[My Gang] Easy Star All-Stars - Lovely Rita (feat. Bunny Rugs and U Roy) : Reco of…


21 Abr 2009, 22:08

Track: Lovely Rita (feat. Bunny Rugs and U Roy) (full track)
Artist: Easy Star All-Stars (13 April 09)
Album: Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band
Tags: , , , ,
Video: Click the pic...

YouTube, amateur video

Easy Star All-Stars are a collective who are basically a covers band but it's how they do what they do that's so special. With the utmost care and precision, with extremely careful attention to the smallest detail, they take apart and reimagine classic albums. They're not the only band to do so, there are plenty of others trying to do the same, but no one does it as well as Easy Star All-Stars.

Let me show you what I mean - here is The Great Gig In the Sky (featuring Kirsty Rock) from their very first covers album, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, entitled Dub Side Of The Moon (2003). It's nothing short of a masterpiece. The most popular track according to Last.fm is On the Run, which is more drum 'n' bass, jungle, ragga. And you must also hear the very funny Money, with the opener of the sound of a cigarette lighter as someone coughs in frustration, trying to light his water bong. Someone has done an amateur video of this to The Wizard of Oz in YouTube, which is a must-see. Musique concrete at its wittiest.

For their second, they covered Radiohead's OK Computer and called it Radiodread (2006). This is where most of my 381 plays come from. It's so well done. I can even listen to Fitter Happier, which I've never been able to do on the original. My personal favourite from this album is Electioneering. I adore the original. This adds another dimension.

These guys know what they're doing and I trust them. When I heard their next project was none other than The Beatles and not only that but Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band I couldn't wait. It's got some lifelong favourites in there, songs I knew before I could talk.

Up a bit, up here, we're up here....

The reimagining begins with a twist on the name - Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band. Maybe I was expecting too much, but on first listen, I wasn't sure. I left it alone for a bit and came back to it - and it's all fallen into place and sounds superb, but I still don't think it reaches the heights of the first two. It may just be down to my expectations or maybe I love the other two more, I don't know. It definitely sounds better with every listen. I'd be interested to hear from people listening to the band for the first time.

I think the initial trouble I had was that the interpretations are unexpected. I adored Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (feat. Frankie Paul) and She's Leaving Home (feat. Kirsty Rock) straight off, no question, but the rest of the album has required a little effort and patience on my part. The project is ambitious, the sheer scale of the challenge unimaginable, and man, it's The Beatles. We all know every note and every nuance. It's like messing with the air we breathe.

From their album blurb (in Last.fm):

Following the widespread critical and commercial success of 2003’s Dub Side of the Moon and 2006’s Radiodread, Easy Star Records announces the Easy Star All-Stars’ complete reggae re-imagining of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album, titled Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band, is set for release April 14 on Easy Star Records and features guest vocals from an impressive list of reggae, dancehall and dub greats including Steel Pulse, Matisyahu, Michael Rose (Black Uhuru), Luciano, U Roy, Bunny Rugs (Third World), Ranking Roger (English Beat), Sugar Minott, Frankie Paul, Max Romeo and The Mighty Diamonds. The first single, “With A Little Help From My Friends,” featuring Luciano, will be released as an iTunes exclusive February 10. It will be paired with a b-side dub version featuring the legendary U Roy.

Dub Side of the Moon, (Easy Star’s reggae tribute to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) is one of the most successful reggae albums of the 21st century and spent over five years on Billboard’s Top Reggae Chart. Mojo selected the record as the second greatest cover album of all time. Radiodread, which tackled Radiohead’s OK Computer, spent over 18 months on Billboard’s Top Reggae Chart and earned praise from Radiohead themselves.

Of the decision to infuse reggae into the Beatles classic, producer Michael Goldwasser says “We’ve focused on re-envisioning concept albums as reggae and it’s really important that the source material works as a whole and is not just a collection of songs. So, what better to take on next than the mother of all concept albums?”

The nice people at their label have permitted us to listen to full tracks that automatically advance to the next, so we can set the album to play and enjoy. Thank you, nice people! (I hope all regions have the same permissions)

Oooh! Rita!

So this week's reco, Lovely Rita (feat. Bunny Rugs and U Roy). The original, Lovely Rita, is a song that I've never been able to shift from my mind. So many things seem to trigger it: watching Rita in Coronation Street (above), seeing car parking meters, reading the meter for my electricity bill... there has been no escape! And yet I still love the song. The reworking is joyous, a bit slower, with some rasta chat to chill out to. The video I've chosen is an amateur work of old cine footage filmed around Vienna, Gumpoldskirchen, Hohe Wand, Burgenland and moedling set to the music.

