’s House was).
Although musically he would never go on to match anything like the type of success he had with this, to label him a one hit wonder would be unfair as he went on to be the darling of celebrity trash. After keeping his nut down for the best part of a decade living it up on the success of this and ‘Flava’ (which was also a decent track if I remember correctly), shooting dingo’s off the back of his uwt, Andre was ready for phase two of his career and what better way to do it than by getting involved in ‘I’m a Celebrity’. Most bushtucker trials look rough, but his challenge of eating out a sweaty Katie Price sans make up or any other basic hygiene feels like the worst one yet. However he didn’t have to go on and marry her, he brought that on himself. Some may say however that the bold move was commercially quite savvy as he made an absolute killing off the back of it and enabled him to be media fair game for the next 10 years or so. It also created the ultimate franchise of Katie and Peter which saw and in depth look at their lives covering all aspects of how they met, how the rutted and how they mutilated each other’s dignity.
Having said all of that though I’m here, as I have been seemingly since the beginning of time, to judge the track and the impact it has had. When I look at it in such simple terms this was an absolute belter! 10/10 from me.

Vince
This is the End, beautiful friend, the end.
Well its not, there’s some standard Suggs filler to come next, but that doesn’t really count. Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre is the climax, Neggae’s vinegar strokes. Sure, there were dribbles of Reggae later on in the decade (Sid Owen’s Good Thing a particular highlight) but nothing with the ridiculous frequency of the years 92-96. It seems fitting that we see out the genre with another chart-topper then.

220px-Mysteriousgirl

I say a chart topper, but it only got to number two in 1996 upon its first release. June 1996 saw a battle between lad anthem Three Lions riding on the back of England’s strong Euro 96 performance, and the Fugees Killing Me Softly, for me the better pop single. While they fought out a 2-2 draw of number ones throughout June, poor old Mysterious Girl watched on in third place, selling CDs by the wheelbarrow but unable to join in. Finally, after Peter Andre’s success in “I’m a celebrity get me out of here”, a campaign led by Chris Moyles on his radio one Breakfast Show (ugh) enabled the song to take the number one it (probably deserved). As a sidenote, Mysterious girl has now sold a million copies, making it one of only 149  songs to do so in British history and making it far and away the biggest selling single on the Neggae Hot 90.
The song itself is absolutely Neggae by numbers, all echoey drum fills and gentle Hammond stabs and fills. Interestingly on listening closer to it that I EVER DID before I notice some real horn refrains towards the end of the song which are actually quite pleasant. Peter Andre’s vocal delivery is standard faux-Jacko (he always wanted to be him) ; so this is the closest we’ll ever get to hearing Jackon Reggae. Or Jeggae. Actually there are tons of reggae remixes of Jackson’s work all over youtube of varying quality – and this frankly bizarre workout by the Jackson 5 to Marley’s I shot the Sherriff, where the Brothers manage to strip out all the Sufferah sentiment of the oridge and turn it into a Vegas showtune:

On the subject of authenticity, Team Andre pulled off a canny transfer in loaning Bubbla Ranx to deliver some much-needed chat. He does a great job; the lyrics are PG enough for the Mumsnet brigade but delivered inna pretty decent Dancehall stylee. I particularly like the fact that he has harmonized his flow with a counter-melody throughout; so clearly some time has been spent producing this.
At 22, Peter Andre was still a mere slip of a lad – the whole ‘Katie Pwice goes to Amewica!’ hell was thankfully a universe away. And you can sense that in his performance. His appearance too, is sprightly yet gauche. He’s more ripped than Jodie Marsh, but he’s wearing Superdrug hairgel in his curtains and his jeans look like they’re from BlackBushe market. All of which adds to the cottage industry charm of the single; it was released on independent Australian and British record labels. I love the fact the video was shot in Thailand rather than Jamaica, presumably due to financial constraints. Imagine if the Backstreet Boys did a reggae number; you’d have Wyclef featuring, hi-gloss MTV video shot in Montego Bay, Big black booties every 6 seconds. Actually that sounds really good…
I don’t much care for the song as for me it lacks the invention we’ve seen by more credible artists on this blog. I do however care for the time and effort I reckon was spent on it, and for the love the UK public had (and still have for it) for it. It still puts a smile on people’s faces and that can only be a good thing.
Score: There’s no way this is getting anywhere near the likes of CDAP and Shaggy et al so 8/10 for me.

