Hugh Mundell – Ital Sip – Message – 1978
One of a pile of records that I bought the last time I went physically digging in Tokyo – Africa Must Be Free By 1983 just got washed and a given a final lighter fluid polish. Robbie Shakespeare on bass, produced by Augustus Pablo, and mixed by Lee Scratch Perry – probably at Randys, which was Perry`s favourite studio, where he did all of his work with Bob Marley and The Wailers, until they upgraded the mixing board he was prompted to build his own studio, The Black Ark. This a super strong LP with Hugh singing as Mundell, and DJing as Jah Levi across classics, like Lets All Unite, Book Of Life, Run Revolution A Come, Day Of Judgment, and this, the dub of Jah Will Provide, entitled Ital Sip. A prodigy who wrote and recorded this LP when he was only 16, Hugh was tragically shot dead at the age of 21.
Earl Zero – City Of The Weak Heart – Jah Fingers – 2018
Originally a super rare 7” from 1976, on Tommy Cowan`s label, Arab, reissued by Jah Fingers with its cracking King Tubby`s version and 1975 smash, Please Officer, on the flip. A dynamite tune, which was a Dub Vendor recommendation. Do yourself a favour and sign up to their Instagram, because every Friday they post clips of fire like this. They are clearly people who are passionate, in love, with music.
Betty Davis – If I`m In Luck I Might Just Get Picked Up – Light In The Attic – 2002
Betty Davis – Anti Love Song – Light In The Attic – 2002
Two terrific chunks of way raunchy funk, spun in celebration of, and in tribute to, the legendary Betty Davis – who sadly passed away on February 9th. Both tracks are taken from Betty’s self-titled debut album – released on Just Sunshine Records in 1973, and reissued by Seattle`s Light In The Attic. I’ve written more about Betty over at Ban Ban Ton Ton.
We have two of Betty’s contemporaries next. Both Annette Peacock and Ruth Copeland also pioneered that intersection of jazz, funk, and psyche – though neither, it has to be said, boasted anything quite like Betty’s “no prisoners” stage persona.
Annette Peacock – Pony – Future Days Recordings – 2012
I’ve cherry-picked Pony from Annette’s solo debut album, I`m The One – originally released in 1972 RCA Victor, and then reissued by Light In The Attic off-shoot, Future Days Recordings, in 2012. Married for a while to jazz bassist Gary Peacock, and a long-term creative partner of pianist Paul Bley, Annette was one of the first folks to get to grips with Robert Moog`s synthesizer (around the same time that Eno was at the controls for Roxy Music). Annette is another one of those artists where everything she’s recorded – if you can find a copy – is well worth picking up. This peacock constantly pushing the envelope stretching in new and novel directions. Pony is grinding, groovy, slow and sleazy – notable I guess for the strange, strung-out voice-processing. There’s a story, I’m not 100% sure if it`s true, that David Bowie, suitably impressed, asked Annette to join his touring band, but she politely knocked him back.
Ruth Copeland – Gimme Shelter – Invictus – 1971
Ruth Copeland was member of the Funkadelic family / inner circle, and as such co-wrote several of the groups` early `70s songs with bandleader, George Clinton. I Am What I Am was her sophomore solo album, and it`s basically Funkadelic fronted by Ruth (Eddie Hazel, Tiki Fulwood, Billy Nelson, and Bernie Worrell, had actually momentarily split from Clinton, due to questions over who was getting paid). The LP contains a couple of Stones covers, but my favourite track is the Copeland original, Cryin` Has Made Me Stronger. It`s the sort of testifier that I imagine to have been played on the Primal Scream Screamadelica tour bus. Here, though, Eddie shreds his way through Gimme Shelter. I mean, man, what’s not to like? Chapeau doffed to Ashley Beedle, `cos this is an old Heavy Disco tip.
For more musical musings, from Dr. Rob, Balearic Mike, Dennis Kane, Cal Gibson, Adam Turner, and house music expert, The Insider, please visit Ban Ban Ton Ton.