SLEEPY MEETS MR.SOUL IN LADBROKE GROVE
2. ALTON WHIPS THE PRINCE!
3. AGGRESSION, THE GUN, AN' ALL THEM T'INGS
4. ALTON RECALLS
Horace Andy: "I love reggae man, it's my die-hearted sound. I can never, never stop doing it. But nobody do it right. Them guys are not writing no songs. If you see a whole stage show in Fort Clarence, you shake your head man. All them artists from Singing Melody, Thriller U... nobody writes, (exasperatedly) I don't know why."
Alton Ellis: "Reggae is at is lowest ebb to me for fifteen years, 'cause for the past fifteen years it been going on the up an' up and it just turn now. Like, missing Bob is one factor. You 'ave different competition of sound now, like Hip Hop. Plus, people in London, their appetite for Reggae has changed.
"The quality, the contents deteriorate. Is a lot of thing contributed to that. 70% of the person in Jamaica today is bad boy, is coke man, and man who sell enough in America and come to Jamaica now and start invest. 60% of the producer them is like that now. Musically the knowledge is like that (indicates tiny space between thumb and forefinger). Most have some money an' call good musicians to work, but there's no direction.
"The next thing is because the music catch on already now. The people don't wanna pay attention to going at it blood, sweat and tears. Is just the vibes. Because Reggae is still accepted so to speak.
"So what we used to go through, fe bend it an' twist it an' sandpaper it and all that, them don't worry about that none. Just lick it two time an' 'BLOW! BLOW!... one tune, nex' tune...' y'unnerstan'? Changes not in Reggae music again. It's jus' two chord, or one chord."
Horace Andy: "That's how the shopkeeper them do it now. Them listen to ten sounds, and if it's a really lovely song it's just... if you have the changes and the bridge an' all them, they say 'Uh-huh, you can't have that, it take longer fe sell'. But you see man like Ninjaman? 'Me gwan...' (shakes head wearily)."
Alton Ellis: "An' the next thing is the generation. Since our time, about two generations get involved, and them wanna hear something with more energy now. Our music used to 'ave a lickle layback in it, it 'ave a swing, the bassline have time fe swing. Now it is a straighter tune of energy."
Horace Andy: "When we were singin', Steelie an' them was learnin', an' when them ready fe play now, is a different Waterhouse. Is younger kids, so you definitely gonna get a different trend.."
Alton Ellis: "Different vibes."
Horace Andy: "When I was growing up, my mother say 'what kinda song that? That nah say nutt'n' and is the same thing now.
"There must be changes, and the changes widen the whole scope of Reggae. You can pinpoint about seven different types of Reggae on the market, if not more. I love it, honest, y'know? But some people can't get into the new sound. Them can't open their mind. An' a bit of it is nonsense, I must agree, but that is down to the lick an' promise producer, y'unnerstan'?
"Like the guy 'ave $2,000 to lick four or five rhythm, and 'im call twelve or fifteen guys. This one come an' try something... NEXT! An this one come an' them might say 'Yeah, wicked!' Im finish and that's one, an' then two or three more talent come up and them get one out of the four and the guy release it and it go big. And then someone come in the studio and deejay 'It 'ard an' stiff...' y'know... You don't want them t'ings. You can't call those guys producers! Jammy's start it off, an' he should set an example. Somebody come with dirty song... 'No! Don't want that!'"
Alton Ellis: "Money firs'. I would use the same vibes, and find different lyrics that fit in there. First time, them were more strict."
Horace Andy: "But you turn on the radio now and it's Shabba Ranks, an' 'Hard an' stiff!...' No man, it's a shame man, believe me man. Look at 'Gun In A Baggy'. 'She, she, 'ave gun in her baggy-gy-gy!' How can somebody record dat, man? It a go number one! An' never play on the radio."
Alton Ellis: "Check this: the youth didn't hear it till 'im hear it. So 'im wouldn't 'ave it to buy if it wasn't produced. Im would buy something else man.
"The singers that live in Jamaica today have to be singing good to stand up against the opposition from the deejay. Good singers like Freddie Magregor. I hear a friend go a show in Jamaica and Freddie come on and made a show, and everybody take time to buy a drink! 'Cah there was deejay before, an' deejay after, an' Freddie come like a break!
"Y'understand how much the mentality swing in Jamaica? The whole thing swing. Because the aggression take over, and the violence take over."
Horace Andy: "I seen Half Pint singin', y'know? Him sing all them song an' everybody watch, an' 'im locks 'im shake, an'... nothing can happen man! Him say the vibes aren't there today, an' 'im gone. An' Ninjaman, 'im jus' walk 'pon stage (Horace imitates Ninjaman's exaggerated rude bwoy pose) ... an' it done! I jus' stand an' watch, and 'im jus' say 'New gun fe bus'! Lord 'ave mercy! New gun fe bus!...' How can you hear stupidness like that?
"The music is nice, but I dunno... 'Jump around if you 'ave your doorkey!... Kick out your foot if you 'ave your own clothes!' An' if you watch the girls, them foot kick out! (laughs)
"I watch Ninjaman, and 'im say 'When them get it, they talk about they jam it, and how they juk it!' (imitates Ninjaman's lewd gestures to much amusement from all), an' the girls them love it. It's a different thing.
"Mark yuh man, honestly man, I love some a dem fe real. Every club you go, believe me, the number one song is 'Hard An' Stiff', an' Shabba Ranks, an' 'Pum pum nanny a go kill me' an' 'Get You Good'.
Alton Ellis: (derisively) "Calypso lyrics, y'know. Me couldn't stand Calypso fe nuff years. Suggestive, sexually, or is a comedy."
Horace Andy: "It's slack. Out of order, man."
Alton Ellis: "Or is a comedy; some man a graveyard or something, and some girl jump out an' chase 'im 'round graveyard... A no culture there, y'know? An' them switch the Reggae too y'know. Pure sex business an' violence. Gun an' all them t'ings deh.... But I dunno, I jus' leave it all fe run, y'know. Who am I to change it?
"It's the youth who make the changes. An' I accept the changes in Reggae. Is only that I want them clean it up, y'unnerstan'?"
Horace Andy: "But you know what cause it man? It's the same people I hear in Jamaica cry out 'Lord, teach the youth dem!' every day. And I remember, fifteen years ago, the same people them say 'Too much culture, too much Rasta tune! Them force down culture 'pon we, blah, blah, blah...' Who's the fault? It's the same people them fault."
Alton Ellis: "Some people must look 'pon the business an' laugh man."
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