As an aside, if you only listen to one track from this album, try Within You Without You (feat. Matisyahu), a psychedelic mix of reggae and sitars. It's a difficult track in the first place and serves as a good showcase of their ingenuity. If you want to compare it to the original, this trippy video should help.

Official Site

Babs My Gang

Admin - Stats as of today:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 135
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 204
Position in Last 7 Days: 56 / 124
Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

Date Added: 21 April 2009
Views: 15, Ratings: 1, Responses: 0, Comments: 0, Favourited: 1 times

Stats after 7 days:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 261
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 515
Position in Last 7 Days: 54 / 137
Position in Last 6 Months: n/a

Views: 71, Ratings: 2, Responses: 0, Comments: 1, Favourited: 2 times

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  • IanAR

    Thanks Babs - I've only known them for [i]Dub Side of the Moon[/i], esp' my fav'e [i]Any Colour You Like[/i]. I think they do the 'psychedelia meets dub' thing very well, so I was excited by the [i]Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band[/i] prospect, esp' with all the big-name stars they have feat'ing. On [i]Lovely Rita (feat. Bunny Rugs and U Roy)[/i] I found the "rasta chat" toasting / ad-lib-ing a little forced and grating. I've fished through most of the album, biasing toward the more psychedelic songs. The first of my tops was [i]Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (feat. Ranking)[/i] (looks mistagged by label), with the heavier dub approach I'd come to expect, from [i]Dub Side ...[/i]. Next came prob' my biggest surprise on the album, with how comfortably [i]Good Morning Good Morning (feat. Steel Pulse)[/i] fits a rocksteady treatment. Then, along with those, in a similar vein [i]Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (feat. Junior Jazz)[/i] has also made it to my [i]Best of 2009[/i] tag - though the audio upload sounds truncated (which may result in de-tagging, if not fixed). All in all, I think the album's a great move for the Easy Star All-Stars and combination of the original material with the notoriety of featured singers is sure to attract a wide audience. (I expect, the contracts woven around this product are a nightmare.) However, the featured singers are a double-edged sword as, although I'm sure ESAS are well rehearsed in covering much of this material, I get the impression that some of the feat's are not so well practiced / committed and have thrown too much of their personal trademark into recordings, rather than sensitivity to the material and the band's treatment. - Best, Ian

    22 Abr 2009, 10:30
  • Babs_05

    Well that's not true - I remember telling you about Radiodread in 2006, just prior to its release. thanks for the comment.

    22 Abr 2009, 16:10
  • Orange_Anubis

    I love Electioneering from their last album too, different reasons though - it's the only track on OK Computer that I never really got on with, and the All-Stars, by throwing a different light, made me like it. :) And I've got a half-formed theory as to why their Sergeant Pepper might not seem quite so jaw-dropping as their other ventures. I think reggae's a naturally breezy form (and I stand by that even in the face of the heaviest dub, because even that has an association with happily floating around off your face) - so when they take on the grandness of Pink Floyd, or the itchy angst of Radiohead, the contrast is phenomenal. While Sergeant Pepper is The Beatles at their jauntiest, so it's not so much of a leap in mood and style. Maybe that's why we were both drawn to She's Leaving Home, 'cos it's so dark and sad and all. And I love Day In The Life, and Mr Kite - because circus music is ALWAYS sinster, heh.

    22 Abr 2009, 22:13
  • Babs_05

    Ahhh, Electioneering just lifts me up, every time. Amazing piece of work. I like your half-formed theory. I'll mull over it next listen. She's Leaving Home has always moved me. Chokes me up, it's such a sad story. Plus it takes me back to the day I first flew the nest. Back then, I only saw the girl's side of the story, but now I'm older, I see the parents' as well. I almost chose that for this week's reco but I was getting all upset, so I changed my mind. I'm a sensitive flower. I played the album again whilst I was editing this last night, and truly, it does sound better and better on every listen. It's almost like how it was for me with Sergeant Pepper. I used to have trouble with parts of that but now I'm older, I can't remember what those issues were. Oh you know what I think it is? I think there are more subtleties in this album than the previous two. The Matisyahu one - I almost missed that first listen, then it just popped up at me on about the third round and I was like: where've you come from?! :D

    22 Abr 2009, 22:37
  • rwitte

    Just came across this .. thanks

    13 Mar 2010, 10:29
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