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Lovers Rock

Posted by so nice 
Lovers Rock
February 18, 2012 05:14AM
i'm seeing this phrase come up quite a bit lately.

some people are getting interested in lovers rock -- which is a real, distinct type of music -- and i love that.

i am also seeing the term being used as kind of a catch-all for current releases that are not covered by lyrics about social commentary. in the 90s and 00s, these kinds of tunes and vocalists were referred to as "singers" style. people like lukie d, tony curtis, waynie wonder are some examples. they would use the same riddims as other vocalists, but would usually cover love-related topics. those tunes would not then be "lovers rock" -- but just whatever riddim/current reggae tune with love-based lyrics.

even back in the 80s, when lovers was going strong, very few of the JA-based, real "original" reggae and dancehall artist were able to cross in to real lovers rock. sugar minott did. but not many did. it really took people with stong UK connections, and really for the most part needed UK production.

like reggae, actual lovers rock is a music form that can be identified by structure (without lyrics). there are commonalities to the sound that make it different from other music forms, and from that, gives listeners different feelings. more major keys than minor keys, and chord progressions that evoke more sentimentality than dread.

there are lots of sources on what lovers rock is, and where it came from, but actually Wikipedia's got a pretty decent entry for lovers rock.

there does seem to be more of an interest lately, in this original form. when i was doing radio i was just starting to get more requests for it. i think there's an amount of backlash where not everyone wants to hear someone telling them how to live all the time... sometimes living is about love, and sometimes love is a big part of how we're living. we can all relate.

here's a good article from late last year, which covers some history and includes some sound links (The Guardian, UK): [www.guardian.co.uk]

and also last year, a film called THIS IS LOVERS ROCK was released in the UK: Trailer

here... GREAT live footage at end.

and here's a short short review i wrote a few years ago: [www.newsreview.com]

anyway, i'm not yelling at anyone. i want us over here on the west coast to know what's what. and, i happen to love lovers rock so am hoping to spread it out some more.

i also realize this is not for everyone, and that people who want reggae and jamaican musics to be about politics and social issues will not find that here. that's fine. that's not what this is. again, this is lovers rock.

if anyone ever used to catch my show you might remember how i would draw this stuff.

if anyone is interested now, i can continue this thread with some youtubes of some lovers selections.

more love!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2012 05:31AM by so nice.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 18, 2012 05:52AM
some lovers rock, in the original UK sense right here..


for example the below mix...

JubieRock.Com Presents - Big People Music 11-13-02 Download

01. carlton lewis - sweet soul rocking
02. earl 16 - cheating
03. pam hall - i wont stop loving you
04. lloyd brown and tippa irie - its a love thing
05. don campbell - treat you right
06. black magic - you and me together
07. sushi - come into my bedroom
08. black magic - perfect angel
09. neisha k - so you want to be my lover
10. peter hunnigale - you got me
11. shelene thomas - little more time
12. kofi - stand by
13. lovejoys - sweet feelings
14. royal blood - slipping away
Re: Lovers Rock
February 18, 2012 04:41PM

some lovers and some lovers vibes in there... not to be diffcult (but for trying to identify examples), i wouldn't call the earl 16 or the lovejoys lovers rock in the sense of being the original uk sound

although i love the tunes... and if you made the mix from your old material that 16 is probably the one i recorded from roger steffens YEARS AND YEARS ago before that tune was known hahahah...

don't know some of the other tracks. know neisha k recorded for digital b, shelene thomas has cut some nice tunes in nyc area, pam hall in south florida recently..

kofi is still singing sweet out of the uk!
Re: Lovers Rock
February 19, 2012 12:52AM
Yes, that new Kofi and Friends album is great.

I've had Special Edition by Stingray records on reply for the last 2-3 weeks.

There are several big tunes, but the stand out for me is by Rich Kid - True Love

Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 01:30AM
nice... stingray has cut some nice nice tunes
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 02:15AM
Keep this thread going. I always thought lovers rock was anything that sounded like gregory issacs or made me want to pull my woman closer. Would love to see more selections to wind to.....BLESSS
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 03:48PM
so nice

although i love the tunes... and if you made the mix from your old material that 16 is probably the one i recorded from roger steffens YEARS AND YEARS ago before that tune was known hahahah...

yes.. i pulled the earl-16 from your collection.. although these mixes were made almost 10years ago..
big tune.. and still a fav of mine.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 03:59PM
Lovers Rock was and still is a UK form of reggae, it was never really a Jamaican thing. You could hear these tunes at different venues including blues parties by various sound systems like I-Spy, Soferno B, Hawkeye, etc. A blues party would start on a Friday night and end on a Monday morning, different sound men would play through out the weekend. Sessions at community centre's or halls would end between 4 and 7am, I miss those days. Its a shame that it was never reached the US properly, the US is missing a huge part of reggae. You would hear the vocal (some sounds had their owns cuts to certain tunes) and then the dub, sometimes the mic men would sing/toast over the dub version.

