Reggae Covers: Slim Smith – Everybody Needs Love (Gladys Knight & the Pips)

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What an outstanding vocal track on this single! Kingston, Jamaica’s Slim Smith here offers a truly noteworthy, upbeat cover of the swinging original recording by Gladys Knight & the Pips.

A lot of reggae covers (including some on this site) come off as bound to or hindered by the original recording in an almost postcolonial sense. This artist however takes the slow-danceable, heavily-orchestrated original released to US audiences in 1967 and turns it into a whole new piece of art: one that preserves the essentials of the song (melody & lyrics) but turns them up for the hip-shaking audiences of 1969 Trenchtown.

Say you wanna be loved
But you won’t let me love you
Say you want someone to trust in you, baby
Can’t you see that’s what I’m tryin’ to do?


Reggae Covers – Dave Barker & the Upsetters – Groove Me (King Floyd)

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With a backing band like The Upsetters there’s no way this 1971 cover of the 1970 King Floyd original wouldn’t have a world-class skank. Journeyman reggae vocalist Dave Barker (perhaps better known as half of the duo of Dave & Ansell Collins) does a creditable job recreating the bright, evocative vocals of the original track.

You’ve become a sweet taste in my mouth, now
And I want you to be my spouse
So that we can live happily, nah-nah
In a great big ol’ roomy house

And I know you’re gonna groove me, baby

Reggae Covers: Derrick Harriott – Groovy Situation (Mel & Tim)

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A nicely-produced, 70s-heavy cover of the 1969 original by Mel & Tim.

That girl
Gonna’ make a man if it takes all night

Reggae Covers: Big Youth – Wake Up Everybody (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes)

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A plaintive, slow-rolling version of the 1975 original by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, this cover lacks a lot of the typical punch & urgency of Big Youth’s music but the message is spot-on with the original.

The world won’t get no better
if we just let it be

Reggae Covers: Zap Pow – If You Don’t Know Me By Now (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes)

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A not entirely unexpected reggae arrangement of the 1972 classic soul tune by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Groovy in the sense of the original song, but lacking all of Teddy Pendergrass‘ bombast and the fantastic string orchestration of the original.

If you don’t know me by now
you will never never never know me…

Reggae Covers: Lloyd Charmers – Let’s Get It On (Marvin Gaye)

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Marvin Gaye’sLet’s Get It On” was released in 1973 to instant critical acclaim, followed by an era of serious American investigation into the making of sweet, sweet love to its ever-smooth melodies, the title track becoming the metronomic groove-finder for couples coming together anywhere there was a hi-fi. Lloyd Charmers –a veteran ska & reggae singer from Trench Town– recorded this trippy, ethereal, groove-heavy cover in 1974.

If you believe in love, let’s get it on…

Reggae Covers: Watty ‘King’ Burnett – Rainy Night in Portland (Tony Joe White/Brook Benton)

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Written in 1962 by Tony Joe White and later popularized for American audiences by Brook Benton in 1970, this reggae-fication of a classic soul number by Port Antonio Jamaica’s Watty ‘King’ Burnett is trippy; heavily dub-themed.

Rainy night in Portland
Rainy night in Portland
Lord it’s raining all over the yard.
Lord it’s raining all over the yard.