Archive for June, 2014

Tommy Cowan – Ras Claat Dub (1976)

Posted in Dub, Tommy Cowan with tags , on June 28, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“b. c.1950, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Tommy Cowan has been involved in the reggae industry for 30 years as a performer, producer, promoter and master of ceremonies. In 1966 he formed a group called the Merricoles and successfully entered an amateur talent contest. In 1967 the group changed their name to the Jamaicans and are remembered as winners of the celebrated Jamaican Song Festival, with ‘Baba Boom’. The recording, produced by Duke Reid, topped the Jamaican charts and led to a series of hits, including ‘Sing Freedom’, ‘Woman Go Home’ and the re-release of their debut, a plaintive song relating to the inevitability of life, ‘Things You Say You Love, You’re Gonna Lose’. Following the group’s demise, Cowan joined the Dynamic studio, where he was employed as the resident engineer. Having accumulated sufficient knowledge in studio work he went into record production, working with Jacob Miller and Inner Circle, Junior Tucker, Earl Zero, Ray I and Dean Stone, as well as recording the occasional single, notably a version of the Wailers’ ‘Lick Samba’. Cowan formed the Top Ranking label and successfully managed Inner Circle, balancing their commercial career alongside hits solely for the roots market. While Killer and Wanted appeased the group’s reggae fanbase, Reggae Thing and Ready For The World enjoyed international success. By the late 70s, Cowan had established a reputation for wooing the crowds as an MC, introducing a number of performers at the Reggae Sunsplash Festivals and the legendary One Love Peace Concert. In 1980 he was invited to accompany Bob Marley on his tour of Zimbabwe when the reggae legend played at the independence ceremony. When he returned to Jamaica, Cowan concentrated on expanding his Talent Corporation. One of the artists affiliated to this company was his second wife Carlene Davis, who initially recorded reggae ballads. In 1988 she topped the Jamaican charts with ‘Dial My Number’, which led to greater exposure for Cowan’s corporation. By the mid-90s his roster of performers included John Holt, Dobby Dobson, Ruddy Thomas, Toots Hibbert, Ernie Smith, General Degree, Scotty and Jack Radics.”

YouTube: Talking Dub, Emperor No Dead

Freddie McKay – Doin’ It Right (1999)

Posted in Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid with tags , on June 24, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Freddie McKay’s gritty, soulful vocal style made him one of Jamaica’s best singers, and right from the start with the late-1960s release ‘Love Is a Treasure,’ recorded for Duke Reid, it was obvious that McKay had an uncommon ability to move his listeners. But his work and legacy (McKay died suddenly under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1986) have been woefully neglected. Although some of his key tracks are scattered across different reggae compilations, albums of McKay material are difficult to find, a situation that this anthology of Alvin Ranglin-produced songs addresses to some extent, since a little McKay is better than none at all. McKay specialized in bittersweet love songs, and while such fare might fall to the maudlin in less capable hands, he had an amazing ability to make it feel as if he was sitting across the table and telling you his story under intimate circumstances. Perhaps his best-known song, the subtle, gorgeous and emotive ‘Picture on the Wall,’ is included here in an expanded version that effectively draws out the telling. ‘How Can I’ and ‘Some a Dem Weh’ are other standouts in a remarkably consistent and cohesive set list. McKay was a subtle singer, and it may take a couple of spins to hear what he is doing with these songs, but when he finally gets to you, you’ll want to listen to the stories he tells again and again.”

YouTube: Love is a treasure, It’s Running Over, Blow Wind

King Tubby / Prince Jammy – His Majesty’s Dub (1983)

Posted in Dub, King Tubby, Prince Jammy, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar with tags , on June 19, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“A typically outstanding 1983 dub outing from two masters of the form, HIS MAJESTY’S DUB contains a set of rhythms recorded by the inimitable Jah Woosh at studios all across Jamaica during the early ‘80s, and mixed by dub innovators Prince Jammy and King Tubby. These recordings feature outstanding performances from some of the finest Jamaican instrumentalists of the era, including Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Vin Gordon, Bobby Ellis, and ‘Family Man’ Barrett.”

His Majesty’s Dub is a 1976 dub album by King Tubby and Prince Jammy, sometimes credited to Prince Jammy v King Tubbys. It features Carlton Barrett and Sly Dunbar on drums, Robbie Shakespeare and Aston Barrett on bass guitar, and Ansel Collins on keyboards, among other personnel. The album was produced by Jah Woosh, and engineered by King Tubby and Prince Jammy, along with Maxie and frequent collaborator Errol Thompson. The album was recorded at Randy’s in Kingston, Jamaica.”

