Wednesday, June 6, 2012

dr who

the first time i experienced reggae through a proper sound system was at the old twilight zone (7 alexander) in gastown. my friend james bell threw a ska, soul, and jamaican music party for a spell in the mid-1990s (starting around '94) and i'd venture downtown from coquitlam each week in support (drinking a pitcher of beer and dancing till close in the process). james, heavily inspired by working class UK subculture, was a full-on boots and braces skinhead. not only did he sport sta-prest trousers, colourful ben shermans, sheep skin jackets, and a close crop w/ a very smart part, but he was building a deep collection of original JA sounds on 7" vinyl. bolstered by trips to the UK and pre-Internet/eBay mail order, he amassed singles from the kingstonians, the upsetters, and "dr. who" by derrick harriott and the crystalites (featuring bongo herman and les). w/ its freaked-out spoken word intro and moon hopping beat, "dr. who" was always a boss favourite!@#$%!!! barely twenty and a skatalites, specials, and clash obsessive, i'd never been exposed such outrageous reggae sounds before. to hear them amplified to club quaking decibels in a gritty (black walls, exposed metal, iron dancing cages) vancouver bar made them even more twisted and surreal. it changed my life. this post is for you james (RIP) and to the crystalites of course!!! PEACE

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