James BC
This is big. Whatever you think of it, Mysterious Girl is one of the colossal tracks of the neggae era – one of the highest chart placings, and enduring enough for me to get groans of recognition rather than bemusement when I played it on acoustic guitar at a wedding last year. Whatever you think of it, you can’t deny its place in the neggae story.
But what do I think of it? Well, I don’t know what the other elders are going to say but I think it’s ace. There’s so much to like, from the old-fashioned drumroll at the beginning to the playful keyboards over the outro and everything in between. There’s nothing tough about the arrangement – when you’re backing up Peter Andre, you have to keep it souffle-light – but it’s hugely enjoyable and gives neggae the pure pop crossover that had been lacking. Over the course of the hot 90 we’ve seen neggae mixed with jazz, RnB, hip hop, mod and more, but there hasn’t yet been a convincing attempt at unashamed, uncomplicated pop (sorry Mr Alford). Mysterious Girl puts that emphatically right.
Peter’s vocals, while perhaps not objectively the strongest, are ideal for the song. He carries the tune well and the very chivalrous lyrics mean his attempt at an MJ-like high pitched innocence goes down a lot better than it did on, say, Flava. There’s quite an old-fashioned feel here: talk of tropical smells, sunsets and other traditional wooing and the only physical feature mentioned is her eyes. Also, as attracted as Peter is to his lady, the question of consent is high on the agenda – “move your body close to mine”, so that the choice is hers to make, and “I wanna do to you all the things you want me to” so no unwanted boundary pushing. That’s the way to do it, fellas.
What’s often underplayed is the contribution made by the enigmatic Bubbla Ranx, who I never heard anything else about before or since. It’s surprising, since his verse, and especially his little bits in the intro and before the chorus, are up there with the best rapping in neggae for my money. He nails the gruff-yet-playful tone found in the best of the genre and his lyrics are quite artfully written, continuing the 14th century courtly love vibe by appealing to all five senses in turn – so why did we never get the chance to enjoy any more of his talent?
My theory is that Bubbla Ranx was a pseudonym used by some respected dancehall performer who didn’t want it widely known that he’d been hanging around with Peter Andre. Notice that in the video he’s wearing shades the whole way through and has grown a beard, shame they made him take off the trenchcoat.
Speaking of the video, it’s an encapsulation of everything learnt in three years of neggae video making. Filmed on the lost island of Neglantis, it has all the ingredients you want – sun, sea, formation dancing, townsfolk delighted to be caught on camera, the possibly dodgy girl-in-the-waterfall bits balanced out by gratuitous ab shots all the way through and not just from Peter – Bubbla and the unnamed extra guy bring a strong stomach and nipple game as well. Peter standing in the sea in his jeans. Peter bogling in slow motion. Bubbla dancing with a baby. Beautiful sunset photography. Peter’s curtains. Bubbla’s sarong.
Despite all that, I get the idea that some people might say Mysterious Girl isn’t any good. Possibly because of the stomach thing, I don’t know. Personally I have no objection and if the material is there, singers can do as many situps as they like in their free time – it’s no concern of mine. For me, Mysterious Girl is a great end to the story, a moment of carefree fun to play over the end credits like Build Me Up Buttercup in There’s Something About Mary. Enjoy it.
Score: 9 out of 10

