Maxi Priest ft Shaggy – That Girl

Release Date: Jun 96
Chart Position: 15

Gouldy
This is the fourth from last entry in the Hot 90 and the Crown Prince of Neggae is back to pull this blog out of the stagnant torpor it’s fallen into, SHAGGY! He’s back with some help from Maxi Priest and a killer sample from ‘Green Onions’. Now I have a group of friends who call themselves ‘mod’ despite being born at least 15 years too late. They like to sit around, Fred Perry polo shirts slowly riding up their beer bellies until they resemble crop tops, discussing great philosophical questions of our time such as ‘Are Pot Noodles mod?’ Undoubtedly these people would try and tell you this song is ‘mod’ due to the ‘Green Onions’ sample but my friends this is pure Neggae.
We start off with the aforementioned sample on loop and the traditional Shaggy toasting, this is Neg intro perfection. The rest of the production is pretty stripped down by usual Neggae standards but in this case less is more and puts the focus firmly on the vocal partnership of Priest/Shaggy. I’ve been critical of Maxi Priest in the past but this track is basically his equivalent of Chris Armstrong’s 1995/96 season for Spurs, if you get him the right partner he’ll deliver the goods and with Shaggy he’s found his Neggae Sheringham. Unfortunately, like Armstrong it was a one off but the comparisons don’t end there as Armstrong now looks like Maxi Priest, albeit with a Coco Pop stuck on the end of his nose.
chrisarmstrong
Maxi’s silky timbre fits nicely with Shaggy’s gruff ragamuffin stylings and the break that starts with Maxi singing
‘Holy Moses, Lord it could have been me’
Almost induces a Betsy spine tingle.
Lyrically the song is describing a girl who’s even too hot for Shaggy top handle, YOIKS! The kind of girl you’d spend Saturday night with but probably wouldn’t take to Sunday roast with your family due to the fear of her misinterpreting what was meant by ‘roast’ and start twerking on your Dad and grinding on your Nan.
The video is like a mash up of Hype Williams and the opening credits to an Eighties Bond film put together by GCSE film students. I have to give credit to whoever had the idea of spray painting a load of Sugar Puffs gold and putting them on the speaker, the effect is stunning. We then have ‘multiple same girl effect’, which I believe is the technical term, forming a guard of honour for Shaggy to do the Lambeth walk down with a background of fire created with crepe paper. We then switch to a natural Neggae setting, the Supermarket, with one girl demonstrating a basic lack of understanding with regards to concept of shopping and just throwing it over her shoulder rather than placing it in the trolley she’s pushing. I had a similar technique when working in the warehouse of a certain middle class supermarket, where I’d stroll round cutting open any new lines with my trusty box knife, have a taste and if it wasn’t to my liking I’d throw it over my shoulder and continue onto the next one. Then they sacked me, fucking fascists.
This is an oasis in the desert that is the end of Neggae, 10/10 from me.

Jonny
Yep, I like this, anything with a Green Onion sample running through to gets my vote and chuck in a couple of neg heavyweights and it all works nicely. Both Maxi and Shaggy pull out all the stops for their last appearance and turn in as good a performance as anything we have reviewed on this list over the last 90 weeks / 630 days / 15,120 hours. The video is simple but effective, sketchy production and editing, bling, booty, everything we have come to love. I think of all the artists and chiefs we have critiqued over the last 15,120 hours of this blog, these two will be missed, although this has rolled into one nonsensical blur I can’t remember any howlers from either of them and are both arguably the most consistent. Three more weeks until I get my life back. Three more weeks until I can: Enjoy a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening Open any type of messaging service without the first unread message being about my review being late Stop using a thesaurus to find alternatives to the word shit Not ever listen to Suggs or Ace of Base ever again My biggest fear however is that I might miss it and realise that my real life is so dull that subconsciously I actually enjoy it. Maybe I’m like Brooks in Shawshank Redemption who killed himself after being released from prison? Have I become institutionalised? Maybe after this I’ll just start on Rock, Grunge or something else to keep me miserable.
9/10 from me.

thatgirlJames BC
Hey, Maxi Priest’s back! Just as the neggae flame is starting to burn out Maxi returns for one last hit, and in the latest permutation of the great neggae fruit machine he’s brought Shaggy with him. But That Girl isn’t just about Maxers and Shaggers: its secret weapon is the swinging Green Onions sample sticking the two together.
So what’s not to like? We’ve got a classic Chaka Demus and Pliers-esque rough/smooth vocal contrast with an ever so slightly negged-up mod classic underneath it. Well unfortunately, that’s just about all we’ve got. There’s not much of a tune to the chorus, Maxi’s verses are completely unmemorable and while Shaggy does a bit better – he is still Shaggy – the performance isn’t his best. As for the sample, I love Green Onions as a twelve bar blues but they’ve just taken the first bar and looped it over and over and over again. It gets bit tiring.
Also I might be nit-picking here but the chorus lyric seems to undercut itself:
Line 1: “THAT GIRL, OOH.” Ah, we get what you’re on about here Maxi – you’ve met a girl so smokin’, yet so deadly, that you couldn’t help but put pen to paper, writing a whole song dedicated to her uniquely infuriating and beguiling personality.
Line 2: “THAT KIND OF GIRL.” But now you’re implying that there are lots of other girls like her that we, the listeners, have probably also met examples of. So not so unique after all.
What must have happened, I suppose, is that he came up with the killer beginning of THAT GIRL, OOH! quite late in the writing session. Probably he then expanded it to THAT GIRL, OOH! THAT [something] GIRL but didn’t have time to fill in the gap – Shaggy maybe was getting impatient, having been told that he was going to record with Horace Andy and arrived to find this weak imitation nodding his head to the same Booker T and the MGs snippet played slightly too slow. So instead of coming up with a proper line telling us what’s so special about her – THAT UPTOWN GIRL or THAT SUNDAY GIRL or THAT CANDY GIRL or THAT MYSTERIOUS GIRL all sound like hits to me – he did a bunk and left Shaggy to come up with some actual details in his verses.
So overall I’m going to say this is a bit lazy. The ingredients are promising but they should have made a lot more out of it.
Score: 5 out of 10.

Vince

When the BBC4 Friday night Neggae Britannia gets commissioned – the Neggae Elders all become will all become millionaires. Key movers and shakers from the scene will offer amazing insights and secrets from the genre, and celebrity fans will reminisce about this golden era of pop.
Shovel from M People, Kate Thornton and Stuart Maconie will also feature, offering these pearls of wisdom.

shovel2thorntonstuartmaconie

The last summer months of 1996 will be the last 10 minutes of the show. It will be a poignant, solemn section – Warriors by Aswad mournfully wailing in background as John Alford tries to explain how he effectively took a massive dump on Reggae music in general. It wasn’t a good time.
One tune stands out against the mire though. That Girl by Maxi Priest and Shaggy.
It’s Mod.
It’s Neggae.
It’s Moggae.
The 60s are being looted again– but this time it’s the monstrous swirling Hammond organ line from Booker T and the MGs Green Onions. Beefed up by Shaggy’s in-house production team with crisp drums and heavy bass – THIS IS A FACKIN BELTER.
I could easily listen to it for 7 hours a day. I have in fact.
Shaggy delivers his lascivious toasting in his sleep – the bloke was so at the top of his game by this point it was getting slightly embarrassing. Maxi Priest FINALLY delivers the pop magic we knew he was capable of with a sweet, sweet vocal. The word Reggaematic gets used ferchrissake.
It’s a masterpiece.
Score: 9.5 out of 10 – the last true Neggae banger. Emoshe.

