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

Apache Indian & Frankie Paul – Ragamuffin Girl

Release Date: Apr 93
Chart Position: 31

Vince
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.

Norm
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.
mmm

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!
Apache+Indian+-+Raggamuffin+Girl+-+5-+CD+SINGLE-277662

Gouldy
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.

Jonny
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…

Unknown
…Sorry…
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
NEGGAE SCORE: 6.0

Apache Indian – Nuff Vibes E.P (Boom Shak A Lak)

Release Date: Aug 93
Chart Position: 5

Vince
Apache Indian was firing on all cylinders by this point, with an EltonJohnesque 4 singles released in 9 months. And to top it off, with this effort he released a 4 track EP! We will not see him for another two Neggae years on this blog; he literally neggaed himself out, the poor sod. In this post, we are going to concentrate on the money track on the Nuff Vibes EP, the one you saw for weeks on end on The Chart Show – Boom-shak-a-lak.
Apache had put the hours in for the Neggae cause so was due a payday. Up until Boom-Shak-a-lak, his music was a fine blend of I and I and Mumbai, with traditional Indian instruments being complimented with Western black beats. As I’ve said before in this blog, this was ahead of it’s time and the likes of Punjabi MCTimbaland and DJ Quik clearly owe Steve Kapur some props. His lyrics were rich with knowledge and humour, and his loyal fanbase ensured he charted but never troubled the top ten. That changed with Boom-shak-a-lak, and I imagine it shifted enough units to clear not only his mortgage, but his Mum and Dad’s too. And good for him.
By and large, Boom-shak-a-lak is a replica of Oh Carolina. Same boing noise, same backing vox, same piano chords. EXACTLY the same drum roll. It’s doesn’t cleverly sample an old bluebeat record, rather just riffs around on the standard 12-bar blues. This probably saved Apache a few quid in royalty payouts, and bearing in mind the song has since been used in over 70 adverts will have hopefully repaid him handsomely.
I wish a bit more care was taken over some of the production. I can’t stand the flangey keyboard horn effect he’s used AGAIN instead of a real horn section. Even sampled horns would have sounded better. And the guitar solo is unnecessary; as far as I can see all it does is make the song four minutes long rather than three. The song would also be improved by a middle eight of some sort; the whole Carolina come bubble ‘pon me’ is the pop magic that has Shaggy sitting at number 2 in the Neggae Hot 90.
But there are some great moment here too. The bassline and beats huge – when you hear this in a club you know about it. Apache Indian’s dancehall growl is great; no modal Indian vocalisms on this track – we are firmly at the reggae end of the Banghramuffin Sliding Scale. And finally, “boom-shak-a-lak” – what a catchphrase! Sounds Jamaicanish… Quite similar too Booyakasha as pedalled by Ali G years later. If Apache came up with that himself I’m impressed, as are Nando’s – the turn of phrase is currently advertised all over the windows of the Woking branch.
Score: 
a payday 7 – now go and have a lie down Steven.

Norm
So, Apache Indian shows up again on the Neggae Hot 90 with an absolute diamond. It appears that our Banghramuffin boy from Birmingham has been influenced by Shaggy on this one; deep, gravelly voice with a slightly slower tempo compared to Apache’s usual velocity.
The video may leave a little to be desired and in any another circumstance may detract from the scoring, but I have “bought in” to Apache Indian from the get go and fully appreciate his diverse and fresh approach. The cheese factor is acceptable and doesn’t go over the top. I do struggle to correlate the theme of video to the lyrics but the song is powerful enough for me to rate highly.
I enjoyed this from start to finish. Plenty of head bobbing material here, a must at a BBQ, have a lilt, better yet crack open a Cobra, wind ya body and enjoy Apache step up and nail it.
Score: 
Chalk me up for a solid 8/10.

