Here we are in 2011, wait I just said 2011 didn’t I. WTF? How did we hit another decade so fast. How am I approaching my 4th year of Flea Market Funk? Hard to believe, but I am. As I am sitting here writing, after a huge DJ Prestige update, I have been listening to some mixes of mine from the past. I also have uploaded a few onto that site, and man it’s some records I haven’t heard in a while. Music to my damn ears. So is this damn PB Wolf Stones Throw recap 2010 mix. Damn thing is hot fiyah. But I digress….Today I wanted to start the year off right. Here’s the set up: I was snowed in with the fam over last weekend, and when we finally got to get out, we headed on over to the local record shop (ok we were heading to get the kid some hot chocolate by the record shop), when the owner said “Hey man, I owe you a record!” I am not one to turn down a record, ever. So, for the first post, I’m getting out of this cold and heading down to Jamaica with Dawn Penn and “You Don’t Love Me” on Coxsone Records from 1967.
Born in 1952 in Kingston, Jamaica, Dawn Pickering aka Dawn Penn studied classical music in JA on Duke Street with Miss Campbell. She played the violin and sang, and her sisters would perform for churches and missionaries. This experience led the then high school girl to sing for Coxson Dodd at Studio One. The record, which I bring to you today, was an instant hit. Backed by Tommy McCook and the Skatalites, this teen sensation then moved on to Prince Buster’s camp and released a string of tunes. A collaboration with Bunny Lee and a heap of covers (“Here Comes the Sun”, “To Sir with Love”, and more) plus backing vocals on Johnny Nash’s “Stir It Up”, “Guava Jelly” and others established Dawn Penn as a star. However, in 1970, she left the music industry completely and moved to the Virgin Islands. Raising children and having a career were on her mind. It wouldn’t be until 21 years later, when she re-recorded this very record that she would return to music for good. She recorded two versions of this record: one for Steelie & Cleavie and one for King Jammy. King Jammy’s version on Greensleeves would be the version that got the ’nuff respect and killed it on the Dancehall scene. The Steelie and Cleavie version went more mainstream Pop (and the version that most people know), and was a smash. She was back. Recording contracts, touring, and a lot of notoriety followed. She still tours and records extensively in Europe and the UK today. The Dancehall version of this tune has been sampled quite a bit.
Penn’s take on the Willie Cobbs version (also done by Gene Thompson and the Counts on Ace with a HOT horn stab in it) of “You Don’t Love Me” in a Rocksteady way is nothing short of genius. Slower than the Dancehall version (of course), this is something I could put on repeat and listen to it all day. Can you see this teenager in Studio One laying it down while Tommy McCook and the Skatelites provide all the back tracking? While the Dancehall version will always get people moving where I play, I still love to pull the original version out at the end of the night to slow them down and give respect. This track was also on Coop’s Guest Mix a few years back. Enjoy. Happy 2011. Keep Diggin’!