The Mighty Tackhead

it's tackhead tape time

Power Inc. Volume 2

Power Inc. Volume 2

power inc. volume 2Back in a time when hard beats were the corpses of dead poets and the only samples offered out were from the inside of a trevelling salesman's suitcase, in a time when we looked back at the golden age of dub and a rap was what you got when you were caught, that was the time ten years ago when we thought things had gone as far as it was possible for them to go - then Adrian Sherwood and Keith LeBlanc met. Engineered via the good offices of Tom 'Tommy Boy' Silverman, who had just put out Keith LeBlanc's Malcolm X - No Sell Out, Sherwood had arrived in New York to supervise the Double & Steinski remix of Akabu's Watch Yourself, and On-U Sound unreleased disco dubplate to be revamped urban style for the Tommy Boy offshoot label Body Rock. From the beginning it looked like some form of synergy was definitely on the cards, especially when they both got the same haircut! The circuits were being prepared for maximum overload.

Equal parties in building the awesome sound of what was to be Tackhead and Fats Comet were also Skip McDonald and Doug Wimbish, guitar and bass respectively, who, together with LeBlanc on drums, had formed the rhythm section of the legendary Sugarhill Records, a unit that had propelled raps early monster hits featuring the likes of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Spoonie Gee, Funky Four+1 and not forgetting the labels industrious owner, la Grande Dame of Rap - Ms. Sylvia Robinson. Together Wimbish, McDonald and LeBlanc constituted a virtual encyclopedia of modern American music, but the addition of Sherwood to this equation brought creative mayhem, an English soulboy who had been caught up in the heady music of Jamaica and had begun navigating his way through the abyss of dub driven on by the kind of energy that had fed punk. The marriage was bound to be, shall we say, interesting! Certainly stormy - everybody might want control, no one could get control, on looking back it was remarkable that any 'product' ever hit the streets.

What you have here is part of what might be called a possible history of Tackhead and Fats Comet. In short, the masterplan, although never commited to either memory or paper, was for Tackhead to take dub/funk on a journey through leftfield and into the unknown to God knows where, and then for Fats Comet to pilot the mothership smoothly back from this alternative dimension to a safe earthly landing with sounds that you would recognise instantly without ever having heard before. Was their mission succesful >>>...

An early and obedient member of the crew was the scaffolder extraordinaire Gary Clail (Hard Left) who preached the Tackhead Message via his ear-bleeding Sound System, another was Bim Sherman (Stealing), probably the sweetest singer ever out of Jamaica, later came Bernard Fowler (The Bastard Son of Fats) originally of the New York Peech Boys and well up in the Premier Division of most sampled voices, also there was the rap of Melle Mel (Original Sex) the voice that delivered The Message. The music was conceived, arranged, played, engineerde and produced by Sherwood, LeBlanc, McDonald and Wimbish - it was a music that would eventually and inevitably implode - without the usual rock requirement of body death and consequently myth. Perhaps a conclusion of the necessity for those involved to emerge together out of the slipstream once more?

Steve Barker
On The Wire - BBC Radio Lancashire
November 1993