Bitty Mclean – We’ve Only Just Begun

Release Date: June 95
Chart Position: 23

James BC
Here’s the 28th Bitty McLean song of the neggae story and it’s yet another cover, once again pillaged from your mum, dad or gran’s easy listening box. Not a promising prospect, and one that I was fully expecting to be irked by, but then Bitty’s sweet, sweet voice came in and all was forgiven. If I’m Homer Simpson, Bitty’s the world’s biggest hoagie – how can I stay mad at him?
Any worry that covering the Carpenters might be a step too far into cardigan territory turns out to be completely misplaced. In fact the song is perfectly suited to Bitty’s uncomplicated, amazed-by-the-world vocal style. It’s a fragile song in need of nurturing, so Bitty picks it up, gives it a hug and sends it off into your ears with a big grin on its musical face.Bitty+McLean+-+We've+Only+Just+Begun+-+5-+CD+SINGLE-367540
After a couple of weeks of more organic production, we’re now back to the UB40-style digital neggae sound. I don’t mind that – it keeps the song bouncing along and gives plenty of space for the warm, radiant sounds of the horns and Bitty’s voice. The strings might be a tad too much, but there are enough horns to drown them out at the key moments. An unusual touch, giving a nice school concert flavour, is the prominent triangle all the way through. In my imagination that’s played by the UBs’ percussionist Norman Hassan, who must have been looking for some extra work after his band switched over to drum machines in 1989.
Covering the Carpenters was actually all the rage in the mid-90s. The year before this came out there had been a tribute album featuring Sonic Youth, American Music Club and various other acts whose music you have no need to ever listen to – 90s equivalents of the Cold War Kids or Cherry Ghost. Their version of We’ve Only Just Begun, as interpreted by one Grant Lee Buffalo, doesn’t have a tenth of the zip of Bitty’s rendition, but it might explain the low chart placing of number 23 – were the public Carpentered out by this point? Or had Sonic Youth’s efforts given them some kind of Carpenters PTSD? Either way it seems Bitty wound up as collateral damage from this ill-conceived alt-rock vanity project as this is the last we’ll be seeing of him. If only Thurston Moore could have kept his mouth shut, Bitty might have fared better and been given the chance to put those glorious vocals on a few more tracks. What were you playing at, Thurston – he’d only just begun.
It’s pleasing, though, that Bitty’s last song is his best since It Keeps Raining. Thanks Bitty, and now as Pato Banton might say, bye Bitty bye bye bye bye, Bitty bye bye bye.
Score: 8 out of 10

Crash bang wallop back to reality following the highs of last week! There I was thinking that this was getting better and we had hit another purple patch of neg busters only to be reminded of the guff that this movement regularly spat out. The fact that this Carpenters classic has been covered no fewer than 30 times by various unknown artists only highlights the lack of any creative thinking. A total non event by someone I had expected better from and someone who has contributed so much this list. He really has done nothing but put it through the neg blender on max setting! Its been pumped and negged up a little but nothing you wouldn’t find on a Casio pre set! The last entry on the list from Bitty I believe and what a roller coaster of highs and lows since It Keep Rainin. Actually I think it just went straight downhill from then hitting rock bottom with this smelly turd, such a shame.
1.5/10 – move along swiftly please.

