SLIM SMITH & NINEY – HONEY, NO MONEY

Slim Smith & Niney Honey no money

A: Niney & The Destroyers – Honey, no money

B: The Inspirations – Message to my girl

 

The funky Destroyer in a combination with the soulful rocksteady superstar. Riding Lloyd ‘Gitsy” Willis’ ‘Mad Rooster‘ riddim, ‘Honey, no money’ is probably Slim Smith’s least known tune. That’s probably because he’s uncredited on most of the releases (although you really can’t miss him) and because ‘Honey’ is quite a break from the usual Slim Smith style. Smith arguably recorded his finest material in the rocksteady era and ‘Honey, no money’ doesn’t reach the heights of his more popular material.

That said, there’s something about the pairing of the harsh, chopped up riddim and the soulful approach of both singers that makes this tune work. Ofcourse, the riddim itself is golden and Gibbs released some great versions of it, such as a superb horns cut called Compass (or Freelancer as it was called on its Jamaican release) and two boss reggae scorchers called ‘Nevada Joe‘ and ‘Straight to the head‘. On ‘Honey’ the riddim is stripped down to its core, making it even more raw than it already is. The contrast between the riddim and the falsetto of both singers is in fact so big, it’ll produce thunder and lightning when you rinse it. Slim Smith, in the meantime, effectively demonstrates once again why he would have made a great soul artist. Imagine if he had had the chance to record for Stax or Chess! Despite it’s rough edges – I can’t shake the feeling this is the product of a lively jamsession in the studio – ‘Honey’ sounds like fun was had in the studio. Especially because of Slim Smith, who chips in with a hearfelt, deep soul contribution, leaving Niney in the shadows.

slim smith honey no money pama trojan amalgamatedHoney, No Money was released in Jamaica on Amalgamated as a blank and on the JoGibs imprint, which omitted a credit to Slim Smith. As did the Trojan Records issue, who released it on their Pressure Beat label. Pama Records also released it in the United Kingdom – a practice very common at the time, what with producers selling their product twice by giving it a different name – and that’s the only release that gives credit to the man that makes this tune sparkle.

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Label: Amalgamated (Ja) / JoGibs (Ja) / Pressure Beat (Uk) / Unity (uk)
Release date: 1970
Riddim: Mad Rooster
Matrix: Dyna JG – 927

Posted: 01-04-2016

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