It’s time to shine the Vinyl Spotlight! Every now and then on Paloozapalooza, I like to focus on a random LP from my collection. This week, we have:
Musical Youth – The Youth of Today (1982)
Musical Youth, a British reggae band made up entirely of young kids, came out of nowhere in the early 80s and scored a massive hit with “Pass the Dutchie.” You know “Pass the Dutchie,” right? Everybody’s heard it at least once in their lives. Pass the dutchie on the left hand side / pass the dutchie on the left hand side.
“Pass the Dutchie” is actually a cover of the Mighty Diamonds’ “Pass the Koutchie,” which was a modest success on its own. The Youth of Today took it to a whole other level, though, changing a song about weed to a song about food and turning it into one of the happiest, most memorable songs of the entire decade.
But that’s just one track! And anyone expecting The Youth of Today to be “Pass the Dutchie” and a bunch of filler will be surprised to learn that this is one hell of a reggae record from start to finish. Sure, they were still technically just a bunch of kids, but Musical Youth had legitimate talent. If you didn’t know the band’s story and just heard the music on these songs, you would guess they were a group of veteran studio musicians from Studio One.
Their style was also actually fairly groundbreaking—they mixed in a lot of r&b with their reggae while still finding plenty of time for toasting (If you aren’t familiar with toasting in reggae, just imagine a style of chanting that sounds a lot like early rapping. It was an early influence on the earliest rappers).
Other than “Pass the Dutchie,” there are two songs that really stand out here: “Blind Boy,” easily the band’s most impressive song musically, and “Never Gonna Give You Up,” a sweet love song that mixes their softer side and their raw, tougher side perfectly.
I’m not going to tell you The Youth of Today is absolutely essential listening, but “Pass the Dutchie” certainly is, and the rest of the record isn’t too far behind. If you ever find it for a fair price, I do recommend taking this one home.
Musical Youth is not just some one-hit wonder—this is reggae you can proudly place next to the Bob Marley, Augustus Pablo, and Lee Perry records in your collection.