Well, if we are going to follow Supercat with anything Neggish, it may as well be Bitty. It seems like he’s had an entry every other week or so. I’ll be honest with you guys, he’s starting to wear thin on me and I’m also running out of nice things to say about one of my favorite artists on the Hot 90. I’m not sure how many free passes I can slide his way. At some stage he needs to sort himself out and produce something worthwhile. Sadly, this isn’t the one and I’m left pining for more Supercat. “We’ve only just begun” has me wishing this one hadn’t even started. I’m in a Bitty time warp at the end of the first verse. I get the feeling that Bitty is just pumping out music just to pump out music. No real passion, no real enthusiasm, no umph. I get a strong whiff of UB40 with the background music and it is extremely unsettling. The more I listen to this song (eyes closed) I can see Ali Campbell and friends in some poor, low budget black and white video swaying side to side being as creative as West Ham and their 19th century style of football (according to the special one). If I haven’t said anything good about this song yet, it’s because I’m just not into it. Not even Bitty can cheer me up or even make me smile. The boring, monotonous tone from the outset never recovers my attention. No head bobbing, no Malibu and lilt. Even Gazza in the dentists chair would say this song is a pile of cack. As you can tell, my mind is wandering to some odd places. On that note, I’m off. Off to listen to my man Supercat. Put me down for 2/10 See ya later Delroy.

This is it then, the 7th and final entry for the Neggae Young Player of the Tournament, Delroy ‘Bitty’ Mclean. We shall miss his cheeky chappy demeanour, his meticulous production, and his sugarsweet vocals. And his bogling; never forget the bogling.
We’ve watched him develop and grow – and now he’s leaving. Actually this feels a bit like a final school report; with Bitty leaving the school of Neggae of to the big wide world of Reggae proper. Worth noting that, unlike the majority of artists on the Neggae Hot 90, Bitty is still gigging and performing currently. LOOK AT HIM AT THE JAZZ CAFE LAST YEAR!
Still got it. Hasn’t aged a day.
In my opinion, with We’ve Only Just Begin, Bitty graduates from Neggae Hill Comprehensive with a steady B grade. He’s delivered better coursework on the likes of ‘It’s Raining It’s Raining‘, but by sticking to the Neggae covers territory he’s comfortable with Bitty gives us a lovely rendition of the Carpenters mawkish original.
The production is ‘Another Bostin Creation’ – the Dolby recorded, metronomic digital Neggae we’ve come to expect from Bitty and his tutors UB40. But it’s not soulless – there’s are some lovely Hammond flourishes and the brass section is gawjus – no half-arsed sax solos on show here. And Bitty’s vocals once again absolutely shine.
As for the video, well I’m pretty sure MJ didn’t lose any sleep over it. It serves a purpose, using the moving-house-because-we’ve-just-begun metaphor to adequate purpose. It looks like Bitty has employed UB40 in their sideline Property Logistics Company – ‘Iriemovals’. And like clockwork, its 11am so Ali and the boys have popped to Greggs for a Bean and Sausage Slice and a strawberry milkshake. Knowing them, they’ll have preceded that with a massive cone too.
Bitty’s left alone with his lady, so while she concerns herself with the lack of progress, he calms her nerves via serenade. And d’you know what? He’s right to sing to her. He’s paid Astro and the lads to do the lift and shift – let them earn their money. Plus, she is a beautiful looking thing; graceful, with a gorgeous smile – and sporting a cracking pair of Sambas. Great old school trainers too.
Score: Farewell our Kid – solid 7 from me.

This week it’s Bitty’s final foray in the Neggae Hot 90 and sees him taking on the Carpenters, not the West Indian family from Eastenders which would have been apt, but the brother and sister duo Richard and ace food recycler Karen.Tony_Carpenter We kick off with some standard Neggae production values of a horn section, Casio beats and synth strings. It’s a nice song but then doesn’t really go anywhere which unfortunately is the nature of the song. I’m not a fan of the original but unfortunately does Bitty’s neggae makeover improve it in any way? Not for me I’m afraid. Bitty’s vocals are as flawless as ever, throughout his canon of work his vocals have remained pretty flawless even when his song choice and production have been questionable. The video is based around Bitty and his good lady moving into a new house and although Bitty has unpacked his huge model aeroplane and Dynamo Dudley manager’s player of the year trophy this seems to be the extent of his contribution. Whilst his better half is getting down to the nitty gritty of unpacking Bitty’s just berking about, following her round the house doing an Easy Listening skank. This may seem charming initially but if Bitty’s not careful the novelty is soon going to wear off. Mrs Bitty comes home from a hard day at work to the walls unpainted AGAIN and Bitty bopping round the house.
‘Bitty you’ve had all day to paint the walls and you’ve not even started, what the hell have you been doing?’
‘Sorry, I was going to make a start but then some Andy Williams came on the radio and I just had to dance round the house to it’
This isn’t going to cut it Bitty, take it from a man who knows from bitter experience. You need to get down to ELA (Easy Listeners Anonymous) and get on the 5 point program before this spirals out of control and you find yourself single, friendless and in the gutter.
Score: So long Bitty, following your neggae career has been the equivalent of following Spurs, a bright start, fresh hope but ultimately a disappointing spiral into mediocrity. 5/10