NEGGAE SCORE: 8.375

Louchie Lou & Michie One – Good Sweet Lovin’


Release Date: June 96
Chart Position: 34

James BC
here’s a lot more of this RnB-type neggae around than I remember. Here’s another track that’s as silky-smooth as Ken Clarke’s tie and as vaguely jazzy as his musical taste, only qualifying as neggae due to the UK/Jamaica vocals.
Someone should do proper skanked up barbecue remixes of all these laid-back grooves since for me, the vocals are a bit wasted when taken out of their natural habitat. They’re like a proud lion made to live in Sevenoaks or Godalming – the mighty, righteous roar doesn’t have the same impact against a mundane, suburban backdrop, and you don’t get more mundane or suburban than this kind of gloopy RnB murk.
For what it is, Good Sweet Lovin’ is OK. I do like Louchie and Michie’s chemistry and they deserve to be known as more than just Suggs’s backing singers, I just wish they had gone in a more properly neggae direction musically. I notice Suggs is larking around in the video (I could have just said “Suggs is in the video” since the larking is a given) – I don’t know if he was their manager or something? If he was he should have hooked them up with his buddies Sly and Robbie but clearly he was too busy masterminding the Farm’s once promising career and (from a safe distance) laughing at Chris Eubank. All in all a missed opportunity and a bit of a waste of talent since they don’t seem to have had another hit.
Score: 5 out of 10

louchie

Jonny
I’d like to think that after 85 weeks of this I’d be better mentally equipped to deal with neg than this, but the reality is that I think I am actually getting less capable of ‘just doing my f*****g review’ as the other neg elders put it. In the beginning it simply causes grumpiness, this then moved to aggression but ultimately building to a full mental breakdown on that Suggs effort that I can’t even bring myself to recall. I know we are on the home straight, but I am still struggling to deal with the pressures, in the beginning my wife asking ‘have you done your review yet?’ was met with a big sigh followed by some words of encouragement from her. Tonight it caused my eyes to roll over white, drooling, my head to tilt backwards and neck to bulge, thicken and turn a deep purple, all the time saying ‘Ya Man, Ya Man’ over and over again – tonight the neg fit was born.
Now another thing I have a learnt is that neg is a bit like being punched in the face, the dread, the fear, the fits are actually a lot worse than the actual punch itself and it’s all over and done with pretty quick and never as bad as your expectation (apart from that Suggs effort where I started self harming) and this week review proved this quite nicely.
It’s actually alright and Louchie and Michie do a nice job of this uncomplicated, smooth and sexy tune that has an instant feel good factor to it, the fact that they both look tidy only sweetens the deal. This is a marked improvement to their previous efforts and if I’m not wrong a glint in their eyes shows that maybe there is more to their on screen relationship than they are letting on.
Score: 7/10 from me, four more weeks!

Gouldy
Last night it dawned on me I’ve spent 2 years of my life doing this blog, using my time to repeatedly listen to Suggs, Shabba Ranks and loads of other dross. If I’d used this time constructively I think I’d have discovered a cure for cancer and brokered world peace but instead have spent eons thinking up new ways to call Suggs a twat, what a legacy. This week, unbelievably, Louchie Lou and Michie One make another fucking appearance, this time sans Suggs. As soon as this song starts you know it ain’t straight up Neg as it kicks off with a generic RnB bassline and production, it’s not offensive but comes down on the side of mehhh rather than murrrr. I recognise the sample, it might be ‘All Night Long’ but after two years this life sapping blog has stripped me of any desire for voracious research. The song is your usual bullshit about love, rhyming soul with control, blahblahblah, although the line ‘When you put your arms around me, holding me close as if I’m a baby’ does hint at an appearance on ‘Jim’ll Fix it’.
The video is a bit weird as they seem to have a women’s changing room in a night club, strange, which is open plan, stranger, and a load of blokes leering in at nubile ladies in their skimpys, getting stranger. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was a Director’s cut of this video which revealed a load of glory holes in the changing room. The two main protagonists are strutting their stuff around the club, one of them really reminds me of Troy Titus-Adams of EastEnders fame, whose sex symbol status used to confuse me as she was called Troy and resembled an unconvincing Transvestite.

troy

The video is pretty standard throughout, although I’m not sure what the extras are dancing too as they’re badly out of time if it’s meant to be Good Sweet Lovin’. Then right at the end Suggs pops up, just to put the icing on the cake although a more accurate idiom would be ‘the slug on the dogshit’. Overall this is the neggae equivalent of a pint of Fosters, bland, watered down and inoffensive.
Score: I’m giving this 2/10 because I’ve just looked at the Hot 90 and seen they make another fucking appearance.

Vince
Whatever we think of the song, HAVE YOU SEEN LOUCHIE LOU AND MICHIE ONE IN THIS VIDEO?! To quote the Daily Mail, they are ‘all grown up.’ Gone are those awful Jeri-Curls, the heavy plaid shirts, and the girl-next door vibe they had about them in the Shout video. That video looked like every house party I ever attended around Surrey in the 90s; had they been there I’d have definitely made a play for one if not both of them. But the Good Sweet Lovin’ video? OUT OF MY LEAGUE.
It’s like when you see a girl from school that fancied you and was always lovely but a bit plain and she asked you out but you turned her down because you were chasing after the school babe but she broke your heart and then years later you bump into the plain looking one in a bar in London and she’s now super hot really successful and you hate yourself for the entire train journey home to Woking for yet another missed chance. We’ve all been there.
I’ve summed up their butterfly like transformation here:
lm The video is suitably swanky too – the girls swapping a terrace party in Walton-on-Thames for what looks like the Mash Bar off Oxford Street. The song is much of a muchness, Lazy All Night Long sample with some obvious G-Funk stylings. I’m pretty sure it’s a straight rip of George Michael’s Fastlove (bloody love that song) which topped the charts a few months before this release. Michie’s ragga badgyal toasting is the only Neggaesque feature of the song really. That and Suggs titting around in the background – must have been a free bar.
Score: 5/10

NEGGAE SCORE: 4.75

C.J Lewis – R to the A


Release Date: Sept 95
Chart Position: 34

James BC
God bless CJ Lewis and his made-up patois. He encapsulates the neggae era for me more than any other artist, mainly because I can’t imagine him existing, let alone having any kind of success, at any other time. So it’s fitting that his last act as a commercial proposition was to release this paean to the style that was so good to him, and us, and the entire world of music.
R to the A, short for R to the A to the G to the G to the A (Ay!), means RAGGA, which means dancehall, only nobody called it dancehall in the 90s. And CJ’s tribute is brilliant. I don’t care that the production sounds like three Will Smith songs rammed together and has as much to do with Jamaica as Merlene Ottey (she’s Slovenian now, look it up) – CJ could rap over Enya and it would still make anyone’s barbecue playlist. He is neggae incarnate and he brings his A game here, having noticeably improved since Sweets For My Sweet (do I hear some Apache Indian-style quarter tones?), and creates the upbeat, all-inclusive party banger that neggae deserves.
If only this were better remembered it could be the national anthem of neggae. At the very least, when the inevitable jukebox musical (working title: Boombastic!) goes into production it should open the show. Well done CJ for showing everyone that he wasn’t a one-hit wonder or purely a covers merchant – this original outshines Sweets For My Sweet, which is high praise indeed.
Score: 9 out of 10
r to the a

