Sunday, September 27, 2009

Instrumental Early Reggae

Jo Jo Bennett & Mudie's All-Stars - "Snowbird" b/w "Change the Tide" is the 45 I have for you today. Jo Jo is an Alpha Boys School alum, as so many of Jamaica's greatest musicians have been. He is known for his fine trumpet work, and I suppose his biggest "hit" was "Leaving Rome" on Trojan records in the UK, or maybe "Lecture Me", which I believe went on to become the oft-versioned "Lecturer" riddim that dancehall artists still use to this day. He moved to Canada, as so many of his fellow-Jamaicans did and still do. This 45 was one of his awesome recordings for Mudie's "Moodisc" label. My copy has most of the info scratched out, so it took some hunting and figuring out on my part just to find a name for the A-side. Turns out it's an instrumental, cooled-out early reggae version of Anne Murray's 1970 country hit "Snowbird"! That dates the recording of this to about that year.

I have to say, this instrumental version of Snowbird KILLS the original Anne Murray version (not surprising, I guess). It gives it such a nice melancholy vibe, with the lilting melody played PERFECTLY "behind" the rhythm. You'll see what I mean when you listen to it, it's lovely. "Change the Tide" to me sounds like a slighty-reggae-fied version of the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme song (written by Hugo Montenegro). I love it. Weird percussion, yelled vocal breaks, and the funky rhythm make this tune worth a listen. The only thing "reggae" about this track seems to be the organ and guitar hits. Check it out by downloading below:

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