Battle For Seattle / Reggae Nirvana


Have you heard about this yet?   It seems to be making the rounds.

First a little background on Little Roy.  He had his first big hit “Bongo Nyah” in
Jamaica in 1969.  He started his own (Tafari and Earth) record labels, recorded his hit “Tribal War” with Lee Perry, did some dancehall stuff in the 90’s, and continues recording to this day.

I give you background just so you know Little Roy is not new to world, or trying to make an easy buck.  I’ll tepidly admit that Battle for Seattle plays a bit like an audio novelty
upon first inspection, but a few repeated listening kills that idea quick.

The music is fairly simple (but tasteful) reggae, not dub, not crazy, but solid.  Most of the songs bob along nicely with fairly minimal production.  On a Plain may be my favorite track on this.  The only accompaniment seems to be some abstract congas, and that wonderfully interesting melody.

I think that’s the secret power of this, the simplicity of really well-written songs.  These straight reggae versions really bring out the surreal, almost childlike nature of Cobain’s lyrics, (especially on Sliver, obviously).  I haven’t purposely heard many Nirvana covers, not because I had any great aversion to them, I just always heard these songs as uniquely Nirvana’s thing.  It’s actually quite refreshing to hear them not coming from a (white), grungy-guitar oriented base.  For me, separating the music from the tortured 90’s lens that I originally heard it in was revelatory.  If anything, it shows what an incredible POP
songwriter Cobain was.

…and I  never thought that a trombone solo would sound so fantastic on Come as You Are……

(My one gripe is with Lithium: shouldn’t he be in daze ‘cause he found JAH?)

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