Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: Pop +/- strings reggae

Chris Blackwell
Zeroto180

Trojan Records History Highlights

It always helps to have streaming audio within arm’s reach to make music history more of a ‘multimedia’ experience. From reading Young Gifted and Black:  The Story of Trojan Records by Michael de Koningh & Laurence Cane-Honeysett, for example, I have picked up a number of helpful listening tips and

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Forgotten 1968 UK Rocksteady 45

Thanks again to record collector extraordinaire, Tom Avazian — underwriter of numerous Zero to 180 research initiatives (most recently, Scotland’s The Poets) — who provided a vinyl copy of 1988 UK anthology, 20 One Hit Wonders, an album that includes a strong track from a band of Birmingham musicians, The

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“Yancey Special”: Prog Reggae II

Keith Emerson would captivate me as a grade schooler with the deep, heavy Moog sounds he conjured for “Lucky Man” — the final track, fittingly, on a 4-LP box set from 1973 that got a lot of mileage in our household growing up, Superstars of the Seventies, one of the

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Van Morrison’s 1969 Pop Reggae

All these years I’ve naively assumed “I Shall Sing” to be a Judy Mowatt early reggae original (and 1974 Jamaican chart-topper, according to this Los Angeles Times piece from 1986).  And yet that same Times piece makes clear, Judy Mowatt was taking her musical inspiration from Miriam Makeba (not Art

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Ian McLagan’s Reggae Bump

I still wish I had those post-it notes my brother Bryan made when I was 11 that helpfully pointed me to (1) which Jimi Hendrix albums to seek out (e.g., Electric Ladyland) and (2) which ones to avoid (e.g., Midnight Lightning).  Decades later I would make the accidental and hilarious

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"Free the People"
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Barbara Keith’s Liberation Gospel

Ed Ward wrote a special section devoted to 45s (non-album releases) in the original Rolling Stone Record Review from 1971, with particular praise for Barbara Keith‘s A-side, “Free the People“: “You may remember Delanie & Bonnie’s version of this song, and how good it was.  Well, Barbara’s the one who

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“Reggae Bagpipes”: Pop Reggae in the Extreme?

As I asserted in an earlier piece, string arrangements – when appropriate or called for – have the potential to enrich a song (reggae included)    Given Jackie Mittoo’s fundamental role in the development of Jamaican music as both a founding member of The Skatalites and music director at Studio One

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“Gimme Reggae”: UK Pop Reggae 1969

How fascinating to learn that Blue Mink was an early champion of the “new reggae” sound (albeit one increasingly augmented by strings) that was starting to show commercial potential in the UK as the 1960s gave way to the 70s. “Gimme Reggae”    Blue Mink “Don’t call me Yank!” demands Madeline

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"Jamaican Boy"
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“Jamaican Boy”: Jazz Fusion Reggae Instrumental

Three musicians – Stanley Clarke, Jeff Beck, and Steve Gadd – with keyboard embellishments from a fourth, Bayeté Todd Cochran: “Jamaican Boy”     Stanley Clarke     1979 “Jamaican Boy” was a 45 release from 1979’s I Wanna Play for You studio/live hybrid LP and one of Record World‘s “Single Picks”

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“Swan Lager”: Prog Rock Reggae

Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman‘s beery take on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” became the A-side of a 45 released by A&M in 1979: “Swan Lager”     Rick Wakeman     1979 “Swan Lager” also served as side two’s closing track for 1979 double LP, Rhapsodies.  Cash Box‘s review in their June 23, 1979

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