Too Nice To Talk To

I’m declaring it dancehall week having rocked the set with Deemas J at Dancehall Jamboree on Saturday. Obviously dancehall over at Skank Blog doesn’t involve any rowing of the boat, or lifting of the weights, nor will you be hearing about anything as despicable as stepping pon a chi chi man.

Instead, for our first installment, we’re looking at a deejay track which snuck in the backdoor of the 2 tone scene via The Beat’s third and final LP back in ’82 when their resident toaster Ranking Roger teamed up with rising Brummy bubbler Pato Banton to deliver Pato & Roger Ago Talk.

patoDeemed good enough for it’s own release, Ago Talk didn’t stand far out from the UK dancehall pack of the early 80’s, though the strangled rockabilly tones of Dave Wakelin’s guitar hinted at the backing band’s roots.

The Beat were one of the few 2 Tone related acts to fully embrace the art of the dub mix, with increasingly experimental excursions augmenting their singles. Ago Talk being no exception with it’s Tappy Lappy Dub appearing on the 12″ in all it’s demixed glory.

Pato would of course go on to top the charts in the 90’s with his cover of black rockers The Equals’ Baby Come Back and a latter day link up with Ranking Roger for Bubbling Hot but not before a brace of spiky dread related moments including Hip Hop Lyrical Robot with fellow Birmingham blues dancers UB40 in ’85, from their version excursion LP Baggariddim. A nice slice of UK dancehall that unites hip hop, electro and rare groove with a touch of UB40’s poppy skank, while Pato invites the listener to lick him all over like a lollipop. A far cry from dancehall’s homophobic singalongs indeed.

Around the same time, Pato teamed up once again with Roger, this time putting the former punk drummer in the driver’s seat to produce Mash Up De Telly for Greensleeves Records’ UK Bubblers imprint, set up to promote the influx of UK MC’s dominating the charts. Nothing too spiky to be heard here but there’s a subtle influence of Roger’s former glories hidden under the rockers rhythm track while Pato swipes at the likes of Corrie, Dallas and Dynasty. Considering he asked for the return of his “colour TV” in Baby Come Back, I’m guessing Pato changed his tune once Desmond’s hit the goggle box.


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