You know that guy that never seems to age? The Benjamin Button of Bhangra? I used to listen to this chap whilst in middle school, and he now probably looks 10 years younger than me – admittedly I had a very tough paper round.
Well the chap I’m talking about is Shin, who somehow convinced Danny and Charlie to form a band after doing an audition in Danny’s shop. Danny used to be in an Indian rock band called Leo, but had hung up his guitar. Shin’s audition worked wonders and DCS (the initials of the 3 founding members) was formed. DCS was formed in 1983, and they entered a competition and came 2nd … bonus point for anyone that guesses the band that came 1st?
DCS initially stayed away from the Bhangra genre, and instead saw themselves as a Hindi pop band. This train of thought saw them feature on the sound track of the Bollywood movie “Cricketer” and release a Hindi pop disco album titled “DCS with Runa Laila”. As much as they tried to avoid jumping on the bandwagon, Bhangra’s gonna get you (see what I did there?) eventually, and DCS recorded their first Bhangra album – “Teri Saun” which didn’t quite hit the mark, their second bhangra album “Aao Nach Lao” proved to be a better album and put DCS on the map.
DCS went on to become a fantastic live band (winning several awards over the years). If DCS were invited to the wedding, there would be fivers and tenners instead of pound notes given in pyaar folks, and check this out they even went through a phase of giving the groom a gold wedding as a thank you for the bookin.
DCS were one of the first bands to use ‘modern music’ in the bhangra industry. Some people say they were the first to use synthesizers. I’d say at around that time (late 80’s) Pardesi, DCS, and Sahotas were perhaps the bands that were leading the revolution of modern music. So let’s take a look at the 1987 release “123 go” released on the Mighty M music label. Just to mention the C in DCS had left the band prior to this album.
Track 1 is “Tenu khol kai sharaab vich peelan”, and straight away you realise how similar the melody and pace of the track is to that of the cult classic “Putt jattan de”. Shin is in top form for this track as he delivers the two paced track to perfection. Many years later DCS did re-do this classic and it was released with a video which I can only describe as being awkward to watch in a family environment. Personally I prefer the original from this album.
Track 2 is “Goree chitti jatti menu kiss kargayi”, and starts with some serious scratching. Quite a controversial track back in those days due to the lyrics I guess, almost chamkila territory. There are some great synthesizers in the track, and even the “ooeee ooeee” don’t detract from the track to be fair. Shin is once again in his element with this track.
Shin slows it down a touch with the next number which is titled “Hai ni main pasand karlee”. DCS managed to balance the east meets west in their music and songs very well. Listening to these old albums you appreciate even the band members pitch in with providing vocals for the chorus. This is another good track, and Shin is spot on once again.
Track 4 is “Jaadu” or magic. This is DCS experimenting with compositions, vocal arrangements, and combining the influences on their music. Lyrically it is perhaps not as strong as the other tracks on this album, but nevertheless it’s a decent track.
A lot of bands such as DCS and Pardesi used to have Dub mixes on their albums during this period, and DCS have included 2 on this album one is “Goree chitti jatti menu kiss kargayi” and the other is “Main kunwara tu kunwari”. Both are good dub mixes, and you can see why these became popular additions to albums in those days. Some people may see these as album fillers, but I enjoyed dub mixes when done well – and these two certainly fall into that category.
Side 2 start with “Putt Jatt da” which has a more traditional sound to it, and the delivery is also more desi. Shin adjusts very well and shows his versatility on this track. Another very good track on what is truly a great album even when you listen back to it now.
There’s a change of vocalist on the “Ki mangdi” track, as Danny takes over on the mic. The pace of the track suits Danny’s vocals, as he’s not as talented as Shin. It’s a catchy number that will get you nodding your head.
Normal service is resumed with “Nain niley gallan goriya” as Shin returns. He picks up where he left off, and leaves us mesmerized with another magical rendition. It’s easy to see why he was considered one of the best vocalists in the industry. I think him and Silinder Pardesi had the ability and versatility to quite easily do Bollywood movie soundtracks. You can see how both these vocalists have been influenced by great playback singers such as the late Mohammed Rafi.
The final track to review on the album is “Main kunwara tu kunwari”. It has the 80’s pop disco feel to it. Once again Shin is his usual energetic and dynamic self in this track. Big thumbs up for this one to.
What happened next?
DCS continued to dominate the scene for many years and collect the awards. Albums such as Bhangra’s gonna get you, OU1, Doin it, Eat Rhythm, and Punjabi Dance Nation were pushing the boundaries all the time and experimenting with sounds and various influences. Shin’s vocals only got better with age, and he showed no signs of slowing down. Danny left the band, but the band went on and continued to do what they did best.
“123 go” was one of the first UK bhangra albums I bought and it was very much one of the reason I got into the scene, so for me it will always have a special place in my Bhangra vault. I’d say it was a game changer, and certainly put DCS firmly into the premier league of bhangra bands.