Welcome to the dub club
Time to get wise to reggae in all its rich variety as tripTych brings together some of the world’s leading exponents of the form.
Words: Neil Ferguson
king and bass culture is all
pervasive. the sound and influence of reggae is more powerful than ever. There are. however, more than a few poor bewildered souls who remain unconvinced of the healing power of Jamaican music.
These are the people scarred by the childhood trauma of exposure to UB4O or unnerved by legions of dope addled. white would-be rastas with dubious personal hygiene. given to exclaiming ‘irie!’ or ‘roots!’ at the most inopportune moments. There are even — God forbid - miserable gimps that moan that ‘it all sounds the same'.
Bollocks. Quite frankly. Reggae is a broad musical
I n an era where the DJ is
church. so give thanks and praises to those delightful tripTych people who have assembled a line up of artists to appeal to fanatics. recent converts and the curious alike.
An undoubted highlight is the Trojan Sound System showcase. Bringing to you the SOUnd of the town. Kingston JA. Trojan was and is the label that introduced generations of British kids to the cream of Jamaican talent throughout the 605. 70s and beyond. A
24 THE LIST 25 Apr—9 May 2002
speaker-bursting dub 30undtrack on the night comes courtesy of the Dub Cartel fronted by filmmaker. ex-Big Audio Dynamite man. DJ and all round renaissance man. Don Letts. He's the man largely responsible for introducing 708 London punks to the delights of reggae. as DJ at the infamous Roxy club. Check out his recently released. nigh on essential Dread Meets Punk Rockers Uptown. Add to this the honey sweet vocals of dancehall icon Johnny Clarke. the Dub Asantl Band and one of the original killer DJs/Toasters. Dennls Alcapone and you've got a night to remember.
On a more contemporary note. check out the dub- infused electronica of Pole. the experimental Dominican/ German interface of Sclon presents lelman and if that's not enough to float y0ur boat. then Adrlan Sherwood and Ghetto Prlest could well be the ace in the pack. Ghetto Priest — ex of African Headcharge — is a roots vocalist second to none. while Sherwood is a one man production army. championing and developing contemporary. apocalyptic dub sounds over the last two decades with his ON U-Sound label.
Above all, this is no exercise in cheap nostalgia. Reggae is and always will be uplifting, Spiritual and downright sexy. To paraphrase the great funk maestro George Clinton. it's music to ‘put a dip in yOur hip and a glide in your stride'.
See Rock Ilstlngs for full detalls of performances.
Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake shares the idiosyncratic secret of JAD FAIR. Words: Doug Johnstone
usical collaboration is. as they say, a double edged sword. On the one M hand. it's responsible for the continuing success of Welsh roaring
monstrosity Tom Jones. as he duet-whores his way around the entire music world. On the other hand. it brings us Teenage Fanclub and Jad Fair.
Last month this pairing released an excellent album, Words Of Wisdom And Hope. and tripTych presents the collaboration in live form. with gigs in all three cities involved. But while readers are likely to be well familiar with Scotland’s own harmonious guitar-pop darlings the Fannies, less is known on these shores about Mr Fair.
Frontman with seminal American band Half Japanese. Fair is a highly influential figure. having recorded and performed with countless musicians, as well as being a highly respected artist to boot. His association with Teenage Fanclub goes back a long way, as the band’s singer and guitarist Norman Blake explains. ‘We first met him when he was over doing some stuff with the Pastels.’ says Blake. ‘That would be nine or ten years ago. and we‘ve seen him a lot over the years since. When he’s over here he stays at our house now and I guess that’s how the record came about.’
The album was written and recorded more or less on the spot. over two days in a Glasgow studio. The result is a
‘I love his integrity, honesty and simplicity; his
refreshingly energetic and raw piece of - skewed pop. pitching Fair’s lyrlcs are idiosyncratic vocals and lyrics against brilliant,
the Fanclub’s rounded guitarjangle with
surprisingly effective results. ‘It was all
pretty much improvised and spontaneous and that’s been captured on record I think,’ says Blake. ‘And it makes it exciting to actually go out and play it live. cos we haven‘t played the songs since.‘
Contrary to previous Fanclub material. the songs on Wm-ds Of Wisdom Am] Hope are basic affairs. something the band were very deliberate about. ‘We wanted people to focus on Jad‘s voice.‘ says Blake. ‘That‘s the first thing someone’s going to listen to when they hear that record. so we wanted to do something simple behind that and not confuse matters.’
Blake and the rest of the band are obviously big fans of Fair‘s music and his artistic sensibilities. and are clearly thrilled to be teaming up with the man live. ‘I love his integrity and honesty and the simplicity of his work.‘ says Blake. ‘He has love and enthusiasm for music. he’s got great ideas. his lyrics are brilliant and he’s a great performer.‘
Anything else while we're here? Blake thinks for a moment. ‘And he’s a pretty good Scrabble player too. He knows all those obscure words and he‘s pretty hard to beat.‘
Teenage Fanclub and Jad Fair play Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow, Fri 26 Apr; quuld Room, Edinburgh, Sun 28 Apr.