Info → Five Man Army
UK Release: 8th April 1991 (Blue Lines)
Track Duration: 06:04
Formats: CD, Vinyl, Cassette, Digital. View Discography Entry.
Written By: Grant Marshall, Andrew Vowles, Robert Del Naja, Adrian Thaws and Claude Williams
Produced By: Grant Marshall, Andrew Vowles, Robert Del Naja and Jonathan Sharp
Recording Engineer: Kevin Petri
Mixed By: Jeremy Allom
Five Man Army more than any other Massive Attack recalls the heydays of The Wild Bunch with lyrics referencing The Wild Bunch’s live stint in Japan, turntable’s and mixer boards, house parties, not to mention Willy Wee who had been at Daddy G’s side throughout much of The Wild Bunch’s lifetime.
Five Man Army, itself was based around a similar song also called Five Man Army by Dillinger and Trinity. This was Daddy G’s doing most likely as this song, with it’s deep dub basslines is mostly indebted to his particular love of dub and reggae.
The vocalist of the first verse of Five Man Army is very commonly confused as being Daddy G. In fact, it is fellow Wild Bunch hanger-on Willy Wee, who has a very comparable deep voice like Daddy G.
The majority of Horace Andy’s lyrics which appear towards the end of Five Man Army were lifted from his own back catalogue of reggae anthems, namely “Cuss, Cuss” and “Money Money”.
On Collected, the song’s duration is only 05:21. This is because at the 03:58 time duration mark into the song, there is a seamless edit which cuts out roughly the next 40 seconds of the song.
Five Man Army was played extensively throughout the 1994 soundsystem tour. On this tour, with Tricky and Willy Wee being available on most dates, they were able to provide their vocals as they are on the album version.
For the 1995 tour, with Tricky falling out with Massive Attack, it was Daddy G who had had to provide the vocals for both of Massive Attack’s lost touring party member on Five Man Army alongside 3D, Horace Andy and Willy Wee. The song itself was arranged and played in a similar fashion to way it appeared on Blue Lines. Here is one such recording of Five Man Army recorded in Switzerland in 1995, that can be streamed on Soundcloud.
Since the 1995 tour however, Five Man Army has failed to make any of the live setlists, probably owing to the fact of Willy Wee’s removal from the touring setup at this time.
Five Man Army uses a sample from the song “I’m Glad You’re Mine” by noted American soul and gospel performer Al Green. It appears primarily on his 1972 release I’m Still In Love With You. It is not credited officially by Massive Attack.
Five Man Army uses a sample from the song “Five Man Army Dub” by a reaggae production duo known as Lewin Bones Lock. It appears primarily on a 1970’s Studio One 12″ single release. It has never been released on any other format since. It is not credited officially by Massive Attack.
3D on why he mentions his Sony Walkman Budokan in the lyrics for Five Man Army – “Every rap track has a reference to Sony, yeah! It’s not a plug for them though, it’s just that Sony and their Walkman’s are such a massive influence and the Sony Budokan is the ultimate portable sound experience, extra bass and a really huge sound. They even give you a cushion to sit on while you listen to it. It’s a totally obsessive object and if you have something that you’re really into, you constantly think about it, so when I think about words and music I constantly think of my Budokan, it’s that simple. I also think about Subbuteo…” [Jocks Magazine – February 1991]
Trendy wendys you know what I mean. Hangin’ around with girl who’s rolling up her jeans. She watches her street cred ’cause she’s no dummy. Saw rockin the microphone and now she’s calling me a honey. Says I know what I want don’t move with thugs. We’re house parties hip hop and smoking drugs. And whoever’s been the boss she’s down with ’em. She’s always on time ’cause the girl got rhythm. To avoid all complications I’ll give some information. About a certain location under Paddington Station. ‘Cause when I host my show-a I avoid the girl called lola. Who’s more pu-pu-public than the drink they call it coca cola. I’m just practice posing face is shaded in black. Is dominating as my color the massive attack. Right now I hit it kick it flow smooth hit middle wicket
I take a small step now it’s a giant stride. People say I’m loud why should I hide. Only had a small taste so what a waste. I quietly observe though it’s not my space. Bottom end’s heavy you know we’re never even. People call me Tricky for particular reason. I’ve got you see and I’ve got to let you know. See we’re rockin’ in your area rock beneath your balcony. My baby just cares for me well that’s funny. Her touch tickles especially on my tummy
Now who’s got the microphone
Now who’s honey
A turbo turbo and chant with a charge. Addy, Daddy G wild bunch crew at large. Don’t call me an officer just call me a sarge. Mashing up the country planning also abroad. Plan to go to America when I get a visa card
But gettin’ a visa card nowadays isn’t hard
So keep your ears glued listen to every chord. Tokyo City’s one place that we toured. Four technic plus two mixer board. Sharper than a Wilkinson razor sword
When I was a child I played Subbuteo on. My table then I graduate to studio one. ’Cos D’s my nom de plume you know but 3’s my pseudonym. And around my neck you know I wear the Sony Budokan. Indigo blues you got me in my own shoes. The people dancing in the shape for what they make. They can’t lose. Yes waxing lyrical but this time it’s not satirical. It’s kinda spherical so jam me in a circle. This is the miracle of the dubplate dub selection
So whether you’re black white or half-caste in your complexion
Yes pull out your phono plug and tuck you in your phony. It’s started by marconi resumed by Sony. A summary by wireless history and only. The massive attack enorme esplosione
Get away with your Cuss Cuss. We don’t want it. Get away with your Cuss Cuss. We don’t like it. Eternal love eternal love. Money money money. Root of all evil. Money money money. Root of all evil