Sunday, April 24, 2011

Random Roots

Here are 3 roots tunes selected pretty much at random: 'Mellow Up Yourself' by Bonnie (Bunny) Gayle, 'Land Of Our Birth' By George Whyte & the Black Liberators, and 'I Man A Grass Hopper' by Pablo Moses. They all came out in 1975, but that's a pretty tenuous connection and completely unintentional.

Bunny Gayle was one of the original members of the Viceroys, and may or may not have been the same person as Devon Irons. As a solo artist he recorded a version of 'Yah Ho' for Keith Hudson, plus two singles for Clive Hunt ("Mellow Up Yourself" and the excellent 'Lady Of The Night') and this song that I found on YouTube.

'Mellow Up Yourself' isn't his Gayle's vocal, but he does enough to make sure that the superb and very heavy rhythm track doesn't go to waste. I don't know what label this came out on in Jamaica, could it have been Jigsaw? Treble C is the English release.

George Whyte, who knows? 'Land Of Our Birth' is the only song of his I've ever heard - there is a deejay cut called 'Farmer In The Den' by Jah Lloyd (a lot better than the title suggests). Reggae's littered with artists who left no trace apart from one or two great songs - same as soul, 50's rock & roll and most of the other genres of music that I like. It means you just can't get bored of it because the thrill of discovery is never far away.

Pablo Moses should be familiar to all reggae fans, and 'I Man A Grasshopper' was his first big hit. I remember hearing 'Come Mek We Run' on the radio late at night when I was still at school - it was the first song I'd ever heard by Pablo Moses and it just blew me away. Looking back, I think a good part of what I liked about it was Geoffrey Chung's production and the backing band. This is a similar sort of extended jam, split over the two sides of the single. The vocal's better than 'Come Mek We Run' but I sort of miss the flute.


the_voice_of_reason said...

Your system just ate a very long post about the Righteous Flames/Black Liberators records released in 1975-77. I suspect George Whyte may have been a Righteous Flame for a short while.

Have to confess I've never really enjoyed Geoffrey Chung's productions, and always found "Revolutionary Dream" a trifle wearing, partly because Pablo Moses is quite a limited vocalist, better suited to 45s IMHO. Mind you, I know it has its strong supporters so I might try and listen again one day.

Steve said...

That's a real shame about the lost post VoR - I'd definitely have been interested in the Righteous Flames / Black Liberators tie-up.

I sort of agree with what you say about Pablo Moses - although I like the production on 'Revolutionary Dream' and really love certain songs on it, he is quite a limited vocalist and I couldn't sit and listen to it all the way through.

the_voice_of_reason said...

Apart from the two here, the only other record I know to have been released on Human Rights was "Ride on Nattey" (sic) by the Rightrous (sic) Flames, with the sdame label address and produced by "J Whyte and W Jarrett". The Black Liberators band also backed the Righteous Flames on "Must Be A Revolution", a 1975 single on Corporative Sounds, which seems to bolster the Winston Jarrett connection.

the_voice_of_reason said...

In addition, Dennis Green and the Black Liberators' "Step Forward" on Danger Zone 45 had a Righteous Flames tune called "Your Eyes" on the other side