Gouldy
You can’t deny Apache Indian’s contribution to the British Neggae scene, I believe this is his 4th entry in the Neggae top 90, which makes him the most regular Brit in the Hot 90 narrowly beating Maxi Priest, proving that in the court of Neggae justice will be served. The intro brings it in nicely and sets the tone for the song, nothing too serious, something to stick on about an hour after you’ve eaten at the BBQ as bogling on a full stomach is even more dangerous than swimming.
The beat comes in, then, what’s that I hear? Yes, it’s sampling ‘Oh Carolina’, firmly cementing the Shaggy classic as the source for neggae, much like ‘Apache’ with Hip Hop. Overall the production is decent, not very Neggae or Indian it must be said, in fact it sound s a bit like something Fatboy Slim or Bentley Rhythm Ace might have churned out. Lyrics are standard Apache fair, a bit cheeky but nothing like some of our previous entries which are verging on lyrical rape.
Apache-Indian-Nuff-Vibes-EP-277659
The video starts off with clips of Apatch in India, where frankly he seems to be held in papal like reverence, why the f*ck he came back to England I don’t know, the man was a living god. The stadium scenes are akin to Ben Richards coming back to finish off Killian in ‘The Running Man’. It then cuts back to Apatch in some kind of warehouse recreating a very low budget musical with a chorus of dancing girls behind him. I’m not sure what Apatch is wearing in this video, it looks like he went into a spending frenzy at the Orange Juice rail in Cheapjacks. Overall this tune is alright, not earth shattering but not one you’d skip past either.
Score: 7/10

Jonny
Boom-Shak-A-Lack!
Another one of those magical moments on this crazy journey and by far and away Apache’s best effort and a million miles from the Chok There car crash. The charts don’t lie.. well not often… OK quite often… but not in this case. Very unlucky to only get to No 5 and not take top spot but it did have Take That in their prime, Freddie Mercury, and Jazzy Jeff to contend with. All in all there was some pretty good stuff around in Aug 93!
The song is simply genius. A great 20sec intro tied up with a ‘BOING’ as we drop right into it and it all goes off left, right and centre. The Bhangra (of which I have never been a massive fan of preferring the reggae end of the Bhangramuffin spectrum) is mental as Apache roars us through it by growling unfathomable lyrics to an electrifying bass line. The melody actually goes nowhere, but we don’t want or need it to, it can stay in the same beautiful place all day without getting in the slightest bit boring and the guitar riff at around 2mins 15secs just adds even more class to this dancehall masterpiece.
The video is all over the place, but so is the song. Moving swiftly between studio Booty action to library footage of Apache being cool to basic large Boom-Shak-A-Lack font being plastered up at the chorus. Not too much imagination, but we’ll forgive him due the strength of the track.
Boom-Shak-A-Lack was on both the Clueless and Dumb and Dumber soundtracks – need I say more?
Score: Boom-Shak-a-9/10 from me.

Jamie
I seem to remember liking this record a lot when it came out first time around. I would have been 11 years old and it was a tough time for my family. We were bouncing around a lot being semi homeless and I think at this particular point in time I would have been living somewhere on the borders of Maybury. Either in a half way house or as a lodger with some oddballs that my parents new from The Woking Workingmen’s club.
Maybury is the home of the Sha Jahan, Britain’s first Mosque and therefore the centre of Woking’s large Asian Community. I seem to remember playing a lot of Bread Crate Cricket this Summer and this song was very popular with a lot of the in field. It is slightly unnerving as a batsman, when a fielder is “winding his body” and “wriggling his belly” in the slips when your waiting for a fast ball. Not too dissimilar to the psyche outs in Baseketball.
Listening to the song now however I’m not sure I have the same level of admiration for it. We’ve done a number of Apache Indian reviews and with this one I definitely feel he’s on a rather sharp decline. The song basically takes the formula of Shaggy’s Oh Carolina and tries to replicate, all be it with an increased tempo.

  • The off beat Guitar riff is the same.
  • The drum roll is practically the same.
  • The haunting backing vocals are ripped off.