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


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.


Aswad – You’re No Good

Release Date: Feb 95
Chart Position: 35

Aswad; You’re No Good. I wouldn’t go that far mate! Shine was good, this was so-so. But maybe he’s singing about Ace of Base?
“you’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good…..your swedish p****s”
But unfortunately I doubt it. There should be more band/artist rivalry and sledging of each other within in lyrics. Negwars! That would be smart!
This would sit somewhere between Shine and the strange and confusing Warriors effort, although I think that the charts would suggest otherwise as this only got to no 35. Its almost the same track as Shine isn’t it? The intro is anyway and when I loaded it up thought I was listening to the wrong track. The first 30 secs is almost identical, the echoey vocals, the synthetic backbeat, the soft horn section, we’ve heard it all before. I appreciate that you should play to your strengths, but this is a little lazy and too formulaic.

Step 1 –
Take previous hit
Step 2 – Remove lyrics
Step 3 – Overlay new lyrics
Step 4 – Light bifter

I doubt Aswad would appreciate it if every review I did I simply copy and pasted a previous effort and just changed a few of the words without giving it my full attention and the dilligence that it deserves? Actually… lets not mention that, forget I said anything.
I like Aswad and they’ve delivered some classics, but this is not one of them. The video again is just following the blueprint of fun in the sun with hot girls looking good and acting as if they like the noys. That only works if you back it up with a good tune, or maybe the video is actually from another track as well? That would surely make this then the laziest offering we have ever reviewed?
Score: a 4/10 from me.Aswad+-+You're+No+Good+-+12-+RECORD_MAXI+SINGLE-195751

Aswad – You’re no good.
That could be my entire review. I’ll humour our audience with a few lines of fluff about this dreadful effort by one of my favourite bands and then I’ll get back to not listening to this and trying to delete it from my memory banks.
This one starts off slow with some standard Aswad beats, horns and strings. It doesn’t pick up pace, no rap or break with our young chap that lit up Shine, just 3 minutes or so of “You’re no good” repeated over and over again. The video is boring too; it lacks a lot. In fact I’m not even sure what it’s missing as I think I nodded off after 90 seconds.
Time to move on. A shame that after being  treated to a couple of good weeks on the blog we now have this mediocore effort.
Score: An uninspiring 3/10. Here’s a picture of Homer Simpson negging out to cheer us all up…1371447_10152243544073776_240217145_n

