It's a version of Brent Dowe's 'Babylon Policy' - it's damn heavy, it's damn good. I Roy is close to his best, playful and lyrically inventive, and he's right at the front of the mix.
There are a lot of deejay tunes that you enjoy because they have a great mix (that just happens to include some toasting), with this one you don't really notice the mix until you turn the record over. The dub is seriously heavy with a subtle echo on the guitar, piano and vocal that gives it dreamy feel with a firm focus on the drums, percussion and bass.
It took me years to find this one - hope you enjoy.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
|Here's an Upsetter tune from 1975 (I think), http://www.mediafire.com/?qulyqeimnl5 Time by the Unforgettables. The vocal has never really grabbed me, but I really like the dub.|
The Unforgettables cut maybe 5 or 6 tunes - and none of the ones I've heard have really blown me away. That said, one of the ones I've not heard ('Many A Call') got put on an Upsetter compilation, and they've all had damn good b-sides.
This is quite a rare one. Hope you enjoy.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Today's is another great deejay tune, http://www.mediafire.com/?uldw2mhqmwl Land Of Poverty by Big Joe. I've never heard of a vocal to this but I recently found an instrumental cut by Rick Frater called 'Sunday Creation'. It's a seriously rare tune, and an absolutely fantastic rhythm.
While I'm here, I may as well bank tomorrow's record as well. It's another deejay tune, http://www.mediafire.com/?d3m13zyzq4i More Heartaches, Lizzy's version of the Beltones' 'No More Heartaches' which was one of the very earliest reggae records. The deejay side is good but I actually prefer the b-side. I'm a sucker for a good instrumental and this bubbling joyful organ cut really hits the spot.
Anyway I hope you enjoy these three, I've been meaning to put them up for a while but just never got around to it.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It's a cut of 'Ting-A-Ling' by the Heptones, which he'd already versioned as 'Ring-A-Ting' in the early seventies. In the eight or so years that separate the two records, Jazzbo's style has changed ('Natty-Ting-A-Ling' owes a big debt to the new style of deejays like Lone Ranger) and so has the mixing at Studio 1. This has a similar sort of mix to the twelve inch singles that Coxsone was putting out by the bucketload in those years - you really notice it on the dub.
I really like this tune, and I hope you will too. Anyway, Enjoy!
http://www.mediafire.com/?zjnzdfmqwou and don't forget that there are a couple of excellent compilations of Jazzbo's music out there (and if you decide to buy one of the compilations of his Studio 1 stuff, make
sure it's 'Pepper Rock' - the other one has the same songs, but doesn't have the right mixes and is nowhere near as good).
This is actually the next cut to 'Pablo In Dub / Hell Boat' (rather than the other way round), which was Leonard Chin's first record as a producer. That was enough of a hit in Jamaica to bring other big-name artists to the young producer; Horace Andy was the first of them, writing the lyrics to 'Children Of Israel' within a couple of hours of hearing the backing track. It's a beautiful impassioned vocal with quite a meditative vibe, and some interesting sound effects on the dub. I didn't actually like it that much when I first heard it, but it grew on me and now I find myself coming back to it again and again and again.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Anyway, I'm really thrilled to be able to present this next record. I got my copy of 'Small Axe' off Bob Brooks about 20 years ago (scary how time flies). It was straight off the plane from Jamaica and covered in termite shit; I took it home with detailed instructions on how to clean it (in case you're wondering, termite shit is abrasive so it's best to soak it off). Three days later I was actually able to
play it, and immediately began what turned into a three-year search for the vocal.
What's great about this record? The spoken intro, obviously; the superb rhythm (Dennis Brown's 'Stages In Life') with its heavy bass and organ; Big Joe (maybe not everyone's cup of tea) in fine style;
and one of the best of Trinity's early efforts (as Prince Glen) on the b-side. Don't ask me why, but this one has a special place in my heart.
Small Axe Hi-Fi was Big Joe's own sound system, Golden Stallion was his own label (pre-Shelter Rock) and 'Small Axe' was one of his first self-produced tunes. It's a statement about making it on your own and a nice bit of self-promotion. Trinity hadn't really developed his trademark style at this point in his career, and sounds a lot like Big Joe on this record. That said, his side is still a fine tune - almost (but not quite) as good as his version of 'Beat Down Babylon' ('Virginia Skank', on the Joe Gibbs label - one for the future perhaps).
This is a very rare one, I've only ever seen one copy apart from my own. Here it is.
Hope you enjoy.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Anyway, an old favourite.
Hope you enjoy!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I've not done many posts recently, mainly because of the effort of cleaning up and tagging the records. Take this one for example. It starts out like this http://www.mediafire.com/?zuymzndzjym (it was also slightly off-centre, so I centered it by eye) - piss-poor condition; lots of crackle and a sort of scouring noise in the
background. I know a lot of people like their rare tunes with crackling, but when it reaches this sort of level it gets distracting.
