Pop Riffs: The First and Last Records Bought by Ali Campbell of UB40

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The Independent Culture
First Record:

Dandy Livingstone

Reggae In Your Jeggae

"Suzanne Beware of the Devil" was the name of Dandy's hit in the middle Seventies, and anyone that knows reggae will know that track. My cousin Debbie had this record and she was a bit of a hippy at the time. I loved reggae music even though I could only have been eight or nine. I was only ten when the Barrett Brothers came about. For me, they invented reggae, although it was Toots (of the Maytals) who gave it the term. This album is a classic; it's reggae as it was when I was growing up. The beat is the difference in reggae, ska and rock steady. Livingstone's reggae is the one-drop beat which changed dramatically when Sly [Dunbar] and Robbie [Shakespeare] came along.

Original reggae was an off-beat drum and on-beat bass. Then Sly and Robbie changed it around at the beginning of the Eighties to on-beat drum and off-beat bass. I have talked to Sly about this - who is my hero - and he agrees with everything I say. What I like about it is you can see reggae coming full circle; it was Aston Barrett who gave Robbie Shakespeare his first guitar when he was sixteen and the first thing he played was "Concrete Jungle" with Bob Marley and the Wailers. That is why I love these people - it has nothing to do with ego - they are just delightful and love the work."

Last Record:

Mr Don Yute and Mr Vegas sing-jays compilation tape

"This stuff is going to turn the reggae scene on its arse. I live and I grow around reggae music. There is no point in me buying records because the way to get them before the normal release date is to buy compilation tapes like this, or sound-system tapes. Mr Vegas and Don Yute are absolutely brilliant superstars. After hearing this I got them to work on my new record label with Brian Travers - Oracabessa Records. It's my third go at a label, third time lucky. We are having great success with a Mr Vegas speed garage mix. It's a crossover between garage, speed garage and dancehall - what I like to call "speed-hall". We are producing different stuff for this project called the B15 project. It's a bit like a new movement. They are all up-and-coming youths in their early twenties. Basically we are working with all the kids that are mashing it up, man. We are on fire at the moment - you can't put us out."