JJ's Down Jamaica Way

JJ's Down Jamaica Way
Reggae Reviews


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Revival Time aka "Stars on 45" The Best of The Repress.

Some excellent revive music was made available again in the late half of 2010 & it looks as though 2011 is going to be a bumper year for repress vinyl. Here are some of my choice picks....

Cultural Roots - Ghetto People/Version - Germain Revolutionary Sounds 7"
Cultural Roots - Jah No Partial/ - Germain Revolutionary Sounds 7"
Cultural Roots - Devil Ites - Germain Revolutionary Sounds 7"
Cultural Roots - Mr Liar Man/ - Germain Revolutionary Sounds 7"
Cultural Roots - Mr Boss Man/ - Germain Revolutionary Sounds 7"
Cultural Roots - Drift Away From Evil/Version - Germain Revolutionary Sounds 7"
Cultural Roots - Devil Ites/Version - Penthouse 7"

Puddy Roots - When I Release -

Bingy Bunny - Coming Home To Zion - Archive Pre 7 (1976)
An absolutely stunning roots tune with a ceaseless ghostly wailing behind Bingy Bunny's plaintive yearning of repatriation.The riddim is made up of a heavy plodding bassline with much clattering of hand drums in the mix, which are then brought to the fore on the version side.A truly hypnotic piece of music that carries the listener back to some kind of  ancient smokey tribal gathering........

"How could you say, that this is my country                         
When there are nothing like a future plan
We work so hard in snow & hail
1956 - 1993
That prison jail is a weekly tale                                                                   
Come home, come on home to Zion High                                       
Come home,come on home to Zion High

How could you say that this love is real
After all the pain i feel
You try to put me, in war & strife
You think i don't care about my life

Come home, come on home to Zion High come on come on
Come home, come on home to Zion High"

Now to find a clean copy of DJ Jah Lloyds cut on the riddim 'African Culture' on his Teems label.

Al Campbell - Foot Stool - Chanan Jah 7" (1978)   

"Don't be no man foot stool, brothers
 Don't be no man foot stool , sisters
 Get up & stand up on your own two feet
 Stop laying down on the sidewalks of the street
 Don't let them walk on you....."

intones the honey voiced Al Campbell in this 1978 Phil Pratt production.This track is also to be found on Al's album from the same year "No More Running" on Pratt's Terminal label.
A plea for unity amongst the ghetto sufferer's , begins with a strong organ swirl that resurfaces later in the tune. Most likely backed by The Revolutionaires, the version is propelled along by the insistant rim shots of drummer extrordinare, Sly Dunbar.
An excellent pressing & here's hoping we see many more gem's from Mr.Pratt in the coming year.

Black Slate - Wiser Than Before - Sir George 7" (1980)

Plenty of stabbing horns & a beautifully languorous delivery make this a real winner from the criminally hard to find Black Slate. Recorded in 1980 & reissued here on original keyboardist George Brightly's "Sir George" label it is quite difficult to find any info on this release.

Although lyrically it's a song of  'love gone wrong' it has a very rootsy backing that's just made for 'smooove' skanking in the dancehall.
At the same time this 7" was reissued we also got  a Sir George 12" - Black Slate's cover of Little Anthony & The Imperials hit 'Tears On My Pillow' , although this is in no way in the same league as Wiser Than Before.
Dub version on the B side.

Jewels - Love & Livity - Leggo Sounds 7" (1979)
Jewels - Slave Trade - Leggo Sounds 7" (1979)
Having loved the tunes Mr Big Man & Prophecy Call from Heartbeats 1990 various artists release 'Observer Station' , i've always kept an eye open for more by this artist & now many years later, thanks to the USA's Digikiller/Deeper Knowledge outfit along with Leggo Sounds we are treated to these two excellent represses at once.

The Jewels were a vocal trio consisting of lead singer Glasford Manning (aka Porti) & harmony vocalists Benjamin Daley & Lynford Newland.

Originally released in 1979, Love & Livity is a heavyweight floor-shaker, made for that special time ,say around 3am when your brain is at it's most susceptible to these dark n heavy roots tunes,so favoured in the UK sound system dances.A pounding bass & drum extravaganza made to vanquish all weakheart babylonians.......

"Love & livity a so Jah say, love & livity a so Jah say...."

Slave Trade, also released in 1979 & again featuring the same etherial harmonies & heavy steppers beat that is just made for late night sound system play.
As you may have guessed from the title,this song deals with tribulations of  African people stolen from their homeland,robbed of their religion & culture - taken away on a ship named S.S. Jesus.......