Anyway, after a bit of work, it sounds like this http://www.mediafire.com/?zymy5235jug Listening to it now, I'm thinking it probably needs more rumble filter and less harmonic exciter, but that's for another day.
Hope you enjoy.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
First up is Oak Sound, best known for putting out 'Five Man Army' which has to be one of the best deejay tracks of the eighties, but also home to a small but select collection of some of the decade's finest roots tunes.
1. Five Man Army - Dillinger, Trinity, Wayne Wade, Al Campbell & Junior Tamlin
2. Man In Love - Echo Minott
3. Three Man Connection - Al Campbell, Dillinger & Trinity
4. Mr Officer - Wayne Blackstock
5. When Music Hits You - Diana
6. University - Paula Clarke
7. Top Of The Pops - Captain Sinbad
8. Open Book - Barrington Levy
More soon, possibly Negus Roots - I feel I owe you something good.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
These are my favourite Dollar Brand albums, and listening to Mannenberg still gives me goosebumps. I just don't have words to say how beautiful these records are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have, although I must apologise for the truly appalling sound quality.
I think all the tracks are available on various reissues, and you'll get far better sound and far more enjoyment if you go out and get them (this was ripped from a 10 year old tape and is horribly muffled). To give you an idea of what you might be missing, here's part of the album as it sounds on the CD - I think I might treat myself to a copy sometime over Christmas.
There's a good review of the two albums here:
There's also a superb write-up of 'Mannenberg' here:
And here they are:
I recorded these albums off a tape owned by a good friend. She also introduced me to John Martyn and Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, so I owe her proper.
Here's a really nice vocal from Jackie Brown together with Jah Lloyd's deejay cut:
Here it is
Three good tracks, one just so-so. Enjoy.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
There's a very good blog entry about the vocal here:
And here it is in all its glory:
It had a pretty decent b-side as well:
The lyrics are taken from R. Lee Sharpe's poem, 'A Bag Of Tools', which dates from some time in the 1940s.
Isn't it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sorry I've not been too active with the blog lately - lot going on. Anyway, here's a comp that I put together a few years ago.
01. Hit Song - Roman Stewart
02. Mother Miserable - The Kingstonians
03. Bubbler - Lloyd Parks
04. You'll Never Find - John Holt
05. Official Trombone - Elaine
06. Flatfoot Hustling - Dillinger
07. Little Village - Charlie Organaire
08. Black Up - Count Ossie & Karl Bryan
09. Mother Nature - Delroy Wilson
10. Uhuru - King Tubby
11. I Want To Be With You - The Paragons
12. That Wonderful Sound - Dobby Dobson
13. Foreman A Bawl Fe Cornflakes - Uncredited (Roy Shirley?)
14. Tribalies Version - Uncredited (Santic All-Stars)
15. Something To Remind Me Of You - Owen Gray
16. Pinnock's Paranormal Payback - Dennis Pinnock
17. Warn The Nation - Alric Forbes
18. Version - Alric Forbes
19. Feeling Right - Susan Cadogan
20. Yesterday Version - Jah Woosh
I've tried to put loads of different stuff in there - favourites are probably Alric Forbes' version of 'Warn The Nation' (I prefer it to the Prophets' version) and the track by Jah Woosh (what a mix!).
Hope you enjoy.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
There's also a great version by Dennis Alcapone ('The Sky's The Limit'), a vocal by Teddy Magnus and a really bizarre (but fun) cut called 'Sewing Machine' by Ham & Bone, with a guitar version by Hux Brown ('Plucking Machine') on the flip. All of them are great and well worth having.
In case anyone's wondering, the vocalist on this version is Freddy McGregor. Enjoy.
Here's the original - see what you think.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
First up, and definitely the rarest and most sought-after is 'We Can Make It' by Pat Satchmo (real name Paul Anthony), which came out in 1971 on Tony Robinson's High School label. This has to be the guy's best ever tune (although his version of 'What's Going On' is damn strong as well), and as a bonus you've got an excellent melodica version by Peter Tosh on the flip. Peter Tosh did a few melodica instrumentals but this one is my favourite - 'A Little Love version 3' is pretty good as well; 'Field Marshall' was hideously distorted on the original pressing (I haven't heard the reissue yet) and the key changes didn't really work for me.
No all-on-one-rhythm selection is complete without a deejay cut, so here goes. My copy of this was a white label with 'Blackbirds' written on it, so that's what I always assumed it was called. Turns out it's actually 'No Turning Back' by Big Joe & Carl Dryden. I'd love to know if a full vocal version exists, but really this version is really just fine - roots deejay laid over a romantic-sounding song. It came out in 1973 on the always-excellent Shelter Rock label, which was a joint venture between Big Joe and Jah Pops. I've always liked this song, but until today I've not really found a good way to showcase it.
