Archive for March, 2013

Bunny Wailer – Blackheart Man (1976)

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Bunny Wailer, Dub, Marcus Garvey, Rastafarians with tags , , , , on March 29, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“After leaving the Wailers behind, Bunny Wailer (born Neville Livingston) wasted no time establishing himself as a highly original and visionary singer and songwriter on his own. His solo debut remains one of the most extraordinary albums of the roots period, a complex but instantly attractive and occasionally heartbreaking record that never rises above a whisper in tone but packs as much political and spiritual wallop as the best of Bob Marley’s work. Critics have been praising this album for more than 25 years, and they generally (and quite rightly) focus on the quality of such songs as the quietly ferocious ‘Fighting Against Conviction’ (aka ‘Battering Down Sentence’), the classic repatriation anthem ‘Dreamland,’ and the apocalyptic ‘Amagideon,’ but the song that pulls you into Bunny Wailer’s magical web of mystical Rastafarianism is the first one, in which Wailer recalls being warned by his mother to avoid Rastas (‘even the lions fear him’) and then describes his eventual conversion, all in a tone of infinite gentleness and sadness at the hardhearted blindness of Babylon. Are there missteps? Maybe one or two: The bluesy ‘Oppressed Song’ never quite gets off the ground, for example. But taken as a whole, Blackheart Man is an astounding achievement by an artist who was, at the time, only at the beginning of what would be a distinguished career.”

“… The songs on the album are regarded as the finest written by Bunny Wailer, and explore themes such as repatriation (‘Dreamland’), and his arrest for marijuana possession (‘Fighting Against Conviction’, originally titled ‘Battering Down Sentence’). The album features some of Jamaica’s leading musicians and also contributions from Bob Marley and Peter Tosh of The Wailers on backing vocals, and the Wailers rhythm section of Carlton and Aston Barrett on some of the tracks. The high quality of the songs and musicians makes Blackheart Man one of the greatest reggae albums of all time.”

YouTube: Blackheart man, Fighting Against Conviction, The Oppressed Song, Dreamland, Rasta Man, This Train

Blackheart Man live 86, Dreamland Dub – Dub Disco LP, Rastaman Dub Dub Disco

The Techniques – Queen Majesty / Mabrook Wailing (1968)

Posted in Ska, The Techniques, Tommy McCook with tags , , on March 27, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Queen Majesty, Mabrook Wailing

Laurel Aitken – Boogie My Bones – The Early Years 57-60 (2010)

Posted in Blue Beat Records, Laurel Aitken, Ska with tags , , on March 25, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Laurel Aitken is mostly, and justly, known as a pioneer of ska, and by extension of early reggae as a whole. This intriguing collection, however, reaches back yet earlier in his and Jamaican music’s history, collecting 28 sides from 1957 to 1960 that even predate ska’s emergence. You can hear hints, and sometimes very strong ones, of the ska that would became the rage in Jamaican pop in the early to mid-’60s. Yet there’s at least as much mento, particularly on the earlier tracks, as well as heavy strains of R&B, doo wop, and early rock & roll. In hindsight all of these elements were crucial to the recipe for ska and reggae, but back then the ska/reggae ingredients sometimes weren’t all that audible, especially in the mento cuts that sound close to calypso. But even if these varied blends don’t quite find Aitken hitting his stride, they’re pretty enjoyable numbers anyway, with an almost constant sense of effervescent fun. By the time of the Duke Reid-produced songs ‘Judgment Day’ (with Rico Rodriguez on trombone) and ‘More Whisky,’ Aitken’s verging on all-out ska, and these might be the tracks that find most favor with purist ska and reggae lovers. But open-eared listeners will get a lot out of most of the tracks, including ones that borrow heavily from ’50s American R&B (‘Love Me Baby’) and boogie (‘Boogie in My Bones,’ a 1960 number one Jamaican hit). There aren’t many anthologies on which the transition from mento to ska is so evident, making this not just a welcome entry in the Aitken discography, but a notable release for anyone with an interest in the birth of ska.”

YouTube: Boogie My Bones, Ghana Independence They Go It, Nebuchnezer, Sweet Chariot, Come back Jeannie, Boogie Rock, Honey Girl, Low Down Dirty Girl

Roots Rock Reggae (1977)

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Inner Circle, Jimmy Cliff, Joe Higgs, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Robbie Shakespeare, Ska, Sly Dunbar, The Black Ark, The Mighty Diamonds, The Upsetters, Third World, U-Roy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“‘Roots Rock Reggae’ depicts an unforgettable moment in Jamaica’s history when music defined the island’s struggles and immortalised its heroes. Director Jeremy Marre films Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry record in his legendary Black Ark studio with The Upsetters. Jimmy Cliff rehearses with Sly and Robbie, while Inner Circle’s historic live gig is recorded on the violent Kingston streets. The legendary Abyssinians harmonise their haunting Rastafarian songs; Joe Higgs (formerly Bob Marley’s teacher) plays and talks; majestic toaster U Roy raps alongside The Mighty Diamonds, and Third World record in a Kingston studio. There is also early archive footage of Toots and the Maytals, and Haile Selessie’s royal visit to Jamaica while police and thieves battle it out on the streets, and the ghettos erupt in violence.”
YouTube: Roots Rock Reggae

