Monday, June 15, 2015

Blue Riddim Band Restless Spirit Flying Fish 1981

Blue Riddim Band Restless Spirit Flying Fish 1981 CAT# FF255

Blue Riddim Band is the long-lost reggae band from Kansas City...which doesn't make them legendary, amazing or even all that great. Being the best reggae band form Kansas City is basically the equivalent of being the best figure skater from Jamaica, there's not a lot of competition for the title.

I was first made aware of the Blue Riddim Band while selling an old AR turntable on Craigslist. The gentlemen buying it offered $50, so I took a nibble and asked for a record he wasn't attached too. He asked what I was into, I explained I was on the hunt for odd local stuff, he advised the only thing he had that was local was really odd and showed me the live Blue Riddim Band LP. He explained it was a bunch of guys from Kansas City doing reggae. I was pretty intrigued by the idea of a reggae band from KC but when I asked if he'd let it go, he couldn't (I grabbed a nice copy of a Fleetwood Mac LP instead).

So, Blue Riddim was on the list from that point. The next time I heard someone talk about the group was in thrift store after sparking up a conversation with some old guy holding the self-titled Missouri LP. The topic of local music started and this guy went off about how great the Blue Riddim Band was. How he'd seen them live and how amazing they were. How Blue Riddim should've been bigger than UB40. And, on and on. Dude loved the Blue Riddim Band.

After finding a copy and giving it a listen, though, I think the novelty is what people love most. The music is acceptable, it's well performed, the players are fine. However, for reggae, it's pretty MOR. The UB40 comparison isn't bad, although, UB40 took a pop-music approach to reggae whereas the Blue Riddim Band wanted to make sure they hit on everything under the reggae umbrella, like a rocksteady song, a ska song, a roots song, etc. Despite that, Blue Riddim sounds just as white as UB40. However, if I spun this blind would never guess they were from Kansas City and 1800 miles from an Ocean, so on that account, good job Blue Riddim.

Rock It Sister


  1. Great blog! But you're being unfair to BRB. They were smoking hot, far more than a novelty act. But it's true, this LP does not capture the sinuous energy of their live shows. Their "Alive in Jamaica" LP is better. Ironic that they were better live than on record, as reggae is more of a studio phenomenon. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Rick, yeah, rereading it I do kind of throw Blue Riddim with the likes of novelty acts...should have worded that better as it wasn't my intent.
      As for the live album, I'll come across it soon enough. The man who I talked to at the thrift store said the same thing you did, the Live LP captures the band better than their studio effort.