Finally, Friday. It’s been a long couple of weeks here at the Flea Market Funk Camp, and I’m heading South tonight to our nation’s capitol for the weekend. Do not fear, as Jack the Ripper and the Lanes Crew will be holding it down at the Asbury Lanes Garage Sale and Record Show on Sunday morning. I unfortunately will not be back in time. I’m hoping to maybe get some digging in in DC or Maryland, along with some definite rest. I’ve been vibing to Reggae a lot lately, and I figured I’d end the week with a live cut. As a matter of fact, it comes from the Part 2 of A Dee-Jay Explosion: Special Request & Popular Demand on ADA Records from 1983. It’s none other than the first female DJ, Sister Nancy, with “One Two”.
Born Nancy Russell, in Kingston, Jamaica in 1962, she is the 13th of 15th siblings, and sister of Robert Russell, aka Brigadier Jerry. Known as the groundbreaking first female DJ, Sister Nancy has been on the scene for 30 years plus. Her anthem “Bam Bam” has been heard around the world, and she’s been an innovator and leader for female DJ’s and toasters throughout Reggae’s history. At 15, she began DJing with the Chalice, Black Star, and Stereophonics Sound Systems. Her first records were put out on Winston Riley’s Techniques record label in 1979, where she offered up the single “Papa Dean”, but it was the aforementioned “Bam Bam” off of her record One Two (and the single reviewed here today) that she would be known for. Nancy was the first female DJ in a male dominated DJ world, and she was good. Her performance at the Reggae Sunsplash in 1982 would introduce her to the world. From there, Nancy could not look back. Her straight forward toasting and strong style (despite the boos and oppression from many males) would help propel her further along her musical career. Sister Nancy’s female presence would open the door for other female DJ’s to follow suit and join the Reggae game. Without her there would be no Sister Carol, Patra, etc. Don’t get me wrong, singers like Norma Fraser were killing them with Sweet Soul covers in the 70’s, but Nancy straight changed the game. She is the Queen of the DJs, with ‘Nuff Respect from all the big sound bwoys. She resides in New Jersey today, and i’d love to get her to the Lanes for a show. We’ll see how that goes.
This record was recorded live in 1982 at the Skateland Roller Disco, Halfway Tree, Kingston, Jamaica. Like I said earlier, this is the second part of “the most authentic Reggae album ever made”, according to Reggae Bloodlines author Stephen Davis. Nancy was joined by such greats Lee Van Cliff, Yellowman, Michigan and Smiley, Sassafrass, Principal, and Eek-A-Mouse among others. She gets a bit of help with Papa Lee (Van Cleef) towards the end of the track, but she can stand on her own two feet firm. To me, this is Reggae: raw, powerful, and sexy. I only wish I could go back to that time and experience it as Nancy did. I’ll be back on Monday, when the one and only DJ Bluewater will drop his guest mix for FMF. See you then. Keep Diggin’!
Enjoy Sister Nancy Live at the Knitting Factory NYC with the Jammyland All Stars from 2004