Finally we've got another very rare cut, a rootsy vocal by Ronald Phillip called 'Love & Harmony' backed with a wild effects-laden Vin Gordon trombone version called 'East, West, North & South'. It's another one from the Shelter Rock label (1974), and I picked it up while buying records wholesale for someone else; this and Count Ossie's 'Black Up' were the only two I kept for myself.
Highlights for me - Pat Satchmo's vocal, Vin Gordon's trombone - but there's not a bad cut in this lot. Here's the link: http://www.mediafire.com/?mzmyzhrzhnn
Finally, just to remind us how great the original was:
Hope you enjoy.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
There's a nice little article in the Gleaner about how the tune was recorded. There's some more here about what Redrose has been up to since.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I really can't recommend Sugar Minott enough to anyone out there who doesn't know him. From his early work with the African Brothers through his classic Studio 1 LPs to the great tunes he did at Wackies he is one of the most solid and consistent roots artists that ever come out of Jamaica. There are lots of albums and compilations available, but the best one to start with is the one that got me hooked: his first Studio 1 LP, 'Live Loving'.
I hope you enjoy this one, it's a gem.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Here are a couple of nice roots tunes that I was meaning to put up over the weekend, but events (perfect weather for taking the kids out to pick blackberries) intervened. First up is one that I got off a mailing list about 10 years ago, 'Earth Runnings' by the Africans. I bought it because I had another great tune by the Africans on the 'Rebel' label, called 'Have A Grand Time' , it was cheap enough to buy on the off-chance, and the guy who ran the list had it flagged as having a great dub.
He was certainly right about about the dub; but until yesterday when I was trying to figure out how to describe it, I'd never listened to the vocal side all the way through.
It's actually quite a solid roots tune. Judge for yourself:
Second up is a classic roots tune from Enos McLeod with backing vocals by the Mighty Diamonds. Both sides have already been compiled on a Pressure Sounds release called 'The Genius Of Enos' and if you don't know it, I'm hoping this will encourage you to buy it or at least check it out.
BTW, nice to get a shout from Popbitch ("Somebody's roots collection")
- plenty more tunes to come.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Today's post features Jackie Brown, one of the forgotten heroes of reggae, in his twin roles of producer and singer. For anyone wanting to know more about him (and he's an interesting guy), there's an excellent interview here:
Anyway, this first post is from 1974, and he's wearing his producer hat:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/ytycmm2nugu/Time To Leave Babylon.zip
Dobby Jones has quite a similar style of singing to Jackie Brown himself, and as far as I've been able to discover, only recorded 6 records. Anyway, the rhythm's great, the vocal's heartfelt & conscious and kind of country style, and there's talk that it was recorded and mixed at the Black Ark. I couldn't find my copy to scan, but I'll post an updated link in the comments when I do.
It was clearly too good to leave at just one cut, so JB sang his own vocal version a couple of years later, and it turned into quite a big hit. 'Knotty Vision' is strong in all the same ways as the original tune, and one of my favourites from all his records. My copy is completely mashed, and although I've did what I could to clean it up, the sound's still quite poor.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Here's a nice vocaI I picked up years ago - it's a version of Sam Cooke's 'Send Me Some Loving' by the sublime Slim Smith. If this is unfamiliar to anyone, I strongly recommend they go and check out some of the many compilations that highlight Smith's beautiful voice - particularly the ones that feature his work with the Techniques (the original 'Queen Majesty' and 'Travelling Man'!) and the Uniques ('The Beatitude', 'Watch This Sound' and too many others to mention).
He really was in a league of his own, with a beautiful tenor which could extend to a falsetto, and the talent to give a song a depth of feeling that few reggae artists could match. He seems to have had a turbulent life, and died tragically young (age 25) in London in 1973. Who knows how much more wonderful music he might have blessed us with if he'd lived.
My copy is a bit ropy (that seems to be the theme for this week) but it should give you an idea of how great this tune is, and I hope it inspires you to go and check out some more of his stuff.
There it is, so enjoy.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Well, I used to have quite a strange record - a 7" single with 2 pocket-sized instrumental/dub versions of 'Westbound Train' on one side, and two of Ken Boothe's 'Silver Words' on the other. I think it was one of the so-called 'economic packages' that surfaced occasionally during the oil crises of the seventies, but never really took off because the grooves were packed too tight together to get very much in the way of bass. So I thought I'd do that with the two original vocals, and why not have deejay and instrumental versions just to round it all off?
