The King Sporty reissue series continues with the lesser known, but no less worthy, Rock Attack. This first time release of the song under the King Sporty name – having previously only been released as by the vocalist in The Ex Tras, Johnny Griffin – brings in to focus the breadth of music, numerous alias and versions used by Noel Williams on his Konduko label.
When compiling the series, numerous DJs and collectors suggested that the dubby instrumental track No Wonder, found on King Sporty & The Ex Tra’s sole album, Extra Funky, should be included on a loud 12” pressing. What many did not know, however, is that it had already appeared as the flip to what is a vocal version, Rock Attack.
Released under the name J Griffin, the song appeared on Konduko and its sister label Tashamba, with all the hallmarks of a King Sporty production. An incessant, reggae “picking” guitar solo is matched with freaky freestyle synth interplay, with Griffin’s rap-vocal matching the rhythm and electro-funk bass stabs, working around the repeated phrasing to create a groove that could swing for days.
Recorded, as always, at Miami Sound Studios, with writing, arranging and production credits to Noel William’s, the recording was the early incarnation of King Sporty & The Ex Tras. It’s stripped-back version, No Wonder, sees Griffin’s vocals reduced, dropping in and out of the mix with over dubbing to measure that makes the inclusion of what is affectively vocal and dub, in its rightful place as an Ex Tras song complete.
This is backed with another specially crated Discomix, this time done in fine style by discoid forefathers, Faze Action. The Lee brothers (Robin and Simon) have worked closely behind the scenes with Emotional Rescue since it’s inception, with Robin often providing invaluable remastering support– from Bob Chance’s Wild It’s Broken (ERC001) to this King Sporty series – combined with the fact it was Simon who suggested the idea of putting Rock Attack and No Wonder together for this release. It seemed therefore, only right that as they are giving up a long held, secret play, that they should be let loose to create a long form vocal / dub reversion.
Merging the main vocal interplay of Rock Attack with the dub of No Wonder, while deceptively removing the stop / start nature of the original arrangement, as Faze Action they bring all their production experience to bare, sending the results to the echo chamber for a reinterpretation that really lets the fun happen as a true Discomix should.
It feels like a decades-old gem you'd find in a record shop, covered in dust. At the same time, it's crisp and fresh. This record has been made with real love for music from yesterday and a strong commitment to partying today. Catsley's Cornucopia // Lubey Lu