Archive for February, 2014

Creation Rebel – Starship Africa (1980)

Posted in Adrian Sherwood, Dub with tags , on February 26, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Creation Rebel - Starship Africa -
“Originally recorded in 1978 (following the recording of Dub from Creation), the mighty Starship Africa was already envisioned as the debut album by one DJ Superstar, toasting over a series of rhythms performed by the basic Creation Rebel unit, with Misty in Roots’ Tony Henry on superbly melodic bass. These original tapes have long since vanished — the project was canceled (Adrian Sherwood declared the results ‘lame’) and it would be another two years before he returned to them, while casting around for the maiden release by a new label he was involved with, 4D Rhythms. Remixing and re-recording the rhythms saw Jamaican drummer Style Scott recruited to play live over Charlie Eskimo Fox’s original tapes; an additional half a dozen percussionists, drawn from whoever happened to be in the studio at the time, were additionally overdubbed, with Sherwood camouflaging their basic lack of timing and rhythm by employing some truly wild phasing and echo. Indeed, his 4D Rhythms partner Chris Garland allegedly spent most of the session encouraging Sherwood to take the effects as far from the norm as he could, to the ultimate extent of mixing the tracks blind. The result is an album that has been compared to acts as far afield as Tangerine Dream and the Grateful Dead, a truly spaced-out dub experience that, spread over just two tracks (albeit broken down into five and four movements apiece), stands among the most intriguing of all Sherwood’s earliest creations — so much so that one is not even disappointed by the ultimately undelivered promise that side one’s ‘Starship Africa’ was the soundtrack to a forthcoming movie. That it never happened was Hollywood’s loss, not the music’s.”

“Much of Adrian Sherwood’s earliest production work was for Creation Rebel. Its players went on to appear on many of On-U’s first wave of releases. Steve Barker tells the story: … In late 1978 Sherwood and Creation Rebel recorded Starship Africa (ON-U LP 8). Not released for the first time until 1980 the album still stands alone musically in reggae where it has no cerebral equivalent. Starship Africa can be interpreted critically as forming the third point of a sonic triangle equilaterally occupied by the disparate output of Grateful Dead and Tangerine Dream. A magnet for Headz which retains its stoned power today, the album mixed the customary drum and bass with ambient washes and industrial noise – all within a minimal framework. …”
On-U Sound

YouTube: Space Movement – Section 1, Dub LP – Starship Africa Part 1, Space Movement – Section 3, “in i father’s house”

Sugar Minott – Black Roots (1980)

Posted in Rastafarians, Sugar Minott with tags , on February 24, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Sugar Minott - Black Roots (1980)
“Recorded for Island’s Mango label in 1979, Black Roots is among Sugar Minott’s earlier solo efforts and is also among the best albums that the Jamaican singer ever recorded. Black Roots isn’t an album to acquire if you’re looking for slickness; Minott favors simplicity throughout this LP, which often recalls the northern soul and sweet soul of the ’60s. If you combined Stax’s raw production style with the type of sweetness that characterized a lot of Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia soul and added a reggae beat, the outcome might sound something like Black Roots. You’d also have to add Rasta-oriented lyrics because most of Black Roots reflects Minott’s Rastafarian beliefs and is extremely sociopolitical — this is true of the single ‘Hard Time Pressure,’ as well as ‘Mr. Babylon Man,’ ‘Oppressors Oppression,’ ‘River Jordan,’ and the title song. Minott went on to record many more albums in the ’80s and ’90s, but he never sounded better than he does on Black Roots.”

Black Roots is a 1979 album by Sugar Minott. It was the first to appear on Minott’s Black Roots label, and was described in the book Reggae: 100 Essential CDs – The Rough Guide as a ‘classic, which catches the singer on the cusp of the roots and dancehall phases, and with total control over his music.’ The album includes contributions from some of Jamaica’s top session musicians including Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, Noel ‘Scully’ Simms, Eric ‘Bingy Bunny’ Lamont, Gladstone Anderson and Ansell Collins, with harmony vocals provided by Don Carlos, Lacksley Castell and Ashanti Waugh. …”

YouTube: Mankind, Hard Time Pressure, River Jordan, Jail House, I’m Gonna Hold On, Oppressors Oppression, Two Time Loser, Black Roots, Clean Runnings, Mr Babylon Man

Jimmy London – A Little Love (1971)

Posted in Clive Chin, Dub with tags , on February 24, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: A Little Love + version

Studio One: The Birthplace Of Reggae

Posted in Coxsone Dodd, Dancehall, Dub, Rocksteady, Ska, Studio One with tags , , , , on February 23, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Studio One is one of Jamaica’s most renowned record labels and recording studios, having been described as the Motown of Jamaica. The record label was involved with most of the major music movements in Jamaica during the 1960s and 1970s including ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall. Studio One was founded by Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd in 1954, and the first recordings were cut in 1963 on Brentford Road in Kingston. Amongst its earliest records were ‘Easy Snappin’ by Theophilus Beckford, backed by Clue J & His Blues Blasters, and ‘This Man is Back’ by trombonist Don Drummond. Dodd had previously issued music on a series of other labels, including World Disc, and had run Sir Coxsone the Downbeat, one of the largest and most reputable sound systems in the Kingston ghettos. The label and studio were closed when Dodd relocated to New York City in the 1980s.”