After the mighty neggae call to arms that was ‘Warriors’ Brinsley and the boys followed up with their take on the much covered ‘You’re no good’. Originally a hit for Betty Everett it was revived and made famous by Linda Ronstadt, however the version I was most familiar with was by the Swinging Blue Jeans as it sound tracked many a 2 day drive across France and Spain (followed by ‘Hippy Hippy Shakes’ on my Dad’s C90 I believe) as I was sat in the back seat with my two younger sisters, losing layers of skin as the faux leather interior didn’t stand up to the rigours of blazing Continental sun. That’s enough of my misty eyed recollections of getting third degree burns whilst listening to Genesis and Simple Minds and on with the review.
It starts with Brinsley’s slowed down almost choral singing of the chorus then the neg kicks in, well sort of, the beat reminds me of this rather than straight up neg but the horns add a layer of sun kissed authenticity to proceedings. As the song progresses there’s no real change up a sort of electronic didgeridoo sound’s introduced which is like Daft Punk covering ‘Sun Arise’ (do not click on this link if you’re easily offended by pedalos) but is hardly exciting. The vocals aren’t great and sound like they’ve been tampered with which is a bit unnecessary, these boys did ‘Beauty’s only skin deep’ they don’t need studio tampering. Lyrically there’s not a great deal going on but this isn’t the Azzas fault as the original could hardly be described as a wordy tome, a harsher person than me might say this is the lyrical equivalent of a Helen Keller tweet. The gist is they had a decent sort then much like Eve in the Garden of Eden were tempted away by forbidden fruit and it didn’t work out as they soon discover the pootang’s not always greener just because there’s a slagtag involved. They then ponder asking forgiveness but realise that the whole ‘no good’ thing could be flipmoded back onto them as they’ve basically broken someone’s heart because they’ve been blinded by the ability to suck a golf ball through a hosepipe. Thems the breaks lads, sometimes you have to take responsibility for your shoddy actions and take it on the chin, much like the brazen temptress of the piece did. I had a nagging feeling I’d heard this version before and then it dawned on me, that wasn’t the case, it just sounds like Boney bleeding M, and not one of their good’uns. Boney M with dreadlocks, pretty sure that’s been done before. They’re also lacking a guest rap about sporting stars which seems a golden opportunity missed with the chorus to berate people like Tom McKean who never really shone at the top level, Zeb must have been pissed off.
The video was clearly shot in the same weekend break that they did the ‘Warriors’ video which represents good business sense but loses points for originality which is a charge that could be laid on the whole video.

Neggae video checklist

  • Swimming Pool;
  • Scantily clad, unattainable women;
  • Sunshine;
  • Berking about with horns.

We’ve nearly got a full house here.
Although it’s nice to see Juan Pablo Sorin (the only Argentinean footballer named after a brand of Malt Loaf) popping up on 50 seconds.
Score: Although this may well be the only entry in the top 90 where the song title also acts as an introspective review of the song I can’t give it any higher than 4/10.

Keith De Vivre
In a probable first for the Neggae Hot 90, this may well be the only time a neg tune has been reviewed from the magnificent country of Bangladesh.
I’ve asked around a bit with the locals about whether the neg movement ever hit the subcontinent back in the day… Unfortunately, as I was met with blank faces, this survey yielded inconclusive results. But I’d be surprised if it didn’t. The shit was global. After two days here, I’ve noticed that the Bangladeshi people walk with a kind of swagger that could only be borne of a background of neg. What with the locals’ natural gait and the Ace of Base bangin’ out over a breakfast curry, it’s telling me the place was riddled with the neg circa 92-94. But to the job in hand… It’s Aswad.
Ah Aswad. Faithful Aswad.
You really can’t go wrong with Aswad can you? Everybody likes Aswad, even if it’s just to say their name. Aswad.

I’m going to have to keep this short and sweet before the sleeping tabs kick in:

  • For me, as a Neggae novice, they’re the epitome of the genre.
  • Dreads and hats look great.
  • You can’t go wrong with a synchronised horn section.
  • Bikini-clad women getting out of a pool in slo-mo is a cheap trick that delivers every time.
  • Was every neg tune a cover?
  • Getting on – and staying on – an inflatable swimming pool chair whilst staying bone dry is an art that deserves a point in itself.

That’s it.
It’s no Shine, but it’s Aswad. Solid stuff.
I’m going to bed.
Score: 6.5/10

In the 90s you see, the way it worked was like this:

Record company type: How d’you get on lads?
Aswad: Yeah we did OK, charted at Number 17. Went on TOTP and shit. All good?
Record company type: Marvellous! Here’s another 10k. Well done!
*rubs head, pats bum (a la Norm and the little Chinese barman in Weatherspoons).

