In the Chinese calendar / zodiac, 2023 is the year of the rabbit. An animal, in this context, associated with good luck and longevity. I`m a scientist by trade, and not usually swayed by superstition, but as Lloyd Cole once sung, “I`ll believe in anything that’s gonna get me what I want and get me off my knees”. So on New Year’s Day, Ban Ban Ton Ton tradition now has us run through a few astrologically relevant records, as I’m certainly up for giving a little magick a shot. Echo & The Bunnymen and the tons of talented reggae singers and producers who chose the nickname “Bunny” made this a real easy one. The whole shebang could have been just about Bunny “Striker” Lee…
Echo & The Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever (2018 Version)
I could have put together hours of clips of just Liverpool’s Bunnymen, as around the time of Ocean Rain I became a devoted fan. Pretty much everything they did is a favourite, and has a personal story / memory attached. This is an acoustic reading of their 1997 “comeback” track, taken from the 2018 album, The Stars The Ocean & The Moon, which is full of similar treatments of other classics. I have Moonboots to thank – via the Wonderfulsound Soho Radio show – for knowledge of its existence.
Bunny Clarke aka Bunny Scott aka Bunny Rugs – What’s The Use
A Lee Perry production, taken from the To Love Somebody LP, released on UK label Klik in 1975. The album`s stuffed with top tunes, but this was the first one that I heard, when it was included on the 1992 Seven Leaves comp, Heart Of The Ark.
Spare Hare – Ain`t No Doubt About It
Privately-pressed soul from 1977. Lifted in this case from Miche’s amazing With Love Volume 1, released on Mr Bongo in 2022. Miche`s compilation was one of those records that we should have covered, and would have if there were more than 24 hours in a day.
Bunny Sigler – By The Way You Dance (I Knew It Was You)
Singer / songwriter Walter “Bunny” Sigler came from Philly and fronted Salsoul band Instant Funk. This track is taken from his 1979 solo LP, I’ve Always Wanted To Sing…Not Just Write Songs, and I’m pretty sure that By The Way You Dance… was a Paradise Garage smash.
James “Jack Rabbit” Martin – Let Us Have Love
One of the largely unsung heroes of Chicago house, originals of James “Jack Rabbit” Martin’s records are highly prized. This one came out on Trax off-shoot, Housetime, in 1989, but thankfully for mere mortals like myself the revamped Trax reissued Let Us Have Love on a 12” E.P. in 2006.
Bunny Wailer – Rise & Shine
An absolutely essential song from one of the 3 founding Wailers, Neville O’Reilly Livingston aka Bunny Wailer. Sad, but strong, almost a hymn, and definitely an anthem, it was originally released on Bunny’s own Solomonic label in 1981, but reissued twice, on a top quality 12, by Shibuya’s mighty Dub Store in 2009, and then 2019.
Bingy Bunny & The Heptones – Coming Home To Zion
A meeting of The Morwells and The Heptones, this was recorded sometime in the `70s, but issued on a 45 by Archive in 2010. Reissued again in 2022, its one of my favourite reggae releases from last year. I love Eric “Bingy Bunny” Lamont`s lead vocal.
Bunny Mack – Let Me Love You
The Sierra Leone singer-songwriter’s debut release from 1979 is a well-known, much-loved, piece of party-starting carnival calypso that’s been edited by the Idjut Boys, and remixed and reissued by Defected.
Rabbit Rumba – Nuestro Ayer
Taken from Soul Jazz’s brilliant Gipsy Rhumba comp, released in 2014, Rabbit Rumba were led by Josep Cunill. Nuestro Ayer was cherry-picked from Josep’s 1972 LP, Primera Antologia De La Rumba, issued on Spanish label Tumbao. About as true blue OG Balearic as it gets!
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit
This is a song that I`ll always associate with Hunter S. Thompson. When he writes about San Francisco in the `60s, Thompson refers to White Rabbit as his fuel. It is THE track that soundtracks the first summer of love psychedelically peaking and crashing. A moment that Hunter so brilliantly captures in his book Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas.
George Benson – White Rabbit
George’s groovy alternate virtuoso guitar reading of the Jefferson Airplane anthem, that shimmies with shades of Miles` Sketches Of Spain.
Death And Vanilla – Run Rabbit Run
Swedish duo, Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, aka Death and Vanilla, make music that recalls a meeting of The Liminanas and Broadcast. Modern synth-assisted psychedelic rock and roll made in the pioneering plugged-in mode of Joe Meek or Delia Derbyshire.
The Ultraviolet Catastrophe – Down The Rabbit Hole
A couple of old Andrew Weatherall favourites to finish. Both of these I first heard on his 1993 Kiss FM “Giving It Up” Sabresonic radio shows.
A seminal San Francisco side, The Ultraviolet Catastrophe’s Trip Harder E.P. was picked up and remixed by Gavin Hardkiss. Everything he and his brother, Scott, did was buy-on-sight. Down The Rabbit Hole is the kind of deranged psycheldelic sound-effect drenched go-go-not-go-go that paved the way for The Chemical Brothers and big beat.
Rabbit In The Moon – Dubassex
From Florida, Rabbit In The Moon’s Dubassex is a downtempo breakbeat tune – characterized by this kind of pitched down panpipe melody – and can be found on the flip of a very dodgy – but highly prized – Madonna-sampling trance track.
A very happy year of the rabbit, good luck and longevity, to you!!!
2 thoughts on “2023 / The Year Of The Rabbit”
My love for the Bunnymen, especially c1980- 1985 plus some of those singles and songs from 1987, is incomparable.
I think its so important that we have songs – like The Bunnymens – that we took from when we were kids, that root us, and remind us of who we are.