Then rather than just make Oh Carolina *2 , Team Apache thought they’d be ironic and whack in a cartoon “boing” sound effect. This replaces the boxing bell you hear in Oh Carolina but to much less musical and more of a comical effect.
To top it all, when the song runs out of steam and direction around the 2 minute mark, somebody decides to chuck in a crazy electric guitar solo.  What the hell has that got to do with Apache Indian or the Patois/Bangra crossover Culture he represents?
Clearly stuck for ideas himself Apache then decides to join in the whacky, madcap frivolity. What the hey? Surfs up Dude! He gets out a really small air Banjo and starts having a good old strum. Not sure if he actually has to look down to concentrate on his nonsensical finger plucking or he’s just getting carried away with the moment. The gurn he’s pulling kind of suggests that he’s actually loving it.  I’m sure he’d look back now clutching his face with both hands in disbelief.
From this point on you’ve got the standard English Girl, Indian Girl, American Girl A.N.Other girls ranting. This could go on and on, luckily they get bored themselves and knock it on the head after 3 and a half minutes.
Score: All a bit too fraudulent for my liking. Not his best work . 4 out of 10.

NEGGAE SCORE: 7

Apache Indian – Chok There

Release Date: Mar 93
Chart Position: 30

Vince
By 1993, Apache Indian was clearly the hardest working man in Neggae. A one- Bhangramuffin hit machine, he was churning out 90s reggae-dance platters at a rate of one every three months. Quite simply, he made 64 era Beatles look like Stereo MCs.
Chok There is at the Bhangra end of Bhangragga. On the Bhangragga sliding scale, here is where I would put it:

His vocal delivery is irie, and the bassline skanks well enough, but the rest of the song’s production has a distinctly Indian feel. The strings, chanting, tabla and strings all push this song firmly towards the Indian end. Being predisposed to reggae, I prefer his tunes with more of a JA feel (particularly the bluebeat influenced Boom-Shak-a-lak which we’ll hear more of later).
That said, I like the descending minor chords throughout (not dissimilar to I’m a Man) ,and the buildups/breakdowns are well orchestrated. The “Number one inna de Bombay chart”  refrain is very catchy (and I think an influence on another UK Asian rapper a few years later). The video is ace too. Driving a New York taxi round Southall, kids flyposting (a la Blues Brothers) and correct me if ‘m wrong but wasn’t that Don Letts towards the end?
Score: 5/10

Norm
Spiced up Apache Indian doing what he does best. For me this is his signature song and will forever always go hand in hand when you think of neggae and curried rap.
He’s fearless and intense in his delivery, a pioneer of his brand new stylie, that in my opinion is quite refreshing. The video is heavy on the Asian content which is to be expected. However, since we have a good understanding of Apache Indian and his bhangramuffin style it should be acknowledged that this “is what it is” and embrace it; a catchy tune, good beats and an Apache spreading the word that you don’t have to be from the islands to produce solid neggae!

I think we can all agree from Arranged Marriage that Apache has a pretty good sense of humour and it translates accordingly. I’m pretty sure this was another Woolworths of West Byfleet purchase, probably when Nick Birmingham was on pick and mix duty. It didn’t reach the dizzy heights that it may have deserved, a lackluster 30 should have cracked the top 10 as far as I’m concerned.
Score: Chok me up for a Vindaloo curry, me two papadoms and a cheeky 7/10
(Oh, if we are giving out marks for hair, his clean and crisp ‘do is up there. 8.5/10 for hair and intricate patterns.)