And that’s how it was – bundles of cash to spunk on exotic videos and tours, which is what Aswad did.
After Shine and Warriors, Aswad enjoyed their spoils, and rather pointlessly covered this 60s standard. You’ll forgive my lack of enthusiasm, but I cannot stand the original record. From the age of 5 or 6, both Jamie and I were subjected to 60 megamix” double cassette volumes 1 and 2 in our Dad’s Datsun Sunny. A hellish, Jive Bunny style cut-and-shut affair – it was a who’s who’s of affordable also-rans of 60s music.. The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who, Motown and Stax artists – none of these were present because Telstar or K-Tel or Dino couldnt afford them.

You’re No Good was on there. Oh Yes. I must have heard “you’re no good” about 87 times in my life on a sh*t car stereo basically.  And at no time has it improved my life. I’m assuming it’s by some Merseybeat knock-off mob like everything that ever came out of Liverpool 63-65. Probably Gerry & the Dakotas. Or Billy J Cilla or whatever.
It sounds Beatlish but its not. I’m struggling to think of any stellar-superduper-amazing music that’s ever come out of Liverpool apart from the Beatles to be honest. Usually I look this sort of stuff up but its such a drainer I honestly cant be f*cked.
I don’t know who at Aswad HQ decided it was a good idea to give YNG the Ibeefa treatment, but whoever he (or she) was, deserves a pat on the back for being the laziest person in the history of Neggae. Cleary on a roll at this point, they spunked the cash on a decent video and covered an old standard with a few acidy squelches and horns.
Score: 2/10. Must try harder.


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

Release Date: Aug 94
Chart Position: 1

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

  • Colour TV;
  • Bob Marley CD collection.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Update NEGGAE SCORE after Jonny changed his mind: 8.9

Cyndi Lauper – (Hey Now) Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Release Date: Sept 94
Chart Position: 4

‘Hey now, hey now, what’s the matter with you?’, many things but at this particular time it’s this song’s inclusion in the Neggae blog that’s currently twisting my testicles.
A few weeks after the censorship furore it seemed things were back to more peaceful, democratic times in the Republic of Neggae then this song crops up to remind us that the Republic of Neggae is ruled by a Synanist dictatorship. How the f*ck has this snuck into the hot 90? I don’t remember this being in the original list, I’m starting to think so North Korean style revisionism is going on. Undoubtedly this will be justified by some fatuous reasoning along the lines of ‘Well Jim Carver from the Bill was on the modcast and he said it was neggae’ or ‘Well it’s on Wikipedia’, here’s a list of 15 other Wikipedia ‘facts’.
Anyway, rant over, I’ll now review the song. The lyrics are a young woman’s plea to her father to treat her as a grown up, she’s no longer his little girl. In a nutshell it’s ‘Cheers for looking after me for all those years Dad but leave me alone now because I’m at the age where I just want to be getting ragged up all over the shop.’ A pretty ungrateful sentiment, those stripy tights didn’t buy themselves. The production is basically like a Lilt advert, they’ve got a song and stuck a cheap neggaeish beat behind it. It would be more suited to the backdrop of a Diet Lilt advert showing various women enjoying an active island life whilst imbibing the drink, because tropical taste doesn’t always have to mean a high calorie count and means you can still be 100% mint condition, am I right sisters?
The video is a budget version of the Moulin Rouge inspired ‘Lady Marmalade’ video with Cyndi and a bevy of attractive women, shit, hold on, look at the adam’s apple on that load of cross dressers, because that’s the joke right, they’re not actually girls, get it? How deliciously ironic, what sharp wit, did Russ Abbott direct this? This manages to make Ace of Base seem like Steel Pulse.
Score: 1/10 – Prefer her work with Wildlife, any chance of some neggae next week Vincent Synan?

