Stuart Bailie

‘Simmer Down’ is a record that can’t get started soon enough. The horns are colliding, the harmonies are on it and the supreme players from The Skatalites are the backing band. Which gives this 1963 recording the maximum ska value. But that’s only part of the narrative, because among the guys who front this recording are Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and a young Bob Marley. This first release from the Wailing Wailers would top the Jamaican charts early in 1964.

Musically, you can see how Marley was paying his dues to Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, especially in the way that the backing vocals help to build the energy. The rhythm certainly owes something to the New Orleans acts and their rollicking take on rhythm and blues. But whatever was inspiring the gang, this was the emergent sound of an island, getting its own vernacular sorted – wonderful music that would thrill the world. And then there’s Bob at the centre of it all, getting conscious with his words, urging the rude boys of Kingston to calm things down before the battle gets hotter. Even then, he had a stature and a sense of his own destiny. He was 18 years old but already fixing to be a leader, a legend.

Playlist 08.07.13

The Treniers – Rockin’ Is Our Business (After Hours)
Franz Ferdinand – Right Action (Domino)
The Thrills – Big Sur (Virgin)
Glitches – Time Will Tel (Kissability)
Billy Preston – I Want To Thank You (Apple)
Little Bear – Night Dries Like Ink (Small Town America)
Oppenheimer – Breakfast In NYC (Fantastic Plastic)
Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film (Sony)
Ballet School – Heartbeat Overdrive (Bella Union)
Editors – The Weight (PIAS)
A Man Called Adam – Barefoot In The Head (Big Life)

The Wailing Wailers – Simmer Down (Soul Jazz)
The High Wire – LNOW (white)
The Clameens She’s Got My Heart (white)
Laura Viers – Sun Song (Bella Union)
Bruce Springsteen – Candy’s Boy (Columbia)
Zola Jesus – Hikikomori (Souterrain)
Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell – That’s All It Took (Warner)
Biggles Rides Again – Friends (white)
The Melodic – I’m On My Way (Anti)
Graham Parker – Silly Thing (Mercury)
Tom Russell – Van Ronk (Hightone)
Whipping Boy – When We Were Young (Columbia)
Lightning Dust – Loaded Sun (Jagjaguar)

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