English Black Boys

I’m keeping the reggae riddims riding for Factory Friday with X-O-Dus, a Moss Side reggae band who released a single for Factory way back at the start. Produced by Dennis Bovell English Black Boys is a wonderful slice of politically conscious roots reggae. X-O-Dus played the Russell Club where Rob Gretton saw them and recommended them to Factory, with Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus jumping at the chance to release a 12″, although various delays meant that English Black Boys and the B-side See Them A Come were recorded in 1979 but not released until 1980. Wilson managed to get Bovell to man the controls, who was riding high having produced records by The Slits and The Pop Group. X-O-Dus played several Factory nights including sharing the stage with Joy Division, Durutti Column, The Distractions and ACR. They gigged regularly, got played repeatedly by John Peel but this was their only release during the band’s lifetime.

English Black Boys

Giant Return

I’m interrupting the run of clothes themed posts today but, don’t worry, ¬†they’ll be back.

The Slits second album, 1981’s Return Of The Giant Slits, is a step on from Cut. Full of African sounds alongside their Jamaican interests it lacks the clearly post-punkiness of their debut but takes in a wider variety of sounds and is fuller, wider, worldlier (and WOMADier). It is also less scratchy, less sought after, less celebrated. Return… was produced, like Cut, by dub reggae man Dennis Bovell. It seems very much less ’79 and more ’81. It is also, as far as I can tell, out of print here and has been for some time. Second hand copies on popular internet selling and auction sites are offered at anywhere between twenty-two pounds and fifty-nine pounds. Uh?!

Luckily, if you can put up with Youtube’s lo-fi uploads, it is available for listening to.

Tracklist…
Earthbeat
Or What It Is?
Face Place
Walk About
Difficult Fun
Animal Space/Spacier
Improperly Dressed
Life On Earth

Yesterday Dub


No not Sir Paul. Steve Mason, ex of The Beta Band, released an album last year- Boys Outside- that has been thoroughly reworked and dubbed up by Dennis Bovell (legendary British reggae man who also worked with The Slits and Orange Juice). Mr Weatherall provided two dubs of Boys Outside which were pretty much my favourite tracks of last year. Now Mr Bovell takes Steve Mason’s haunting original songs and adds horns, dub bass and lashings of echo, as shown here. Very, very good and highly recommended.