Here it is:
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Here's some more nice tunes for you. Junior Byles on top form with the Upsetter-produced 'King Of Babylon'; a great deejay and instrumental double-header on Morwell Esq., 'Last Call' / 'Hot Call' by Sir Harry & Tyrone Downie; and finally the rootsy 'One Love' by Herman & Clement (Who? No, I don't know either) with U-Roy Junior on the b-side.
|Here's a selection of Upsetter-produce deejay singles from 1972 to 1974. I'm saving the real gem, 'Bring The Kuchy Come' (Dillinger's version of 'Words') for a later post but this lot are all fantastic songs.|
What really stands out for me is just how good the mixes are on all of these tracks. Lee Perry didn't have a whole lot of equipment at the Black Ark, in fact, all of today's songs were put together using:
- Alice mixer (Scratch: "They weren't professional machines they were only toys")
- Grantham [Grampian?] spring reverb
- Roland Space Echo RE201
- Marantz amplifier for instruments
- AKG drum mic for vocals
- Teac 3340 1/4 inch 4-track recorder
- Teac 2-track recorder for mix down
Listen to the mix on 'The Lama' - it's perfect. Same goes for all the songs. There are lots of very good Perry compilations available nowadays, so there's no excuse for not having at least one.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
http://www.mediafire.com/file/kyazzmryh0m/Blessed Are The Meek.zip
Next up, one of my favourite Horace Andy tunes: 'Tag A Long'. Produced by Phil Pratt, and inspired by Gilbert & Sullivan, this has a nice vocal and an outstandingly mellow rhythm: a real gem.
http://www.mediafire.com/file/yzkiykcoenf/Tag A Long.zip
Finally, 'Oily Sound' by Lloyd Charmers, an superb novelty version of the Uniques' classic 'Watch This Sound' (which was in turn a cover of Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth'). Bubbling chalice sounds and spliff talk are laid over the original rhythm plus some great piano from Charmers - winning combination.
Anyway, hope you enjoy.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
First up, let's have 'Jah Guide' by Big Joe, monster deejay cut to Horace Andy's 'Problems'. Big Joe can be a bit of an acquired taste, but this is one of the very best Santic-produced deejay tunes and I would recommend it to anybody. It also has a seriously ruff and dirty dub - just compare this to the dub of 'Lover's Mood' and you'll see what I mean.
Next let's have an instrumental. I've seen a few (as in 2 or 3) copies of this over the (last 20) years and none of them have had a title. Produced by Vincent Chin on a label named for his wife, this has a quirky, jazzy feel and is pure quality all the way through. It's one of my favourite reggae instrumentals, sublime horns on the a-side and a version that concentrates more on the (very good) guitar and organ.
Finally, Joe White's 'People Are Changing'. This is a fantastic song from a seriously undervalued singer. The b-side dub is also excellent; the effects are applied with a very light touch and really emphasize the elements of the song that kind of pass you by in the vocal mix.
http://www.mediafire.com/file/hc5o5zbytdg/People Are Changing.zip
So there you go - deejay, instrumental, vocal and dub: a complete 70's reggae experience.
Hope you enjoy.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Thought I'd take a different turning off memory lane today. Don't know quite how to describe this one, but it's a mix for listening in hot weather and has a lot of tracks that are not-quite-Bristol.
Anyway, enjoy. Hope it's not too Starbucks.
Friday, June 05, 2009
All these records date from the end of the seventies to the start of the eighties which was an interesting time in Jamaican music, with rhythms and production styles in a flux. Although it was the age of the discomix I've tried to stick with 7" singles simply out of personal preference ('Don't Mash Up Creation' is the exception - way too good to leave out).
Sorry about the sound quality of 'Bottom Of The Well' by the way - it was a download, but again, way too good to leave out.
Anyway, hope you enjoy
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Here's something that I've only listened to again as a result of contributing to this blog. It's a track by Trinity on his own Flag Man label called 'D.J. Jamboree'.
Trinity produced a few tunes on Flag Man, and although this isn't the best of them (that would be 'Vampire') it's still a very respectable effort. The real highlight, though, is the stately Tubby's dub on the b-side. Spark up and put the dub on loud, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Here's a record I got years ago from a mailing list run by a guy called Andrew Neale. Back in the days before Ebay, if you wanted rare reggae you got yourself onto a mailing list and every month or so an envelope containing a photocopied list of records for sale would land on your doormat. It was always first come first serve, so you had to get on the phone pretty much as soon as you'd finished reading through it, or you'd be left with just the stuff that no one else wanted.
Anyway, it took me ages to get the name and artist for this one, but I've recently (as in just this minute) found out that it's 'Soul Rebel Version 3' by Glen Adams & the Upsetters.
http://www.mediafire.com/file/jfuyxhirmhy/Soul Rebel Version 3.zip
It's a really quirky instrumental cut, with horns and plinky piano - the sort of record that could only be made in Jamaica. I really like it, it's cheerful and laid-back and the rhythm as we all know is fantastic.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.