Archive for October, 2013

The Melodians – Swing & Dine (1992)

Posted in Duke Reid, Ska, The Melodians, Treasure Isle with tags , , , on October 31, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Rather than the customary single lead contrasted by twin harmonies, The Melodians divided lead duties between Tony Brevette and Brent Dowe, with Trevor McNaughton harmonizing with the singer who wasn’t featured on a particular track. This outstanding 16-track collection includes their biggest hits for Treasure Isle. The threesome glided along atop skipping, light rhythms provided by such bands as the Gaytones, Lyn Taitt and the Jets, the Soul Syndicate, and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. The Melodians primarily did poignant love tunes, although they could also handle evangelical or political material. The set features such classics as ‘Little Nut Tree,’ ‘Hey Girl,’ ‘You Don’t Need Me,’ and ‘Love Is A Doggone Good Thing.; It’s also thoroughly annotated and superbly mastered.”

YouTube: Swing and Dine, I’ll Get Along Without You, Come On Little Girl, You’ve caught me, No, No Lola (Take Two)

Jah Stitch – Original Ragga Muffin (1975-1977)

Posted in Barrington Levy, Big Youth, Bunny Lee, DJ, Dub, Jah Stitch, King Tubby with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“With the great King Tubby dubbing legendary producer Bunny Lee, and the results crowned by the deejay stylings of Jah Stitch himself, Original Ragga Muffin: 1975-1977 works on multiple levels. You are able to marvel at any one element (Lee’s rugged rhythms, Tubby’s fantastic versions, Stitch’s vocals) or simply bask in the glory of the overall product. Though initially pegged as an imitator of the great Big Youth (both were once employed by Jamaica’s Tippertone sound system), Stitch clearly has his own style. Maintaining more of an even keel than Youth, Stitch works his themes through repetitive chanting, punctuating phrases with ‘Huh!’ shouts that demand your attention. On ‘African People (3 in 1),’ he presents a three-part acronym breakdown of the words ‘Africa,’ ‘Zion,’ and ‘Ethiopia’ to wonderful effect. Unfortunately, Stitch fails to main the lyrical creativity on the material that follows. But anything the deejay lacks in poetic ingenuity he makes up for in the dedication to his subjects: ‘Watch Your Step Youthman,’ ‘Sinners Repent Your Soul,’ ‘Militant Man,’ and ‘Real Born African’ being particularly revealing titles. Other highlights include two vocals over Johnny Clarke’s ‘Crazy Baldhead’ (one a humorous jibe at rival producer Joe Gibbs) and ‘No Dread Can’t Dread.’ On the latter, Stitch sounds like he’s jogging to the pace of the great, chugging rhythm, chanting ‘Natty dread a-the stal-a-wart.’ Guests include Vivian ‘Yabby U’ Jackson, who contributes two productions, and Horace Andy: Stitch follows up the singer’s great ‘Zion Gate’ vocal with his own ‘Every Wicked Have to Crawl’ discourse. The overall results of the deejay’s plain-speak over Tubby’s bass-heavy reductions create an appropriately dark, smoky atmosphere. Combined with the five Stitch cuts on Blood and Fire’s If Deejay Was Your Trade compilation, Original Ragga Muffin provides the best overview of an underrated performer.”

YouTube: Give Jah The Glory (Burning Spear – Wadada), African People, Sinners Repent Your Soul, Militant Man, No Dread Can’t Dead, Ragga Muffin Style, Real Born African, Cool Down Youthman, Prophets & African Queen (Reverse Disco), King of the Arena

Lord Creator – Evening News (1970)

Posted in Blue Beat Records, Lord Creator, Ska with tags , , on October 28, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Evening News