Gouldy

It’s the penultimate review but for me this should have been the last as it sounds the death knell for this golden period. There has been many a cash in throughout the Hot 90 but thanks to oiled up antipodean spunk junkie Peter Andre this is when Neggae truly jumped the shark. Mushroom Records were clearly not content with supplying all the music for ‘Home and Away’ and ‘Neighbours’ (Who can ever forget that classic episode when Ratcat were playing in ‘the city’?) they spotted an a gap in the market and decided to hit the world with some Koala flavoured Neggae, Bonzer!
The production is standard bubblegum Neggae by numbers pap, nothing offensive just very uninspiring. Vocally I’m not really digging Pete’s at RnB style vocals but to give him credit he made the canny move of roping in Bubbler Ranx to add some authenticity to proceedings. Bubbler’s bars are the best thing on this track by a mile; unfortunately for him his involvement in this project killed his career as he was shunned by the rest of the neggae community. He now lives the life of a Hermit in a cave just outside of Kingston with only a Parrot for company, like a Neggae Obi Wan Kenobi.  The lyrics to the song outline Andre’s obsession with said mysterious girl and are straying into Barry George territory, more ‘Wolf Creek’ than ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ in the romance stakes.
The first thing that becomes clear from the video is that the ‘Mysterious Girl’ is an ace peanut smuggler. The second thing that strikes you is that this ain’t Jamaica they’re filming in as everyone bar Peter, Bubbler and their mate is of South East Asian origin. The cheapskates couldn’t even be bothered to pretend it was filmed in the homeland of Neggae, it’s clearly a Thai fishing village. The video’s premise is Peter poncing about in some of the worst denim Joe Bloggs committed to production, more often than not sans shirt and shaking his oiled up pecs to the insipid beat. I’m not sure if he was taking his swimming test whilst out there as he’s wearing jeans in the sea an awful lot, I assume he rescued the rubber brick successfully and is joyously celebrating gaining a new badge for his Speedos. There’s a lot of hip thrusting going on below water which gives the impression he’s getting noshed by a barracuda for half of it.
This was basically the end of Neggae for me, with a heavy heart I packed up the ‘toking’ t-shirts and combat trousers and pulled on a pub shirt and trainers to follow the masses into the cult of Britpop. Upon further research I discovered the song was re-released when Pete gained a new found fame for chewing on rancid animal genitalia, but that’s enough about his marriage to Jordan as he also had to do some pretty disgusting things on ‘I’m a celebrity’.
Score: RIP Neggae – 3/10

NEGGAE SCORE: 7.5

Pato Banton & The Reggae Revolution – Groovin

Release Date: Jul 96
Chart Position: 14

James BC
With a few days of this summer left at best, it’s about time we got to Groovin’ – Neggae’s answer to Summertime by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Pato‘s followed Will Smith’s instructions to the letter and given us a soft summer mix, and since it ain’t broke he won’t try to fix it.
All the PB vocal trademarks that we love him for are here to enjoy: putting his own name in where it doesn’t really rhyme, repeating the same word to fill space in the bar, random bits of nursery rhyming, overconfident instructions to “watch this!” followed by long silences. I especially enjoyed the rambling digression about how he doesn’t like the winter weather, nicely dramatised in the video too. Of all the performers who found themselves in the right place at the right time, the neggae explosion was particularly good to Pato.
As ever, Mr P. A. T. O. Banton’s great strength is the people he has around him. The lazy harmonica and retro record scratches are perfect for this tune and his singer has a great reggae/soul voice. His video director has done him proud too – as well as the fake snow freezin’-me-bits-off bit there is some laugh out loud comedy where a member of the Fun Police tries to stop Pato and friends enjoying the summer. I would have liked to see the casting advert for that role – WANTED: Man who looks even less cool than Pato Banton. But they found him and it’s much to all our benefit.
pato_banton___the_reggae_revolution-groovin
My only complaint is that, as the proud owner of 100% Reggae vol. 3, I’m aware of a very similar song by someone called Tyson, miraculously on Youtube here that I would say is even better. It’s exactly the same idea – are they both covers of some earlier song I haven’t heard? – but with a Soul II Soul beat, lusher production and arguably better rapping. There’s a bit that goes “Live your life a lover!” so it’s pretty much a can’t miss. None of that is Pato‘s fault, though, so I’m not knocking any points off – it would be like criticising Michelangelo for not being as good as Leonardo Da Vinci.
Score: 8 out of 10 – never change, Pato.

Jonny
Well it’s been quite the week of enlightenment:

  • Sky TV and Direct Line are ripping me off, badly, and if they do it for much longer I might make a half hearted attempt to do something about it. You have been warned!
  • Singing the theme tune to Escape to Victory in my head whilst playing does not make me better at football.
  • This version of Groovin was delivered by Pato Banton. I didn’t know who did it, I remember the song but for some reason thought it was someone else’s piece of averageness.

It’s OK, but that’s about it, it’s no car crash but it’s no ‘This Cowboy Song’ either. I’ve certainly got zero time for the Benny Hill’esque performances from the likes of the Park Keeper. I had thought Pato was above that kind of thing, but then I had a quick flick through some of his other stuff and remembered the whole ‘Bubbling Hot’ production. When I reflect on it Pato has delivered some of the finer moments of this list, but he has also contributed significantly to the devaluing of the whole movement.
Score: 5/10 from me.
P.S. I have a full on neggae chubby as we enter the penultimate week.