YouTube: Prince Jammy v. King Tubby – His Majestys Dub – Rullin Power, Jah Works, King of Kings

The Royals – Ten Years After (1978)

Posted in Dub, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, The Royals with tags , , , on June 16, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

‘The album instrumental for the Royals international success, although it was actually Ten Years After‘s dubs that brought the band fame. In London, sound system operator Lloyd Coxone played the dub plates continuously, prompting a British deal for Roy Cousins and his group. The dubs, which featured on the Freedom Fighters album, were indeed spectacular, but then so were the original vocal cuts. In Jamaica, Ten Years After was the follow-up to the highly acclaimed Pick Up the Pieces, and suffered slightly in comparison. In truth both sets are equal masterpieces, capturing the trio at their heady mid-’70s height. Confusingly though, the Ten Years After Cousins gave the Jamaicans is not the same as what he handed Ballistic, but arguably the British received the better set. It kicked off with the stellar sufferers song “My Sweat Turns to Blood,” which set the stage for the glorious paean to liberation “Freedom Fighters.” Its theme is further explored on the Burning Spear styled “Free Speech and Movement,” with the excellent “Court of Law” rounding out the political numbers. The gorgeous “Stand and Give Praises” is one of a pair of exclusively religious offerings found within, the other, the apocalyptic “Make Believe,” gives warning in the trio’s most sonorous harmonies. Only the glittering “Down Comes the Rain” breaks the album’s conscious mode. That song was the earliest recording found within this set, a romantic 1973 gem that opened the second side of Ten Years, which then slid gracefully into the insistent “Free Speech.” This remains a stunning album, bolstered by phenomenal s and sensational vocal performances, “Pieces” may today have garnered all the glory, but at the time, Ten Years easily equaled its accomplishments.’

YouTube: Royals – 1978 – Ten Years After
YouTube: My Sweat Turns To Blood (Extended mix)

Prince Of Darkness – Burial Of Long Shot (1969)

Posted in Ska, Trojan with tags , on June 16, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Burial Of Long Shot

Ossie Hibbert / Ossie Allstars – Leggo Dub (2005)

Posted in Dub, King Tubby with tags , on June 12, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Rare dub reggae emerges from the vaults in the shape of this late-1970s set produced by one of Jamaica’s lesser-known talents, Ossie Hibbert. Hibbert, who was primarily an engineer and keyboardist, favors a drum-heavy mix (courtesy of the legendary Sly Dunbar) laced with horns. He incorporates a few of the sonic eccentricities, like wailing babies and train whistles, popular with better-known figures like Lee Perry on a variety of vintage rhythms, notably Gregory Isaacs’ ‘I’m All Right’ and Dillinger’s ‘Take a Dip.’ Casually elegant, Hibbert provides a naturalistic soundstage against which the ace session band the Revolutionaries skank their stuff, smooth and easy.”

YouTube: Leggo Dub- Ossie Allstars (full Album)

Bob Marley and The Wailers 21-07-1979 – Completo

Posted in Bob Marley and the Wailers with tags on June 11, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“On July 21, 1979 Bob Marley and The Wailers, Dick Gregory, Olatunji, Eddie Palmieri, Jabula, the art of Black Dance and Patti Labelle came to Harvard Stadium in Boston for a concert to benefit the on-going struggles in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. The concert was called AMANDLA.: Festival of Unity. A benfit Concert for Relief and Humanitarian Aid to Southern Africa. 25 years later in making this video of the performance of Bob Marley and the Wailers, we celebrate the triumph of these liberation struggles of the people of Southern Africa for equality, dignity and self determination.”
YouTube: Completo 1:46:27
Announcer Intro. for Dick Gregory.  Positive Vibration – Slave Driver – Them Belly Full – Runnin Away – Crazy Baldhead – The Heathen – War – No More Trouble – Lively Up Yourself – No Woman No Cry – Jammin – Get Up Stand Up – Exodus – Zimbabwe – Wake Up

Ernest Ranglin – Below the Bassline (1996)

Posted in Robbie Shakespeare, Ska, Sly Dunbar with tags , , on June 8, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

Below the Bassline is a successfully smooth integration of traditional reggae and jazz: two music forms that may not immediately spring to mind when contemplating the flawless mixture of music styles. However, the collective featured in this album — and Ranglin (a reggae and ska rhythm innovator) is a chief among them — plays 55 minutes of island tree-swaying, soul-backed precision. Ira Coleman’s bass playing is not the focus of this album, even though the title seems to suggest so. Nor does the focus of this album fall upon the popular funk and fusion (and yes, even disco) drummer Idris Muhammad. In fact, there is only one brief drum solo by Muhammad on Below the Bassline, and it is the first thing you hear. Muhammad opens up ‘Congo Man Chant’ with a snare-laden solo whose rhythm quickly involves Ranglin and Coleman, who collaborate to play eight bars of a rapid but laid-back bassline. Monty Alexander jumps in with the piano and brings Ernest along with him as they determine what ends up being the refrain for a moving piano solo sandwiched between two adept Ranglin solos. There are two ska rhythm selections on this album, ‘Ball of Fire,’ on which Roland Alphonso plays saxophone, and ‘Bourbon Street Skank,’ which features some of Ranglin’s most dexterous playing (also heard on ‘Nana’s Chalk Pipe’). The title track is immediately identifiable as reggae, with its organ stabs on the down side of the beat, Muhammad’s gentle but consistent treatment of the hi-hats, Ranglin’s lyrical playing on the guitar, and the overall slow, relaxed tempo and feel of the tune. It is an accurate capsule of Below the Bassline, another testament to the skill of the legendary Ernest Ranglin and the other musicians featured here.”