OK, so somehow Lauper ends up on the Neggae Hot 90. I’m not quite sure how or why to be honest, this is more Ace of Base than Chaka Demus and Pliers. With that said, I went into this with an open mind and tried my hardest to compose a semi-thoughtful review.
I received the link from Vince, and when I clicked it, I got this:

A little disconcerting, and I had to do some surfing around Youtube to find ‘la Lauper’. Her original 80s hairband stuff that was offered up at Cinderellas every Monday back in the day was what I found and, in Neggae terms, it was a letdown to say the least. I then look around the room, and, in some sort of Neggae wilderness and come across this little fella, a Neggae banana that the kids won at Busch Gardens.
This gives me hope. After catching a glimpse of Mr Neg, I am now inspired to go on and search for the correct tune. In my mind I have Shaggy, Bitty and even Shabba while I scoure the interweb (over 3 clicks is scouring by the way). Lo and behold, I find Lauper’s offering.
I’m presented with some quite awkward nightclub moments with men dressing as women. For me there isn’t much in this song/video that gets me headbobbing, foot tapping and Malibu sipping with Mr Neg. In fact this reminds me of a rather eye-opening experience I had in a night club in London that encouraged this sort of activity. I won’t mention the bathrooms.. Anyway, let’s move on to some proper neggae and not a retread of pish thank you very much.
Score: Put me down for 0/10 – go away Lauper, you are not welcome here!

I am sure I will be forgiven for not over-analysing this entry from Cyndi Lauper and trying to make it out to be something it is not. I’m simply going to sum it up for what it is.
Bottom line is that her first effort at ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ was the first major hit for Cyndi and arguably the one that made her famous and she enjoyed all the benefits that brought her through the later stages of the 80s. After a string of failed singles through the early 90s I assume her and her management team needed to get her back in the game. As we have seen a few times already they fell into the lazy trap of: ‘I’ve got it!! Commercial Reggae is big at the moment, let’s get in on the act!’.
Cyndi I can only imagine then went off and spent hours researching the genre and building a plan to make an authentic reggae tune that was in keeping with modern trends. The result of such hard work was to take her first big hit, change the name slightly to add “’Hey Now (Girls Just Want to Have Fun)”, (the use of brackets in song titles was also hot around that time) slow it right down and overlay it to a video of trannies walking around in some ‘trannies only’ hostel/brothel, with some dancing nuns thrown in for good measure.
I can only imagine the faces of those around her when she unveiled the fruits of her efforts, I am not entirely sure this is what they had in mind! It peaked at no 4 in the UK and reached the dizzy heights of 87 in the US. Pretty sure it did nothing for her getting back in the game, she might have done better getting on the game?
Score: A totally embarrassing 1/10

There’s nothing I like to do more with my spare time than watch washed up popstars rehashing their own back catalogues in order to make a fast buck. This isn’t going to take long, its a dreadful song with a god awful video.
The song itself is lazy. Reduced bpm and “Reggaefied” drums being the only real difference from an original which I never really liked anyway. Cyndi Lauper is Cyndi Lauper, the silly faces may have changed but its the same old screechy vocals she’s been repeating for twenty years, no real range or light and shade.
The video its an absolute crock of bum juice.
For some reason I thought the Goonies were in the original video. This got me to thinking how good a Neggae remake of the Goonies could have been. Chaka Demus doing the truffle shuffle to amuse Shabba Ranks and Johnny Gill’s Frattelli brothers whilst they get a good old whack from their mother (Dawn Penn).  But upon looking it up I realized that ‘Good Enough’ was featured in the Goonies. Disappointing, he giveth, then he taketh away.
The original video to GJWHF sees Lauper mooching around her house playing up like a teenager. It all looks dated these days but she can be excused for the idea behind it. Shes a girl, she just wants to have fun etc etc.
I can only assume the thinking behind this one came from some overpaid Media Buzz group.
“Hey I got it!, as we’re going all rastafarian with the video, why don’t we do something crazy, like make all the girls boys?”  Terrible idea. Terrible video.
A cross dressing ode to Sister Act on stage with Cyndi Lauper as ring leader.
For the song I’m tempted to give a zero. I’m actually looking for bonus points so lets see what we can do :
Dancing & Coreography : Cyndi Lapuer moves like a drunk show off butch Nan at a wedding. Constantly flexing her muscles. Nil points.
Style : Moon burnt complexion. Bright Orange curtains and a red bowler hat. She actually dresses like a half eaten Sherbet Dipper. Nil Points.
There is nothing good about this song. The best thing Cyndi Lauper ever did was manage to get name dropped on Mylo’s Destroy Rock n Roll. Rank.
Score: 0 From me.

