Laurel Aitken

Rise and Fall

Personal Selections 1960-1979

You absolutely must possess this album. If I were to say what Rude Roots is about, I would say "This album."

Highlights include:

You Got Me Rockin'. Think Theophilus Beckford. The nn-ska nn-ska sound here is all done on a piano in a classic blues progression typified by the rock n' roll and ska of the time (1962). If you are a real ska nerd, you can sit around with your friends and debate whether or not this is really ska.

Skinhead Train. This is a 'Verison' song done to the "Train to Skaville" riddim. Though the year is 1969, it's interesting to note that the riddim-ization of songs that dancehall does now and dub has always done was already well under way at the time. The lyrics vasillate between children's rhymes and exhortations of skinheads, where he refers to himself as "the boss skinhead". It goes without saying that this is classic skinhead reggae.

Heile Heile. Another riddim track, with vocals sung over that of "(Long Shot) Kick De Bucket". It is still 1969, so at the same time Aitken is praising the cleanheaded fans he's tipping his famous hat to the dreads. He knows how to keep his bases covered, and this philosophy is mirrored in the record itself, which takes us from the rock n' roll type ska all the way to roots reggae.

Rise and Fall. SLACK! "You feel it. You touch it up. You play with it. You love it!" Nudge nudge, wink wink.

"Rise and Fall" ends on a high note with the ubiquitous rocksteady rude bwoy exhortation "Jesse James". I can't say enough good things about this album. As if there weren't already 20 reasons to buy it, consider the fact that Mr. Aitken, like most artists, always got screwed by the labels who pressed his stuff. The guy still charges five bucks for his autograph, for god's sake! Buy it from so he can have some of that money he earned. You can get it direct from




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