“Ernest Ranglin OD (born 19 June 1932) is a Jamaican guitarist and composer who established his career while working as a session guitarist and music director for various Jamaican record labels including Studio One and Island Records. Ranglin played guitar on many early ska recordings and helped create the rhythmic guitar style that defined the form. Ranglin has worked with Theophilus Beckford, Jimmy Cliff, Monty Alexander, Prince Buster, The Skatalites, Bob Marley and the Eric Deans Orchestra. He is noted for a chordal and rhythmic approach that blends jazz, mento and reggae with percussive guitar solos incorporating rhythm ‘n’ blues and jazz inflections.”

“You might not have heard of the name ‘Ernest Ranglin’ before, but unless you’ve been living in a nuclear bunker since 1948, your communication with the outside world restricted to carrier pigeons and smoke signals, it’s almost certain you’ve heard his tantalising brand of jazz/reggae/blues at some point in your life. It’s hard to describe what Ernest Ranglin has done for music without using hyperbole and similes, so I’ll just stick to the facts: He learnt to play the guitar on an instrument which comprised of a can of sardines and wires. His very first studio recording turned out the be the first album ever released by the now legendary Island Records. He played, recorded, and toured with Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, the Skatalites, Prince Buster, Peter Tosh, and Lee Scratch Perry, amongst others. You can hear him on tracks as diverse as the Melodian’s ‘River of Babylon’ and Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’. He recorded the soundtrack to James Bond’s ‘Dr No’. He is credited with having participated in the very first recordings of what later became known as ska, rock-steady, Jamaican rhythm and blues, and reggae.”
It’s fluffy (Video)

YouTube: Surfin’ = Ernest Ranglin, Sly & Robbie, Monty Alexander (Live), Ram Jam, <Jamaican Legends feat. Sly & Robbie, Ernest Ranglin & Tyrone Downie (FULL DVD) 54:33

YouTube: Ernest Ranglin – Below The Bassline |FULL ALBUM|

Burning Spear – Hail H.I.M. (1980)

Posted in Burning Spear with tags on June 6, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Across five seminal albums, Burning Spear would do more than just define roots; he would leave a fiery legacy that no other artist has equalled. Kicking off with the stunning Marcus Garvey in 1975 and encompassing the equally exceptional string of Man in the Hills, Dry & Heavy, Social Living, and Hail H.I.M., the final album in this series of masterpieces, Spear had undergone a continuous evolution. Over this five year period, Spear had truncated from a trio to Winston Rodney alone, grown to include the accompanying Black Disciples aggregate of elite sessionmen, then pared down to a smaller grouping, and had seen Rodney move into self-production. Along the way, Spear had developed a denser sound and mixed a variety of other genres into the deep roots atmosphere. By 1980, when work began on Hail H.I.M., Rodney had severed his ties to Island Records and most of the Black Disciples as well. However, Aston Barrett remained by his side as co-producer, bassist, and percussionist. So did saxophonists Bobby Ellis and Herman Marquis, now joined by Egbert Evans and keyboardist Earl Lindo, with fellow pianoman Tyrone Downie now also coming on board. There was a switch in sound as well; Social Living had been an almost anthemic album, while Hail H.I.M., in contrast, was transcendental. Much of the record has an almost proggy feel, as guitarist Junior Marvin jams across the heavy rhythms, the brass slices in jazzy passages, and lurking underneath, the tribal-flavored percussion and Rodney’s congas. …”

YouTube: Hail H.I.M., Columbus, Road Foggy, Jah See and Know, African Teacher, African Postman, Cry Blood Africans, Follow Marcus Garvey, Jah see and know

Max Romeo – Every Man Ought To Know (1973)

Posted in Bunny Lee, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Max Romeo with tags , , on June 3, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“The origins of this song, originally featured on Max Romeo’s incendiary Revelation Time album of 1975, are interesting. The instrumental part had initially been recorded by the Upsetters under the direction of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry as a backing track for Leo Graham, who recorded the nursery rhyme in a relatively straight manner. The rhythm proved popular enough that it was subsequently used, as was customary at the time, by several other artists as well, notably the deejays I Roy and Dillinger. Perry himself joined forces with the Ethiopians to record ‘I Am a Dreadlocks’ over the same rhythm, as a volley in what was then an ongoing dispute between Rastafarians who wore dreadlocks and those who did not. But the most powerful interpretation of the ‘Three Blind Mice’ rhythm was this one, on which Romeo uses the nursery-rhyme theme as a departure point for a bitter denunciation of police harrassment in the Rastafarian community. Perry’s splashy and dense production style is a perfect fit for the nervous and outraged lyrics, and the simplictic melody adds an element of bitter sarcasm to the song.”

YouTube: Every Man Ought To Know, Three Blind Mice