Saturday, July 18, 2009


Classic ska/early reggae about space flight - that's how we celebrate the 40th anniversary of man's first walk on the Moon around here. None of that slow Rasta stuff - this collection of obscure oldies (many recorded off vinyl) is pure summery dance fun fun fun, from a culture that, in the 1960s, was developing along with America's space program. There's also one (very surreal) calypso thrown in. I wish I knew of more.

Some of the tracks are instrumentals , including - yes! - a version of the Joe Meek/Tornadoes classic "Telstar." Have no idea who
Colonel Elliott And The Lunatics are, but the cartoonishly Moogy "Plutonian Pogo Stick" is as nutty as its title. Some of the names here are unknown, and some, like pioneering dj U-Roy, ska legend Prince Buster, and the Upsetters, a project of madman/studio genius Lee "Scratch" Perry, are well known, at least in Carib music circles. (most American's knowledge of Jamaican music seems to begin and end with Bob Whatsisface.)

This might seem heretical, but was the Moon landing really humanity's greatest
engineering accomplishment? The Apollo missions were essentially blasting a rocket out of the atmosphere using a controlled explosion. As the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could tell you (the ones still alive, at least), we got good at making really big booms. And getting there could be (theoretically) worked out with paper and pencil using Newton's Laws. I know I'm oversimplifying, but it all seems a bit...crude. Of course, it's still way up there on the list, but above the Egyptian Pyramids, or the Great Wall of China? Maybe some of you techies can set me straight.

Life On Reggae Planet

01 U Roy - space flight
02 Derrick Morgan - Man 'Pon Moon
03 Moon Boys - Apollo 11
04 Owen Gray - Apollo 12
05 Colonel Elliott And The Lunatics - Telstar
06 Derrick Morgan - Moon Hop
07 The Vulcans - Star Trek
08 Don Drummond - Rocket Ship
09 Joe Mansano - Life On Reggae Planet
10 S. S. Binns - Moon Beat
11 The Fabion - V Rocket
12 Lord Christo - Trip To Mars
13 Prince Buster - Trip to Mars
14 Colonel Elliott And The Lunatics - Plutonian Pogo Stick
15 Symarip - Skinhead Moonstomp
The Upsetters - Outer Space

I've made some great discoveries at You and Me on a Jamboree. Check 'em out - it should keep you fans of obscure Carribean music busy for weeks.


J-Unit 1 said...

First off, awesome share. I can't wait to spin some of these on ye olde Deuce Project (with credit of course :)

I think you have to look beyond the mission itself and think about all that led up to it. Simplifying it to the mere problem of propulsion is too simple. We had to figure out what was beyond our own atmosphere, what kind of vessels could withstand that, etc... In essence, I think the program as a whole is the greatest achievement we've reached. The Apollo 11 is the trophy though, it was crossing that finish line in the space race, the accomplishment of the goal set out to achieve. Anyway...those are my two cents worth on it.

Mr Fab said...

Good points, J.

Peter Piper said...

Ha, ha,
check the playlist for my radio show "RADIO JAMAICA":

Mr Fab said...

Danke for the shopping list PP! Gotta track some of those down (Might Sparrow had a space tune?!)