"Children of the slave trade owwe, we are captives
They treated us, with brutality & they treated us, with no humanity"

Both titles are extremely well pressed with dub version on the B sides, so no excuses!

Natural Roots - Children Of Jah - Only Roots 7"                 

Strangely this tune had never been released 'pon 7"...that is until now! Taken from the groups debut self-titled 1984 LP, it's in a rootsy laid back vein, the singer reminding me a little of Steel Pulse's David Hinds with delightful lead guitar weaving throughout, as a gentle keyboard bubbles underneath......one for thoughtful meditation.Dub version on the B side.

Bunny Wailer - Life Line/Big Youth - Black On Black - Solomonic/Dub Store 7"

bunny wailer 02.jpg                  

With the second wave of Solomonic reissues from Japans Dub Store Records we are treated to Bunny's exquisite Life Line from 1972, which i first had the joy of hearing on the now sadly defunct Nighthawks Records compilation LP 'Wiser Dread'.
Bunny has a gentle dove-like singing voice which can soar into an achingly beautiful falsetto... "Like a bird on a mountain or a fish in a fountain..." which send shivers up your spine & is a direct opposite to his speaking voice, which is a deep baritone, & would be well suited for a cover of 'Ole Man River'!
Here he's backed by the Wailers band with harmonies by Bob & Peter  "Throw out your life line & let your live light shine"  lyrics to live by?...........perhaps.

Jah Youth
On to the 'B' side & we get a dubbed up & fantasticly funky DJ cut by the one Manley Augustus Buchanan better known as the great Big Youth.
Over a stripped down rhythm with a chopping echoed rhythm guitar & jabs of piano,Youth expounds the virtue that every black man is a brother as well as sticking it to 'The Man'...

"See they talking about who is gonna die next, say the white man has got a god complex..."

all done in his relaxed jive talking, scat singing style. A truly wicked piece of music which has become a firm favourite to me in the large & diverse Big Youth catalog.

Maytones/Blacka Cool - Who Can't Hear Must Feel/ DJ Version - Commanda Music 7"

Not sure where this has originated from but thank Jah it has! Over Horace Andy's rumbling "Problems" riddim we get a beautiful vocal from Vern Buckley of the singing duo The Maytones in a biblical lyrical stylee. The other side is a DJ cut over the same Problems riddim by the mysterious Blacka Cool , heavy roots style, wicked & wild. Perfectly pressed too!
These cuts were originally released on the US or Canadian Commanda label titled "Judgement Day/Positive Loving" & was also issued on Commanda 12". Produced by Vern Buckley.

Nitty Gritty - Got To Make It/Version - (1991) Progressive 7"

Wicked Mr Gritty voiced & mixed around 1985 at Channel One just before sleng teng erupted . Produced by veteran African Brothers member Eric Bubbles

Prince Far I & Black Skin - Armageddeon/Version - Cry Tuff 7" (1976)
Prince Far I - I & I A The Chosen One/Version - Cry Tuff 7" (1979)
Prince Far I & Culture - Message From The King/Version - Cry Tuff 7" (1978)

It's was with great excitement that i waited for this latest batch of Cry Tuff repess to arrive, as i've been a huge fan of the Prince since my teenage years & you would have to be a very rich man to pick up original press 7's on this or the Hit Run label, that's if you could find 'em!
Two of these 7"s are off  Far I's 1978 Virgin Front Line album 'Message From The King' so it's being able to finally hear the dub versions that is the thrilling part for me.

Message From The King features the vocals of the group Culture's front man Joseph Hill over a heavy rocker's beat, while Far I chants out his message in a deep thundering voice that sounds as old as creation.....
"Black Reggae Music Is A Message From The King" indeed!

rock stone slabs of molten . Joseph & the Prince trade lines

Prince Far I aka "The Voice Of Thunder" aka King Cry Cry real name Michael Williams
Jah Brown - Freedom Fighter - Cry Tuff 7" (1979)
Rod Taylor - No One Can Tell I About Jah - Cry Tuff 7" (1979)

Modern Reggae Music 7" Reviews. 1990 - NOW!

Here you will find some more recent music from the 1990's onwards.

