It’s brings me great pleasure to release this episode of the Reggae Lover Podcast which features two riddims that were suggested by my listeners: the Stalag version and the Sleng Teng rhythm. If you have ever been to a reggae dance or concert, you have definitely heard songs on one or both of these legendary riddim tracks which have had a dominating prominence in the dancehall for three decades.
I selected this 22 song playlist out of the hundreds of tunes that have been recorded over these versions. The mix is comprised mostly of the original cuts produced by Winston “Techniques” Riley and Lloyd ‘King Jammy’ James. Please submit playlist suggestions and feedback to ReggaeLoverPodcast@gmail.com.
In Jamaica, the Stalag version (or Stalag riddim) is a popular reggae rhythm, which came to prominence in the 1970s. It was originally written and performed as “Stalag 17” (named after the 1953 war film) by Ansell Collins, and released by Winston Riley‘s Techniques record label in 1973.
It was mainly used for dub instrumental versions, often b-sides of records. The rhythm also influenced early hip-hop, and can be discerned on Public Enemy’s hit ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ as well as on Too Short’s Blowjob Betty.
Sleng Teng is the name given to the first fully computerized riddim in Jamaican music. The riddim, which was created by the collaboration between King Jammy and Wayne Smith, was titled “Under Mi Sleng Teng“. Wayne Smith found the computerized sound in Noel Davey’s keyboard, and together he and Davey arranged the riddim, slowed it down, matched it to Smith’s key, and rehearsed on it with lyrics inspired by Barrington Levy’s “Under Mi Sensi” and Yellowman’s “Under me fat ting”, before taking it to Jammy’s studio in late 1984. The riddim itself is apparently an attempt to recreate Eddie Cochran’s 1959 rockabilly song “Somethin’ Else.” It is a pattern found in the Casio MT-40 home keyboard.
After the riddim was brought to the studio and Jammy heard it, he then slowed it further and placed piano and a clap on it. Jammy recorded a number of other artists on the original backing track including Tenor Saw (with “Pumpkin Belly”), and Johnny Osbourne (with “Buddy Bye”). The tunes were first unleashed at a now legendary soundclash between Jammy’s own sound system and Black Scorpio at Waltham Park Road on February 23, 1985.
Stalag 17 Playlist
1 Frankie Paul – Don’t Worry Yourself – Volcano
2 General Echo – Arlene – Techniques
3 Admiral Tibett – Trouble To A Man – Techniques
4 Little Kirk – Whats Love Got To Do – Techniques
5 Yami Bolo – Take It Easy – Techniques
6 Cocoa Tea – We Do The Killing – Digital B
7 Super Beagle – Soundboy Dust Out – Techniques
8 Tenor Saw and Buju Banton – Ring The Alarm Quick – Techniques
9 Sister Nancy – Bam Bam – Techniques
10 Cutty Ranks – Rude Bwoy Game – Techniques
11 Nicodemus – Suzy Wong – Skengdon
Sleng Teng Playlist
1 Wayne Smith – Under Me Sleng Teng – Jammys
2 Tenor Saw – Pumpkin Belly – Jammys
3 Echo Minott – Original Fat Ting – Jammys
4 Buddy Bye – Johnny Osbourne – Jammys
5 Josey Wales – Cowboy Style – Jammys
6 Yelloman – Reggae Ambassador – Jammys
7 Tony Curtis – Weak – John John
8 Anthony Red Rose – Under Me Fat Ting – King Tubbys
9 John Wayne – Call The Police For Me – Jammys
10 Super Cat – Trash and Ready – Jammys
11 Frankie Paul – Cassandra – Steely and Clevie
The ‘A Love I Can Feel‘ rhythm was first released on a vocal by John Holt under the same name in 1970. It was produced by Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and was a sizeable hit. John Holt re-recorded his original vocal a number of times (about once per decade) including for Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes’ Volcano label, King Jammy, and the Parish label. The rhythm has been used around 100 times, most frequently by King Jammy and Donovon Germain of Penthouse Records.
Please download using the link below, and feel free to spread the word to fellow reggae lovers. Also email email@example.com to make suggestions, requests or comments, and to get additional information.
1 John Holt – A Love I Can Feel – Studio One
2 Dennis Alcapone – A Love I Can Feel – Studio One
3 Freddie McGregor – When I’m Ready – Studio One
4 George Scott – Love You Still – Studio One
5 Cornell Campbell – Give Your Love To Me – Gorgon
6 Prince Jazzbo – Straight To I-Roy Head – Lagoon
7 Shinehead – Golden Touch – African Love
8 Josey Wales – Weh Dem A Go Do “86″ – Tuff Gong
9 Nana McClean – Nana’s Medley – Penthouse
10 Sanchez – Wont Last A Day – Germain
11 Tony Tuff – I’ve Got To Get You – Penthouse
12 Richie Stephens – Trying To Get To You – Penthouse
13 Tony Rebel – Fresh Vegetable – Penthouse
14 Pinchers – Stand By Me Pt. 2 – Penthouse
15 Sanchez – I Can’t Wait – Digital B
16 Beres Hammond – Tempted To Touch
17 Beres Hammond and Cutty Ranks – Love Me Haffi Get
18 Pinchers – Dreams and Illusions – Jammys
19 Frankie Paul – Benefit of the Doubt – Black Scorpio
Barrington Levy is one of the only reggae singers to have great success throughout the entire decade of the the 1980s. He recorded prolifically with many of his releases topping charts in Jamaica and the UK while he maintained his relevance in the dancehall from then until now.
A Reggae Lover Podcast listener suggested that I feature Barrington’s work, so I have selected this portion of tunes which highlights some of my favorite reality tunes and features many of the Joe Gibbs and Volcano roots recordings. A follow-up mix that covers lovers rock will be coming soon.
Barrington Levy Playlist:
1 Now A Days
2 Don’t Fuss or Fight
3 Do Good
5 Too Poor
6 Praise His Name
8 Under Me Sensi
9 Collie Weed
10 Dont Pretend
11 Mine Your Mouth
12 This Little Boy
13 Jah Is With Me
14 Prison Oval Rock
15 Money Move
16 Teach The Youths
17 Black Roses
18 My Time