Gouldy
CJ Lewis is back this week and it’s an apt time for him to pop up as he’s ditched Judith, Daphne and the rest of the eggheads to go solo in Revenge of the Egghead in which he plays a pantomime villain parody of himself sneering at members of the public when they get a question wrong, it’s not great if I’m honest, I prefer Pointless.  CJ’s latest offering in the Hot 90 (is it 90 anymore? I’m sure like the Warriors we’ve lost some soldiers on this epic journey. Does anyone care anymore? I didn’t realise nineties reggae was so arduous, I’m going to require a 6 month stint in the Priory after this) is Neggae’s Y.M.C.A with the chorus shouting out individual letters to spell Ragga, actually it spells Raggaa, a basic bit of sub-editing wouldn’t have gone amiss here, wouldn’t surprise me if Norm wrote the chorus.
The production on this is pretty much RnB as it samples the And the beat goes on by the Whispers which was also famously used by Will Smith for Gangsta Rap smash Miami. I’m not really sure there’s much Neg about the production but I don’t care as it’s a great tune and has been used nicely in this case. Lyrically it basically encapsulates the prevailing attitudes and whole culture surrounding ragga like the Neggae equivalent of those oh so clever twats who used to do Shakespeare in 60 seconds. The basic message is we’re here to have a good time, have a dance and a few beers by all means, you can even chance your arm with the ladies but the minute you step out of line we’re coming down on you like a like a cigarette burn to the neck you dry lunch.
The video was shot at CJ’s infamous gig at Harper’s in Guildford when the bouncers threatened to throw him out for wearing trainers but luckily he had a mate who lived in Godalming with the same size feet so got a cab over there and borrowed a pair of shoes. CJ is shown dancing about with some attractive young ladies whilst channelling the man from Del Monte in that dodgy whistle. There’s the first recorded incident of product placement in a neggae video as one of the said ladies is shown sparking up a Rothmans, naturally that wouldn’t be allowed now but these were more innocent times where you were still allowed to drink 8 pints and drive, at least that’s what most of my mates seemed to think.
Score: Overall this is D to the E to the C to the E to the N to the T A and gets a 7/10 from me.

Norm
I’m late again. Feeling the pressure from everyone apart from James BC (which I appreciate) I had good intentions to get this review in on time but this has been a mother of a week. I won’t go into too much detail but I will let you in on the reason why I didn’t make it last night. Having bought a new leather sofa recently, I’ve become quite protective over it and have good intentions of keeping it in pristine condition. I am constantly telling the kids off for eating and drinking on it, you know the drill, “NO CRUMBS, DON’T SPILL THAT, PLEASE DON’T MAKE A MESS” Anyway, the kids are pretty well trained now, the dog however is not. I walk around the corner and see our 80lb Labrador snoring and chillaxin’ on my sofa. I struggle to get her off and give her a boot up the arse, in doing so I think I broke my foot, tore a metatarsal or something like that. All I know is that the dog strolled off and fell asleep in the corner and I had to limp around with a grimace on my face for the rest of the night. But, back to CJ Lewis and R to the A.
I don’t remember this one if I’m honest. It starts off nicely in typical CJ fashion with a quick rap intro. Then we roll right into some sort of Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr (AKA Snoop Doggy Dogg) influence. I kept looking around for Warren G to pop up on stage and help CJ out, take the mic and roll into a smooth verse with Nate Dogg. Sadly, they never materialized and CJ gets back to what CJ does – More fast paced vocals in his unique island style.
The pace of the song was pretty good but in my opinion CJ was confused with this effort, veering off on an odd tangent with the R to the A to the G to the G to the A. I kind of like it, I kind of don’t like it. It’s a little like watching Liverpool play, they pass it nicely for most of the game then Suarez dives and gets a penalty thus leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
Score: So, for this CJ effort, I’m slap bang in the middle with a 5/10. Could do better, could do worse. It had me head bobbing for half of it anyway. I’m off to put my foot on ice. Peace out.

Jonny
R to the A the double G Smash!!! I really shouldn’t like this but some reason I do, especially given the last few days I have had. Trying to get Audi to claim accountability for a very obvious defect on their rear view mirrors is a bigger task than I first imagined. I clearly checked my mirrors and there was no sign of that large expensive 4×4 parked behind me, until I hit it then it appeared, how is that my fault? But for some reason those shrewd Germans are sticking to their guns and refusing to accept responsibility. Anyway at least insurance companies are an understanding and compassionate breed of people to deal with!
So CJ’s offering was a pleasant surprise that I really thought I would hate, especially given the very linear projection of his most recent hits:

Sweets for my Sweets #3
Everything is Alright #10
Best of my Love #13
Dollars #34

Things were not on the up in Sept 95 for CJ and if you were a betting man you would not put any money on his next release being good for anything apart from “Now That What I Call Summer Guff fodder”. However I do find it likable in a guilty pleasure type of way. I think the sampling of And The Beat Goes On is maybe what tips the balance for me, I quite like that tune.
So, it’s no Sweets for my Sweets by any stretch of the imagination, but better than I expected, maybe my expectations were simply very low this week.
Score: 6/10 from me this week!

Vince
CJ Lewis returns with the first (and unfortunately only) hit offering from his difficult 2nd LP, Rough ‘N’ Smooth. It was a wholly slicker affair, with CJ taking in pop and r’n’b influences. And while hugely popular in the Far East (shifted 150,000 copies in the first week) its smooth sound signalled the beginning of the end of CJ’s popularity in the UK – his original fanbase preferring the hardcore dancehall of his earlier releases (i.e. before Sweets etc.) While this UK-lite version of the NegJack Swing sound we’ve seen before is not really my cup of tea, CJ should be commended for trying to take Neggae in a new direction.
His label RCA were clearly confident in the new style, as the video is an altogether more lush affair than we had seen from him. Gone are the Sharp Viewcam gonzo promos shot beneath the Bullring, and in is a glossy, nightclub flick that Bobby Brown would have been proud of.
On first inspection, the production of the song is high end too, and the using the Whispers sample is a nice touch. However, if you want to here how Disco and Dancehall should be spliced together, check out Noisybunch records. It makes R to the A sound pretty one-dimensional.
By 1995, just as swingbeat was being phased out in the US for the heavier, more street R’n’B, the UK was going swingbeat mad. And it was a specifically UK strain of Swingbeat – well-intentioned but just a bit naffer than the real thing. And while I’m fond of it’s quaintness – its basicaly like New Jack on rations. If new Jack Swing is the Big-Mac, then this sort of sound is the Wimpy Bender-in-a-bun. The beats aren’t as polished – and there are very few real hip-hop references Think of those harsh rat-a-tat beats that open BBD’s Poison; These are replaced by metronominic Bontempi kepboard beats and a G-Funklite whistle. Fastlove, Return of the Mack, PJ and Duncan’s If I give you my number – all share the same sound as this.
But is Ro to the A Neggae? Well, that’s where CJ comes in. His toasting is absolutely neggaesque – and his vocal dexterity is a vast improvement on his earlier efforts. But that’s it. And maybe if he’s have riddimified the skankometer by another 15% he’d have impressed me (and more importantly his old skool bredren) a little more.
Score: 6/10

