“Press Along Nyah”: Harder the Battle, Sweeter the Victory

Three years ago, someone paid $99 for this great single by Larry (Marshall) & Alvin (Leslie) that was recorded at Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s legendary Studio One in 1970:

Press Along Nyah – Larry & Alvin

[Pssst:  Click the triangle above to play “Press Along Nyah” by Larry & Alvin.]

Last year the Jamaica Observer checked in with Larry Marshall (now residing in Florida), who feels unappreciated as a musical trailblazer and unhappy about the lack of financial compensation in spite of his popularity in the record shops, as well as dancehalls.  Click here for lengthy interview in which Marshall discusses, among other things, the particulars of his contractual relationship with Coxsone, as well as the Babylonian workings of the music business (e.g., the 1986 UK release of Marshall’s 1975 album, I Admire You, against his express permission).

Alvin, by the way, is not, as some (including myself) have hypothesized, Alvin “G.G.” Ranglin of GG Records fame.

Dance Crasher UK includes illustrated listing of all 7-inch Supreme Records releases.

“Press Along Nyah” (Version) on the flip side.

Press Along Nyah 45

New Parlor Game:  Can You Pinpoint the Moment Rocksteady Became Reggae? 

Larry Marshall will be forever linked to his landmark 1968 Studio One recording “Nanny Goat,” a song historians have long noted as having helped define the original reggae sound.  As Howard Campbell writes in the Jamaica Observer:

“Others argue that Toots and the Maytals’ ‘Do The Reggay,’ also done in 1968, and ‘Games People Play’ by Bob Andy the following year, marked the transition from rocksteady to reggae.  But for most, ‘Nanny Goat’ was the game-changer.”

Boris Gardiner, in a 2012 interview in Real Time Magazine, meanwhile, firmly disputes the received wisdom about “Nanny Goat” (calling it a “thorough-bred rocksteady beat”), as well as “Baby Why” by The Cables (another oft-cited contender for “first reggae song”).  Gardiner ultimately agrees with legendary Studio One house drummer, Joe Isaacs’ assessment that “Ride Mi Donkey” by The Tennors (1968) has the first true reggae beat.

“The Message”: Nyah Rock from the UK

K-Tel put out a 70s hits package called Super Bad and wisely decided to include Cymande‘s moody and mysterious 1972 hit, “The Message“:

Says Discogs:   “Formed 1971 in London, England, disbanded 1974. Cymande played what they themselves called NyahRock: a mixture of funk, soul, reggae and African rhythms.”  Wikipedia claims group members to be from Guyana, Jamaica & St. Vincent.

Pronounced Sah-MAHN-day.
Cymande
“The Message” would reach #48 on the pop chart, #22 on the R&B chart in 1973.
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K-Tel's Super Bad