Essential Records: Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps

Posted by Amoebite, August 8, 2016 03:58pm | Post a Comment

Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps - Amoeba Music

Call it a rough patch, call it a dry spell, call it whatever, but let's just say a while ago the relationship between my guitar and me got a little stale. Now of course I loved that thing dearly but, well, you know how it is: sometimes it just seems like the two of you are stuck in the same old routine. Now the electric guitar is a tricky instrument, there are so many variations, effects, and styles, and it's so overly saturated in the mainstream consciousness that while it can be the most primal and cathartic sounding of instruments, it can also be the most horrendous, self-involved sound known to modern man. At this particular juncture, I just wasn't hearing anything new that was compelling me towards the former sentiment. In an attempt to revive our relationship I pulled out this guitar magazine I had from high school that was all about rockabilly and the late '90s neo-swing revival. In it was a picture I always found striking but was never sure why: five young men all dressed in white, wearing dark, floppy caps. I thought to myself: it's finally time I really dug into Mr. Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and His Blue Caps. I learned a couple of riffs out of the magazine, all attributed to Gene's original guitarist, Cliff Gallup, then I went to the record store and picked up their second album (thinking it was their first), Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.

I put the needle on and right out of the gate the band is swaggering and in full swing. My toe's tappin', my hand's snappin' and my hair's getting greasier by the second. Gene finishes his first verse of "Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail" with the order to his band to "Rock!" and the next thing I know Cliff Gallup's guitar struts onto the scene and picks up the lead while someone lets out a banshee wail in the background. Gene comes back into the second verse, singing like he's crooning and panting at the same time, a cross between Dean Martin and that cartoon wolf from the droopy cartoons whose mouth drops to the floor at the sight of the cute redhead, and before I can finish that thought the second verse is ending and Gene calls out, "Rock again!" and Cliff's back with his plunky, shimmering, echo-y tone.

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Before Reggae

Posted by Joe Goldmark, November 21, 2014 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!

Before Reggae, Rock Steady, and Ska, Calypso was the folk music of the English speaking Caribbean. Like all good folk music, calypsos told stories in song and were often written to celebrate topical events. The music originated with slaves on the plantations. By the golden era of the late 1920s and '30s, there were many diverse influences including music heard from U.S. radio waves that reached the islands.

Here’s what Wikipedia says: Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid-20th century. Its rhythms can be traced back to West African Kaiso and the arrival of French planters and their slaves from the French Antilles in the 1600s.

Some of the earliest recordings were by Atilla the Hun, and The Roaring Lion, in the early 1930s.

Atilla – “Roosevelt in Trinidad”

Roaring Lion – “Ugly Woman”


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Big Shot: A SKA/Reggae/Rocksteady Blog

Posted by Amoebite, December 16, 2011 12:04pm | Post a Comment
Los Angeles has such a unique Reggae scene with various clubs and shows paying homage to the Reggae Scene. New artists and bands are popping up all the time...and the Reggae Community is active and supported. Many DJs spin SKA, Rocksteady and Reggae. However, outside California (and some large cities such as Chicago, New York and across the pond in Spain) the Ska/Reggae scenes are deteriorating. Within these cities there are still Reggae labels such as Liquidator in Spain and Jump-Up Records in Chicago which is run by Chuck Ren who renewed the Ska scene in the Mid-West. NY/NJ based Stubborn Records is a DIY label run by King Django, a legend in the Ska scene who has been in such bands as the Stubborn Allstars and Skinnerbox. Django has run the label independently for over 15 years. In Oklahoma, Megalith Records is a fairly new label run by Robert "Bucket" Hinley, the lead singer of The Toasters and who helped start Moon Ska Records in NY...

Speaking of labels, this blog is named after Big Shot Records which went from 1968
to 1971. Big Shot was a subsidiary of Trojan Records that started in 1968, gaining popularity with releases from Judge Dread and The Tennors. Big Shot released over 130 45RPM singles and a handful of LP releases. The label itself has stayed active due to the popularity of Judge Dread and the iconic image of the Big Shot cannon. Most modern Reggae labels try to achieve the visibility that Trojan Records has and garner the appeal to counter culture kids as Big Shot did in 1968.

Peter ToshPeter Tosh - Legalize It (legacy Edition) [CD] 

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