NEGGAE SCORE: 6.6

Bitty McLean- Over the river


Release Date: Apr 95
Chart Position: 27

Gouldy
Bitty Mclean, a man who’s first name adequately sums up his recording output, is again the subject of this week’s (ok week is generous given the current output of the neggae blog, tri-weekly is probably more accurate) entry. It will be no surprise to regular readers that it’s again a cover version, made famous by Justin Hines and the Dominoes. The Dominoes later abandoned the ska sound, dropped an E and became Derek Clapton’s backing band in the seventies when they reached the apex of their recording career with the release of ‘Layla’. Strangely this song has also been championed by maverick caller Thorsten Dudziak on the German hoe-down scene. This is a link to the moves in case you ever want to recreate the dance in your local discoteque and here’s a video so you can make sure that you’re along the right lines. It all looks like amusing harmless fun until you realise it’s combining the cultures of the American south and Germany which are two of the most racially intolerant societies in modern history, makes you think eh? These people need keeping an eye on, from Einfach Klasse to Furchtbar by the process of logical conclusion.
Bitty’s version goes straight in, no messing, with an explosion of Ska tinged horns and Bitty’s sweet vocals with the whole production being pretty true to the original. There’s a nice piano break behind it which is a bit reminiscent of ‘Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da’, which allegedly was borrowed by Macca of this bloke. The production carries on in this vein, and whilst being old fashioned and reasonably simple it’s none the worse for it. Lyrically it’s about a long distance relationship between Bitty and his gal who’s moved to Notting Hill from the Carribean, a word to the wise Bitty, it’ll never work, she’ll be on those blues and jazz fags before you know it and you’ll be long forgotten, David Beckham was reduced to cheating with a woman who wanks off pigs on channel 5 when Posh refused to move to Madrid with him. There’s also a line about a big oak tree which seems to have no context to the rest of the song and a more cynical person might argue it’s purely there for rhyming purposes. The video unsurprisingly starts with a TV which is a staple of Bitty videos and makes me wonder if he has a Telly Addiction on a par with Noel Edmonds. The television in question is just a normal television this time round though rather than a time machine or portal to the wild west so maybe he has calmed down a bit. To cement the idea that the two star crossed lovers are far away we get a handy subtitle informing us Bitty is in Kingston, Jamaica rather than Surrey as the two are easily confused due to having a similar climate and reggae scene although I’m not sure the one in Jamaica has a Bentall centre. To further highlight the distance the video features an Indiana Jones type map of the plane journey between the two places although looking at the flight pattern I suspect Denzel Washington was the pilot. Whilst his girlfriend is watching a stuffy looking doco on immigration from the West Indies to England Bitty is living it up in the studio with his boys and it looks like she’s got the rough end of the stick but all becomes clear as the postie arrives and delivers a copy of the record the boys have been recording to cement the bond between the lovebirds. Bitty then gets on the blower to her and you can tell she loves it, basically the whole thing turns out irie, nice.
When skies are grey and you’re a bit down play and watch this, you’ll feel a bitty better – 7/10
otr

Jonny
Now it may seem like a real first world problem to have, but I am writing this under intense pressure! I am returning from my holiday, trapped on board Monarch Flight ZB 249 and the young girl (maybe about 4 or 5 human years old?) sat in the row behind me has kicked the back of my chair now to a regular two beats per minute for the last two and a half hours. The mother – who without being presumptuous has a neck tattoo, her hair in dreadlocks (and not fun in the sun, happy go lucky, Islandy type dreadlocks either….. these are bad dreads that look like Satan has platted his pubes to create some kind of ‘cap of evil’, spat on her head and affixed!) and wearing a Jack Daniels vest – seems to be reveling in the glory that her young apprentice is more than capable of inflicting pain and misery to the world while she has a quick snooze. We have another three hours to go and I think the chances are pretty high of me at least talking big about punching this 5 year old bitch in the face!
Although on the plus side…..we have just been given an eye full of arse from the chick across the aisle from us as she stretched for something in the over head lockers. Even Nicki gave it a slight nod of approval at the display effectively giving me the all clear to whoop a little and gesture to the guy sitting behind her. He floated acknowledgement back by means of a standard man-speak nod and smirk. He’s cool! Me and him would be good mates if we knew each other properly!
Anyway, the point of this was not to brag about the fact that the ongoing civil unrest and political instability has resulted in Egypt being a far more affordable seven day break than before and we have taken full advantage of that. It was to point out that despite having bags of time to write this review I am struggling to give this the emotionally unbiased effort that it deserves. But here goes………
Bitty smashes the crap out of this ultimately simple and highly enjoyable skank. It’s true Bitty from start to finish, uncomplicated, effective and loads of fun. The celebratory horn section at the intro gets you highly interested from the off and it gets better and better as the song progresses. The tempo is fast and upbeat and although its teases us at about two mins in when it stalls for a few bars, it swiftly pushes us right over the edge again and gives us little time to catch our breath.
Lyrically Bitty gives us a master class in delivery, keeping it to the point with very little bells and whistles round the edges. Just a great, simple, catchy and feel good tune. It would be the type of track that you would play when you wanted to crank it up a notch at a BBQ or had something to celebrate. Like if the window next to the spawn of Satan sat behind me were to break and she were sucked out of the plane never to be seen again! Me and the dude that acknowledged the arse earlier would put this on, order up some in-flight miniatures and get the party going! He’s well mental like that…..my mate!
Bitty never really cheats the island of the type of music it has given us and that is what I like about him. The same cannot be said about some of the other outfits we have reviewed who seem to have somehow lost what it is really about. Catchy, feel good stuff with nonsensical lyrics, it’s that simple! Bitty in this effort ticks all neg boxes.
No video on the version I downloaded, but I am not going to let that ruin it much. I bet if there is one it would be well smart!
9/10 from me on this beauty!

Norm
Delroy greets us this week with “Over the River” a slow and tropical choon that hit the dizzy heights of #27 in 1995 in the UK charts. I’ll be honest I don’t recall this one from back in the day. I’ve listened to it a few times and it still doesn’t jog my memory. How can this be, I thought that I was a Bitty supporter, a fan. I feel bad for letting this one slip through the cracks of my musical library.
Some amazing things were happening in ’95 that must have captured my attention. Nick Leeson got caught with 800m quid in some sort of dodgy account as part of the Barings Bank scandal, Eric Cantona was kung fu kicking that Crystal Palace supporter who threw a cuppa at him, Princess Dianna was spilling her guts to the world about James Hewitt and last but not least, Waterworld, that iconic movie that cost a bazillion $’s and essentially destroyed Costner’s credibility and more than likely credit. Although that may have had something to do with the fact that I missed this one, it is more likely to be down to fact that we lived at the Litten Tree back then.
So, back to it. I’m now getting into the Jamaican feel of things, slowly supping on Redstripe, while listening to Bitty do his thing. I really like the horn intro to this, it’s smooth and sets the tone for the rest of the song, Bitty then rolls into his traditional islandic rhythm. His voice is so distinct and soothing, it pairs well with Redstripe, the song gets better and better with each and every sip.
I’m not sure about video, according to the subtitle, we have a scene in Jamaica and a scene in London. At no point in the video do I see a palm tree, ocean, sunshine or pineapples. I therefore conclude that this video was shot in London or possibly Birmingham with the help of UB40 and their creative talent division.
Enough of that, Bitty is a happy soul, really into his music and seems content. That’s good enough for me. Chalk me up for 7/10.
Well done Delroy, sorry I didn’t catch this on first time around. This is head bobbing music, Redstripe or Malibu worthy.
redstripe