Gouldy
Only two more songs after this one to complete this epic journey throughout the period forever known as Neggae. The journey has gone on so long I’m starting to feel like Ulysses and if Homer were alive today I’m pretty sure he’d pen a poem about it.

Ulysses: looks a bit like my Dad

Ulysses: looks a bit like my Dad

This week we’ve the final offering from the Emerald Isle’s favourite Neggaeist, Pat O’Banton (I realise this is a terrible joke I’ve used in every review he’s been involved in but its taken on a heroic quality in my mind) with ‘Groovin’. He’s sampled the song of the same name by the Young Rascals which was a favourite on the chopper after we’d returned from a firefight with the Vietcong. Ok if you subsitute ‘Groovin’ for ‘Striaght out of Compton’, chopper for Storton’s car and Vietcong fro Badshot Lea that’s a more accurate picture but it was my own personal ‘Nam, I saw things man.
I think the vibe Pato was going for was a Neggae ‘Summertime’ but in my humble opinion he’s not scaled the dizzy heights of his ambition. The song starts with the sample and the now standard Neggae beat which should now be a default setting on Casio keyboards as its far more relevant than rumba or bossa nova. That’s pretty much as far as the production goes, the only good thing is the sample the rest is Neggae by numbers, lazy Pato.
Pato’s singing is ok, he’s got a mate chipping in who’s ok as well but if Chaka Demus and Pliers are the neggae equivalent of Champagne then these two are Blue Nun. Lyrically it’s Pato going on about the summer being better than the winter, a truly original observation and also quite subjective, it may well be in World Cup and Euro years but what about the other two?
The video is set in a park with Pato and his cronies setting up an illegal rave in a park bandstand and follows the attempts of the comedic park keeper to bring an end to this. Whoever did the casting for this really missed a trick as the prak keeper role is tailor made for Blakey or at a push Dynamo Doug Digby, instead they just got some no-mark in and the video  is none the better for it. We go on as the video’s narrative follows the hilarious mishaps these boys get into, summing up it’s a four minute Benny Hill sketch with no scantily clad ladies of the eighties, great. Overall this sums up Pato’s career, the ingredients sound good but there’s something missing and it ultimately fails. The song is also symptomatic of the decline of Neggae as, like the Beatles after they got back from India and got into all that wacky baccy and funny business, the good songs are few and far between.
Score 3/10 – Mehggae

Vince
The last effort from Pato Banton then, and it’s another typically positive yet slightly gauche offering that we’ve come to expect off this Cbeebies presenter of a pop star. Ploughing the same fields as Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s summertime – its another example of UK Neggae coming off a bit Lidl in comparison. Jazzy Jeff is (still) one of the greatest DJ’s the world has ever seen (I was in this crowd at this year’s Southport – he killed it.) In his hands, the relatively unknown Kool and the Gang Summer Madness instrumental coupled with killer beats and a clever new chorus became a worldwide smash.
With Groovin’ – Pato, the Reggae Revolution (I assume the chaps doing all the singing) and local producers the Beatmasters attempt the same magic with an old Young Rascals sample – but it just lacks that bit of magic. The beats are a bit more formulaic, there’s less invention on the chorus. The sample is a bit more obvious. Everything is a bit more average – which was ultimately reflected in the respectable but not earth-shattering chart placement.
Still there’s a couple of humourous lines in it, notably the passage regarding Pato’s dislike for the winter months. And the Reggae Revolution boys chip in their vocals with gusto. The video too is a lot of fun, Pato and the lands creating a pop-up carnival in the sleepy old Stratford-Upon-Avon Park. Here it is with some local types:

Lots of white people.

Lots of white people.

The Parky character seems all rather het up that Pato and his boys have taken up residence in an area traditionally used for trad jazz meets. But in true carnival style and after a few lugs on Pato’s baton he’s skanking with the rest of ’em. He even laughs when they drive their cadillac into the River Avon! By the end of the video they are all bezzies; to the point where he later joined them for a secret Wild Bunch shebeen at cooler than cool Bristol nightspot the Dugout.
shebeen

Such is the power of Neggae my friends.
Score: Middle of the river five out of ten from me.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.25