Jamie
Apache Indian is somewhat of an Enigma isn’t he?
Born of Indian parents and raised in the ethnic melting pot that was the 80’s West Midlands, he would grow to almost single handedly create his own genre. Bhangra Muffin. After two forays’ into the UK charts with the superb “Arranged marriage” and the Maxi Priest collaboration “Fe Real” this ditty is some somewhat of a “steady eddie” track.
Musically it’s a chugger. Off beat is very Bhangra . Nice Tabla’s, nice Sitars, deep heavy bass line. It’s well constructed. It even progresses well with a slight crescendo and key change in the final third. Lyrically however, by his own standards this seems lazy. This has more of a self lauded US Hip Hop style to it and I feel that that was the purpose of this track. To make waves across the pond.
Its standard fare for Apache Indian. “Number 1 in the Bombay Charts” is his opening gambit and beyond that the song doesn’t really have as much of a story to it, not as much depth lyrically as “Fe Real” or “Arranged marriage”. In fact I cant help but feel there isn’t a great deal of realism about it.
Take the video for example. It shows Apache cruising around in a New York Yellow Cab with a couple of kids flyering guerrilla style around the streets. At first you could be forgiven for thinking this was shot in Staten Island, or East Village, but then on closer inspection…. is that a BT Phone box? Hang on, that cars got an English Number plate… what’s going on?
It feels as though it’s shot in black and white to create not only a contrast with the vibrant club scenes (which works), but also to hide the fact that this is low budget UK pop video from Island Records. The cheeky poster stating Apache Indian , Live and Direct from 1 Ragga Street Birmingham seems to pay homage to roots, but that’s as far as it goes. The rest of this exercise is an attempt to make Apache more accessible to the American Mainstream market. The final scene only drives this point home further. Apache Leaving the Tardis club ( probably a terraced house in Solihull), spotlights going crazy, being mobbed by adoring brothers and ushered into his yellow cab before he gets Jacked yo! It doesn’t quite add up, kind of kills it a bit for me.
It would appear however that the track and video did serve their purpose. The Indian would go on to tour with an array of UK and US artists alike. Boys II Men., Jazzy B, Teddy Riley, Pras, General Levy, Sly and Robbie, would stand in line in the years that followed.
Fair play to the Apache, but in the larger scheme of Neggae and by his own standards, not one to remember.
Score: Its a 5 from me.

Gouldy
The intro is promising, but after ten seconds it’s reached its apex and goes into rapid decline. After the nicely blended ‘Arranged Marriage’ this comes smashing into you with subtlety of a Benjamin Massing tackle, with the same results – red card Apache, you’re off son. I’m making an assumption that by this point he’s had a bit of money chucked at him and has gone a bit like Richard Madeley in the wine aisle, grabbing everything he can and chucking it in the basket, whether there was room for it or not. The whole thing’s unispiringly average, from production to lyrics, particularly his Peter Sellers tribute half way through the song.
The video seems to have him driving around Southall in a New York Taxi cab whilst dressed as Rambo, then suddenly it switches from Black and White to colour and we find purselves in the Dance Energy Studio crossed with a seventies Indian restaurant. Unfortunately they didn’t feel the need to get Normski involved which may well have saved this.
Score: 4/10 – A big nah mon from me.

Jonny
On the whole I like AP, however I do not feel this was his finest hour. Its too far down the Bhangra end of the spectrum for my liking and although I appreciate a market for it, its not for me. As it starts and the bass line ramps up it fools you into thinking it has got promise, but it soon lets you down and settles into a repetitive pattern that becomes boring very quickly.  The song does not develop at all and if anything gets worse. I can see how it was a dance floor filler but I wouldn’t waste any of my signature shapes on it. At best to would get a comical side to side head wobble.
 As for the video; that club can’t be in that house, it’s too small. Why is he knocking round London in New York cab? The flyers the kids hand out to the local chicks in the street reminds me of the ones you find at the Tasty Jerk Chicken Hut outside Selhurst Park as I imagine they are of similar content.  Loads of Booty, loads of Champagne, loads of white trainers, base ball caps with the tags still on, all of that, the full works. Despite it being a little nonsensical it does not bother me and is actually a little light relief from the repetitive seemingly never ending song in the background.
 Score: 3/10– next time I’ll have a take away

NEGGAE SCORE: 4.8

Apache Indian – Arranged Marriage

Release Date: Jan 93
Chart Position: 16

Gouldy
For me this is the ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ of Neggae, it’s the moment when the genre first realised it’s full potential and fuelled the Lilt powered juggernaut of Neggae as it hurtled towards the legendary Summer of Dread. Although Apache Indian made a decent stab at it previously with ‘Fe Real’ comparing the two is like comparing the Beatles and Kula Shaker. This is the first record on this list that doesn’t sound like it’s been produced on a BBC micro by Hugh Grant’s brother in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.

Starts off with some traditional Indian drumming as Apache explains his dilemma then seamlessly introduces a bouncing bassline, backing vocals are nice about half way through, a few cheesy effects like unnecessary scratching, but it was 1993 so I can forgive it. Apache’s lyrics are entertaining enough as he bemoans the predicament he’s been put in by his parents when all he want is GALS. Personally I think he’s underplayed the seriousness of the issue with his playful approach to the subject matter, however as Pat O’Banton once told me ‘Neggae’s all about the craic, not politics, to be sure’.  All in all a solid effort and frankly a relief after the Negliggae of the previous weeks.
Score: 8/10 – Best served with a pint of Red Stripe and Onion Bhaji on the side.

