Friday, December 8, 2017

Nah Pop No Style


Althea and Donna : Uptown Top Ranking


In December of 1977, the Jamaican teenage reggae duo Althea and Donna released the single "Uptown Top Ranking",  a #1 smash hit in the U.K. The story about "Uptown Top Ranking" is well known.  Heading for oblivion, the single was accidentally played by BBC D.J. John Peel on his late evening show. Not sure how a D.J. accidentally plays a record, but in any case Peel received letters from people saying how much they liked it so he kept playing it. Daytime BBC D.J.s soon following the example and by February it was the top song in the U.K. 

It's a catchy song, sung over the dee jay track of Trinity's "Three Piece Suit", with indecipherable patois lyrics that turn out to be exactly the kind of thing teen age girls would write--  men who cat call them when they walk on the road (See me pon the road I hear you call out to me ), driving around in Mercedes Benz (See mi in mi Benz and ting Drivin' through Constant Spring ), dancing with the most popular guy in tan leisure suits. (Watch how we chuck it and ting Inna we khaki suit and ting ) And telling the world they don't care for pop music. They love reggae (Nah pop no style, a strictly roots ).

Sly and Robbie played on the album.




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