Ignored, Maligned, and Forgotten Music

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Up on the Downstroke - Ernest Ranglin

Legbamel Not-Pop

I've been grooving today to a bunch of Ernest Ranglin songs. You know, the famous Jamaican guitarist, the one who helped invent ska, who recorded on the soundtrack for Dr. No, and who--rumor has it--taught Bob Marley a thing or two. Yeah, that Ernest Ranglin. Now, I don't know much more about him than that (and that he played with The Skatilites and Jimmy Cliff from time to time) but I do know that he's not dedicated to a single style. He's recorded jazz albums as well as ska and reggae and a lot of his work is as much noodling as it is melodic. I think of it as guitar scat, embroidering on a song rather than just playing it.

At any rate, a lot of Ernest Ranglin's work is quite relaxing and makes excellent background music for when you're concentrating on something else. He recorded a lot of instrumental songs which means that I can write and groove at the same time without singing along and accidentally typing words from the lyrics into my piece...not that I would do that or anything.

For today I wanted to share something that does have a few words, Ranglin's Up on the Downstroke from his 1998 album "In Search of the Lost Riddim". The song offers a little more verve than the usual fare without losing the mood. If you like this one, have a listen to Hipsters or Papa's Bag Juice (which, for some reason, makes me think of Snoopy), both of which you'll find on Grooveshark in a giant, slow-groove, jazzy reggae-ska pile of Ernest Ranglin music. Let me know what you think!

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