Sunday, July 26, 2009


A trawl of Michael Jackson covers will eventually unearth this gem, an eight-minute disco-skank through "Don't stop til you get enough":

Re-released some years back on Soul Jazz, it was originally released in 1980 as a disco-reggae crossover throwaway. Despite legendary roots DJ Trinity toasting over the steady bass-clavinet-rinky-tink-piano rhythm during the last three minutes, this is as unrootsy as one might expect from an Off the Wall cover. Any punk lionising reggae's authenticity would have stopped in his tracks on hearing this. It is tempting to transpose the original's rite-of-passage from one socio-economic period to another onto Lara and Trinity's version - 1980 was, after all, the year when Edward Seaga became Prime Minister, rejected Jamaica's non-aligned status and its alliance with Cuba, and cosied up to the USA.

But these sort of rush-released covers, recorded in haste to capitalise on whatever the latest trend was, were doing the rounds in the late 60s. It is rare to hear one as durable or original as this - by slowing the original's BPM and disposing of its breathlessness, it achieves a sort of gossamer inexorability. Unlike the euphoric Michael Jackson, Derrick Lara sounds resigned to his fate -neither complaining (cause his love is alright) nor consummating.


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