OLDIES SUNDAY: The Tamlins – Baltimore (1979/1980)


Today’s Oldies Sunday selection was inspired by the latest offerings by Recording Artist, Lila Ike. Our selection comes from Reggae Group The Tamlins with the track, “Baltimore“. Produced by Sly & Robbie for Taxi Records, this was released in 1979 and 1980, and is a cover of American Recording Artist Randy Newman’s 1977 track of the same name. It was heavily inspired by American Recording Artist/Civil Rights Activist Nina Simone’s 1978 cover, especially in the production department. With the song’s social commentary, it paints a picture of living in Baltimore, Maryland in the 70s with people living on hard times, and if given the chance to escape, returning is never an option.

Since The Tamlins’ version of “Baltimore” was released, it became one of their biggest songs, thanks to its excellent Reggae production and harmonies displayed throughout. The Sly & Robbie production went on to become a juggling Riddim that has been reworked by Star Trail and Main Street labels, and featured recordings from Courtney John, Lutan Fyah, Dennis Brown, and many more. As mentioned earlier, the selection was inspired by Lila Ike, as she released her debut EP titled, “The ExPerience” on Friday, May 15. The EP’s final track, “Thy Will“, which was produced by Protoje, samples The Tamlins’ version. The group, consisting of Winston Morgan, Junior Moore, and Carlton “Tamlin” Smith, went on to release more music, and collaborated with various Artists including the late Peter Tosh. Though still active, original member Winston Morgan left in 1983, and was replaced by Derrick Lara who passed away in February 2020.

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