Vince
A welcome return of Neggae’s young apprentice himself Bitty Mclean, with a lovely cover of Over the River by Justin Hinds And the Dominoes. I have to admit this is one of my favourite ska cuts,so my scoring will be somewhart biased. Bitty’s basically going to have to go some to nause this up. I discovered thr track by way of living legend DJ Derek and his marvelous LP Sweet Memory Sounds. Well worth a purchase:
djderek
But that’s enough of the old school, let get down to the neggezzae. Bitty doesn’t disappoint; the retread doesn’t dick around with the original – retaining the horn lines and general skank. In typical Neggae fashion Bitty has digitized and modernized the beats somewhat – but the sone still retains it joyous overall tone. And Bitty himself delivers another trademark tenor vocal, giving the song the enthusiastic vibe that ensured the yout’ dem all go to Woolworths and buy de t’ing. Or something.
Videowise, we are yet again transported back to the 60s. Judging by the fact that we know Bitty and the UBs were pals – I’d go as far to assume they’ve used the same director, studio, props and lead female actress in this video as in Baby Come back. That’s certainly the UBs with him berking about in the studio In Kingston Jamaica.
The narrative I think is supposed to suggest some sort of long-distance unrequited love affair, with Bitty’s paramour stuck in rainly old 60s Britain, in a cold flat watching a crappy black and white telly. She pines for Bitty, while he spends all day on a tropical island in a recording studio cutting dubplates and getting blunted with the Yowbs. I imagine she’s going to be waiting for him for quite a while.
SCORE: A very pleasant 7/10

Keith De Vivre
Transcribed by long standing friend of Keith’s – Master Paul Coleman.

“Neggaeists,
It is with heavy heart that I write these words to you…
I’ve just left Keith’s bedside. (I say bedside, in truth, it was a plush couch in a private booth at Beavers gentlemans club, Watford.)
Keith has passed.
Already racked with guilt about not being able to give the time and commitment of 32 minutes a week/fortnight that a solid neggae review required, nay deserved (something about work pressures, but I don’t buy that) he said he was possibly going to ask you to pass the baton to someone else, someone with more Neg in their blood. But it seems this decision was taken away from him…
His final moments were both moving and textbook Keith. As a nubile, eastern european poledancer writhed nearby to the strains of Shabba Ranks, he both managed to say his goodbyes to the staff, move a cushion from his lap to show the dancer his appreciation AND give his final review to Bitty Mclean, Over the River. He simply said
“It’s fun… I like it… and the video’s quite colourful… 7 out of 10…”
His final words will be noted as “Tell the elders I tried. A bit…” and – as a rolled up, stripper destined 20 pound note fell from his once mighty hand – a final, barely audible “Boom Shakalaka” passed under his massively-hairy top lip, and he left us.
I guess some people just can’t handle the Neg…”
kvd

NEGGAE SCORE: 7.4

Sting and Pato Banton – This Cowboy Song


Release Date: Feb 95
Chart Position: 15

Gouldy
I’m writing this from Marbella, for a time we were the prince’s of Puerto Banus, not bad for two boys from the rough slums of Pyrford. It was never going to last though and now things have gone proper nutty and got wight on top. The only way we’re getting out of this is going to Cadiz to meet a man so mental his own nightmares are scared of him, I don’t mind telling you, I’m pwoper shitting myself.
dyer
*ahem*, sorry about that, don’t know what came over me, on with the review. This version is actually a remix, which thankfully has played down the banjo stylings of the original. This is Sting’s explanation of the original ‘It’s an outlaw song about the existential cowboy becoming repentant of his days in the saddle and dealing with the concept of growing older, death or religion’
To really underline the gravitas of this deep, spiritual tale Gordon decided to get an Irish neggaeist to berk about and lay a verse down about following a guiding star or something, nice one you tantric twat.
The song starts with a decent horn and skanking beat, Paddy gives it a bit of chat about a guiding star and then Sting’s first verse kicks in and you know what? It ain’t too bad in the grand scheme of things. Sting’s vocals do leave me a bit cold though, there’s an underlying strain to his voice that makes him sound like he’s in dire need of an evacuation or suffering from a hernia. Then the chorus kicks in and it’s this bit that bothers me. The first thing is that coffee table guitar sound that’s endemic of Gordon Sumner, I’ve still no idea how he gets the savage weapon of Hendrix, Page and Townsend to sound like a watered down, slick, coffee table instrument. Shortly afterwards his trademark piano and electronic strings have kicked in and all the neggae’s been sucked out of it, it’s like something that’s not been deemed good enough for ‘Ten summoner’s tales’. Straight after the chorus Pato comes in and I’d bet after a 3 hour chat with Gordon about the song’s deep rooted sensibilities, like anyone else he was none the wiser so decided to write some nativity play like rhyme and cash the cheque to top up his diminished bag of sensi. The song continues in this vein for another 3 minutes, which is about 2 minutes too long in this elder’s humble opinion.
The video is some weird ‘Blazing Saddles’ pastiche, it starts off with Sting and a load of brasses but just as he’s starting to get his tantric on he realises there’s some other cowboy in the bottom of the bed, the fact he only realises this when he sees a pair of feet at the bottom of the bed which suggests he’s not the brightest spark. He then gets chased out of the bordello by his other half Trudie, at this point I do have a little bit of sympathy for him, if she can’t make him ejaculate after 15 hours he’s going to seek solace somewhere else. Meanwhile Paddy is watching this unfold on TV whilst wearing the Cat from Red Dwarf’s hair. He then falls asleep and is engulfed by a sea of smoke which I think indicates the Yowbs are smoking it up in the kitchen as the next minute he’s in the tv (again) and has taken the form of a preacher, it’s hardly ‘Like a Prayer’. We then cut to Sting and the world rejoices as it turns out someone has finally locked the prick up for his crimes against music. Pat is then returned to his sofa and has undergone some kind of spiritual awakening, we’ve all been there after a few blue mushrooms, he’ll be alright once he comes down. Disaster strikes at the end of the video as it seems Sting’s been let out, one can only assume they had to free up the cell for Jamie Cullum.
4/10 – the cowboy element should be referring to Sting’s musicianship.

