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Your Bank Holiday weekend starts here. On the decks, Mr Benn and Count Skylarkin serve up waist-winding, bassbin-bothering bashment boogie like nobody else on earth. Spinning dub, roots, dancehall, hip hop, garage, soca and dubstep and giving it the bounce they’ve perfected at Bestival, Boomtown Fair and beyond. Accompanied on the mic by Tru Thoughts live-wire MC Deemas j. Come shake a leg.


Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday 1st May 2015 at The Cellar [Oxford]
10pm-3am | £5 advance/£6 door

Laid Blak (live) | Count Skylarkin | DJ Bunjy | Joe Peng | Deemas j | more

LAID BLAK
Urban Reggae Heavyweights Laid Blak originate from Bristol and are taking the UK live music and underground club scene by storm. Smash hits like ‘Bristol Love’ and the ubiquitous ‘My Eyes Are Red’ have seen the 7-piece propelled onto the airwaves and around the world, most notably on tour with The Wailers and sharing stages with Julian Marley and John Legend. Get ready for a very special Brixton Boogaloo riot of sound.

COUNT SKYLARKIN (Trojan Records) & DEEMAS J (Tru Thoughts)
Trojan selector, Wailers warm-up and purveyor of the best beats in the business. Co-creator of the world-famous Disco Shed, curator of Skylarkin’ Soundsystem and The BIG TEN INCH. Crate-digger. Luddite. Party starter. Story-teller. Maniac. Accompanied on the mic by Tru Thoughts live-wire mic-man (and 90s rave scene legend) Deemas J.

Cornershop Disco and Grooveschool DJs host the Boudoir

Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday 17th April at The Prince of Wales, 467-469 Brixton Road, London SW9 8HH
10pm-4am | Early Bird £8 Advance £10/£12. MOTD
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Continuing the Skylarkin:15 season, may I present the very first band I ever had play at the clubnight (early 2005 as we were expanding our operation to The Zodiac) – former Skatalites supports and perennial Oxford favourites, The Nine Ton Peanut Smugglers, to make your Good Friday a great one. Plus myself and very special guests keeping you raving till 3am.
Peanuts 2 crop
The Nine Ton Peanut Smugglers
Formed in the old Brickworks basement in 2004 after a few too many Belgian ales, The Nine Ton Peanut Smugglers are now one of the best purveyors of authetic live ska, rhythm & blues and and caribbean boogaloo in the UK, sharing stages with Toots & The Maytals and The Skatalites along the way. Featuring the vocals and guitar of UK r&b legend Sir Bald Diddley, the unmistakable drumming of sometime Mungo Jerry sticksman Bruce ‘Bash’ Brand, the honking horns of Johnny Temptation and Pama International’s Simon Wilcox and the tonking piano of Kid Wig, this is pure, authentic island ska and Jamaican boogie as it was originally intended.

Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Good Friday – April 3rd 2015 at The Cellar [Oxford]
10pm-3am | £5 advance/£6 door


With Skylarkin’ Soundsystem‘s Oxford operation now into its 15th year, I’ve been busy bringing back some names that have played a significant role to the clubnight since the first sessions at EOCC back in 2000. Ska favourites Intensified put on a wild, uproarious show for February’s installment, and for March I’ve booked Massive Attack‘s Daddy G – a terrific friend and supporter of the night since he first played The Zodiac for me in 2005. Grant completely bossed it for us in Brixton last Friday, and can’t wait to DJ on The Cellar’s legendary soundsystem for the first time. £5 earlybird tickets already selling fast!

Daddy G
There’s not much one can say about this loping, softly-spoken musical behemoth that is Grant Marshall that hasn’t been uttered already in the many fawning plaudits that have peppered his lengthy career as a DJ, producer, performer and Tall One Out Of Massive Attack. His contribution to the Bristol collective has resulted in some of the most soulful, edgy and uplifting records that this country has produced in the past 25 years – from Unfinished Sympathy and Hymn Of The Big Wheel right up to recent collaborations with the likes of Terry Callier, Mos Def and Snoop Dogg.

Like his band, Daddy G’s DJ sets eschew time and trend to hit the mark on every occasion – as highlighted on his excellent DJ Kicks mix for K7. Expect to hear deep and dubby reggae, hip hop, soul, garage, drum & bass and block party gems that hark back to his 80s soundsystem days with the Wild Bunch.

Count Skylarkin & MC Deemas j (Tru Thoughts)
Trojan selector, Wailers warm-up and purveyor of the best beats in the business. Co-creator of the world-famous Disco Shed, curator of Skylarkin’ Soundsystem and The BIG TEN INCH. Crate-digger. Luddite. Party starter. Story-teller. Maniac. Accompanied on the mic by Tru Thoughts live-wire mic-man (and 90s rave scene legend) Deemas J.

