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Need a nice Reggae song to analyse.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by popinfresh, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Pretty much what the title says, it's just a thing for music where we have to write the form, type of reggae it is, internal rythms, improv, chords etc etc and I need a nice reggae peice to do. I really enjoy listening to the stuff, but never much got into it..

    So hit me!

    P.S. I wasn't sure if this was meant to go in recordings, or here, so move it if need be :)
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Can ya give us a little more to go on? Are you looking for something mostly instrumental, or are you looking for something with vocals? Roots, Dub, Dancehall? Something studio or live? Something older and Traditional or Something modern?

    Lemme know, and I'll put up an MP3 of something for you to use...or maybe a few things.

    Oh yeah, I'm headed to work right now, so I probably won't see yer reply for about 8 hours...
  3. bob marley...i shot the shariff, or no woman no cry, or really anything by him or peter tosh!
  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Third World: "Lagos Jump" or "Reggae Radio Station"
  5. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Pressure Drop
    By Toots and the Maytals
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  7. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Third World
    (I'd go w/ "96 Degrees in the Shade")
  8. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    Can somebody explain the difference between, say, roots and dancehall style reggae?
    I don't mind if somebody says something about dub too :)

    I've enjoyed reading answers to reggae questions, especially BurningsSkies' answers.

    Rock on :bassist:

    (sorry, just wanted to use that smilie :bag: )

    (that too... :ninja: )

    (okay, enough :D )
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    GREAT song.
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I'm fond of the music of Steel Pulse. One of my favorite songs of theirs is "Earth Crisis." Two other well known songs of theirs are "Roller Skates" and "Babylon the Bandit." Almost anything of theirs is good. Their bassist is especially good...ALvin Ewen, though he is not the original bassist.

    The reggae of Steel Pulse is chategorized as roots reggae...or more like the original or the Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff style. I prefer this style of reggae, myself, but it has evolved quite a bit.

    By the way, if you do a Google search, you will come across many highly informative web sites that discuss reggae, its history, major "stars" and styles.
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Nice one...that's a killer album too. I love that version of Bunny Wailer's Dreamland that on that record...in fact, we've been known to close sets with it ourselves.

    That record isn't so typical of 70's roots, as its a bit polished...I mean Third World has always been a bit different, what with Cat Coore and Bunny Rugs. They're really the only reggae band where you can count on an extended cello solo in the set.
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Its not as easy as that...but to give you a little bit of the line of things...

    First comes Ska. It was the combination of Big Band Jazz and Jump (think Louis Jordan) and the real 'roots' music, mento and Calypso. The other big influences were soul music coming down from New Orleans and, believe it or not, movie soundtracks. The bass grooves tend to walk, but not in a loose jazz way, more of a repeated figure kind of way. Stay 'in' the scale too! There's a big emphasis on horn parts, and less on vocals. Ska was the boom-shot from about 1958 until 1966

    Next comes Rocksteady. Rocksteady happened in the summer of 1966, due to its super hot weather (too hot for that fast ska groove), the popularity of American soul (especially 3 part harmony groups, C. Mayfield being the 'partron saint' of Jamaican music of this era). And the growing influence of the Rasta Man and his collie weed can be heard too. The grooves are not only slower, but the bass doesn't walk...it's simple repeated lines. The horns are de-emphasized, and in some cases, gone. The vocals are the thing...3 part harmonies predominate...think about groups like the Paragons for this era stuff. These grooves are still heard as backing tracks in modern reggae, usually updated with new drum tracks and maybe updated instrumentation...that 'big Sean Paul song from a year or two ago, "Still In Love" is a remake of an older song...and that groove is a Duke Reid produced Rock Steady Backing Track.

    You can see that Rock Steady gave way to early Reggae...The early stuff can be pretty rough and primative (especially the offshoot 'skinhead reggae', yes, the first skins were black working class Jamaicans). The ONE DROP came in (everyone play off the one...especially the bass) and lets be honest, the Barrett Brothers became the architects for most of 70's roots reggae grooves. The "Roots" part of that came from not just an interest in the cultural identity of the Jamaican artists and the rights movement that was happening across the globe, but also that a lot of the patterns you see are based upon 'traditonal' folk/tribal grooves. If you're interested in that, check out the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari Grounation , its a recording of a Rastafarian religious ceremony and you can hear some of those drum patterns. In this time period, you start to hear DREAD HARMONIES. These are represented in both the vocal harmonies (lots of those groups are rocksteady singers made roots reggae bands) and also in the horns. Dread harmonies are minor key and tend to sound a bit 'off' or out of tune to the uninitiated...they reflect the sadness of the social, political, monetary and spiritual situation of the black man in the islands (and the rest of the world. I love this stuff, and lost a few years just listening to bands like the Abyssinians, The Mighty Diamonds, The Congos among others.

    How did people in the islands listen to reggae? They were poor, and didn't have all the stereos we do...they didn't have 'clubs' as we do either. They had SOUND SYSTEMS. They were roving trucks or vans with lots of speakers, amps and turntables...and they set up in a field or empty lot. The yardies and such would show up and it would be an instant dance party outdoors. Keep in mind, if you were from Trenchtown, you lived in a shanty made of scrapwood by the trench...an open sewer running from Kingston. ICK! Anyway, that's one of the reasons that BASS became so important in Reggae...it travels soooo well outdoors if you have BIG amps...and can make people dance. Anyway back to the Soundsystem...Guys would spin the newest records, on one side would be the single...and on the back would be a 'version' or the instrumental backing track without the vocals. It was cheap for the guys who put out records (DIY), and it meant with 2 turntables a DJ could spin the same song (2 copies of a single) for as long as he wanted (especially if it was a hot song).

