Michael Palmer Meets Kelly Ranks At Channel One

1985, Gorgon / Dancefloor

  1. Chucky No Lucky

  2. I Am Going To Buy You A Gown

  3. She Sexy

  4. I Have A Problem

  5. Woman Make Your Waistline Roll

  6. You See Me

  7. Jah They Pon Mi Mine

  8. Good A Fi Suffer For The Bad

This year I've been totally captivated by this rub-a-dub singer Michael Palmer, who has a decent amount of solo albums to his name, and like every other singer of his era, plenty of clash albums. This one sees him sparring with a deejay by the name of Kelly Ranks who I know absolutely nothing about and have never heard mentioned anywhere. Michael handles the A side, with a comfortable selection of very Michael Palmer-esque tunes, nothing terribly special or out of character for him. I Have A Problem is definitely the highlight of his side of this record, which was also out on his 1984 album "Star Performer" as Problem Baby, albeit in a slightly different arrangement and on a much more engaging riddim. The riddims on this set are some very run-of-the-mill mid-80's Radics stuff, sounds fine, but won't blow you away on the first or tenth listen. She Sexy is a highlight riddim on this record, it's one of the early 80s Scientist cuts that I can't remember the name of. And one lyric that stood out to me was "She sexy like a bottle of Pepsi", and I know that it's a real thing, what with the "coca cola shape" and all that but still. Always a delight to find a spot of dancehall goofball nonsense.

Speaking of goofballs in the dancehall, the B side is handled by this fellow by the name of Kelly Ranks, backed up by a singer by the name of Prince Buster Jr. in the first tune, who favors Michael Palmer more than anyone else I can think of. So that's not really a great start to distinguish Kelly on his half of this clash record. Following up that tune is You See Me, which is unforgettable from the first listen for its ridiculous hook delivery. "You see me, you see meeeee, eh eh eh, you see me, me fancyyyy, eh eh eh" is the chant and it is a wonderful demonstration of how a perfectly fine motif can be completely ruined by incompetent vocals. Between instances of this there are some verses of some passable deejay lyrics but it doesn't matter because there's some kind of wretched desire in me to hear that stupid hook again and again. I listened to this album three times over six months and I made my way through the first five tunes in a bit of a haze and then "YOU SEE MEEEE" perked me right up again and put a big dumb smile on my face. The cherry on top is the rare curse word in old reggae with the line "When me come a dance, me no chat fuckery" right before the fade-out at the end.

Kelly is a deejay that I really struggle to describe. There's nothing terribly wrong with him but he's such an ordinary performer that I can't think of any defining characteristics to point out. Delivery wise he's just a deejay like any other, there's nothing he can offer vocally that you haven't heard elsewhere. I'm always happy to have more deejay music to listen to, so I give thanks to the man for making these recordings, and with consistently okay Radics riddims it's very listenable, just not really special. If Kelly has anything going for him, it's a handful selection of wonderfully silly lyrics, my picks from this set being:

"Me smart, me bad, and me wacked."

"Me big, me small, and me wacked." "This here deejay with the smallest forehead."

"This here deejay is one of a kind."

Looking at the album cover I don't think his forehead looks particularly small. Maybe it's a flattering angle. In conclusion this album is just okay and there is so much more Michael Palmer in higher caliber out there to be enjoyed, can't say the same for Kelly, but I do have a little spirit fairy within me that is totally adamant that every single reggae record ever recorded has some inherent value and might be worth listening to if you really, really care.

My picks: I Have A Problem, You See Me, Jah They Pon Mi Mine

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