Monday, April 05, 2010


Hi there,

I've got a couple more nice tunes today. First up, 'Musical Combination', Charley Ace's monster deejay cut to Keeling Beckford's hit 'Combination'. The b-side is also pretty decent, a lovers vocal by Keeling Beckford with a really interesting rhythm track - I really like the bubbling organ and stabbing horns behind the vocal.

Next we have another deejay tune - Dennis Alcapone's cut to 'Magnificent Heptones' on the Pressure Beat label. The vocal is a sought-after medley of 'Baby', 'Why Must I' and 'Why Did You Leave Me To Cry' that Joe Gibbs put out in 1971 or thereabouts. In this version Alcapone stays away from the nursery rhymes and riffs off the themes of the original songs - the result is quite satisfying. The real star of the show, though, is Vin Gordon's version on the b-side. It's definitely one of his best tunes, and has a relaxed, improvised feel to it. I always prefer reggae instrumentals that flow like this rather than repeating a single phrase over and over and over again.

The next tune is a bit of an odd one. I'm not quite sure how to describe 'Leaving The Ball' by Mr Nigel, it's not a deejay tune and I'd hesitate to call it singing. Mr Nigel was actually Nicky Thomas who as we all know really could sing quite beautifully.

The b-side, 'Sweep The Street' by Neville Hinds is a really nice fairground-flavoured organ cut on the same 'Wear You To The Ball' rhythm. Neville Hinds had a major hit with 'Delivered', his instrumental version of Alton Ellis' 'Deliver Us' but mostly worked as a backing musician, and later as a producer at Dynamic studio.

'Poor Man' by John Jones is also a bit odd, and it's not reggae: it's a Dynamic Sound production with a bit of an Elvis vibe. I quite like it - I'd be interested to know if I'm the only one. The b-side 'Merci Cherie' sounds like something you'd get from one of the better hotel bands at the end of a wedding reception. The Tiger label is one of my favourites, just for the design. The wavy black stripes and blocky, cutout-style letters work really well together.

After that short break, we're back to the deejays again, or rather we're back to Prince Buster. The Prince did a couple of cuts of Java way back when, both credited to 'Senior Pablo & The All Stars'. The first was called 'Science' and was very good, but it didn't have a dub. The Jamaican issue had a really good dub of 'Giant' on the b-side, the UK issue had Dennis Alcapone ('Giant' again - wicked tune). So the second one, which actually has an instrumental version is in serious demand. 

The instrumental is a note-for-note rip-off of the Randys original; but being recorded in a different studio, it has a different sound (I've heard that it's Pablove on melodica). The deejay side is fantastic. Buster puts some seriously righteous lyrics over that missing dub: it's a really spare mix and at one point everything but the melodica and the deejay drops out. My copy's in a bit of a state, but I hope this'll inspire you to go out and look for one in slightly better condition. 

We finish with another deejay tune, 'Free Black People' by Jah Woosh. Like 'It's A Fire', this is quite rare and not in the best nick. The vocal side got reissued on a Pressure Sounds compilation a while back - 'An Even Harder Shade Of Black' - and it has a really nice mellow dub.

Anyway, here they all are. Enjoy.



cool post man and I too love the Tiger label! There are some great tunes on that label and the design is really tight. check out my site at Cheers1

the_voice_of_reason said...

Quite a mixed bag, aye...

The Nicky Thomas tune is in a very similar style to his "Don't Touch Me", which I think also came out on Amalgamated and versioned the riddim Sir Lord Comic rode for "Doctor Feelgood" three years previously.

Have to confess that neither Keeling Beckford nor Jah Woosh are particular favourites chez Voice; capable enough, but a little of them goes a long way.

Drawn a complete blank with "John Jones" - suspect it's a pseudonym. At the time this was cut, Byron Lee was laying all round the Caribbean. Tomorrow's Children were a multi-racial group, fairly uptown in style, who cut a couple of Lps at the turn of the Seventies. Their vocalists were Ken Lazarus and Keith Lyn, veterans of Lee's band for whom they were vocalists. I can't rule out altogether the possibility that this is Keith Lyn, albeit sounding a lot older and deeper voiced than usual. He certainly cut some tunes in a similar style; see "Keith Lyn Sings Love Ballads", produced by Byron Lee on Dynamic. He is still performing - although he left Jamaica in 1978 he returned in 2005 and was playing alternate Sundays at the Pegasus Hotel as recently as last October.

cold sweat said...

Glad I found this site. Makes for some interesting reading :-)

There is also a dj cut to Sweep the Streets, which is credited to the Joe Gibbs Allstars on the UK Amalgamated label. My copy is a Ja Pressure Beat pre-release with no info whatsoever. Does sound like Lizzy, though. Check it here:

@VoR "Don't touch me" came out on the Jogib label in Ja. Don't know if it got a release in the UK.

the_voice_of_reason said...

Re John Jones: Recent research reveals that John "Mandingo" Jones was an actor as well as a singer, who cut very few records, one of which was a 1972 cut of "Sylvia's Mother", released in the UK through the Trojan "Attack" label.

An undated posting reveals that he died in October, although which year cannot be ascertained from the copy on the web. IMDb does not, incidentally, list him as performing in the film "Mandingo".