This week in ‘This is BrukOut!’ Our Black History Month series continues with living proof that a great tune can still move the room decades after its release…
THE saying goes that nothing happens before its time. There is another saying – that a quality piece of music can mature and get better with age like a fine bottle of red wine. Both of these are true and relevant to this week’s main subject for this column.
The one and only Sister Nancy has definitely cultivated herself a ‘classic’. ‘Bam Bam’ transcends the dancehall and can be heard everywhere from pop clubs, to hip hop raves and all points in between. Ophlin Russell grew up as a part of a large family, and music was most certainly in their views. Hr elder brother was none other than The General’ Brigadeer Jerry.
Jerry worked with the 12 tribes sound system Jah Love Muzik, and Nancy soon followed suit while still a teenager. Seeing and hearing women being involved in dancehall at that time was not a regular thing. Although her brother was involved in the business, her parents did not see it as an area that a young lady should be making herself known to.
However, she was making a name for herself, and in 1980 and 1981 ‘Transport Connection’ and ‘Money Can’t Buy Me Love’. Then, in the following year, she recorded her biggest hit to date. “It was August 1982 – I remember everything about it,” she tells me from the States.
“That day it was me, Yellowman and Fathead sparring together. Yellow had to go to the studio to record and recorded a track called ‘Bam Bam’ with the producer Harry J. Yellowman and I were working together quite a lot, so I went to the studio with him.
“When we finished, I called producer Winston Riley and told him I wanted to record the final track that was missing from my forthcoming album, and the track we recorded was my ‘Bam Bam’. I was 20 years old.