Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Eddy Grant Special


Time to make way for one of the absolute and undeniable kings of music in my eyes. Often a guy who is lesser known and perhaps never really received his 'due'. I'd put him up there with some of my all time favorite top cats, Arthur Lee or George Clinton, who, in my eyes, really made tracks in their own distinct directions. Eddy wasn't a complete lyrical genius like Arthur Lee, but he could craft a catchy pop tune out of a wet paper bag. He wasn't the founding father of psychedelic funk like George Clinton, but everything he did had a 'funky' edge, even his rock and roll is tuff, soulful and rythmatical. He had some kind of undeniable energy that made everything irresistibly charming and jump right out of the speakers into your lap. Many of his songs, whether they are bubble gum pop, skin head soul, reggae, garage punk, or plain ole rock and roll, they always have another edge to them, and are seriously chock full of potent energy. If there ever was undertones to music or something you could read between the lines it was with Eddy Grant. To me, his freedom to bounce in and out of so many genres made him an endlessly invaluable innovator. I think his only downfall was staying too much in one pocket, mostly being reggae, but somehow he made that work and made tons of money from it.

We all know what it sounds like to take a walk down 'Electric Avenue' but, his rich history is seemingly unknown. I had heard faint whispers online that somewhere someone was going to release a complete Eddy Grant compilation. I forget who it was...Soul Strut? Soul Jazz? Perhaps I will beat them to it here. But, it definitely needs to be accomplished. The man deserves to be known for what is really the bigger Eddy Grant picture
He proves my 'energy' theory with an extended rap sheet of other projects. Not only has he released a ton of other records recording under different names, he's produced so much and been in so many other groups, many of us, myself included are still trying to piece it all together. I will attempt to break the ice on this fascinating untold story. No pun (he was on Ice Records for a while) in tented there.
This may take 2, 3 or even 4 parts to tell his story and post the according tracks. But, in order to do it proper it will take time. The sheer magnitude of what he's done would probably be a 15 CD box set if you catch my drift. And, I'd like to avoid the attention of any copyright infringement issues with our insignificant offerings.

First up, right down to business, from the funky era we have The Equals 'Mystic Sister' from the LP of the same name. Its frightfully experimental with it's jarring, nails on a chalkboard, type of keyboard riff that sounds as though it's partially submerged under water. Yet, the feeling is resurrected with Eddy's powerful almost shouting chants and a few funky 'well, well, wells' thrown in for good measure. Head cracking drums and some early use of synthesisers round it out. One thing about the equals I should start out with is just how amazing they look throughout time. If you have an affinity for mixed race bands that  are draped in 60's through 70's rags, then they're your band. With all the UK, European and Japanese singles that were released, you've got a treasure trove of killer looking covers to collect.

The Equals - Mystic Syster

Next up is 'Diversion' from The Equals. Early fuzzy punk goodness from 1973. Pure mix of glam and punk that easily earns these guys a 'founding fathers of punk' award from me. The guitar rips like a chainsaw and the song crashes along, with mass of maracas and symbols crashing in your ears. Eddy's referencing his 'diversion' as a tale of being thrown in jail for a bit, but he's back. And, back with a vengeance in this killer 60's inspired punk stomp. I love his 'yelps', 'ahs', and 'yeows' and the general raspiness in his voice. His screaming and carrying on make young R&B punk lords The Pretty Things sound docile in comparison.

The Equals - Diversion

Another one from the early days. Brought up from the deepest caverns of garage and punk rock history. 'My Life Ain't Easy' from their first LP. Hard ass drums and fuzz guitar that sounds as if it were recorded in a distant room. All the while with well put harmonizing backing vocals and Eddy screaming on top. There's some interesting things to look at when looking at the career of Eddy Grant and The Equals and the beginning releases. Released in the same year as Sly And The Family Stone's 'A Whole New Thing' one has to question just how ready the industry was to promote mixed race groups. In 1967 when it was released, the American version on Laurie had negative and positive exposures of their band picture, and the UK version on the President label had a strangely suspect and oddly 'colorized' looking picture of them. Makes me wonder what boundaries they encountered as a group in those early days. I'd love to interview Eddy at some point and get all of this info first hand.

The Equals - My Life Ain't Easy

UK version released on President
US version on Laurie

This next classic of his was reworked through several time periods. I've counted a total of 4 different versions of the same song. There may be more, but we'll highlight 2 of the best versions of 'Nobody's Got Time' for this special. This first version is from his very first self titled solo outing on Torpedo records. It's a different mix from the 7 inch version, which is killer as well, but this version is longer and just as lethal. I'll definitely rip the 7 inch soon, because it is jaw dropping heavy funk. It's a damn hard LP to find and really shows what potential he had. It's rock, it's funk, it's reggae, it's really all over the place. But, good and interesting throughout. This LP is a super big treat for y'all. I dug around quite a bit and couldn't find any of this ANYWHERE. So, I'm pretty sure it's a Soundboutique exclusive.

Eddy Grant - Nobody's Got Time (Torpedo LP version)

Then the later version released in 1980 on the 'Love In Exile' LP which became a classic in the loft classic, disco, and cosmic DJ crowds. The dub version of 'Nobody's' is still in great demand. Haunting vocals, sweeping atmosphere, strange keyboards, and the basis for an electro orgasm you can see why. I still prefer the vocal version, just because I am EG's biggest fan. You can't beat a harmonica solo right dab in the middle. You can also see how a dubbed version could cause your head to start to cave in. It's a lethal version later available by the Coach House Rhythm Section on a Ice Records 12 inch.

Eddy Grant - Nobody's Got Time (1980 version)

Last, but not least another tune that seems to pop up here and there. I think there are three versions of this as well. This is yet another heavy treat and from this mega rare first LP 'self titled' from Eddy Grant. A monster funk tune, just raw and gritty. It's a trip to hear many of his tunes as they progressed and changed and cleaned up and got organized. These version from this album as dirty, raw and fairly unpolished. Nice! We like it like that. But, you'll see in the next part of this special on Eddy Grant what a good shave, shit and a shower can do for his tunes. We'll post up a lot more in a part two and/or Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys, Baby Come Back, Funky Like A Train, I Get So Excited, I can't See But You Don't Know, and the many other versions of Stone Cold Cat and Nobody's Got Time.

Eddy Grant - Stone Cold Cat (Torpedo LP version)

Self Titled LP on Torpedo
World Premier, shhhht. I crack myself up sometimes.


  1. thanks a lot, great post! would love to hear the 7" version of nobody's got time.

  2. I'd love to hear more parts of this series!

  3. Did the Torpedo 7 of Got Time ever get converted? I cant find that one anywhere.

    Cheers for the quality Eddy stuff

  4. Man, those Torpedo tracks are KILLER! Can you post the rest of that album??? Please???

  5. Stone Cold Cat on Torpedo - Is this version available on any other release? And is the rest of the 1975 LP just as fantastic?