Friday, 1 November 2013

Adam - Revival Sound System

Washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea is my latest guest castaway, Adam Tadesse of Revival Sound System, San Francisco.

Adam cut his teeth in the L.A. Ska-Punk band 'Grandpa Knucklehead' and then began collecting rare Jamaican 45s before founding the Revival Sound System.

In addition to his DJ residency with the Revival Sound System at Festival '68 in San Francisco's Make Out Room, Adam plays a wonderful selection of Calypso, Ska, Blue Beat, Ska, Rock Steady and early-Reggae on his entertaining, and very informative, KPOO-FM 89.5 radio show, Wake the Town. 

"Thank you so much for including me on this. There are some amazing people taking part in this as I've read on the web page so far. So it's an honor to be among the ranks of those already aboard." 

Wailing Wailers – Ten Commandments Of Love

"As a child in the early 70's, my father had a record collection and would play records at home for friend or a party etc. I remember that he'd keep the tunes that were on heavy rotation around the house on one of those old metal 45 storage grates, of course with no sleeves etc.
I cringe when I think about this now.  

Anyway, he had Harvey & The Moonglows 'Ten Commandments Of Love' 45 and I remember him playing it all the time. His friends would come by and they would all be partying, playing tunes and having a good time. The Moonglows tune always struck a chord with me to the point where I learned all of the lyrics by heart.

Fast forward to 2 or 3 years later, hanging at a classmate's house who's father was a musician. I just remember being at his house and his father playing a cassette of reggae music (it could have been any group, I was too young and it was too long ago to recall what exactly was playing). Then The Wailers 'Ten Commandments Of Love' came on the cassette. I remember thinking as the intro unfolded that I knew this song and how familiar it was. When the main vocal came in I was blown away at this "other" version I had never heard. I recited the lyrics as it was playing and my friend's father was blown away that I knew the song.

While I do remember seeing The Wailer's 'Catch A Fire' and Jimmy Cliff's 'The Harder They Come' LP's around the house, this was my very first encounter with The Wailer's muzik and even at that point I still had no idea how much impact their muzik would have on my young life." 

Clifford Brown & Max Roach – Delilah

"Late '80s early '90s I played bass in a Ska-Punk band in my hometown of Los Angeles. We had a great following and would play clubs and bars that we shouldn't have been old enough to get in to at the time.

When I hear this song it reminds me of those times. I just remember hanging out with the guitarist in the band. We'd end up back at his mom's house for a smoke session. We'd put the Cliff and Max album on and 'Delilah' was the first tune. I just recall being totally sedated by the music, and us being in this ska/punk band listening to this album just wishing we were Cliff and Max instead of in the band we were in!

A couple years later I would get deep into collecting Jamaican singles. One of those singles acquired was a tune by Prince Buster : '7 Wonders of the World'. Fun fact : If you listen to the end of this Buster tune, during the outro the organist is soloing and includes the head of 'Delilah' in his solo. Now I don't know for a fact that the organist did this as an homage to Cliff and Max's 'Delilah', but it sure does sound like the melody there.

Listening to 'Delilah' always brings me back to Los Angeles 1989-90. A very carefree, happy-go-lucky time in my young life."

The Impressions – That's What Love Will Do

"Ah yes, The Impressions. One group that has been covered many, many times and will continue to be until the end of time I'm sure.

Let me just say that no one has or will ever be able to do the music of The Impressions better than they already have. That is final.

In the late '60s Kingston, Jamaica made many attempts and in my opinion came the closest but still, nowhere near the magic of the original.

With that said, it wouldn't be right to have at least one Impressions tune (could have easily been all 5 picks here) packed."

The Fabulous McLevertys – Don't Blame It On Elvis

"Everything about this tune I love. It has a playful feel in the lyrics and they go along so well with the accompanying rhythm. Outstanding musicianship and the chorus is so catchy... I dare you to try and not sing this one to yourself hours after listening to it. It will without doubt be in your head long after hearing it.

One quick fun fact about The Fabulous McClevertys... They were the band that for many performances and a few recordings backed calypsonian "The Charmer" a.k.a Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan.

If I am going to spend time alone on a Deserted Island, and I only have 5 songs to choose, it would make sense to me to bring at least one tune with an Island feel to it."

Skatalites – Old Broadway

"I figure if I am going to be a castaway on a deserted Island, I will surely want something to remind me of the big city life that I've grown up in. This song is that something.

For me, I can close my eyes, turn this on and immediately get visions of fast lane driving, larger than life billboards, city lights and the hustle and bustle everyday big city living.

One of the greatest musical combinations is that of Prince Buster (on vocal or production) and The Skatalites (my opinion of course). You just cannot lose with a combo like this and this song represents the best of that combination.

The Best Ska band in the world and the King of Ska.


If, like me, you are really into 60's Blue Beat, Ska and Rock Steady, then Adam's Wake The Town radio show is essential listening. 

Great music, of course, but there's also a goldmine of background information on Jamaican music provided by Adam and his guests... and there's even a full podcast available if you can't catch the show live.

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