sting-this-cowboy-song-remix-featuring-pato-banton-am

Vince
In the years leading up to the Neggae-Britpop handover, the other UK pop-culture touchpoint was renewed interest in all things wild and west. Tombstone, Wyatt Earp at the Box Office, Cotton Eyed Joe in the charts – for some reason the UK was back in love with whompin’-and-and-a-stompin’ and yeein-and-a-hawin’. The fire that started with Young Guns and Back to the Future III was by the mid-90s a veritable Cowboy-based flame. Remember the holiday where Jamie got China Black’s autographs? The day before that, Mum and Dad took us to see Maverick at Worthing Odeon. Singularly the worst cinematic experience of my life.
maverick
On the telly, there was a little show called Crocodile Shoes that was regularly pulling in 12m viewers. Jimmy Nail was the star, and released Cowboy Dreams – a maudlin ballad that my Dad enjoyed so obviously I didn’t (see reasons why here).
TOTP knew this. In February 1995, with Oasis, Supergrass and the Prodge all bustling around the top 40 – TOTP gambled on a western-themed episode involving wor lads. I’ve hunted and hunted for video footage of this amazing episode – which included ponchos, fake tashes and cacti – but none exist. What did happen was a veritable Geordie/Neggae/Cowboy free-for-all, with Pato, Jimmy and Sting all jumping betwixt performances purely to make themselves and the British Public laugh. And they bloody did. The only recording of this happening is this:
nail
As for the song – well we all know Sting is partial to a bit of the Reggay-Reggay. And taking into account Shinehead’s earlier effort, by being covered and producing original material, Sting is the first artist on the Neggae Hot 90 to create a self-closing loop.
This Cowboy Song sounds like much off Ten Summoners’ Tales, Sting’s return to form ‘93 LongPlayer. Inoffensive yet clever chordplay with Sting’s unmistakeably decent voice delivering an uplifting paen to prospecting and lynch mobs. You’ll notice that the video is a cut-and-shit affair, with Pato’s TV based scenes hastily grafted on to the high-budget, Western-based original. This is because the song itself was a re-up; Pato’s parts were added an the song gerenally iriefied to cash in on the Neggaemania now sweeping the UK. Sting had his eye on Pato (and in fact bankrolled his Breakthrough hit Baby Come Back) so called on the Brummie BadBwoy to share the Neggae love.
And he did. By Pato spitting a few well paced rhymes and berking about in the video – plus beefing up the sound woth some Neggae horns and backbeat, Sting rightfully landed the Neggae hit he was owed.
Score: 7/10

Keith de Vivre
Keith de Vivre has been AWOL for the last 2 weeks, with some neggae elders suggesting that they’d heard the last of the hirsute one… until a telegram (yeah they still exist) arrived via Bangladesh late last night…
telegram

Jonny
When I saw that we were covering this this week I thought that there was some kind of mistake, as this can’t be neg can it?
Although I’m not going to use my purist neggae fundamentalist views as an excuse for being a week late on my review, so I won’t, I’ll blame something else…..just not sure what that is yet.
But, for christ sake its about a Cowboy….is it really neg? I suppose if the Pato contribution turns it neg then so be it I won’t argue it.
I remember my dad being heavily into Sting at the time and him giving this one plenty of airtime in the car singing along loudly to it. He always used to say “great track! But who’s that yapping over the top of him?” If I am honest I have to agree with my old dad on this one, I don’t think that Pato brings much to the party and I hate to say that I reckon the track would be better off without him. By giving a twist of neg and adding Pato to the mix I think that they have turned a great Sting track into a ‘you remember that jokey one he did with Pato Banton’ type track.
7/10 for me (5 for Sting and just the 2 for Pato)

Norm
Oh my. Has this blog really come to this?
#weakneggae #patowhatareyouthinking #cowboysaintneggae
#poorexcuseforarecord #stingandpatodontmix #showtune #patotakethatshirtoff #stingisabadshot #imdonethisisreallybad
0.0/10 #notworthfollowingtheguidingstar
#youtwoshouldhaveknownbetter #whereisshaggy

NEGGAE SCORE: 4.0

C.J Lewis – Best of My Love


Release Date: Jul 94
Chart Position: 13

Vince
Here he is again then, the wiseman of Neggae, to tell us all ‘what a gwan‘ in this crazy place we call Planet Earth. A Neggae soothsayer if you will, nay –  a Neggae prophet. St John the Braptist. Nostrademus (and Pliers). CJ Lewis is going to take a melody from days of yore and fold in lyrical wisdom from the now to take us into from the future.
OR, he’s going to toast in exactly the same way as he’s done on his last two hits over a obvious pop sample anf over a happy shopper beat because it’ll shift a few more cassettes  In the words of Alan Partridge: “People like them, let’s make more of them.” Pop music consumers generally accept a degree of replication when a new artist suddenly hits the big time. Pop history is littered with follow-up songs that, give or take a melody line or a few different words are exactly the same as the initial chart smash. This was particularly prevalent in the 90s. Some examples:

Artist Pop Smash “We’re on to something here..”
Rednex Cotton-Eyed Joe Old Pop in an Oak
Scatman John The Scatman Scatman’s World
Prodigy Firestarter Breathe
No Mercy Where do you Go Please Don’t Go

Et cetera. Even the greatest band of all time did it (with this and this). The trick is, to get your foot in the door, but then go away and enhance your craft. Keep repeating the same old trick, and the public will view you as lazy or arrogant and won’t buy you records. As my Dad succinctly put it while watching CJ Lewis sleepwalk through this effort on TOTP “He’s taking the f*ckin p*ss now.”
And the song starts of so well too. There’s a sneaky little KC and the Sunshine band sample that fools us into thinking that young Steven James Lewis is going to go all Eric B & Rakim on our asses. Alas no. The rest of the song and video is a lazy yet uplifting homage to 70s disco; inoffensively cheery, like musical Schloer. CJ toasts, the guys and gals bob about in charity shop clobber and polyester wigs and everyone is happy.
The song is congruent with the whole everything-goes-in-20-year-cycles theory. Throughout the 90s There were tons of other Disco inspired pop hits (off the top of my head Kylie’s Step Back in Time, Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around, BucketHeads the Bomb). So in a way, I find it quite heartwarming that Neggae is following the cultural norm and CJ is representing our chart in the great merry-go-round of borrowed ideas that is pop. I too cashed in on this phenomenon, and hosted a suburban facsimile of the popular disco revivial night CarWash. It was exactly the same in many respects, but was held at Bisley Pavilion instead of Berwick Street and the average age of the clientele was 16¾.
Score: For reminding me of those Halclyon days (when Norm got caught eating the bouncers’ sandwiches) – 5/10.

167804_01_360

Gouldy
After last week’s Lauper debacle I was hoping for some actual neggae this week, when I saw that it was Eggheads favourite CJ Lewis my heart leapt. It’s back to a cover of sorts, this time the Emotions disco classic of the same name, CL had latched onto this 20 years before Daft Punk, ze seely Fronch roobots. The intro to this is like some lost native tongues classic, even sharing a sample with ‘Say No Go’  but after 20 seconds the Neg kicks in. Well I say that but I’m not sure it does, I’m finding it hard to differentiate between this and the original musically, I mean they’ve looped it a bit, chucked a couple of hip hop type samples over the top but have they made this neggae? I don’t think they have, it’s a bit lazy. The only neg in this are CJ’s vocals and lyrically they’re a bit humdrum, the usual sentiment of ‘oh your very presence enriches my existence due to the deep love we share’. This might be true for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t take long for apathy to set in, followed quickly by bitterness and finally leading to the apex of a strong relationship, hate. Get with the programme CJ. I’m a bit disappointed in CJ actually, as an egghead and quiz champion this was an opportunity for him to lay down some serious knowledge, edutainment for the masses, along the lines of ‘did you know Uganda borders Rwanda’, but alas he serves up the standard lovey dovey nonsense.
The video is shot outside Cliff Huxtable’s house and features some burrrrrrrds and bwoys in both modern day (in 1994) and sevs outfits shaking their booty, which I believe is now referred to as ‘twerking’ in modern parlance. I’d always assumed it was referring to a Yorkshire native’s place of employment as in;

‘Kes, where are you off to at this time you daft apath?’
‘Down pit twerk’

Seems I was wrong and it is in fact the most popular dance move since the ‘Dougie’, which I’ve never heard of either, it was all waltzing and foxtrots in my day. Not a lot of imagination has gone into the video, it’s hardly ‘Back to the Future’, in fact it’s not even up to Wu Tang standard when it comes to time travelling music videos. After my initial excitement about this song I realise a lot of it was rebound excitement after the Lauper fiasco really this is a bit meh.
Score: 6/10 – Gains a point for the fact my friends and I substituted the chorus for ‘you’ll get the rest of my glub’ when it was released.

