There is a great tradition in reggae music to do cover versions. You can argue about the pros and cons of cover versions and we all have our favourites but turning any song into a Jamaican skank is usually a good thing in my book.
I first heard the Easy Star All-Stars version of Breath by Pink Floyd about 5 years ago on a home made compilation tape that my ex-house-mate Carl had (from his mate Jim). I couldnt get it out of my head and soon tracked down a copy of the CD on an import label from the States. Turns out theyre from NYC but you wouldnt know that from the sound they make. The Dub Side Of The Moon was a faithful recreation of the seminal Floyd LP in a reggae stylee. The drum and base version of On The Run still makes me laugh..as does the sound of a bong being drawn on during the intro to Money.
There followed an LP of Radiohead covers entitled Radiodread and their producer Ticklah produced an excellent LP fusing reggae, dub and ska Ticklah Vs Axelrod which contains the wonderful Pork Eater (how can you eat something that lives in the mud and still want to smoke the rasta bud?).
So when I heard they were coming to town I just HAD to go and see them and Im telling you people they were FANTASTIC! By spreading the word I had a posse of 9 or 10 going originally – which dwindled to just 3 of us on the night Adam and Si, who had a cast on and was using crutches (after fracturing his fibula whilst out jogging).
Only caught the end of support act Ed Rome – wish I’d seen more. Ive not seen a crowd be so into a gig for a long time. Everyone was dancing from the front to the back and it was the horn section that got the bodies moving every time. When I come back next time, I want to be a trombone player.
The musicianship was outstanding from everyone on stagebut the absolute joy of the night came when female singer (sorry I don’t know any of your names) got to the microphone for Great Gig In The Sky. Her vocal performance was second to none and brought whoops of delight and amazement from us in equal portion. Getting the crowd to join in, in a call and response fashion worked incredibly well too. The cheeky toaster had his moments too but it was Woohow, waaaaaaaah, wah, how how how hoooooooooow that I was singing for days after.
When the lights came up, the whole place had beaming smiles everyone knew theyd seen something a bit special. A little bit of Jamaican sunshine that you could not Eclipse.
Bob the Chiropodist