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BARE ESSENTIALS - Miss Jamaica / Different Size (12")

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Under License by Essential Sounds and Distributed by TRS Records, presenting the Bare Essentials with a double sided thriller, 'Miss Jamaica' & 'Different Size' released on the original Etumbe imprint.

In the 1970s, you could find Errol Lee in Jamaica‘s hotels. He was there five nights week, working long hours with few breaks and little recognition. “It’s backbreaking work,” Lee said. “The setup, the pull down; you move the stuff here, you go there. And you do get bored, too.” But Lee wasn’t a waiter or general labourer; he was the leader of Bare Essentials, a reggae-rocksteady-ska band that perfected its sound playing the hotel circuit on Jamaica’s bustling north coast tourist scene. “It’s not very glamorous in terms of what we know show business can be, but it’s a real way of making a living,” Lee said. But really and truly, it’s like going to college: It’s a good way of honing your craft. Many Jamaican musicians who make an impression later, when you check them out, they will have served some time on the north coast.” Lee’s ensemble is so popular essentially because it’s a dance band: wherever Bare Essentials plays, people dance — hard.

The group’s repertoire consists of massive crowd-pleasers from post-1960s Jamaican music, sprinkled with a few smart originals such as these two tunes from the mid 80s. "Miss Jamaican" and "Different Size" As Errol Lee explains, “Miss Jamaica song is a take off on the beauty contest and the whole imagery of females being packaged to fit certain criteria. We’ve had people who have been brought “home” — they’ve qualified to enter [the beauty contest] because their parents are Jamaican or something, but some of them have only seen Jamaica when they’ve come for the audition. So when they’re being interviewed and are asked, “If you were chosen Miss World, what would you do about crime in your country?” And they say, “Crime?” They don’t know the problem [laughs]. Or they rehearse something to say, and the questioner asks them something different — and they’re stuck.