On “Heart Still/Beating” Chris played the famous Reggae “One Drop” beat for the most part, except for the second verse. Here the cajon plays the Tangos rhythm. In addition one of the rhythm guitars plays Tangos rhythm throughout both of the verses. “Heart Still/Beating” and “Them Belly Full” contain trumpet-only horn sections that were written and performed by JQ Whitcomb.
The horn section on “Is This Love” and “Lively Up Yourself” consists of trumpets and an electric bass guitar. The bass guitar replaces the saxophone that would be used in a traditional horn section. I thought this would brighten the sound of the horn section and sit better with the Flamenco guitars.
On “Could You Be Loved” the guitar chorus melody is doubled by two accordions panned far right and far left. This is one of the things I always loved about Bob Marley’s albums – they were mixed so well. One finds keyboards or percussion elements hard-panned and out of the way. Marley albums weren’t a wall of sound. They were a large landscape, a wide-screen movie, with exciting stuff happening on the edges instead of everything being bunched up in the middle.
“No Woman No Cry” starts with the chorus played in Tangos Flamenco rhythm, with cajon and upright bass. The first verse uses a variation of the Reggae One Drop beat, together with electric bass guitar and pick bass. Pick bass is usually done on a guitar that plays in unison with the bass. Here, and elsewhere on this album, Jon performed the pick bass on a second bass guitar. On the third chorus the drumkit plays the Tangos beat (The kick drum sits between beats 2 and 3 and then on 4.)
On “Jamming” Robby plays silverware on the Choruses. The silverware stems from my great grandparents and is over a hundred years old. Robby “auditioned” a whole bunch of forks and knives until he found the right sound.
“Three Little Birds” – a cajon plays the Tangos rhythm throughout. Jon plays upright bass – there is no electric instrument on this song. The guitar solo wasn’t meant to stay. It was my first exploratory take and was supposed to be replaced, by something more “impressive and interesting”, but then a friend of mine heard the song and said “nice jam” and I realized that it was that kind of song. Guys making music around a camp fire, jamming, and not trying to impress anyone.
I have wanted to record a Reggae version of “Barcelona Nights” since the mid Nineties! Again, one of the rhythm guitars plays Tangos during the verses.
After the intro to “Them Belly Full” the cajon once again plays the Tangos rhythm, followed by the drumkit playing variations of the Tangos beat. In the chorus, a cajon plays Tangos and a drum machine plays a half-time Reggae beat. Char takes over the melody in the next section. Jon switches to upright bass and plays a Salsa figure (Salsa, like Reggae and Tangos, also avoids beat one) and the cajon is playing Tangos.
The original recording of “I Shot the Sheriff” was really a Reggae murder-ballad. I recorded fewer verses than are in the original. The third verse switches from Reggae drumkit to Tangos cajon. The drumkit plays “One Drop”, but with a snare added between beat four and beat one.
The guitar riff at the end of “Lively Up Yourself” is one of my experiments that combines Flamenco rasguado techniques with Funk.
On “Waiting In Vain” the drumkit plays the Reggae “One Drop” beat. A cajon, playing the Tangos rhythm, is added for the second verse and during the guitar solo.
I hope you will agree that Tangos and Reggae are siblings who, although separated for centuries, are completely comfortable together.
eTown Hall in Boulder, Colorado