Saturday, 16 May 2009
Rhythm-ites - Integration - 20 years on
It is now getting on 20 years since the Rhyhm-ites released the "Integration" LP. I bought this album in Rough Trade, Talbot Street when it was first released for no other reason that is was on the Bluurg label, a punk imprint ran by Dick Lucas (Subhumans, Culture Shock, Citizen Fish). Expecting some sort of ska punk thing, like Culture Shock, Dicks band at the time, I was horrified to discover, on listening to it for the first time that this was actually a "proper" reggae album. After the initial shock, never having ventured into reggae to any real degree before this point, I decided to give it a go and to my surprise within a few days I was hooked on the 8 songs on the album. Six months later I was officially obsessed with reggae music, going to shows and buying vast numbers of albums and 45's whenever I had to chance or had the cash.
I did see the Rhythm-ites a number of times, usually at the now defunkt Sir George Robey, a pub in Finsbury Park in the early and mid `90s. They always were fantastic and I have always considered them a real musicians band. No going-through-the motions for them. All three long-term members - Murph - Guitar. Gary - Drums and Flash - Bass are three of the most competent musicians I have ever heard within any genre. Just listen to this album and you may well hear what I mean. It's a crying shame that this album is no longer available having only gained an LP release back in `89, never getting a CD issue and is not available on i-tunes and other digital outlets. Your only chance is to try ebay and discogs and the usual suspects.
Apart from this album, to my knowledge the Rhythm-ites have only had a handful of tracks released on various compilations, one CD EP and one 12" single. The Somerset-based band are still together today albeit with line up changes and different vocalists based around the core members, usually playing 2 or 3 times a year around the festival circuit. Although, in my opinion they are one of the best life reggae bands from the last 20 years, they have never really existed within the reggae scene, more likely to play a festival or support an anarcho band. "Integration" remains one of my favourite albums of all time and if you haven't heard it, then it's your loss.