YouTube: Studio One: The Birthplace Of Reggae

Wayne Jarrett – Showcase, Vol. 1 (1982)

Posted in Clive Chin, Lloyd 'Bullwackies' Barnes, Winston Jarrett with tags , , on February 21, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Once again, it takes a German company to unearth and reissue a lost treasure of American music. When singer Wayne Jarrett was working at the peak of his powers, he was part of the stable of Wackie’s, the Bronx-based label owned by Lloyd ‘Bullwackies’ Barnes. Wackie’s output has languished in obscurity for 20 years and now appears to be owned by a collective of German DJs and producers, which is gradually reissuing the label’s somewhat uneven but sometimes revelatory back catalog. This one is one of the best items. Showcase, Vol. 1 is exactly what its title indicates: a collection of Jarrett songs presented in ‘showcase’ style, each vocal version collapsing seamlessly into a dub mix at about the three- or four-minute mark; thus the program of six songs lasts about 40 minutes. The production work by Barnes and Clive Chin is dark, wet, and soupy — every song sounds like it’s yearning toward its dub version even while the vocalist is in full swing. The songs themselves are a bit generic, as late-’70s and early-’80s reggae tends to be: song titles like ‘Brimstone & Fire,’ ‘Every Tongue Shall Tell,’ and ‘Holy Mount Zion’ tell you exactly what to expect. But Jarrett’s quavery tenor voice is sweet and clear, and the songs are tuneful and impassioned; the occasional surprising instrumental element (like the gorgeous flutes on ‘Holy Mount Zion’ and the elegantly glittering percussion on ‘Magic in the Air’) turns what would otherwise be a perfectly serviceable roots exercise into something more transcendent. And the dub versions are uniformly excellent. Highly recommended.”

YouTube: Every Tongue Shall tell, Brimstone And Fire, Magic In The Air, Bubble Up, Holy Mount Zion

The Peacemakers – Hear me calling / Skanking version (1970)

Posted in Dub, The Peacemakers with tags , on February 21, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Hear me calling / Skanking version

Israel Vibration – The Same Song (1978)

Posted in Dub, Israel Vibration, Rastafarians, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Studio One with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“One of the most exciting debuts of the roots era, Same Song boasted the cream of Jamaican musicianship backing the vocal trio, including Sly & Robbie, Augustus Pablo, Mikey Chung, and Ansel Collins. Producer Tommy Cowan took special care with this record and insured that the all-star cast never overwhelmed the vocalists. This was a real danger, as Israel Vibrations were far from the most powerful of singers. Other vocal groups of the day could easily hold their own in the midst of the deepest roots and dub, but the Vibes needed sympathetic arrangements to best showcase their unique sound. In fact, it was their very vocal vulnerability that was the trio’s appeal. The almost reedy quality of the Vibes’ singing, the feeling that they were struggling just to gather the strength to even reach this paltry level of vocal thrust, was part of the charm. The group’s actual physical disabilities just made their stylings all the more poignant. It was Same Song’s Rastafarian themes and the trio’s obvious religious devotion which made this such a cultural classic, even if the album doesn’t have that almost melancholy quality of the Abyssinians, nor the righteousness and fire of Burning Spear or Black Uhuru. Instead, the Vibes brought an almost child-like quality to roots, a naïveté hither unknown in what was otherwise a streetwise genre. The very simplicity and straightforwardness of the lyrics reinforces this feeling. The Vibes message of ‘Why Worry’ sums up their personal philosophy of finding answers, hope, and salvation through prayer. The title track, a real charmer and hit to boot, insists that ‘we’re all going to sing the same song,’ but their fervid delivery gives even this seeming platitude real power. Even when presented with the brutality of life, as on ‘Licks and Kicks,’ the album’s only true political song, the trio still attribute the violence that inspired the song to Jah’s will. One comes away from the album convinced that the trio have entrusted themselves to Jah, and, with that, all of life’s complexities have fallen away. The meek shall inherit the earth, the Bible states, but as the Vibes prove, the meek aren’t necessarily voiceless victims, and even the meekest amongst them can, in the right setting, be the loudest. Same Song is a shout of belief, so heartfelt, as to quiet all else around it.”

YouTube: The Same Song
01 – The Same Song 02 – Weep And Mourn 03 – Walk The Streets Of Glory 04 – Ball Of Fire 05 – I’ll Go Through 06 – Why Worry 07 – Lift Up Your Conscience 08 – Prophet Has Arise 09 – Jah Time Has Come 10 – Licks And Kicks 11 – Crisis 12 -Crisis Dub