A joyous record – rediscovered – from Rupie Edwards in 1974

I bought the 45 rpm “Ire Feelings (Skanga)” by Rupie Edwards in 1974 at Woolacotts, Bude, Cornwall.

I have just re-listened to it, perhaps after 46-odd years, and realised what a gorgeous, joyful record it is. It is absolutely wonderful!

But, I have to say, it was a bit weird buying at the time. It was hardly played on Radio One and it seemed odd. Just unusual.

It was, I learn now, the first “dub” record to hit the charts. It made Number 9 in the UK charts in 1974.

Here’s a little bit of what it says about the record on The Register:

In late 1974, out of nowhere, the first dub hit anywhere in the world leapt into the UK Top Ten.

Upon its release that autumn, Rupie Edwards’ innovatory Ire Feelings had received virtually no airtime on London’s Capital Radio and even less on BBC Radio One – the country’s biggest stations – but the demand from kids in discos and clubs made the haunting, echoing reggae 45 into a massive hit.

And it wasn’t just a “new” artist they were hearing – Edwards, a Jamaican, had never been anywhere near the British charts before – but an entire new genre, perhaps the first that genuinely fused both modern culture and the latest technology.

“I’d actually booked the studio that day to record Shorty The President,” says Edwards now, “and Shorty was late and I had this song in my head to do. So I dropped it. ‘Feeling High’ – and trust me, I was – and Errol Thompson, the mixer from Studio One was then working for me. And we had this big copper pipe I’d dragged in off the street and I whacked it, recorded it, just for the sound. And Errol said ‘I like working with you, you’re always trying new things’.

“So we recorded the song and the next day we mixed it and at one point Errol said, ‘Hang on, it’s different, it’s changed, we should start again’. And I said ‘no, no’, ‘cos I knew that if we started mixing again we’d never get it back. So we finished it and Pat Kelly mastered it, then I left a copy with my partner in the shop I had on West Parade, downtown Kingston. And she rang me that same evening saying, ‘Every time I play it the street block up!’”

One thought on “A joyous record – rediscovered – from Rupie Edwards in 1974

  1. And if you want to here what rocked Paul’s boat in 1974 and still does in 2020, you can hear it on YouTube

    Stay safe.

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