Triston Palma - Show Case

1982, Midnight Rock

  1. Miserable Woman

  2. Drum & Bass To Your Face

  3. Give Me A Chance

  4. Drum & Bass Have Taste

  5. Sandra

  6. Drum & Bass Can't Waste

  7. Girl I Love

  8. Drum & Bass To Any Waist

  9. Time So Hard

  10. Drum & Bass Any Place

  11. Run Around Woman

  12. Drum & Bass To The Race


This year I have made it a goal of mine to get stuck into the rub-a-dub singers of the 80's and one thing that I have been paradoxically frustated and pleased by at the same time is how many of these artists have albums out in 1982 at the start of their careers. 1982 is just a year in time and it means nothing at face value, but for reggae what it means is that by listening to a lot of records from that year, you get Radics, Radics and more Radics. Philip Fraser, Edi Fitzroy, Little John, Frakie Paul, Lacksley Castell, Sammy Dread, Johnny Osbourne and Carlton Livingston are some of the artists in this category, and the one Triston Palma more than any other with six LPs out in 82, all being Radics albums. So I get in gear to start listening to this artist and then I'm immediately met with around sixty tracks of Radics. Which is frustrating because there's only so much of a certain style that you can take in a small amount of time and also a blessing because the Radics style is excellent.


The producer on this record - and many others of Triston Palma's - is Jah Thomas, who has a totally unique approach to the Radics that I am a huge fan of and this album being in showcase format is probably a better, ahem, "showcase" of it than any other. Radics style is usually ultra slow and heavy and hardcore and mixed with super fat bass and very little going on but Mr. Nkrumah is more than willing to fill up the groove with percussion, get ambitious with the reverb and mix, and just cut large parts out of the mix for very long amounts of time. When Give Me A Chance cuts out, you get what is essentially a full chorus of acapella with skanks and saxophone before dropping out to drum and bass, much more than you would hear on your average version track, and I can assure you that Drum & Bass Have Taste. My goodness the track titles for the dubs on this set are just excellent. Mr. Nkrumah Have Taste for sure.


Triston Palma is a very talented singer who works wonderfully in the early 80s style, and while he went a little bit in the singjay direction in later years, his early records (including this one) are characterised by a lot of long notes and even longer phrases. On top of that his songwriting approach is super repetitive, and he can pull an entire tune out of just one or two musical ideas. Give Me A Chance is a good example with the same motif coming again and again and again, sometimes rhyming and sometimes not, and only a couple times in the entire track does it actually resolve with clear cadence. Again with the hit tune from this set, Time So Hard, which takes the idea a step further with a grand total of one musical idea from Triston and the rest being supported by lyrics and production from the mixing board genius Jah Thomas. Several of these riddims have been ridden by Jah Thomas himself, with Time So Hard being flipped as Seek & Find in his album "Dance Hall Stylee" out the same year. "Dance Hall Stylee" is the sister record to this and an essential next listen if this one gives you the Midnight Rock itch. See also the 1996 compilation set "Triston Palmer Meets Jah Thomas In Disco Style Entertainment" which mixes up both records with several other Midnight Rock releases from the two of them around that era. A less cohesive set but if you just want to scratch the itch then it does the job fantastically.

Jah Thomas also makes a number of appearances in this set. The very first thing you hear upon starting the album is "Man called Triston Palma come to liven up the corner, inna one musical style sah!" in that one particular cadence that Jah Thomas got keen on in the early 80s. Still to me his crowning achievement as a vocalist. It even made an appearance this year in his "Dub Of Dubs" set out this year. Little acapellas like this show up from time to time in "Show Case", and even a bit of deejaying towards the end of Drum & Bass Any Place, although mixed quite quiet so it comes off as more of a detail than a focus. Not something I have heard anywhere else but I think it's a good idea. The back-and-forth between the two is just excellent, and conceptually it's such a simple record - one singer, one producer/deejay, one group of highly talented Radics, spun in showcase style - but the result feels like so much more than the sum of its parts, emblematic and quintessential 1982 Roots Radics Rub-A-Dub. Special request to you the music lover.


Bim count: 0

My picks: Miserable Woman, Give Me A Chance, Time So Hard

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