Keith de Vivre
Choo Choo!
CJ’s back and rolling back into town looking to repeat the success of his 2 previous charters. “Sweets for my Sweet” of course smashed down in summer 1994 and – as covers go – I found it an absolute bloody delight. But more importantly, it reminds me of buying an unbelievably marked down Donnay tennis racket in the Stevenage Sport & Soccer in ’94. With England not being at the World Cup that year I got into tennis in a big way. It’s not something i’m proud of, but they were great days none the less.
DonnayRed94-1

I have, however, absolutely no memory of this follow up and even less idea what The Ceedge is singing about here. What I do know is that if you lifted his vocals and laid them over “Sweets for my Sweet” nobody would be any the wiser. Judging by the gloriously happy vibe throughout though, my guess is he’s singing about peace, love and mashing bits with ‘honeyz’. Or perhaps he’s telling us how they’re all having a great time on THE CLEANEST STREET IN AMERICA (seriously! look at it!) Or maybe, just maybe it’s a thinly veiled tale for us about how the subway train that bookends this video is actually THE CEEDGE’S VERY OWN TIME MACHINE!!
Bear with me doubters, the evidence is all here… 0.17s: The 70s/90s fashion split screen teaser of things to come; 0.21s: SUBLIMINAL FRO-DANCER!; 1.12: More split; before chucking all subterfuge out the window from 1.15 onwards with full on disco time-shiftin’. I’ve been to Flares and Reflex enough times to know that this is EXACTLY what the 70s looked like, which just hammers home for me Mr Lewis’s dimension-jumping credentials.

CJ BROWN
Dr. Emmet Brown discussing Ceedge yesterday.

Apparently Ceedge had a couple of other albums after this one, but little was really seen of him after 1995. Some people have suggested he went into music production, others say he started a BMW dealership in Ryslip. The truth is he’s spent the last 20 years rattling around space-time, dodging Libyans, getting into scrapes with Biff Tannen and trying not to accidentally f*ck his own mother.
I just hope he took time out of his busy schedule to ride the time-rail back to ’77 to apologise to the Emotions in person for this abomination. Or at least let me borrow it for a bit so I can go back to the Stevenage West Gate Centre, circa May 1994, and smash my ears in with a freshly purchased Donnay tennis bat so I won’t have to listen to this drivel 19 years later.
Score: Timelord or no Timelord, don’t mess with disco classics. 3/10

Norm
Thank you Jeezzuuss, we are back and so is one of my personal favourites, Mr CJ Lewis. Best of my love is a nicely blended summer “choon” mixing CJ’s love for strong, fast paced island rap and some pop-disco beats.
I think we’ve come through stronger now after a tough few weeks in the boardroom at Neggae Towers. The inclusion of Lauper, the shall-we-shall-we-not on China Black, what’s Neggae? What’s not Neggae? Mixed reviews and some generally tardy performances all around by some of the elders. All shaky stuff. I’m not going to name names but you know who you are. I say that in jest as I am essentially two weeks late writing this.
Anyway, back to CJ and the “Lewisettes” A great summer song, a true morale booster for the younger generation and not to mention a must at any BBQ.
The video is a touch on the urban side, possibly New York. The 70’s theme had me in a time warp and placed in the kitchen of Bisley Pavillion making a cheese sarnie. Full marks to the background crew in the vid, not much creativity from CJ. Well, let’s not dwell on the Visual. Let’s praise the back to neggae music we are presented with. Great pace from start to finish, excellent vocals / rapping from CJ, innovative theme with decent dancers. Overall, very enjoyable, not offensive and absolutely Malibu worthy.
Score: 7.5/10 for me. Solid work again CJ!

Jonny
Yes! CJ’s back, back again. CJ’s back, tell a friend! I’m not going to lie, I’ve started to struggle with the stale neg whiff that’s been hanging around in the air for what seems like a few months now. So seeing Mr Lewis on this weeks agenda was a welcome surprise!
Now, I’m normally not a big fan of covers. But I think he’s done a good job here. I don’t need to go into details about how great the original song is, its a classic, and I do think it is his recognition of this that helps him out. He’s left the heart and soul of the song intact, not really changing too much to the overall structure of it, but has added just the right amount of neg twist to it. Too little or too much of that stuff and it can really back fire on you.
Score: Its no Sweets for my Sweet, but is a fair offering from Seven James Lewis. 7/10 from me.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.7

Chaka Demus and Pliers – Gal Wine


Release Date: Aug 94
Chart Position: 20

Vince
First things first, another Neggae exclusive. This gem of a tune (which I had totally forgotten about) references/versions/pays homage to the potty-mouthed classic Barb Wire by Nora Dean. You won’t find that fact anywhere on the internet because:

a)      I’ve just checked (first ten pages on google anway)
b)      I’m obviously the first person to have noticed this in the history of mankind

You are more than welcome to pass this off as your own knowledge – it will help you succeed in life.
So we bid farewell to ChaPliers, the lads who raised the Neggae bar, and frankly deserve to win this most august of musical competitions. And they’ve gone out with a swansong. I’ve often referenced these two cheeky chappies as the Neggae Beatles; well this is their Abbey Road.
What they’ve done is gone back to basics. They’ve forgetten about the shiny US/New Jack sound that was a passing fad at the time, and concentrated on what they (and Jamaican music) excel at. The melody is sweet and infectious, a two chord bouncer, with plenty of humour and improvisation from the two up front. The productions harks back to the golden era of digital dancehall with crisp electronic bass and rhythms and shimmering piano chords. I’m talking Sleng Teng, Wa Do Dem – tough enough to make you want to move but a sweet melody underpinning everything. Lyrically, they’re keeping it simple, extolling the joys of the rotund feminine form and the effect it has on them.
And after the debacle of I Wanna Be Your Man they look like they’re actually enjoying themselves. Pliers is floating around the melody, eyes shut, like the Neggae Smokey Robinson he truly is. And there he is, Mr. Big Stuff himself , Chakademus, glint in his eye, swagger as he daggers – Neggae’s very own Baloo the bear. I love these two f*kcers, and if I’m honest I’m going to miss them. The video is your classic fire and Ice industrial workspace affair – rich with imagery and meaning. I could explain it all to you, but I wouldn’t do it justice and I’m not sure you’d all fully understand.Chaka+Demus+&+Pliers+-+Gal+Wine+-+5-+CD+SINGLE-425093

In closing, this tune has got riddim written all over it. I wasn’t there because I was 15 at the time, but I imagine this go pulled up, rewound and klaxxoned plenty of times at the 1994 Notting Hill Carnival. Would honestly love to know if that’s true – so if anyone was there drop us a comment below.
Score: A fond farewell and a 8/10. Well played sirs.

