Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gautrey Road Style

Anybody want to buy a London cultural landmark? I noticed that in Nunhead there's a for sale sign outside number 42 Gautrey Road, SE15, opposite the Golden Anchor pub. As mentioned here before, this was at one time Mad Professor's Ariwa Studio. The original Ariwa Studio was launched in 1979 in Neil Fraser's family home at 19 Bruce Road, Thornton Heath (Neil Fraser being the Prof's real name). It moved to the basement of Gautrey Road in May 1982 and remained there until 1986. According to David Katz:

'The material to emanate from Gautrey Road is really the sound of Ariwa finding its feet: Johnny Clarke’s aptly-titled ‘Yard Style’ album retained a Jamaican sensibility whilst also incorporating a range of international influences; Pato Banton’s debut album showed the Birmingham-based toaster was equally capable of humorous ditties and politically relevant material; Sandra Cross’ recasting of the Stylistics’ ‘Country Living,’ first adapted in reggae by the Mighty Diamonds, was a particularly strong example of the UK lover’s rock genre, grafting soulful vocals onto lilting reggae beats. Professor also notes that he also made an important connection during this era, cutting his first set of recordings with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at the same address: "He came down with Winston Edwards and Joe Gibbs in September 1984 and Scratch said he wanted to do some work, so I said “No problem.” He voiced “Judgement Inna Babylon” in my studio and when he finished with his tracks, he then ended up voicing a load of tracks for me as well and a lot of them came out on ‘Mystic Warrior’, which wasn’t released until 1988, but there was at least another two albums’ worth left that never came out"'.

Mad Professor and Jah Shaka later produced an album together, Gautrey Road Style - though by this point Ariwa had moved to 34 White Horse Lane in South Norwood.

So whoever moves into the Gautrey Road flat take note - some of the reggae greats have been through that door.

3 comments:

Nylon Cube said...

Wow, some absolute legends have recorded there! No idea Nunhead was home to Mad Proff! Any idea how much it's going for?

Transpontine said...

It's now got a sold sign outside so you've missed your moment. I did think about pretending to be interested so I could look round and get some photos of the basement, but I didn't get it together.

lauradavies1 said...

Wow, that was my home from 2002-2005. First place I lived after university. I had no idea it has such a musical history!

Looking a bit worse for wear now - probably since the arsonist who lived next door set fire to a mattress that leaned against the front window.

Ahh, the Gautrey Road days...