Little Axe

United States

Who has released records on all these labels: the legendary r'n'b label OKeh, the nu-blues stronghold Fat Possum, the key rap originators Sugar Hill, Tommy Boy and 4th & Broadway, the innovative On-U Sound and of course Real World Records?

Which musician has played on records by Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaata, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, James Brown, Robert Plant, Mark Stewart & The Mafia, Sinead O'Connor, and Megadeth?

The answer to both questions is Skip McDonald, and Skip is Little Axe.

Skip made his name as an integral part of the Sugar Hill house band playing on the most influential early rap classics like 'Rapper's Delight', 'The Message' and 'White Lines'. As part of Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound crew he has made some of the most adventurous and praised UK music of the last 20 years.

Little Axe is the project Skip started in the early 1990s to reconnect himself with the blues of his childhood. His dad, a bluesman and steel mill worker taught him blues guitar before he was 10. The name Little Axe is both a tribute to the Bob Marley/ Wailers' song 'Small Axe' and also to Wilbur 'Little Ax' Broadnax of the Spirit of Memphis gospel quartet. Little Axe Mixes blues, gospel, reggae, dub and funk with modern technology. The ideas and techniques of early album 'The Wolf That House Built' was in the words of The Times critic, John Clarke, "copied by Beck and Moby." And to great commercial success.

Now based in north London, Skip McDonald mainlines the old Delta blues and plugs it into the 21st century. "We take the tones and feelings of the old blues and put today's stamp on it. We make music you can feel, taste and touch."

'Bought For a Dollar, Sold For A Dime' features Skip's old Sugarhill Gang and Tack>>Head colleagues Doug Wimbish and Keith leBlanc, and a cast of characters including former Peech Boy, Bernard Fowler, playing all together in the same room for the first time in 17 years. "We're a collective of different people who, at certain periods, come together to create great work", says Skip. The legendary reggae star Ken Boothe adds vocals to the tracks 'Can't Sleep At Night' and 'Temptation'. Check out the hauntingly beautiful take on the Son House classic 'Grinning In Your Face'.