What’s your Favourite Neggae compilation album?
For me, it’s the one that was first out of the traps.
Telstar’s Ragga Heat, Reggae Beat. Released in 1993, this was the one that captured the movement at its purest. Inner Circle, Snow, Shaggy – all the ‘pre-94 crash’ artistes are on here. No Zig and Zag or Ricky from Eastenders. They also cleverly put a picture of Ziggy Marley on the front REALLY looking like his Dad. They weren’t daft.
I was put on to this by my little brother Jamie. He found a market stall in Woking that was selling cassettes like this for £3. I’m not saying it was a counterfeit, but the beauty of its low quality meant that even if you made copies you couldn’t really notice the degradation in sound.
And you favourite other 90s music movement?
Acid Jazz I think. Was onto it quickly thanks to my big brother JohnJohn getting Brand New Heavies first LP and Jamiroquai’s only Acid Jazz release. Fell in love with the logo.
Loved the sound too, somehow uniquely British. I would go record shopping with Knivvo and was rarely let down by anything on the label. Corduroy, Mother Earth, JTQ all released cracking LPs that I played to death. I became so sure of the label and movement that I started buying records ‘blind’ – not even listening to them in the shop. Bought Sleazeball by the Night Trains on the strength of the variety of instruments on the sleevenote (‘flugel horn’ being the clincher), Patchy album but even that had this corker on it:
It all sort of came to a head when I was 16 and went to Jazz Izz at Highbury Fields. Jamiroquai, JTQ, Maceo Parker all bossed it. I met Sean from Desmonds in the beer tent. True story. After that, like Neggae, Acid Jazz sort of tailed off. Or maybe it didn’t, and I just got distracted by Britpop and French House.
Favourite Neggae Banger… GO!
Here come the Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze. Pure sickniss.
I play it at weddings, I play it at ModernisM events. It never fails to get people boogieing. It was also important in the artistic development of Salaam Remi, super-producer who would go on to produce the Fugees, Nas, Amy Winehouse, pretty much any decent soul-hiphop that matters.
And who’s the Neggae villain?
The moment that soap stars got involved, the gig was definitely up (see death of Neggae below). John Alford shipped turd after turd over atrocious cover versions, and people seemed to lap it up – including inexplicably my Dad. Fortunately though his music career was short-lived, he spunked most of his cash on woof and is now a roofer. So that’s something I guess.
What’s you Neggae Guilty pleasure?
Baby I love your way by Big Mountain. A f*ckin belter. 10 times better than the Frampton version.. Listen to Big Mountain’s version, then Frampton’s. You’ll switch back to Big Mountain’s after a minute I guarantee it. It’s like when a support act upstage the main artist. Check out the geezer’s voice. He’s neggae’s Dennis Brown. God knows how it didn’t get to number one.
*goes and checks*
Oh yeah, Love is All Around kept it off. Oh well, at least our Reg earnt a few quid (RIP).
Where were you the day the Neggae died?
I don’t think it necessarily died on any particular day, it just suffered from a rare muscle-wasting disease from late 94 onwards. It apexed with the UB’s and Pato’s Baby Come Back (such a big hit that even Spitting Image took the piss) and then just steadily declined. Too many cash-ins and chancers jumping on the bandwagon. Around about that time obviously Britpop and decent UK Dance meant that pop music was generally in rude health – Neggae didn’t really stand a chance.
If pushed and I had to pinpoint specific days when Neggae was punched in the face on its deathbed though, it would be every day that Suggs released a record in the 90s.
Finally, some word association. Say the first five words that comes into your mind when you think of the other four Neggae elders
Jamie – Our kid, espana reggata noventa
Jonny – habitually late, must try harder
Norm – loves Malibu, neggae and egg
Gouldy – Teachers pet, gives me apples