First Cut: Nu Beat

If you visit this site regularly and aren’t familiar with the Pama label and its various subsidies, we’ve somehow failed along our journey. It served as home to some of the absolute finest examples of the early reggae genre during the skinhead’s heyday, but some of it’s most impressive releases date back to the earliest days of what would become known as skinhead.

The label was owned by brothers Harry, Jeff and Carl who had started the label out by issuing soul releases before releasing the money to be made through the Jamaican music scene. One of their first subsidies to see a release was the Nu Beat label.

The Rudies, later to be known as Greyhound, were one of the earliest acts to record for the Palmer Brothers and the debut disc on Nu Beat was the now classic “Train to Vietnam”. Seeing release in 1968 the group, led by Freddie Notes, proved that Jamaican music recorded on English shores could be just as high quality as anything being released back home.

The track is home to a chugging rhythm and talk over, sampling the Ethiopians hit “Train to Skaville”.

Flip it over and we had much of the same quality one came to expect from the group. There is a prominent sax over the tune, adding another dimension to the track. It was just a taste of things to come as both the label and The Rudies hit their stride over the coming years. Nu Beat ending up home to a number of classic tracks from the likes of Laurel Aitken and the Rudies featuring on numerous hits.

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