Out of a long and distinguished body of work, this remains one of Bob Marley’s most enduring songs.
It’s obvious from the lyrics that the track is derived from ‘Don’t Rock My Boat’, from Soul Revolution, released 1971.
The recording here is rich, with crisp horns and a tight bassline, as opposed to the rawer, perhaps more soulful original.
But what the newer version does have is a spiritually soothing easiness. It’s like sonic vicks, clearing bad vibes with every note.
The song appears on 1978’s Kaya, Bob’s 10th studio album. Even the title track of that LP is also from Soul Revolution, but I love both the clean, mellow update, and the original gritty roots standard.
J Hus has really changed the game for West African influences in UK music. Tradtionally, it’s been Jamaican music and accents which have the most visibility within UK rap and dance music.
J Hus is one of the founding stars of the Afro-Swing/Afro-Bashment scene, which tends to draw from Ghanaian and Nigerian Afro-Beat, rather than Jamaican Dancehall. But of course, in the melting pot of London, it all gets blended.
It’s swept the UK in the last decade, with club ready beats and melodic choruses.
J Hus wrote the song to uplift people, after a spell in jail got him thinking about how to make a more positive influence. He’s saying ‘keep your head up’.
The production on this is stellar too, with a mix of afro riddims and lush strings.
You can find the song on Common Sense, released 2017.
Capleton is one of the biggest stars of modern reggae, straddling the gap between 21st century roots and dancehall.
Rastafari is a common theme throughout his songs, and this one is no different. It’s about focusing on Jah and Haile Selassie, and forgoing worldly considerations.
The original version of the song is Dennis Brown’s excellent ‘The Prophet Rides Again’, released 1983. His chorus is sampled on Capleton’s track, and pitched up.
The new version is faster, heavier, and sung in heavy patois, but it still has a lot of feeling.
Capleton’s ‘Prophet Rides Again’ was released in 2007 on French label Inkalink. France, for some reason, has really taken to reggae music, second only to the UK in Europe for its soundsystem scene. J’adore!
Todd Terry has been propping up dancefloors around the world since the birth of House in the 80s. The same goes for fellow NYC legend Kenny Dope.
It’s ageless – modern touches make it relevant for today, but it could be from the 90s. There’s more than enough groove, certainly!
The beat feels like a living thing, an entire ecosystem of percussion all organised along one funky pathway. It slaps along magnificently throughout the track.
But which part of the song is catchiest? Is it the bassline, subtle but lively? The euphoric horns, blasting out a joyous report? Or the soulful vocals, otherworldly yet intimate all at once? And let’s not forgot those Latin-infused piano chords beating out an off-kilter rhythm at the back of the mix…
To be honest, I don’t know. They are all essential parts of what makes this richly instrumented piece such a banger – and a work of art!
The song was released in 2007, on Strictly Rhythm. The E.P. has a few other mixes, but this my favourite by far. What a banger.
According to Spin magazine, Todd Terje is one third of the Holy Trinity of Norwegian disco. The other two Nordic Nu-Disco visionaries Spin had in mind where Prins Thomas and Lindstrom.
There’s a strong theme with their music. It’s hook heavy enough to be catchy, but cosmic and progressive enough to be interesting for several minutes.
And it’s infused with the pulsing rhythms of disco’s latest incarnation, blended with heavier basslines and thumping kick drums.
The synth work is where the distinctively Norwegian influence is felt. It really does seem very retro-futuristic.
It’s worth listening to Donna Summer’s legendary ‘I Feel Love’, produced by Giorgio Moroder and released in 1977, to get a feel for how these Norwegian wizards are riffing off the old disco classics. There’s a family resemblance, but it’s not the same thing at all!
“I Feel Space” was released in 2005 on Feedelity, Lindstrom’s own imprint.