Vince
Ingredients:
2 tbsp light Social commentary
Bunch of tumbi riffs
2 tsp reggae keys
500g heavy bassline
Drizzle of flute
Handful Chopped tabla beats
1 x sweet female indian vocal
Sprinkling of chants

Just like our kid’s lamb curry recipe (the one with HP brown sauce), there is too much going on here. I can’t fault Apache Indian’s ambition, but he’s at his best when he keeps it simple (as we will see later on with Boom Shak-a-lak).
The tumbi riff is great, and clearly influenced Punjabi MC’s Mundian to Bach Ke a few years later. Elsewhere though the lightweight production lets the song down (real flute should have been used rather than a synthesizer).
His lyrics are typically witty; “after the roti, bring me the sensi” made me chuckle. However, I really do not like his ChaCha style accent (“TDO MAKE ME ROTDI!”), it’s borderline Goodness Gracious Me (and I don’t mean the sketch show.)
Score: an overegged 5/10

Norm
I could go either way on this one. I don’t see a remarkable difference from song to song with AP. Solid effort and good rhythm throughout. The live studio version is much better. AP is a different cat and pretty diverse. He’s an Indian from Birmingham that loves reggae. Mix it all up and what do you get? Bangramuffin: “A musical hybrid of Indian bangra music and dancehall reggae” per Jian Ghomeshi, host of the Q in Toronto.
I’ve always associated “cheese” with AP and I think this fits the bill. As long as you don’t concentrate and listen too hard to the lyrics, it works. So, if we use the bbq music standard that has been created, I can comfortably slot this into a nice mid range neggae effort, not great but certainly not slow and sexy bad.
Not much to write home about the video, standard Indian fare here, dancers in typical dress, AP doing his Bangramuffin stylie well. Some awkward moments in the video when it seems like AP doesn’t quite know what to do with his hands. Apart from that, no major complaints from an artist that has a slightly different take on life and isn’t worried about putting it out there.
Score: a steady 7/10

Jamie:
Respect where it’s due. Apache Indian was a pioneer of his time and a master of his craft.
I cannot think of many artists pre 1993 who decided to take reggae, push it in the direction of Bangra and use Punjabi influence to such good effect. This is a very well produced piece of musical artistry.
The tabla, sitar and Indian flutes are incredibly well balanced. The heavy break is sensational, It gives the whole track depth and the bassline and melody give a distinct reggae flavor. On top of this, you have Apache Indian fusing Punjabi and Patwa to commentate on a huge part of Punjabi culture, the arranged marriage.
This is a breakthrough track from someone who wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. Discussing the standard rules of the arranged marriage as well as his own take on how he see’s it and what he expects from his wife to be:  “I don’t mind what you do as long as you respect me, and after you’ve cooked my roti bring me my sensi!” Not sure what the elders would have made of this. Not sure if Apache Indian would have cared either way.
A great track which I’m sure will influence British Asian artists for years to come.
Score: Serva Curee, bring him Sensi, Respect Apache, 7 from me!

Jonny
Yes! We are getting there and it’s starting to feel like Neggae! When you bare in mind this was still relatively fresh in the commercial Reggae movement it was bold move to start incorporating the punjabi influence, however it works well and I am sure all who followed in his footsteps remain grateful as it carved the way for future artists.
As we all know the inclusion of the sitar was not completely new as their influence in mainstream pop goes back to the 60’s when the Yardbirds recorded Heart Full Of Soul, however its welcome return compliments the bassline nicely. The lyrics are sweet and delivered by AP as we know only he can! You can make out most of what he is saying, but that does not dilute the ‘Neggaeness’ of it in the slightest. Further to that the backing vocalists breaking up the tune delicately is just as pleasing.
All in all a good track that would definitely get a play at my BBQ! But it is what this started that I think we need to recognise the most – if it were not  for this track I don’t think we would be writing this blog. I sense we are now on the brink of something big and people are just starting to stand up and take notice of what it was about.
Score: a solid 7.5/10 – is that Carolina I hear calling?