I laugh when I say 'dub' because I remember going to the DUB Club in Tuffnel Park to hear Jah Shaka play and you would hear vocal/dubs of tunes when he played, when you go to the 'dub clubs' in San Francisco they would never play dub... You'd hear tunes like 'Sister Nancy' (I don't even know if thats her name) I would leave the dance vex...lol. Places like that should change their name.

We play lovers rock on our sound system sometimes to warm up unless we're playing lovers rock through out the night by request.

Sit back, turn the volume up and hear the bass line.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 05:12PM
haha nice bigvein, well the mix is nice boss... glad that and the jubierock work you did is not all gone with the wind.

and eastbay that's true in a sense, that over here we have at times used the term as kind of a generic term to describe reggae music with a sentimental, love-based or romantic lyrics and sounds (lovejoys make a great case for that, gregory of course, amd more)... and in a sense that's a fair use, but i also wanted to post about how there is also an actual "lovers rock" as well! and believe me it's meant for scrubbing gyal... designed and built for it.

APS you are right on target of course (you come from UK, right?)... in fact i've been wanting to meet up with you guys. i am here in sd and have some amount of lovers rock (as well as other music)... maybe you can let me draw some of the lovers for your early warm sometime. have heard great things about your system. i keep a good amount of original uk 12", maybe i can bring a crate by and we can talk music sometime.

but anyway thanks for adding to the story here. soferno, hawkeye and burning rockers (added as the victor romero link) are interesting illustrations of the uk scene in that those labels all released heavy, heavy roots and also released some sweet sweet lovers rock. i know that as a sound soferno would even play some real revival business too. deep revive selections.

another example of that side-by-side connection out of UK would be the mighty DEB label, which of course had Castro Brown distribution of some of the most mighty Dennis Brown material... but also some real real lovers rock:

and there are more examples like that... Leonard Santic Chin cut heavy roots but also some of the most classic classic dictionary-definition lovers rock. i used to try and wear through this record on my radio show...

and even though lovers rock never gets too political, there is still a social conscience to it.. definitely... don't miss this one, from Dennis Harris' definitive LOVERS ROCK label... this tune was dropped by SNWMF DJ Bryan Martin (of the San Francisco Vintage Reggae Society) a year or two ago, mid Saturday afternoon in the sunlight and damn did it sound sweet.

love in the arena!!!
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 05:48PM
some epic lovers sets from dj cojie of mighty crown:

live loving vol. 1-3
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 06:20PM
I wish there was more availability to this material. Are there any complilations to seek out? Most of the "reggae lovers" albums are not lovers rock.

Although I seek this genre, I am limited to CD albums of artist in this vein which leads to just a taste of the good stuff.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 06:27PM
you're a big big man bunny

you coming down this year?

this is loaded with GIANTS.


will look for some more...
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 06:59PM
I'll be there! Already got tix and time off. Leaving the family at home this time... Should be a big year!

I've been deep in this album for some time, big up Joe Fraser everytime.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2012 07:00PM by bun n cheese.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 07:14PM
ah hell yeah man that's a nice set... i'm gonna get that back out! thanks!

we are finally getting close on a Joe Frasier/Spiderman comp... i first started it almost 10 years ago and we talked about it here and there but never picked it back up.. he's supposed to finalize track list soon and i think i'm doing liner notes but might be late for that now... will be more vintage stuff anyway

he actually cut some tracks for the Soferno B label, couple bad lovers pieces... Lloyd is still very connected in UK. he actually lived there for awhile before he started producing.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 07:15PM
oops ok let's stay in touch so we can get some time to catch up this year!
Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 07:17PM
socially conscience lovers rock?

Re: Lovers Rock
February 20, 2012 07:35PM
more like a recut in a revival style to me (he actually calls out "revival tune" in the opening lines

cut pretty close to the melodians original, so he and the tune "revive" those vibes

lloyd was definitely a part of 90s lovers in the uk though, no doubt where he cut his teeth

he started crossing over in early 2000s more, in part through Lloyd/Joe Frasier as you mention above

this was the tune that really got me -- his 2005 cover of young singer Mario... and even though it came out on the Joe Frasier imprint it was just as distribution -- this was one of the early self-productions Lloyd Brown did at his own UK-based Riddim Works studio... i loved this so bad i had Lloyd build me a riddim in this same vein.. have messed with it on NYC trips but never liked any voicings yet so never did anything with it

all that said, i would not call that uk lovers rock as i am pointing at here

this is Lloyd at heights in 1990s UK lovers rock... i have this 12" and like a LOT of those records this cut has bass to blur your vision

i know you and juan love and more of course know this tune from Delroy...
Re: Lovers Rock
February 21, 2012 09:43PM
Blessed LOVE! - Diggin this conversation! Nick asked if I'd pass through to see if I could add to this discussion but as far as describing the music I'd say you all are spot on! One thing I'd like to mention is why Lovers came about in the first place; I mean love songs have been a staple of JA music since the boogie-woogie, pre-ska days of the 50's right? I'd say that by the mid 1970's West Indians who lived in Great Britain had come a long way since the days of the first arrival of the HMS Windrush at the Tilbury Docks in London some 60 odd years ago. By the mid-70's there was a certain segment of the British WI population that had finally gained some ground socially and economically.