I’ve come in for a fair bit of stick by adding this to the Neggae blog, but it’s OK, I’ve got broad shoulders. Nothing worth doing properly is ever easy, and if having 2 or 3 so-called friends whinging on Facebook is what it takes to ensure a correct historical docment is recorded then I can take it. The point is, this record clearly indicates the moment where Neggae had well and truly:

Depending on your perspective. As with most movements, the early adopters had done their hard work and by late 94 the money-men were moving in, cynically churning out product to mass appeal.
That said, in 1994 Cyndi still had a fine set of pipes on her, and the hammond organ flourishes are not without charm. But the beats – Ugh. so obvious. As for the video, well it clearly aimed at the homosexual market isn’t it? Cyndi Lauper has a big gay following who I assume lapped this up and ensured it reached the lofty heights of number 4.
On the subject of homosexuals (and the fear of them) in Jamaican culture, I once spoke to a chap of Jamaican descent who steadfastly refused to acknowledge the existence of Gay Jamaicans. Said they don’t exist. Like aliens or the Woking Lion. Well they do my non-believer friend. And they are supergays. Check out Gabriel here – he basically shut down Kingston for half an hour by stripping down and flouncing around like David McAlmont for a bit. Be nice to the gays now, or they’ll come and get you…
Anyway, the song’s a pile of pony, but raised some important points and- HOLD ON! HAVE YOU HEARD THE TUNE CYNDI COVERED FOR THE “HEY NOW! HEY NOW” BIT?

Score: Yes, yes it does. Four points out of ten to be exact.


Bitty McLean – What Goes Around

Release Date: Aug 94
Chart Position: 36

Bitty!! For F**** Sake!! I thought we had been through all of this already, what are you doing? An empty, soulless, tinny, nothing of a song. This is what happens when neggae goes bad and shows that once a neg Jedi gets a sniff at the dark side how easily they can turn. I can’t remember this first time round and I wish I had not heard it at all this morning, the world is not a better place because of this. I couldn’t even face the whole thing, at 2mis 20secs I’d had enough and in a fit of rage burst my Capri Sun all over the place.
The song is terrible, it has no development and the horn section sound like a type of cheap wedding band that Bitty has made chit chat with at his mates big day and his overinflated ego has offered them a role in his next recording. It’s drastically backfired. It goes round and around stuck in a seemingly never ending hell hole.
Give it a rest and turn it in Bitty……..1/10 from me….no more please, I don’t want to have to tell you again.

Bitty by name,  bitty by nature.
Sadly, it would seem that a side from It Keeps Running and to a lesser extent Dedicated To the One I love, Bitty is a perfect way to describe what initially looked like a promising career.
This is more MOR than the UB’s on a bad day. Its synthesized cheesy pop Neggae. It reminds of the sort of song S CLub 7 would whack on a montage whilst they were cruising around Los Angeles doing “friendy stuff” on a mad cap adventure.
The annoying thing is if it was stripped down and made slightly more authentic it might be a nice tune. The bass line is good but the keyboard its played on is horrible. As ever Bittys vocals are effortless but the content is nothing to shout about and to be honest I find everything else that’s going on annoyingly distracting. The synths are uncalled for and the beats are too plastic.
Its all a bit sickly. Bitty needs to be careful, he’s verging into Shabba territory.  A disappointing 4/10 from me.