Cornel Campbell – Minstrel Classic Reggae 1972-1977

Posted in Bunny Lee, Cornel Campbell with tags , on October 25, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Although no Jamaican singer possesses a smoother, more sensual high tenor voice than Cornel Campbell, he has somehow managed to escape the attention of all but the most dedicated reggae fans, which is a shame, since he brings a Sam Cooke-like elegance to the table. A former member of both the Uniques and the Eternals, Campbell’s solo work (the best of which was produced by Bunny Lee) falls into two distinct camps, his gorgeous and assured love songs and his mid- to late-’70s switch to a harder, more militant sound, a switch that yielded some big hits (‘The Gorgon,’ ‘Natty Dread in a Greenwich Town’) but didn’t necessarily play to his real strength. This collection from West Side Records wisely centers on his romantic material, and it includes his solo remakes of two Eternals’ hits, ‘Queen of the Minstrel’ (here simply called ‘The Minstrel’), itself a version of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Minstrel & Queen,’ and the effortlessly beautiful ‘Stars,’ as well as confident covers of Nina Simone’s ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me’ and another Mayfield song, ‘Talking About My Baby.’ Campbell sings like an angel, and his smooth, assured tone is breathtaking, recalling, at times, his singing partner in the Uniques, Slim Smith, although without Smith’s fragile, wounded persona. Minstrel makes the perfect compliment to Blood & Fire’s I Shall Not Remove, which collects the heavier, more militant material, and the two discs together make a complete and rounded portrait of this brilliant singer, who truly deserves a wider audience.”

YouTube: The Minstrel, My Confession, My Baby Just Cares for Me, Stars, Talking About My Baby

Dr. Alimantado – Best Dressed Chicken in Town (1978)

Posted in DJ, Dr. Alimantado, Dub, King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Scientist with tags , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“One-of-a-kind Jamaican DJ Dr. Alimantado found unexpected fame with U.K. punks after Johnny Rotten bestowed his blessings. The hoopla was certainly warranted based on the high quality of his mid-’70s sides, several of which are included on Best Dressed Chicken in Town. Handling production chores himself, Alimantado enlisted top reggae engineers and producers like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, King Tubby, and Scientist to add their own alchemy to the mix. The dub-inflected tracks and Alimantado’s idiosyncratic musings prove a potent combination, especially on standouts like ‘Poison Flower’ (a version of a Horace Andy vocal), the Rasta vengeance number ‘I Killed the Barber,’ and the comically over-the-top title cut. Other highlights include the bubbly ‘Unitone Skank,’ as well as the album’s two instrumentals: a predictably bizarre and brilliant Scratch mix, ‘I Am the Greatest Says Muhammed Ali,’ and the Duke Reid homage ‘Tribute to Duke’ (based on Slim Smith’s incredible rendition of the Billy Stewart soul gem ‘Sitting in the Park’). Completing this very enjoyable disc are sampled vocals by Gregory Isaacs and Jackie Edwards, the musical contributions of great Kingston studio outfits like the Aggrovators, and, finally, the tableau-like cover photo of Alimantado walking the sunny streets of downtown Kingston. Along with other unique dub and DJ titles like Mikey Dread’s African Anthem, Best Dressed Chicken in Town is a must for reggae enthusiasts.”

Best Dressed Chicken in Town is the debut album by Jamaican deejay Dr. Alimantado. It was first released in 1978, and collects many of his self-produced singles from 1972 to 1977, employing the engineering talents of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, King Tubby, and Scientist. It was the first album released by Greensleeves Records, and found favour with followers of both reggae and punk rock in the United Kingdom. …”

YouTube: Best Dressed Chicken in Town, Born For A Purpose, Poison Flour, I Killed The Barber, I Am The Greatest Says Muhammed Ali

The Gladiators – Trench Town Mix Up (1978)

Posted in Dub, Prince Tony Robinson, Robbie Shakespeare, Rockers, Sly Dunbar, The Gladiators with tags , , , , on October 23, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“The Gladiators’ debut full-length, both at home and abroad, Trench Town Mix Up not only met all expectations, but far outstripped them. Although the group was composed of adept musicians, the likes of bassist Lloyd Parks and drummer Sly Dunbar were brought in to assist, adding further gloss to the group’s already-stellar sound. Producer Prince Tony Robinson showcased the trio and their songs to the very best advantage and picked wisely amongst the possible inclusions to create the most sumptuous of sets that really did offer something for everyone. For the international set there were two fine Wailers covers to highlight the similarities between lead singer Albert Griffiths’ vocals and Bob Marley’s own. ‘Soul Rebel’ is, if anything, heavier than the original, while ‘Rude Boy Ska’ is even more militant, yet still awash in gorgeous melody and the trio’s lovely harmonies. …”

