Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tracing Revolution

Dennis Brown's 1985 hit "Revolution" for Taxi Productions is a searing tune that plainly lays out a post-Marley blueprint for change. "Fighting against oppression, battering down depression" Brown urged over a typically in-the-pocket Riddim Twins version.

Of course this wasn't the first time we heard that riddim. Barrington Levy had given us the Hyman Wright & Percy Chin produced "Black Roses" in 1983, recorded at Channel One and released on Jah Life.

Dennis Brown had also recorded on the Channel One version, singing and releasing "Rub A Dub All The Time" (which incorporated lyrics from Marvin Gaye's "If This World Were Mine") on his own Emmanuel Music in 1984. But somehow his Taxi cut is the tune that stuck and branded successive versions its name.

One crucial such rework is U Brown's "Tu Sheng Peng," also released in 1983. I originally came across it as a British import on the CSA Records Collection Volume 1, an excellent '80s reggae collection that also featured The Viceroys, Peter Metro and The Natural Ites.

Now the versions of "Revolution" are countless and serve as a conscious high-point in any session; it's impossible to play this minor key rhythm and not have a strong vibe.

Nah believe it? Then watch this rare video with D Brown and Riddim Twins performing live in the 80s! Respect to Red Black Green Tube.