NEGGAE SCORE:  6.9

Apache Indian Feat. Maxi Priest – Fe Real


Release Date: Nov 92
Chart Position: 33

Vince
This is so close to being a carnival anthem, just a shame (like Iron Lion Zion) that from the get-go the song is ruined one by poor production choice. The bontempi keyboard facsimile of a horn section completely cattles the groove. When it’s not there on the verses the groove is tight; the sliding breakbeat will always curry favour with me, as do the fleshy Hammond chords.

Both Maxi Priest and Apache Indian are great vocally, and surely only the John Terrys of the world wouldn’t enjoy the sense of multicultural unity the song creates. Maxi’s cod-punjabi crooning towards the end (“Curiar look so nice in o them sari”) is I think a great British pop moment. The song is like Ebony and Ivory’s cooler, less showbizzy younger brother. Can’t help but think about that horrible clip when Darcus Howe was started on by Asian yout’ on a channel4 documentary. The complete opposite of what this song is appealing for. Very sad.
I honestly think this is crying out for a Nextmen remix (I hear similarities in this recorded 15 years later). Fe Real could easily be this good!
Score: 7/10

Gouldy
I see this as the first original neggae tune, although Iron, Lion, Zion charted first it was an old song remixed, this was a true mould breaker. I love some of the production on this, the bassline and beat sound like they’ve been nicked off Teddy Riley and having the tabla in the background is nice touch. Apache Indian is fairly pony as MCs go but he gives it a go and doesn’t offend whilst Maxi Priest’s vocals are as sweet as ever.
Not one for the purists, but that’s the whole point, this is just a feel good summer pop song which has been influenced by other genres which were popular at the time. I can’t find the video and the mists of time have clouded my memory of it but if I were making one now it would include a multi cultural street party, children dancing and some kind of water fight, like a Benetton advert with added Vimto. One to stick on at your Gran’s barbeque.
Score: 7/10

Norm
Now, we’re on to something here. This song is FE REAL. I like it, for me this is where it begins and is the epitome of chilled out summer music. For me it is essential to have a fast paced rap intro that you can’t really understand until the last couple of words then transitioning into chilled vocals. This qualifies.
Apache Indian has a unique voice and for some reason I like the cheesy rap with Maxi’s vocals. The song has a good blend and it doesn’t take too much effort to listen to it.
Thumbs up for me.
Score: 7.5/10

Jonny
I simply don’t get how this only got to number 33 in the charts, especially given how early it was during the neggae movement. It was new, it was fresh, it was the future (for the next four years anyway) and has everything that makes neggae great. Simply a brilliant summer tune that is dead easy to listen to – both must have’s when it comes to basic Neggae requirements.
I am trying to find weaknesses, but keep on thinking of more positives….the horn style intro, the chorus line, Maxi’s vocals…..I like it all even the Apache Indian MC’ing (which typically I struggle to warm to). This was the catalyst and although I feel there were better tunes in the years to come this paved the way for neggea artists to follow in.
A must have for the record collection!
Score: 8/10 (purely as I know that there are bigger tunes coming)

Jamie
Is it reggae ? Is it Neggae? Remove the bass line and this sounds like the demo track on the keyboard I got for my 10th Birthday. As much as I enjoy listening to Maxi Priest I don’t think that is one of his finer moments. The “Bontempi” horn section sounds a bit like a karaoke backing track. It does give this one a “music by numbers” feel.
In later years other Afro-Asian Neggae acts would follow in the footsteps of this single. As much as I would like to rank this up with China Black’s Searching (guilty pleasure) , I cant seem to help but draw comparisons to the UK’s 1995 Eurovision song contest entry from Love City Groove.
Although there were some bad decisions made in the production process, there are a few nice touches. The subtle tabla gives it Indian character. The break is solid and the bass line carries it home. Apache Indian is Apache Indian and Maxi Priest gives a complementary variation on vocal styles.
A for Ambition yet D for delivery on this one for me.
Score: An indifferent 5/10

NEGGAE SCORE: 6.9