In our process to research and find out as much about Boston reggae and the artists who created it for our Take Us Home compilation we met a musician named Abdul Baki. Abdul was one of the founding members of the group the I Tones as well as many other Boston roots reggae groups over the years. One day while we were chatting at his place I almost tripped over a box in his garage and it turned out it was a box of the I Tones first single "Love Is A Pleasure." So we are able to offer you up a rare piece of Boston roots reggae history - original copies of I Tones "Love Is A Pleasure" 45.
The first I-Tones recording featuring the original line up of Abdul Baki, Chris Wilson, Luke "Ram" Ehrlich, and Horace Reid reflects their combined reggae scholarship on the 45, “Love is a Pleasure.”
“Freddie McKay had recorded a song called ‘Love is a Treasure’ twice,” explains Ram, “once for Treasure Isle and once for Studio One. We sort of combined the two versions and then added [elements of] ‘Melody of Life’ by Marcia Griffiths and Love is a Message’ by Jacob Miller.”
The flipside was a dub of the tune, reflecting the group’s true musical calling card. “Dub expands time,” observes Baki. “It doesn’t fill in the time and space with sound, like jazz. Ram understood how to use that space in between sound. When you echo out, it creates a rhythm pattern that is very complex. We didn’t need to fill up every space. We valued that space.”
“Chris and myself combined on the upbeat of the songs of the music,” continues Baki. “We played at exactly the same time, so our notes were blending … I played my piano as a drum and Chris played his guitar as a scraper, and we blended on the upbeat to sound like a banjo, a throwback to Jamaican Mento.”
Wilson recalls recording in a Jamaica Plain studio whose staff had no prior experience with reggae.”It was a bit of a struggle, and that made me get a four-track recorder,” says Wilson, who also proudly notes that the band’s echo machine was the same one used by Jamaican dub visionary Lee “Scratch” Perry.
|A||Love Is A Pleasure||4:21|
|B||Love Is A Dub||4:23|