What’s going on (in Lewisham)?

It’s not every week you witness a reggae legend playing in a local pub but the Thursday just gone we saw Big Youth at the Fox and Firkin in Lewisham. And what a night! Just after 10pm a trim looking Jah Youth bounded onstage (as his band Dub Natty Sessions from Venezuela were playing the “Satta Massanga” rhythm) and was treated to a heroes welcome from the crowd of 150 or so.

For about an hour he performed a shedload of his classics mostly delivered in an improvised style (songs would morph into something else midway then return to the original later) with Big Youth ad-libbing throughout the set, telling the band to “take it down low” many times as he’d change song lyrics and connect with his audience big time. We later learnt that the band had only rehearsed once with the legend earlier that day, so there must have been some sort of reggae telepathy going on between all as it was bang on musically!

We were treated to some excellent versions of Hit the road Jack, Touch me in the morning and What’s going on? amongst many more whilst Big Youth jumped about with boundless energy, took his hat off and shook his locks a couple of times (to massive cheers and whoops!) and chatted to the audience throughout. At one point while he was halfway through a version of Natty dread no jester he handed the mike to someone in the crowd who started doing an impromptu toast over the end of the song which won the chap a round of applause from the audience and the great man himself. A night to remember and one that brought out the autographed hunter in us (pic above)! Big up Big Youth!

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Help me make it through the day

To keep us sane at work today we listened to a couple of episodes of this brilliant series (originally from 2011) which feature some great tunes and some great DJ anecdotes. In episode 1 the inventor of the 12″ single and the extended mix Tom Moulton mentions David Rodriguez one night going on the mike while DJing at the Limelight and telling the crowd he was in a bad mood and that they all should leave the club, brilliant! All episodes are here and are well worth listening to! And to end here’s two classic mixes from the great Tom Moulton!

A walking onion and a mid-week tune

This odd looking thing above is the strange Egyptian or walking onion and nearly ready to do its stuff. In a couple of weeks they’ll be bulblets growing at the top of the plant and possibly where that strange light green junction is on the stalk. We’ll keep you updated. More on the Egyptian onion here and here.

Big shout to Scotch Bonnet Records for letting us know about the latest release from Mungo’s Hi Fi  featuring the great vocals of Eva Lazarus called Live my life. Look out for Amsterdam as well from the same project. Both big tunes here at weeds! Available here and here.

I thought the major was a lady suffragette

It’s mad what you can find in the soil while you’re gardening. Since we’ve been living at Weeds HQ we’ve unearthed a kid’s trainer, a few pairs of mummified underpants and a dustbin bag’s worth of lurid coloured plastic clothes pegs.
A few weeks ago when we were forking up some spuds we found what looked like a small lump of coal. We gave it a good clean and made some enquiries at the Covent Garden collector’s market this morning.
I was told by a nice chap on an antique stall that the item is part of a fake Jet Victoriana brooch from about 1880. He said Jet was quite fashionable at the time as Queen Victoria wore Jet jewellery whilst in mourning for Prince Albert and it caught on big time. Trouble is: 1. It’s a fake made out of moulded glass and 2. It’s only half an item.
It might not be much to look at and wouldn’t even be mentioned on Time Team but it sure beats finding the kid’s pushbike that was half buried on the lawn when we moved in, knackering the new flymo on the first day of it’s purchase! Isn’t it brill what you can find?
We’d love to hear from anyone who has found anything good while digging in the garden or on the allotment? Answers on a postcard please…

Sunday morning angle grinding musings

If plastic herons, owls and other decoys keep predators away in the garden then would fake plastic slugs (a bit larger in size than normal ones) deter other slugs do you think? Also there are fake crocodile heads on the market to put in your pond “to keep big birds away” but how would a heron from Lewisham even know what a crocodile was? Above: some of the quality decoys on sale at the moment. We here at weeds currently have a 99p ebay bid on the life-like heron on the large wooden stick (which looks like what would be on the end of a large “rocket” firework). Keep your fingers crossed we get it!

Ponds and pumps and the origin of dub

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Weeds HQ; the builders are in doing some work and a fair bit of clearing up has been done in the back during a couple of days dedicated to just gardening. Also after years deliberating, a solar powered pump is now in action in the pond, all for the bargain price of 40 odd quid and what a difference it makes! The new load of fish bought from the Lewisham pet shop now with a net over them (to stop that pesky heron here from murdering this current batch) are looking well happy and so are the frogs and newts too! The bottom of the pond can now be seen, which is a first!The builders had some stuff delivered on a nice mini-pallet (above) which has now been utilised for the mini herb garden just outside the back door. Apart from a couple of leaves being nibbled in the night everything is doing fine. The first chilli is now showing (below).The weekly comfrey liquid feed around the garden is turning up trumps what with the giant tomato (below) that is nearly ripened. The comfrey liquid might pong a bit but it don’t half work wonders.This week the following radio show has been on constant replay. It’s Jah Life‘s excellent Backawall University from July 7th and this episode contains something very special indeed. It features dub plates from King Tubby’s younger brother Stagga (aka “Young Tubbs”) made in Brooklyn, New York in 1970 before King Tubby began his dub experiments in Kingston. There’s some great dubs on here: Phyllis Dillon’s “One life to live” (with the vocal just about audible), The Sensations “Everyday is just a holiday”, The Jamaicans “Baba boom” (retitled “Boom Baba”) and more. More on Stagga Ruddock here. Big shout to Dubby Doo for alerting us to this show which is musical history!

Tunes for a Summer’s evening

Two excellent tunes to play loud on this nice summer’s evening. The first as spun by the Rt. Hon. David Rodigan the other week is a chilled out version from Jane Macgizmo called Babylon Dub. Another great artist and tune out of the ZincFence stable.

The second is a heavy heavy bass piece from Saint Abdullah out of Brooklyn/Tehran called Martyrdub. Intense  and powerful are a couple of words to describe this. Available on MP3, Cassette and Vinyl here. One to be heard LOUD! More on Saint Abdullah here.