Sunday, August 14, 2011

Duff Review: The Emotions "You Are the One" b/w Phil Pratt & the All Stars "Girls Like Dirt"

Trojan Records/Big Shot
7" heavyweight vinyl

(Review by Steve Shafer)

While Dance Crasher is somewhat skeptical of its accuracy, Trojan states that both sides of this superb re-issue are Ken Lack/Caltone productions--though all quibbling about the veracity of these claims will melt away when you have a chance to hear these gems for yourself. Both were probably recorded during the transitional summer of 1968, which seems about right, as The Emotions' "You Are the One" (can you hear Max Romeo in there?) is still rooted in rocksteady, while Phil Pratt's boastful "Girls Like Dirt" is already evolving toward the next Jamaican musical idiom: early/skinhead reggae.

Thematically, these cuts dovetail together nicely as character sketches of the two types of guys in the world. On "You Are the One," The Emotions sweetly declare their undying love ("You are the one for me/Yes, my love/No one in the world/Can ever change me/From loving you/I was born/Born to love you/Yes, my love"), while Phil Pratt doesn't even bother to even look back when his girl says it's over ("She can go her way and see me no more/Cause I've got girls like dirt"--translation: I don't care if you leave me, I've got girls galore who want me). Of the two songs, Pratt's bad boy act is more compelling both musically and lyrically--and is a revelation that I'll keep coming back to revisit.

The Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A

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