Gouldy
They’re back, the dynamic duo, the Mutch and Bull of neggae with their sixth and final Hot 90 entry. Initially I misread the title of this song and assumed it was going to be an ode to West Byfleet’s second most famous alcoholic Gal and his love of Lambrini, disappointingly this isn’t the case but I’ll persevere nonetheless. Right away you know that this isn’t your run of the mill neggae, it’s not a cover version for a start and as the beat draws you in there’s then a sublime bit of horn that keeps you there. Chaka takes the first verse and delivers some top class toasting as we’ve come to expect from him and is beautifully complimented by the sweet, soulful vocals of Pliers. The song is based on an age old theme which has been touched on by many different artists from Louis Armstrong to Alan Thicke to MC Skat Kat which is basically it takes all sorts mon and that even fat birds need a bang.
Obviously buoyed by their previous chart success the record company have thrown a bit of cash at the video in which they’ve recreated all the glitz and glamour of working in a steel factory. Chaka seems to like it though, the man’s a  bogling machine, one can only assume he’s undertaken an Ivan Drago like training regime to be able to achieve such extreme bogleness. Local sales of Tropical Lucozade went through the roof when this video was shot. A minute into the video there’s a comic sexual assault by Rusty Lee on Alvin Hall which sent me into a bad place. The scene is basically a reconstruction of an experience I had in Barcelona where after a four hour booze blackout I came to being assaulted by a rotund lady of the night who was trying to rifle through my pockets in the middle of a busy street. When I escaped her clutches and checked if anything had been taken I found I was down a phone but up a bag of funk. I don’t know how any of this happened and I have to question the professionalism of anyone prepared to sell to someone who was clearly ineabrieated but since then I’ve learned my lesson and restrict my alcohol related blackouts to English speaking countries only.
Score: I really like this, but it’s not the best version of the song, this is. With that in mind it’s a 7/10

Jonny
The tense deafening silence at Neg towers has started to eat away at my soul. Confusions over deadlines, delayed issues of reviews and banter delivered with a not so subtle undertone of hatred….it is a strange uncommon place at the moment. This was not what I, or any of us signed up for.
Come on lads! We are nearly there and we can do this (for f***s sake we are only half way through it.) We can’t let it fall apart now! We all have to pull together and we all have a part to play.
Vinnie, we need your leadership now more than ever, like a football manager in a relegation dog fight we need you to bring this bad boy home.
Gouldy pull your finger out and support Vinnie as co-editor. Write the WordPress password down and keep it safe for f***s sake, every week you lose it or forget it.
Norm, OK, we get it. The egg is cool. But I think you need to leave it alone for a bit. I know egg and Neg should go together nicely, but they clearly don’t and your putting the whole thing at risk with your obsession with drunken rib eye steaks (which I can’t blame you for). Maybe after Neg we could do something a bit more food orientated, but we need to close this out first before you start your own Man vs. Food support show (ala Big Brother’s Little Brother).
Jamie, me and you are as bad as each other and between us we need to get our s**t together, let’s make a special effort to get ours in ahead of the deadline each Friday (which sometimes moves depending on Vince’s mood). Put the dog down for just 10 minutes each week and get your review done, and I’ll do the same. After Neg we could start some kind of ‘dress your dog up as something stupid each week’ challenge, but until this is done we are lumbered with it. I will also try my very best to check for spelling, typos and grammar to help Vince avoid having rewrite mine each week.
So come on chaps, we can do this. Now is not the time to waiver, now is the time to step up and be counted. No-one (I am pretty sure no one?) has attempted this before, and I for one do not want to be the first to fail!
Oh yeah, this weeks effort – Chaka Demus & Pliers’s Gal Wine is awful. I’m losing the will to live with this s**t.
Score: 1/10 from me on the song, but a revived 10/10 for effort from me for the remaining 42 weeks (which FYI is longer than most prison sentences).

Norm
I go excited when I saw it was ChakaDemus and his smooth sidekick Pliers up this week. Then I listened to it again and again, over and over and it hit me when I was midway the fourth time around that one of two things were occurring. Either ChakaDemus and Pliers had peaked a while ago or I wasn’t listening to it in the right frame of mind or setting. If we are honest, I think that we’ll agree that this isn’t their strongest effort to date but if I close my eyes and start to head bob, I’m whisked away to the beaches of Jamaica and this song is not only bearable, but pretty good. This may be commercial cannon fodder to us cynical Brits, but in my mind (I’m suppin’ on a Malibu and pineapple with the paper umbrella jabbing me in the nose after each sup) as I’m on the beach with my boom box next to me, this tune is on in and melts into the Jamaican sunset just as my over priced snow cone I bought from a local Rasta rudeboy.
Anyway, enough about my daydreams and onto the review. I’m not on a beach in Jamaica, I don’t have a boom box and an overpriced snow cone watching the beautiful sunset go down. I’m in front of my desktop, flicking between Facebook, You Tube and Wikipedia trying to write this review. So after some pretty intense research, here we go.
It’s a fair to middle, average Neggae offering. For me it’s a little slow and lacks some creativity. ChakaDemus takes charge for the majority of this one, mastering the fast talk, slow rap that makes him instantly recognizable. Pliers has a couple of nice contributions but as the song nears it’s conclusion I’m a little bored. The chart position of #20 seems about right. By this stage of 1994 CD & P are riding the coat tails of their other hits. I would say that #20 is more of a “golf clap” from the UK along the lines of nice shot, good two putt, nice slacks, move on please, Phil Mickelson is waiting to hit his approach.
Score: Put me down for a very medium 5/10. Starting to feel a little concerned that we haven’t had any really big hitters recently.

Jamie
In the context of  ChakaDemus and Pliers’ career and legacy, Gal Wine to me seems like one of those “and finally” stories that pops up on London Tonight. The ones that are chucked in to send you on your way in a good mood after being bombarded with the latest on the Arab Spring and state of European Finances.
Its no ground breaker. It’s not even of the best Neggae offerings to be penned by Demus and Pliers, let alone a big hitter on the hot 90.
Its a plodder with a comical bit of rapping about skinny men and fat women. Hardly indepth social commentary. The opening 8 bars actually remind me of a Reggae in-fill on the keyboards we had in our music hut at SJB.
One week our class was set an assignment  to write a piece in a Reggae style. I think the lesson plan was drafted on a whim as it was hot outside and Mrs Masters was feeling a bit fruity, maybe she was digging the Neggae that Summer, you’ll have to ask her.
In front of a class devoid of ideas or any real music talent Mrs Masters thought she’d give an example of Reggae to get the cogs working. What followed was embarrassing, looking back it would almost certainly be deemed incredibly racist by the 21st Century  Ofsted.
Never have I heard the word “Mon” uttered so frequently by someone in a position of authority. She basically recited excerpts from Noel Coward’s Mad Dogs and Englishman, in a terrible mock rastafarian accent.  I’m pretty sure she even chucked in some laughter and adlibs from Obla Di Obla Da for good measure as well. Every so often pressing the drum in fill button and shouting “mon” in a rhythmless skanking frenzy. It was like watching an episode of rising damp or Till Death do us part at the theatre. Uncomfortable but morbidly interesting.
Sadly that repressed memory conjures up more interest for me than Gal Wine. Even though it’s Chaka and Pliers I cant really let them wing it this time.
Score: Sorry lads. A bit like my school music report, inconsistent and must try harder next time. 5 out of 10.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.2