Episode 6: Sound of da Police
Writer Danny Robins talks about the music featured in episode 6 of Rudy's Rare Records
“Whoo! Whoo! It’s the sound of da police!” goes the chorus of the early hip hop track by KRS One that gives its name to this episode, where Adam lives out his dream of becoming a detective by enlisting as a Police Special Constable after becoming concerned by the way the neighbourhood is going. Rudy’s anti-authority streak flares up when he discovers his son has signed up with ‘the Babylon’ and he decides to set himself up as a rival to Adam – a geriatric vigilante; a bus pass Shaft to Adam’s ‘Black Poirot’.
I was spoilt for choice when it came to choosing songs for this episode. It’s amazing how many reggae, ska and hip hop tracks there are about the police. Almost all of them I have to say aren’t overly complimentary...
Lenny recommended Police Officer by Smiley Culture. It’s a tale of how Smiley from Stockwell has become sick of being pulled over whilst driving and asked to produce his insurance details. Smiley tells it a lot better though than I just did there.
“Everytime me drive me car, police a stop me superstar
True me drive a Fiat and a Merc, Sell weh me Lancia...”
I loved Snow’s Informer when I was growing up. With it’s impenetrably fast ragga rap, I had absolutely no idea what Snow (actually a white Canadian) was saying, but I suspected it was bad-ass exciting criminal stuff and it always amused me that the chorus sounded like “I lick your bum bum yeah.” Listen to it and tell me if you disagree.
Any regular listeners reading this may remember last series saw the appearance of ‘Colin Marley’, the illegitimate and entirely fictitious offspring of Bob, played by Adam to fill in at a gig when Bob’s real son Ziggy didn’t turn up. We have a song this episode by another scion of the Marley family, Damien, the son of Bob and Cindy Breakspeare (who was Miss World in 1976). Welcome to Jamrock is the title track from his excellent 2005 album. I believe it didn’t go down very well with the Jamaicans authorities due to its gritty crime-ridden portrayal of the island. It’s a great tune though.
Jimmy Cliff is revered in this parish as the man behind our theme tune Miss Jamaica. A couple of weeks back we had a track from his new album released this year and here’s another one, a cover of The Clash’s Guns of Brixton that I think is one of the best tracks released in 2012 and one of my favourite cover versions ever. Jimmy, now not far off his bus pass himself, very definitely still has it and Rudy would approve of this song’s defiant sentiment.
The other reggae legend who crops up this episode is Desmond Dekker, a man who Rudy often claims to have been best mates with. I’d always presumed the “oh oh seven” in 007 Shanty Town was some sort of postcode for the shanty town in question, but I just read that it was indeed, rather topically, a Bond reference – playing to his listeners’ interest in action flicks (he also mentions Ocean’s Eleven). It sometimes seems these days that Dekker is best known for having his tune Israelites pinched by an advert for a rhyming non-buttery spread, but the more I delve into his back-catalogue the more I grow to love his unique talent.
The Fu Schnickens were an East Coast American rap band of the 90s, famed for their fast raps – possibly even faster than Snow. They even apparently mastered the art of rapping backwards. Ring the Alarm samples the track of the same name by Tenor Saw. I love the energy and urgency of this version though. It felt like it worked very well with the action taking place in the episode at that point.
Our roster of tracks this week is completed by Trouble in the Town by Dandy Livingstone, which seemed appropriate as Doreen and Tasha look out the window worrying about Adam and Rudy’s night time patrols, and you couldn’t do an episode of a reggae-themed sitcom about the police without using Junior Murvin’s brilliant and preternaturally high-pitched Police and Thieves.
I hope you enjoy the music in the episode and if you want to hear the songs in full click on the Youtube links below or listen to the Spotify playlist I have made for the episode here.
Episode 6 playlist