'You don't love me (no, no, no) - original (Studio One Rockers, 1967)

Dawn Penn - 'one of the original queens of reggae music' - had a professional rebirth, via a reworking and release of this song from 1967, almost three decades later.

Putting to one side the understated expression of the original for a more rounded version that featured in advertisements and became a major hit in dozens of countries while also featuring a rather surprising sample by U-Roy ('Wake the town' from his 1974 record, U-Roy).      

Here's an extract from an interview with Dawn Penn on how she recorded a track that has become one of the most famous songs in reggae history:

I grew up in Jamaica, near Studio One, the famous recording studio in Kingston. It became a second home, especially on Sundays, when they would hold auditions. I was barely into my mid-teens when I got a chance to sing for the legendary producer “Sir Coxsone” Dodd. It was 1967, the early days of rocksteady, and he liked my voice.

You Don’t Love Me (No No No) was our first recording and I remember standing next to Jackie Mittoo, the keyboard player from the Skatalites, following his chords as I sang about lost love. In church, we used to sing this old gospel thing, “Yes, yes, yes, Jesus loves me”, so I sang, “No, no, no.” People said: “It’s too negative. It’ll never sell.” But it was a big hit in Jamaica.

I made more records, but never saw any money for them, and in 1970 left Jamaica to trace my family ancestry. This took me to Pennsylvania and the British Virgin Islands. After 17 years, I came back to Jamaica and found the island alive with dancehall. I was asked to rerecord the song for Studio One’s 35th anniversary. They made it a bit more dancehall, then Atlantic picked it up and it became a global smash.

The producer, Cleveland 'Clevie' Browne on the 1994 version: 

Steely’s keyboard created a smooth, deep bass, like the old sound system recordings. We couldn’t find the trumpeter from the original record, so David Madden, who was Bob Marley’s trumpeter, did a great job. Sometimes when you work on a record, you get a feeling it is going to be a hit, but we had no idea how big. We made it timeless, a bridge between the old and new.


The song above is so great and reminds me of Patti Smith's 'Free Money' ... I can't find out any information about it from a cursory search; pass on information if you have some as I'd like to write about it more.  .