Judah Eskender Tafari - Land Of Confusion - Liondub 45 7" (2011)
Daweh Congo - King Of Kings - Jah Youth Roots Ambassador 7" (2011)
Son of singer Leo Graham
Prince David - Heathen Rage - Ghettocity 7" (2010)

Tetrack - Dread Out Deh - Artistic Productions 7" (2011)

Not sure if this tetrack is all three members or just C Hines!!It is truly amazing that this wonderful harmony trio have returned to music to offer us this brand new single which is taken from their forthcoming album which will hopefully be available soon.
Most people would remember this group, which consists of Carlton Hines, Paul Mangaroo & Dave Harvey from their excellent 1980 Pablo produced LP "Let's Get Started" which was picked up by the UK label Greensleeves who also issued that albums dub counter-part Augustus Pablo's "Eastman Dub" as a two LP on one CD offer.
The group went on to release a second LP on producer Gussie Clarkes Music Works label in 1983 called "Trouble" which contained six songs.
After that release they seem to vanish  from the music scene altogether.
Thankfully Tetrack have remained true to their roots & haven't attempted to sing over today's modern fast paced ragga beats as "Dread Out Deh" harks back to the age of the great Jamaican harmony groups of the 1970's when groups like the Abbysinians, Mighty Diamonds,Wailing Souls or Israel Vibration ruled supreme.
Featuring some truly beautiful singing from the angelic voiced Carlton Hines not to mention the superb backing harmonies this single stands head & shoulders above many offerings i've heard coming out of Ja lately. So if you preference is more the Abbysinians than your Vybz Kartel then give your ears a treat & get a copy this modern roots classic a.s.a.p ,miss it at your peril!

Trouble LP

Hue B - Everyday Thing - Tuff Scout 7"  (2011)

Tuff Scout All Stars, Hue Bartholomew UK Album called "The Good In Me" covers of Bob's "Time Will Tell" & Leroy Smart's  "Shame & Ambition" Out On The Floor Records in Camden

Tony Tuff - The Power - Love Tank 7" (2010)
TUFF, Tony - The Power (Front Cover)Wow! what a powerhouse of a tune, everything here just propels this tune onwards & forwards, harder & harder.From Tony's wailing vocal to the huge splashes of dub that litter the frequencies of this monster rhythm and then we get dubbed into oblivion on the version side. Sound system Killer! Nuff said.

"Woooiiiee wow wow oh Jah wowoooiieee
Jah give me the power to do thy work, please make me stronger to do thy work
So give me the power to do thy work, so i can be stronger , strong like a lion
Your mission i must fulfil"

Gussie P - Dubbing On The Kings Highway/Dub Is The Force - Sip A Cup 7" (2010)

Gussie P - Dubbing On The King's Highway  /  Gussie P - Dub Is The Force

Some deep & mystical sounds here from the enterprising Gussie P & the Sip A Cup players.
Side one is a heavy one drop riddim with plenty of studio interaction, filled to the brim with spacey lazer like effects & echoing hand drums - trance inducing!
Second side features a gorgeous dreamy saxaphone echoing through the mix ,while a stuttering hi-hat leads you along on this eerie somnolent journey. A smokers delight!

Earl Sixteen - Dancehall Culture - Dubatak 7" (2010)         

The ever versatile Earl Sixteen provides us with his memories of growing up in Kingston surrounded by the dancehalls, naming sound upon sound in a virtual history of the Jamaican sound system scene. Musically it's a trancey pounding Uk dub style riddim which on the B side features a delightfully sensuous melodica  weaving around & amongst the insistent thump of the bass drum.

King Julio Cesar Chavez - Nefertiti - African Science 7" (2006)

King Julio Ceasar Chavez - Nefertiti

Perhaps taking the name from a Mexican boxing legend this was released approximately 2006.This self production seems to be the only release by the mysterious King Julio Cesar Chavez. It's a very uplifting instrumental with a bongo lead version on the B side. The only clue i can find is on the label which lists the address of the French Patate Records company. I'd love to hear more music from the African Science label if this is anything to go by.
Oh and it plays at 33 rpm's!

Rob Symeon - Chosen One - Redbud 7" (2004)

Rob Symeon - Chosen One  /  Tiklah - Chosen Dub

A song of praise to King Selassie I , Chosen One is a very rootsy tune with the music being supplied by Ticklah aka Victor Axelrod (who has sessioned on artists works as diverse as Lilly Allen,Robbie Williams,Amy Winehouse & Sharon Jones to being a major player on the Easy Star labels Dub Side Of The Moon album.)
I first heard Rob Symeonn on the various artists compilation 'Easy Star Volume 1" where he has two tracks 'Delilah' with Ranking Joe & 'Anything For Jah'. He has a strong clear voice & this coupled with the excellent riddim makes 'Chosen One' a memorible & enchanting tune. Released in 2004 and included on his 2006 released album The Chosen One also on the Redbud label.