Sylvan Morris

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers, Burning Spear, Coxsone Dodd, Dub, Ska, Studio One, Sylvan Morris with tags , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Sylvan Morris worked as a recording and mixing engineer at the forefront of the development of Jamaican music in the 1960s and 1970s. Equipped with a pitch perfect ear, a naturally inventive spirit, a hands-on approach and an intense work ethic Morris not only managed to create a sound of his own, but also was highly sought after by the musicians of the era, to whom he was affectionately known as ‘My Operator.’ Over the course of a quarter century Morris worked closely with such luminaries as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jacob Miller, The Heptones, U-Roy, Augustus Pablo, Alton Ellis, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and many more. Born in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica in 1946, Morris, early on, exhibited a natural enthusiasm and talent for fixing electronics. Having built his first tube amplifier by age 12, he was the go-to guy in the neighborhood for anything electronic that needed to be fixed.”
Sylvan Morris | Interview

Harry J
“Harry Zephaniah Johnson (known as Harry J, born July 6, 1945, Westmoreland) is a Jamaican reggae record producer of African, Sicilian and Scottish descent. He is the head of the landmark Harry J. Records, located at 10 Roosevelt Avenue, Kingston 6, Jamaica WI. … In 1972, Harry Johnson sold his record shop and set up his own recording studio ‘Harry J’, on 10 Roosevelt Avenue, Uptown Kingston, where he employed Sid Bucknor and later Sylvan Morris as resident recording engineer. Harry J Studio soon became one of the most famous Jamaican studios after having recorded several Bob Marley & The Wailers albums from 1973 to 1976 before the Tuff Gong era; such as Rastaman Vibration and Catch A Fire.”

Sylvan Morris & Harry J – Cultural Dub
“Harry Johnson, or Harry J as he’s better known to fans around the world, was a prolific producer of top-notch reggae, and continues to run one of Jamaica’s most legendary studios. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1945, after leaving school Johnson worked as an insurance salesman. Interest in music, however, led him to schedule time at Studio One in 1968 to record the vocal group the Beltones. The resulting single, ‘No More Heartaches,’ was a hit, the first of many. Lloyd Robinson’s seminal — and much versioned — ‘Cuss Cuss’ arrived the following year, as did a slew of sizzling instrumentals from Johnson’s studio band, the Harry J All-Stars.”
Zero G Sound

Roots Archives

YouTube: Sylvan Morris & Harry J. Feat Big Youth – Neighbour Dub, Sugar Plum Dub, Sylvan Morris & Harry J Cultural – River Of Babylon, Reggae In Harmony, Roots Style – Coxsone Dodd/Sylvan Morris, Baba Boom- The Jamaicans, Baba Boom- The Jamaicans, ROY SHIRLEY – HOLD THEM, Jacob Miller – Wanted

Silford Walker – Burn Babylon / Burning Version (1976)

Posted in Dub, Joe Higgs, Robbie Shakespeare, Silford Walker with tags , , , on March 20, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Burn Babylon, Burning Version

Ja-Man All Stars – In the Dub Zone

Posted in Channel One, Dub, King Tubby, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar with tags , , , , on March 18, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“In 1998, the Blood & Fire label released a reggae collection entitled 129 Beat Street: Ja-Man Special 75-78, which featured classic singles produced by Dudley ‘Manzie’ Swaby during the classical era of roots reggae. In the Dub Zone draws on Swaby’s dub productions from the same period and from a few years later, at the beginning of the dancehall era. It includes the entirety of two dub albums, Ja-Man Dub and King’s Dub, their contents augmented by four additional dub mixes taken from the B-sides of singles released on Swaby’s Manzies label during the same period. There are, unfortunately, almost no partial vocal tracks left in any of these mixes, but the rhythm tracks are powerful enough to stand on their own, and Swaby’s production style, while not especially adventurous, is fun and creative enough to keep things interesting. His studio band, the Ja-Man All Stars, was led by legendary drummer Sly Dunbar, and included such luminaries of the scene as guitarist Eric ‘Bingy Bunny’ Lamont, saxophonist ‘Deadly’ Headley Bennett, trombonist Don Drummond, and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, among others. There are no really weak tracks, but highlights include the horn-and-organ-driven ‘Half Ounce,’ ‘Weak Heart Drop’ (which includes snippets of what sounds like a Horace Andy vocal), and the catchy ‘Poor Man Skank.’ Highly recommended overall.”
allmusic (Video)

“Since the release of the first album ‘If Deejay Was Your Trade’ in 1994 UK-based Blood & Fire Records have established themselves a name as one of the best re-issue labels around. This record company rightfully deserves its fame as it pleases reggae fans all over the world with releases of mainly hard-to-get gems from the past presented with the best sound quality possible, excellent artwork and great sleeve notes. Blood & Fire’s 23rd release ‘129 Beat Street ~ Ja-Man Special 1975-1978’, which featured a selection of Dudley ‘Manzie’ Swaby’s classic roots vocal productions of the time, gets its follow up with their 41st release called ‘In The Dub Zone’. The cd comprises two -very hard to find in their original form- dub albums [‘Ja-Man Dub’ and ‘Kings Dub’] produced by Dudley ‘Manzie’ Swaby in 1977 and 1980. Both are presented here in their entirety, along with 4 b-side mixes taken from 45 rpm discs originally issued by the producer on his Ja-man and Manzie imprints in the same period. During this period, the focus of Jamaican music changed; from a roots and culture orientation – outward looking, socially aware – to a more hedonistic, materialist approach. This latter direction, generally referred to as ‘dancehall’ was more inward-looking, dealing largely in themes that reflected the day-to-day concerns of dancehall patrons.”
Reggae Vibes

YouTube: Dub Zone, Dangerman Version, Herb Cutter, Dread Nut Chalice, Well Black, Fire Bun, Half Ounce, Big Spliff, Rasta Feeling, Bush Weed, Don’t Get Crazy, King’s Dub, Blood Version