The Tighten Up Crew started out in the late 90s running a night in a long forgotten venue on Gerrard Street in the heart of London’s China Town, called – you guessed it – Tighten Up. Over the years venues have come and gone but the commitment to bringing the very best Jamaican music from the 60s, 70s and 80s has never changed.

In the early days of Tighten Up selecta’s Tim P and Mistah Brown were joined by the legendary UK MC, Champian, who was the main MC for the 80s Sound System from Brixton, Jamdown Rockers.

The Tighten Up Crew have worked with Jamaican artists such as U Brown, Sister Nancy and Carl Meeks and a virtual who’s who of UK MC’s including Asher Senator, Peter King, Mr Williamz, Johnny Dollar and many many more.

Alongside the revival styles of Tighten Up, the crew also promote old-school dancehall and early digital nights, first with the legendary Return of the Boom Bap and more recently with the very popular Trash and Ready that just celebrated it’s first birthday at the Alibi in Dalston, East London.

Meanwhile the Tighten Up nights, now based at the Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park on the first Saturday of the month, are more popular than ever, attracting old time reggae lovers alongside a younger crowd who are just discovering the music for the first time.

No hype, no bullsh*t, just great reggae music and the best party in town.

More info:
Tighten Up Facebook

Nuff respect to the Tighten Up Crew for their top-a-top Studio One rhythms for February 2011.

1. Never Let Go (AKA The Answer)
Starting with the Slim Smith and perhaps even more memorable for Lone Rangers ‘The Answer’, this is the perfect old-school dancehall rhythm. No MC worth their salt can resist this!

2. Love Me Forever/West Of The Sun
Maybe not the same rhythm but it can be hard to tell them apart sometimes. ‘Love Me Forever’ is one of Carlton And His Shoes greatest moments (which is really saying something), and the same can be said for Jackie Mittoo’s ‘West Of The Sun’ (which is saying even more!). No one loved this rhythm more than Big Youth who voiced it at least six times.

3. Rougher Yet
This rhythm was a lot more popular outside of Brentford Road than within, but quality over quantity was the order of the day for Coxsone. From Slim Smith’s sublime rocksteady original to one of the finest ever three-and-a-bit minutes cut to vinyl by a deejay, the stupendous ‘Love Bump’ by Lone Ranger. It doesn’t get any better than this.

4. I’ll Be Around
This is no mega rhythm with 200 versions, in fact no one has ever cut it outside of Studio One, but there are two tunes here that just ooze quality and soul. ‘I’ll Be Around’ by Otis Gayle (that manages to be even better than the Detroit Spinners version), and the gospel feel of ‘We Need Love’ by Johnny Osbourne. Hear these two in a dance back-to-back and be prepared for a very, very special experience…this is why we love reggae.

5. Full Up
A bass-line that really gets under your skin. Best remembered for the Mighty Diamonds ‘Pass The Kouchie’ and the Musical Youth do-over ‘Pass The Dutchie’. On the Studio first original don’t miss Freddie McGregor’s classic ‘Africa Here I Come’, or the killer early 80s DJ combination of Rapper Robert and Jim Brown with ‘Minister For Ganja’.

6. Real Rock
The most versioned rhythm of all time with well over 300 cuts from different producers at different times. From a lowly start as yet another Sound Dimension instrumental circa 1967, early promise was shown when Augustus Pablo issued ‘Rockers Rock’ in 1972 before this went massive in the late 70s with a slew of hits. Including Willie Williams – ‘Armagideon Time’ (Studio 1), Junior Murvin – ‘Cool Down Son’ (Joe Gibbs), Barrington Levy – ‘Looking My Love’ (Junjo). Even the Clash had a go!

7. Get In The Groove
This Heptones original is best remembered for the many variations of the Up Park Camp theme that appeared in the later 70s. Channel One did it with John Holt (as ‘Up Park Camp’), Joe Gibbs did it with Cornell Campbell (as ‘No Mans Land’) Bunny Lee did it with Johnny Clarke (as ‘Up Park Camp’) and Studio One hit back at them all with Winston Jarrett (as ‘Up Park Camp No Mans Land’). Only reggae can do it quite like this.

8. Take A Ride AKA Truth And Rights
In true Jamaican style the original ‘Take A Ride’ was credited to Al Campbell but it’s not him singing. No one knows the identity of the singer for sure but whoever it was had a wicked song for a wicked rhythm.

Johnny Osbourne’s next piece ‘Truth And Rights’ was every bit as good, if not better, and the rhythm has had interchangeable names ever since. New York’s Massive B resurrected the rhythm in spectacular fashion in 2005 with a whole series of cuts including killer versions by Richie Spice and Khari Kill.

9. Vanity
The first cut on the Vanity rhythm was ‘I’m Just A Guy’ by Alton Ellis. ‘Vanity’ was actually Sugar Minott’s cut on the rhythm from the late 70s. There were countless cuts from different producers in the early 80s because this rhythm fitted those styles so well. Michigan And Smiley knew it and called their Studio One version ‘Rub-A-Dub-Style’.

10. Mean Girl
Larry Marshall’s ’68 tune ‘Mean Girl’ is not his best tune, but that didn’t stop this rhythm running and running. Though not the first do-over, it was the Mighty Diamonds at Channel One with ‘I Need A Roof’ that took this to another level in the mid 70s. Unsurprisingly Coxsone hit back with Sugar Minott voicing ‘I Need A Roof’ which is just as great as the Diamonds cut.

Check also quality Studio One deejay outings by Little (Ranking) Joe with ‘Gun Court’ and Prince Jazzbo with ‘Natty Farmyard’, and away from Studio One, some quality late 70s dubs from Morwells Unlimited.