Every UK Number One Song: Double Barrel

11329089683_36ccf2331a_b“Double Barrel” by Dave & Ansil Collins was Number One on 1st May 1971 and stayed there for two weeks.

So back to the past and after 6 weeks of T Rex’s Hot Love it is time for a change.

To be honest I had never heard this song before. It never reached our shores at all. We didn’t even have access to the Top of The Pops show at all. I have listened to it now, and it is an entirely new sound Reggae which wouldn’t have been acceptable here in Conservative New Zealand at that time.

Dave Barker (born David John Crooks, 10 October 1947, Kingston, Jamaica) is a session vocalist,[1] and Ansell Collins (born 1949, also in Kingston) is a keyboard player. They were working for producer Lee “Scratch” Perry in Kingston in the late 1960s, and joined forces in 1971, for the reggae single “Double Barrel”. Released by Techniques Records, part of the Trojan Records label, it topped the Jamaican and UK charts in May of that year.  It was the first record that drummer Sly Dunbar (then aged 18) played on. In the US, the song appeared on an album of the same name, on Big Tree Records (BTS 2005).

The follow-up release, the similarly styled “Monkey Spanner” enjoyed the same international success. Most of their recorded work was written by Winston Riley. After cutting an album, Collins and Barker parted company; Collins becoming a session player and Barker, now resident in the United Kingdom, singing with several soul groups. They attempted a comeback in 1981 without success.

In 1986, Ansell Collins appeared as one of Ernest Reed’s (Jimmy Cliff) back-up musicians in the reggae-themed comedy film, Club Paradise. He was billed as “Ansel (sic) ‘Double Barrel’ Collins”. Collins has played and worked with The Upsetters, Black Uhuru, The Mighty Diamonds, Barrington Levy, Gregory Isaacs, U-Roy, Pama International and Jimmy Cliff.

“Double Barrel” was sampled by Special Ed on the song, “I’m The Magnificent”. Two of Barker’s introductory exclamations (“Don’t watch that, watch this!” from “Funky Funky Reggae” and “This is the heavy, heavy monster sound!” from “Monkey Spanner”) were quoted by vocalist Chas Smash, in the introduction to the Madness single, “One Step Beyond”.

In 2012, they reunited for several live shows including a performance at the Notting Hill Carnival.

So what did we have as our number one her in Kiwiland.

Very conservative song for us. Teenage pregnancy was a huge taboo here.  If teenage girls got pregnant they were sent to away to have their babies and they was adopted out without their consent. Tough times back then.  Otherwise girls were forced to marry the father.

It remained top of our charts for 4 weeks.

And now back to the future.

Sorry Steve, but you were well of the mark with your predictions for yesterday’s Eurovision Contest. I watched it bemusedly from my sick bed yesterday. Even my son got involved at the end when the votes were coming in. But I hope you had a great time.  It looked like one massive party.

So well done to the Ukraine. It was a powerful song. I do feel for Australia though. Leading right up to the very end and then pipped at the post made for more suspense and interest.

This year Graham Norton was the commentator for the BBC. Very restrained and rather boring.

So back to the future here in New Zealand.