“Rhythm and blues meets rocksteady, calls round for ska and rock and roll to see if they’re playing out before heading round to drum ‘n’ bass’s place for a party right out of the top drawer” www.bigchill.net

Count Skylarkin's Trojan Summer 2014 Selection by Count Skylarkin on Mixcloud


Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday March 6th 2015 at The Cellar, Oxford
10pm-3am | £5 earlybird/£6 advance/£7 door
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Sweet Memory Sounds settles in for a Saturday night love-in at Notting Hill Arts Club with resident DJ, dapper dan and raconteur Count Skylarkin and VERY special guest – acclaimed producer, disc-jockey, Tru Thoughts recording artist and tea-drinker Wrongtom.

Best-known for his groundbreaking work with Roots Manuva, Deemas j, Ragga Twins and (whisper it) Hard-Fi, Wrongtom’s DJ sets have been described as “a bastion of the unexpected”, that could include anything from reggae, ska, dancehall, funk and jump blues to hip hop, disco and dub to bhangra and sea shanties. We’re very excited to be welcoming the South Londoner to Sweet Memory Sounds for the first time!

The Count throws in his inimitable mix of rare and rarefied vinyl nuggets from Kingston to New Orleans via Brixton and Bogota, and being Valentines Day there’s sure to be a lot of original lovers rock classics for good measure. Arrive early!

Saturday February 14th 2015 at Notting Hill Arts Club
www.nottinghillartsclub.com
8pm-2am, £6 before 10pm, £8 after

 

To mark Bob Marley’s 70th birthday, Count Skylarkin was asked by The Vinyl Factory to talk about his all-time favourite Wailers classic.

SkylarkinIn a career spanning three decades, “The Count” has worked with a host of legendary acts in the world of reggae including The Skatalites, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Toots & The Maytals, Alton Ellis and Max Romeo. He played alongside The Wailers as a warm-up DJ for their UK tours, an experience he shares below.


R-3622542-1337753809-1429.jpeg-1Bob Marley, The Wailers & The  Soul Brothers Orchestra
‘I’m Still Waiting’ from Ska Jerk
(Studio One, 1965)

Listen / Buy

Bob, Peter and Bunny recorded at Studio One in 1965, Marley would have been 18 or 19 when he wrote the lyric. Though The Skatalites will have been on backing duties, the track has a shuffling, after-midnight feel – quite out of step with the ska sound prevalent at the time. Bob’s hushed tenor takes the lead but Bunny and Peter’s harmonies are equally important to the composition. Perhaps that’s why the Island-era Marley never re-recorded the tune, preferring instead to leave this slice of callow perfection alone and update the theme for his worldwide smash ‘Waiting In Vain’ on the Exodus LP.

I can remember dropping ‘I’m Still Waiting’ in the middle of a fairly heavy-duty roots and dub selection at one of my first ever DJ gigs; the crowd was fairly Rasta-heavy but they all went crazy for it. It was probably my first-ever rewind! I’ve never been afraid to throw something unexpected into a mix since (for better or worse!). Years later when I toured with the current Wailers line-up as warm-up DJ I couldn’t play any songs or rhythms that they might include in their live set, so I’d often drop Delroy Wilson’s mid-70s cover version to just before the band would come on – much to the delight of Family Man Barrett, who’d be swaying in the wings wearing a massive smile.

“Intensified are the best band in the UK” Alton Ellis
“Bam Bam Sound are the Ant & Dec of reggae” DJ Derek

Intensified
Playing authentic 60s-style ska, rocksteady and reggae, Intensified have acquired near legendary status across Europe over the past quarter of a century – providing backing to some of the most revered names in reggae – among them Dennis Alcapone, Pat Kelly, Dave Barker, Winston Francis and Prince Buster. In 2007 this led to the 10-piece performing alongside the late, great Alton Ellis at the Oxford Zodiac at a Skylarkin’ Soundsystem event that is still talked about to this day. Eight years on we’re bringing them back!

Count Skylarkin
Trojan Records remixer, gentleman and raconteur spins reggae, rocksteady, ska and calypso from the top, then dancehall, hip hop, jungle and anything else he can lay his mits on till the very last drop.

Bam Bam Sound
A welcome return to Oxford for these two wannabe rude boys, also known as Duck and Johnny Clash. Residents at The Big Chill Bar, London since its birth, the pair serve up a tropical heatwave of dancehall, bashment, soca, trap, d&b and garage that’s so hot it’s got malaria.

Bam Bam Sound Podcast #34 - I'm Saying You're My Mum by Bam_Bam_Sound on Mixcloud

Skylarkin’ Soundsystem
Friday February 6th 2015 at The Cellar, Oxford
9pm-3am | £5 advance/£6 door (£5 EDMS)
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