Riddim Driven ~ 1985 Sleng Teng Extravaganza
VP Records
June 26, 2005

Track list
  1. Under Mi Sleng Teng - Wayne Smith
  2. Buddy Bye - Johnny Osbourne
  3. Call The Police - John Wayne
  4. Eagles Feathers - Nicodemus
  5. Hey Bobby - Cocoa Tea
  6. Hand Pon The Key - Echo Minott
  7. Jam In The Street - Sugar Minott
  8. Pumpkin Belly - Tenor Saw
  9. Big Things - Tappa Zukie
  10. Every Posse Come In - Tonto Irie
  11. Ram Jam Session - Woodie Noble
  12. Dancehall Music - Eccleton Jarrett
  13. Cry For Me - Pad Anthony
  14. Maniac - Papa Faith
  15. Tell Them What You Know - Singie Singie
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
The added value of this disc might be not too high, as only Nicodemus' "Eagles Feathers" wasn't included on the Lord Zeljko compiled King Jammy's / Mélodie France riddim album "King Jammy's Presents Sleng Teng Extravaganza", but Hugh Griffiths' "Medley Ride", Super Cat's excellent "Trash And Ready", that really should have been included on this set, Screechie Nice's "Understand Me Man" where the lyrics are partially borrowed from the Grandmaster Flash' rap classic "The Message", the completely US-rap styled take on the "Batman" theme by Dickie Ranking "Rap Man" (now Dickie Ranking is better known as the deejay Snagga Puss), Mr. Lee's "Crisis" (he is the same Robert Lee who performed alongside the successful Dutch reggae-hip hop band Postmen and recorded the fine album "In Fine Style" in 2002 in Rotterdam) and Peter Morris' "Under Me Peter Green" are lacking now on the releases of this album in VP Records Riddim Driven series. But even in this incarnation, it's pure pleasure, starting with the two biggest classics and soundboy killing favourites on this riddim Wayne Smith's "Under Mi Sleng Teng" and Johnny Osbourne's "Buddy Bye" followed John Wayne's pretty hard to get "Call The Police" (my all time favourite and current ringtone) over this riddim that changed the sound reggae forever. Jamaican music has gone through different phases, which can't usually be traced back to any one ground-breaking tune. Probably one of the best examples is the start of the Reggae era. Many tunes have been credited, but it remains debatable which was the first to signal the shift from Rocksteady to Reggae. So far the one unchallenged exception is the tune that kick-started the digital phase of reggae. The first fully-computerised riddim was undoubtedly Wayne Smith's "Under Me Sleng Teng". There are a couple of conflicting stories about how the riddim was first found on a Casio Music Box. It might have been Wayne Smith and another young struggling singer, Noel Bailey, who discovered the riddim -- a close relative to Eddie Cochran's rock 'n' roll hit "Something Else". It could also have been the session musician Tony Asher who found it with Smith. Anyway, the riddim was slowed down and re-recorded by Tony Asher at Jammy's studio, and completely turned Jamaican music around. After being released by producer Lloyd "King Jammy" James in 1985, the "Sleng Teng" riddim spawned countless imitations, and re-emerged 1998 when refurnished versions appeared on Bulby & Fatta's "Fat Eyes" imprint, and more recently on Digital B and, after twenty years, "Sleng Teng Progress 2K5", and the soon to be reviewed version once again on the Jammy's label. Nicodemus almost impossible to unearth "Eagles Feathers" combined with the very fine remastering are worth grabbing this release alone. But there's more; Cocoa Tea's "Hey Bobby", using and paraphrasing Charlene's "I've been to paradise but I've never been to me", Echo Minott's put your "Hand(s) Pon The Key", Sugar Minott's beautiful "Jam(ming) In The Street", Tenor Saw's legendary "Pumpkin Belly" with its this is a song of the old time proverbs lyrics that everybody who ever attended a reggae-dance must have heard at least once. Tappa Zukie's underrated yet very catchy "Big Things", Tonto Irie's "Every Posse Come In" a.k.a. "Every Posse Get Ready", Woody Noble's "Ram Jam Session", Ecceleton Jarrett's "Dancehall Music", Pad Anthony's "Cry For Me", Papa Faith' "Maniac" and Singie Singie's "Tell Them What You Know" all add to the fun. If you don't own all these classic cuts on the riddim that changed the reggae world, and started the digital era: buy this album!