Alton Ellis - Peaceful Valley - Heartical 7" (2008)
Alton Ellis - Peaceful Valley  /  Basque Dub Foundation - Ministerio Del Dub (Melodica Cut)

Another label with a French connection, the Heartical label based in Paris released this absolute stormer in 2008 sadly the same year that Alton passed away.
Here Alton sounds as if the holy spirit has taken up residence inside him in this spirited & spiritual ode to world peace. I find that everytime i play this tune i'm astonished by how powerful & alive Alton sounds, there is just so much feeling in his voice, it's incredible.
A truly monumental track, from an artist who was/is an absolute giant in Reggae music.
This track beg's the question 'what if he hadn't passed away'? Alton we miss you.

Eccleton Jarrett - It's The High Grade - Jah Bless 7" (2008)

Over the familiar clavinet notes of Peter Tosh's ganja anthem 'Legalise It' Eccleton Jarrett sings his own song of praise to the holy herb. Eccleton has been singing & recording since the mid eighties and had several hits including Rock Them One By One  & Turn On The Heat for Jammys.He has since migrated to the UK where he's still doing stage shows & recording.
His lyrics here work well over this excellent remake of the riddim. I'm not sure if the clavinet has been sampled directly from the original or not but it certainly does the business. Produced by Lloyd Dennis & released the same time as Eccleton's Jah Bless 10" titled "Jah Love".
Rock Them One By One          Jah Love

Sylford Walker - United - Charlie's Records 7" (2010)
I first heard Sylford Walker back in 1983 on the now sadly defunct Nighthawk Records compilation 'Knotty Vision' where Sylfords track Chant Down Babylon was to become a firm favourite.

But who was this mysterious singer Sylford Walker?

It wasn't until 1988 when Greensleeves released his underground roots classic "Lamb's Bread" album which he had recorded in 1978 that i had the chance to hear more of Sylfords great works.
Lamb's Bread ( named after a grade of marijuana) was the epitome of 70's roots, using some of producer Glen Brown's greatest rhythms & mixed by King Tubby himself.
Even the cover was 'roots', featuring Sylford in all his raggamuffin splendor! Talk about your ghetto fabulous!


Following on from this LP release i next had the pleasure of hearing Sylfords vocal stylings on the 1992 Heartbeat compilation "The Mighty Two: Joe Gibbs & Errol Thompson, where we get the magnificent extended mix of his roots hit 'Burn Babylon' which clocks in at nearly 7 minutes!
Recently Joe Gibbs repressed another highly sort after Sylford tune on 7", his 1975 roots master "Jah Golden Pen" complete with an impressive dub version.

Skipping forward to 2006 & Crazy Joe Records/Joe Gibbs Europe surprise us with a previously unknown album, "Nutin Na Gwan" which must have been gathering dust for years in the Joe Gibbs vault as it features tracks recorded between the years 1975-79. (with the exception of one track 'Every Goody' which is a new recording from 2004 ).

Which brings me to the featured tune "United". Recorded in 2009 for the US label Charlie's Records & released December 2010 produced by McPullish aka Carson Hoovestol the producer/musician & label owner who is based in Texas USA.
McPullish plays most of the instruments on this record & has created a fantastic riddim for Sylfords unique glutteral unpolished vocals. The tune features a synthetic keyboard bass line with a fast one drop beat, underpinned by a nice hammond style organ frill with some big splashes of dub effects highlighting the wicked mix.
Lyrically it's all the way roots - as we've come to expect & enjoy from this great artist.

"We prevail we prevail, we'll never fail
 Friends & friends let's not pretend
 Leggo of a negativity it a slow we up no, no, no, no, no slow we up"

"Idrens & idrens, this is history in the making
 It such a joy now to see I & I a share one cup, share one cup cup cup
 We stronger now than ever before because we united"

It's truely a great tune & it's wonderful to hear Sylford again singing with such conviction in his voice.
Heart felt!!

Frankie Paul - Songs Of Joy - Blacker Dread 7" (2003)

As i put the needle on this record i'm instantly knocked off my feet by the huge resonance of the thunderous bass drum on this record! It's one of those recordings where the sound quality is actually able to be physically felt. A tremendous thump like some colossal behemoth is plodding across the land........or as we like to call it "trouser flapping bass" !

Writing credits for this one go to P. Blake, S. Martin & G. Isaacs, the first two names better known as dance hall legend Frankie Paul & Steve Martin being UK? producer Blacker Dread.


About Me

i roam the hills above my house with my pack of three bitches.