    So...this DJ, he would spin the song...and sometimes he would talk, or 'CHAT' over the song(also called TOASTING)...He did this in a rythmic fashion, chanting and rhyming stuff. THIS is the birth of Dancehall. Guys like I Roy and Big Youth became the feature entertainment rather than just spinning records. Now, on the other hand some guys, like King Tubby built and ran their own soundsystem, and 'remixed' stuff live with reverbs, delays and such...and thus was the beginning of DUB. Dub is a topic for whole different conversation. Don't let anyone fool you about dub sound...it's all in the mix, seldom do the bass track have effects put on them...

    So, you've got DJ's chatting over both roots and older rocksteady grooves...but you know, those rhythms sometimes don't quite match your rhyme...what do you do? You use the fader for the board to create hits, but rapidly and rythmically bringing the slider up and down...NOW we're getting somewhere. When you hear repeated HITS in reggae it's known as the MIX and the mix is what DANCEHALL becomes. No longer are you tied to one drop patterns, you can run other rhythms along with them. This is where modern dancehall comes from (hey, it's also where hip-hop and rap started, before those guys moved to NYC). Instead of 'mixing' a fader on a turntable or two, guys started to make tracks with these hits and grooves together both with bands and electronically. Modern Dancehall has a 'feedback loop' happening with american hip hop these days, and they both borrow freely from eachother, but the Jamaicans had it first.

    In the dancehall, the DJ's are now vocalists, not spinning records, but chatting over backing tracks or a live band. Lots of the RIDDIMS used are recycled and reused...if it's hot, every producer on the island will put out a version of that riddim, with different vocalists and different songs over top. There are some cool CDs out there that have 20 or more different songs all over versions of the same groove. If you see a DJ with a live band, you can hear them call out cues "MIX!" means everyone goes into a hit pattern, while "Drum & Bass!!!" means everyone lays out except the drums & bass...a call for "RIDDIM" means that the bass drops out and the keys, guitar, etc. run the most simple back up rhythm part, usually a single chop with only hi-hat.

    Anyway, there's so much more...I'm going to bed now.
  13. reggaeman


    Jul 12, 2005

    I think you should go with something that really captures the spirit of reggae. Something political or spiritual. I'd go with Steel Pulse - Prediction. It's also a great example of how reggae is an international music. Steel Pulse is one of the first few Reggae bands outside of Jamaica. They are from the U.K. There's also a bit of dub at the end of the song :bassist:
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Riddim Haffe Rule!
  15. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    o_O whoaaaa.... *deep love*

    That was... informative. Have to say I didn't know most of that.

  16. I got book this Bob Marley book about a year ago. It's pretty good - most of the Bob tunes you need to know are in it.
  17. reggaeman


    Jul 12, 2005

    Its funny how when people say reggae they automatically associate the word with Bob marley. Reggae goes much farther than just one artist.
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    You're right. It has a history that is only a few years shorter than that of American rock & roll, and expresses a diversity that rivals R&R. Wether you're into slackness or concious, DJ or Sing-J. Roots, Lovers rock, Skinhead, Ragga...it goes on and on. Most people think roots when they think reggae, but if'n yer in the islands, that's like classic rock.

    I worked in an independant record store for about 10 years, and it was funny...we'd have a Johnny Clarke disc or a Sizzla disc on and people would come in and say "Oh, I love Bob Marley!!!". No real dis though. People haven't been exposed to much else.

    They also think that the Tide is High is a Blonde song, They think Red Red Wine is by UB40 and that the Clash wrote Police & Thieves and Pressure Drop.

    The Wailers (as a band) have exerted a lot more influence over popular Jamaican music and culture than any artist has done in the US with rock. The songs are well written, well performed and full of spiritual and social content that make them easy to listen to repeatedly.

    I find the interesting thing is that the Wailer's weren't all about free love and partying as most of the general public think. They were about revolution and not always by peaceful methods. When they talked about uprising, it wasn't just 'equal rights'. Its much more evident on the early CD's with Pete and Bunny, but even later when there was an eye to international success...it was still about revolution. With songs like Slave Driver, Burnin' & Lootin' and Small Axe, you can see they were pretty serious about it. Early in the roots era, they took on militant garb in that vein as well. Y'll have seen Tosh's Strat? Built to look like a real gun.

    The band, directed by bassist Aston "Familyman" Barrett designed the footprint of the predominant roots reggae song/instrument arrangement...Catch a Fire with it's multiple keyboards and intricate instrumentation (mostly done in England after the fact) became the mold for the mid-seventies. In many ways, the Wailers ARE the bible for Reggae (or maybe instead of bible we should consider them the Kebra Nagast of reggae).
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    If anyone IS interested in scratching the surface of both the music and the story of popular Jamaican music, I'd suggest getting the Steve Barrows' book "The Rough Guide to Reggae", now in it's third updated edition. It's got tons of history and ethnographic information on the culture and music of Jamaica. It also happens to have really good record reviews and inforamation on a wide variety of musical artists. It's a good jumping off place.

    Barrows, is the owner/opperator of Blood and Fire records in the UK, and has also done lots of work for Island Records. He assembled the "Tougher than Tough" box set for island, which is a brief (4CD) survey of Jamaican music from late 50s until early 90s. Blood and Fire re-releases classic and 'obscure classic' reggae albums, often collecting hard to find dub and 12" mixes with the album. They're all remastered, and the real rarity...HE PAYS THE ORIGINAL ARTIST ROYALTIES. Something rarely seen in the reggae world, where copyright isn't recognized very often and enforced even less.
  20. If you were into plagarism, you could just copy BurningSkies impromptu posts for your paper! I'm primarily into C&W from the 30's through early 60's and blues from the same period, but I could be converted by people like BurningSkies.