YouTube: The Gladiators – Trenchtown Mix Up
01. Mix Up 03:00 02. Bellyful 05:17 03. Look Is Deceiving 07:47 04. Chatty Chatty Mouth 11:03 05. Soul Rebel 14:58 06. Eli Eli 18:00 07. Hearsay 21:06 08. Rude Boy Ska 23:34 09. Know Yourself Mankind 26:22 10. Thief In The Night 30:01 11. Hello Carol

Gregory Isaacs – Slum In Dub (1989)

Posted in Dub, Gregory Isaacs, Mad Professor, Scientist, The Revolutionaries with tags , , , , on October 21, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Gregory Isaacs - Slum In Dub
“Presumably these are rhythm tracks that Gregory Isaacs and his backing band the Revolutionaires used on past recordings. Other than the fact that his name is on the CD, though, Isaacs is almost nowhere to be found on the songs within, save for the snatches of vocals treated with echoes on ‘Tam Tam.’ For those looking for more of Isaacs’ smooth vocals in a dub setting, there are dub versions of his songs ‘Night Nurse’ and ‘Material Man’ on various compilations. That said, this is still a fine dub release. The slightly slicked-up roots sound that Isaacs favored on albums like Night Nurse and More Gregory comes through fully here with Prince Jammy’s fine production and parsimonious use of studio trickery. If you like your dub to have just a lot of reverb sprinkled with a bit of echo, then this is a CD to get. For more elaborate and hazy production values, though, check out dub releases by Scientist and Mad Professor.”

YouTube: Public Eyes; Slum, Reform Institution, Crofs, Tam Tam, Also, Nigger, Leaving, Leggo Beast, Embarrassment.

Im & Count Ossie – Right On Rasta (1972)

Posted in Coxsone Dodd, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Studio One with tags , , on October 20, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Right On Rasta

Mikey General ‎– Spiritual Revolution (2000)

Posted in Mikey General with tags on October 18, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“There are very few artists who can evoke the feelings and vibes of being on the shores of Jamaica, but the moment I put ‘Spiritual Revolution’ in my CD player, I was transported to the island. Mikey General, who in the past few years has been traveling and performing with Luciano and the Firehouse Crew, is finally getting his own deserving recognition. His high tenor voice is a welcome change to the prevalent baritone voices that color Reggae music. Not only is his voice unique, but he takes Reggae’s tradition of conscious lyrics and adds his own spin to it. The disc opens with ‘H.I.M. Sons and Daughters’ which is an extremely solid tune. A flute line colors the tone and gives it that distinct island feel. The lyrics tell a traditional Rasta story: Ethiopians overcoming hundreds of years of oppression, dispersed across the world, and uniting under Haile Selassie’s leadership. …”

YouTube: Spiritual Revolution, H.I.M. Sons And Daughters, Red Hot

Althea and Donna – Uptown Top Ranking (1977)

Posted in Dub, Joe Gibbs with tags , on October 16, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“‘Uptown Top Ranking’ is a song and single by the Jamaican teenage singers Althea Forrest and Donna Reid, recorded when they were 17 and 18 years old respectively. Released in 1977, it was a surprise hit reaching number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1978, after early championing by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel and a performance on Top Of The Pops, but had only one week at the chart summit. It was produced by Joe Gibbs, using a re-recording of the riddim of the 1967 Alton Ellis song ‘I’m Still In Love’, which had already been re-popularised in the 1970s by Marcia Aitken’s cover ‘I’m Still In Love With You Boy’, and the deejay track ‘Three Piece Suit’ by Trinity, to which ‘Uptown’ was an ‘answer record’. The single’s UK release was on the Lightning record label.”

YouTube: Althea and Donna – Uptown Top Ranking, Uptown Top Ranking dub