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White judge has said so

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Hello there

Been quite a while since my last update on this blog, well still in 1980, and this time its UB40 that has turned up on my playlist. Signing Off would off been one off the first 5 lps I had ever brought. For those who don't know UB40 early stuff and only know them for cheesy pop/reggae songs like Red Red Wine ( which I can't stand), this is a different band altogether, before they found a drum machine and at there political best.

Lots of stand out tracks but the one that turn up on this weekends playlist was a song called Tyler. A song that’s been with me for 33 years, but as a young 13 year old I never knew what the song was about. All that I knew was Tyler is guilty the white judge has said so What right do we have to say it`s not so and somewhere along the line a gun was planted. This was the album opener, and set the tone for the rest of the album. This was British reggae and dare I say it at it best.

The song starts with a humming sound moving from right to left then back again, then bum bum bum of the bass guitar, drums roll, and off we go, with that sax that feature a lot in this album. After a while Ali starts singing. Not the best voice in the world I agree, but a voice that works so well with this type of music. Then about ¾ of the way though after the lazy guitar solo, it all slows to a near stop, is that the end, then the bass line comes back in, and then them drums come back in, as kids back in 1980 we use to love that bit. Jim Brown does his bits with the drums and keeps time.

Back then we use to argue a lot who was the best drummer, Jim Brown came out top quite a lot because of this album, but also in the running was John Bradbury (The Specials) and Everett Morto ( The Beat) Another story about this album was my mate Gordon ( who's parents where from St Lucia) was always complaining that my Amstrad HIFI had no bass. So one day it was around his house while his mum and dad was out, and on his dads stereo, he showed me what bass was. Also playing some of his dads record I think this is where I found Bob Marley, but that's another story.

So what is the song about, well on of Britian finest reggae bands where singing about a black American. Gary Tyler, who at the age of 17 was convicted shooting dead a 13-year-old white boy in 1974 in Louisiana and sentenced to death. Me being a 13 year old white boy from London I didn't have a clue who Gary Tyler was.

As the songs says it is claim a gun was planted. From what I can find he is still in prison today. More here on Wikipedia

For those that have never heard the song

Cheers Frank
Tags: ub40