Thinking about the major releases of 2013 we need to give some space here to Major Lazer’s album ‘Free the Universe’ and, more specifically, its stand out track Jessica. ‘Free the Universe’ was the second album from Major Lazer, the DJ/reggae/dancehall alter ego of producer Diplo and his crew of collaborators. With Jessica they get hold of one of the finest rocksteady rhythms ever and, with a deep bass subterranean mix, fashion it into something else entirely. Along with striking and melancholy vocals from no less than Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig this is a truly definitive track.
The original rhythm, from Carl Dawkins’ Satisfaction, is worth hearing in its own right. Satisfaction was a UK single release from Trojan Records in 1970 and was released on various other labels internationally. Its B-side ‘version’, Poppy Cock, lets you hear the non-vocal rhythm. And, if you are really interested in reggae archaeology, you could even track down Carl Dawkins’ Stand Tall Sound Dub, his later version over the same rhythm. Yo! as George Dubya would doubtless say if he heard this (the only President, thus far, with Dub to his name).