Delroy Mclean aka Bitty is back at it with a rock steady, David Gower like song to quench our Neggae thirst this week.
Now, if only England would be a little more Bitty like and not Shabba Like we wouldn’t be 11-2 at tea on the second day of the Ashes at Trent Bridge.
The song opens up with good pace and incorporates some Bitty / Island rap (fast paced talking) complimented by some well balanced horns. For me 10 seconds isn’t enough. I enjoy the freestlye aspect of Neggae that has been missing over the last few weeks. The horns continue to delight as the song moves on. You can definitely feel the UB40 influence throughout but his vocals really mesh well.
I think we can agree that listening to Bitty is good. It’s good for the soul and after a few seconds of his Islandic tones, I’m feeling pretty good about life. After listening to this one a few times, I’m flying high, trying to do more around the house, be a better Dad and Husband, use the Big Green Egg better and generally be a better citizen because after all, What goes around comes around….
I’m also convinced that after listening to this song that Southampton have signed a gem from Celtic for the bargain price of $12m and we will be in the Champions League next year. That’s the power of Bitty Mclean aka Delroy or Andy Cole!
Thumbs up to Bitty for this one although it’s a shame that it only reached #36 in the UK charts. A real feel good song from one of the purest voices ever to grace the Neggae Hot 90. Lilt worthy and Maliibu worthy.
Official Neggae score 8/10

Whatever you say about Bitty McLean, you cannot fault the boy’s work ethic. If he wasn’t in the studio mastering tracks for his elders UB40, or running important errands for him (floral arrangements), he was rattling off Neggae hits every few months himself. It’s almost as if he knew the movement had a limited shelf life, so you can’t fault his almost protestant work ethic during 94/95.
Unfortunately, his QA lets him down a little bit – and Im noticing a worrying trend in the quality of his self-penned hits. He’s becoming a bit of a cover specialist on this chart – nothing wrong with that, just a shame that a young chap that was clearly talented couldn’t produce a Tease Me or a Sweat (a la la la la long).
The song itself is OK, with Bitty aiming at the carnival dancehall end of Neggae that UB40 succeeded with on C’est La Vie. In fact the production all round is very similar – this could almost be the b-side. I’m a bit of a sucker for anything produced in the House of Yowb – their trademark sound has a crisp, digital yet thoughtful approach to dancehall riddims. It’s disctinctly British. Another bonus for me on this song is the use of REAL horns – which we know all cost a few quid but my word you get that back. The trombone solo in particular is Ricoesque – stellar stuff.
I love the tabla and the drum drops – and the whole horn –led wigout towards then ewnd is charming too; reminiscent of Close To Me by the Cure. Bitty loses points for lyrical mundanity and lack of invention around song structure.
Score: What goes around? This song unfortunately. A bit too much. 6/10.

Running out of things to write about Bitty, I wish he’d knocked it on the head after ‘It keeps rainin’ as each release afterwards taints the legacy of that high point of Neggae. (Neggae Fact: His Nephew is footballer Aaron McLean who will next year play for Hull City in the English Football Premiership.) What to say about this song? Not a lot if I’m honest, the whole thing’s pretty humdrum to start with and not helped that a lot of the production seems to have used this for effects and been recorded on one of these. The opening line of ‘Bitty is here again’ now invokes fear and dread, I picture him delivering the line with a psychotic grin as he’s just smashed a hole in my front door with an axe. I would like to tell you what the lyrics are about but I keep dozing off. The fact that in an era when record companies wouldn’t blink at spending thousands on flowers for the artist but wouldn’t chuck Bitty a oner to record a sepia tinged video on an industrial estate speaks volumes. I’m not writing anything more about this, it’s shit.
1/10 – A rancid patch of smegma on the tip of Neggae’s magnificent penis.