Burning down Babylon wasn't the first thing on these newly affluent West Indian's minds. A lot were more concerned with having a dance and getting ahold of some fine dawta to take home from the blues. Also record sellers were eyeing who consistently came in every week and bought 45's, along with what they purchased. Most realized that surprisingly a lot of women were buying records, and you can be sure that they were buying love songs mostly! See Lloyd Bradley's book Bass Culture for more on this. UK producers like Count Shelly, Clement Bushay, Dennis Harris, Dennis Bovell, Lloydie Coxsone and others started to record music aimed at this demographic and soon Lovers was born. It's because of these reasons that Lovers could only have ever been created in, and be succesful in, the UK. I don't think any of the early producers had any clue how popular it would become. It never really took off in JA, or NYC, but did eventually find a second home in Japan.

I do tend to get a bit annoyed when I see flyers for selectors claiming to play Lovers, but really are just playing Rub-A-Dub. Lovers Rock does have a distinct sound. Typically it will have a slow intro like a soul ballad would, then the riddim drops in. To me it reminds me of Philly Soul from the 1970's with a fat reggae bassline. Glad to hear this music talked about in an American forum, its sadly underplayed here (since the demise of KUSF does anyone know if Brixton Hitman's Saturday Night Rockers is on the air anywhere? He was the only one consistently playing real Lovers here on a weekly basis and I learned ALOT listening to him and taping his shows back in the day).
Allright here's four selections that I absolutly love:

Re: Lovers Rock
February 21, 2012 10:19PM
Also love that its the one genre, or sub-genre, where female artists are as prolific as male artists, if not more prolific.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 21, 2012 10:51PM
'So Nice'

We're gonna be playing at the Kava Lounge in SD tomorrow, if your local swing by. Tomorrow its a roots/dub session but maybe we can throw in some 'lovers rock' early in the session. We'll be bringing our sound, only 2 scoops though... even that might be too much smiling smiley

It would be good to meet some forum members.
Re: Lovers Rock
February 22, 2012 04:14PM
thanks APS i might do that... what time? i work with Carlos on his Wed night thing in OB sometimes. does he have contact info for you? he does for me... nick / "solid rock"

true bunny that the women get better representation in lovers, and thanks selekta312 for that whole post and for talking about why there has been more female involvement!!!

and thanks selekta312 for this, which is put perfectly:

"Lovers Rock does have a distinct sound. Typically it will have a slow intro like a soul ballad would, then the riddim drops in. To me it reminds me of Philly Soul from the 1970's with a fat reggae bassline."

esp that Philly soul part... so true

there's a new discussion on the board today about Dennis Bovell, who will be at the festival this year backing LKJ. he's already been mentioned above... much more than just a talented bass man, he is a key producer in UK reggae -- both roots and original lovers rock.

among his many big big lovers rock pieces -- Janet Key "Rock the Rhythm"

Re: Lovers Rock
February 22, 2012 05:14PM
Not a bad vocalist either.

Re: Lovers Rock
February 22, 2012 05:25PM
I get the impression that Stingray/Tony Curtis are what you referred to as "singers" style. I was mistakenly under the impression that Stingray's UK presence made it a "Lovers Rock" house by default, even though Tony is JA'can.

Let's complile a list of artists and labels as a guide.

Carroll Thompson
Janet Kay
Janet Lee Davis
Sandra Cross
Sylvia Tella

Peter Spence
Re: Lovers Rock
February 22, 2012 05:34PM
This is a very informative and educational thread, with some great tunes sprinkled in. Thank you.

Re: Lovers Rock
February 25, 2012 05:27PM
stingray has definitely made a lot of legitimate lovers rock

it doesn't matter so much the singer, more the construction and musical arrangement of the tune.. it has just rarely happened out of JA or US...

so it's def possible to voice a JA singer on a lovers rock cut, just not all that common

but stingray has cut lovers and modern roots alike... just like gussie p, who dillie (of stingray) worked with before starting stingray
Re: Lovers Rock
February 25, 2012 06:22PM
Re: Lovers Rock
January 20, 2014 09:46PM
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