Archive for the Riddims Category

Micky Simpson – See dem a come (1974)

Posted in Errol Thompson, Jack Ruby, Joe Gibbs, Riddims with tags , , , on December 16, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“If anyone is exemplary of a hard knock life, careerwise I mean, it must be Micky Simpson. Although not much information about this artist can be found, his vocation in music seems to have been a very rocky road. Born and raised in Ocho Rios (I believe) Mickey Simpson was off to a fine start when he recorded a string of singles in the mid seventies, such as the impeccable ‘Peace of Mind’ on Shacks, ‘I and I can’t turn back now‘ on Total Sounds and the one featured here: ‘See dem a come’ on Errol Thompson’s Naa-Na label. The latter appears to be the least known song among reggae fans and Mickey aficionados alike. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t aware of this single either untill someone tipped me. But I’m glad I found it, because it’s simply superb. The riddim is elemental, to say the least, but serves perfectly well the purpose of the song. With its eerie keyboard line and heavy flying cymbal base, it sounds like an army marching into town. An army with no other intention then to spread mayhem and despair upon the land. The matrix number suggests the riddim was recorded before the vocal take, so perhaps it served as an inspiration to Mickey, who follows suit with dark, but uplifting and hopeful lyrics. Indeed, a classic roots reggae approach, but a fine one at that. The producer’s credit on ‘See dem a come’ goes to both Joe Gibbs and Errol Thomspon. That’s quite interesting as Errol T was still involved with Randy’s in 1974, if I’m not mistaking. Perhaps Joe Gibbs used the credit to lure Errol away from the Chin premises? Whatever the case, this is certainly an early example of the duo credit the partners-to-be would incorporate on their future releases. I’m not sure what happened for Mickey Simpson in between 1974 and 1980, but by the turn of the decade he had moved on to record for Jack Ruby and made an appearance in the legendary 1981 documentary ‘Deep Roots’ in which he can be seen singing ‘Don’t Cry‘ (his biggest hit) and ‘Move the barrier.’ In another great movie from around this time, Mickey is performing ‘Good Loving‘ live in Ocho Rios on Jack Ruby’s HiFi. Although scoring (minor) hits again, I have no idea what the singer was up to after the mid 80’s until he resurfaced and teamed up with Barry O’ Hare and the Flynn brothers’ Chain Gang Music label in the early nineties. It had been 19 years in the making, but in 1993 Mickey Simpson finally released his debut album and things seemed to go forward for the singer. He recorded for a fair deal of producers and had tunes out on Roof Int, Star Track and Penthouse, for whom he recorded his biggest hit of the era. Unfortunately it was also to be his last. Penthouse recorded a great cut of the Far East riddim, which Buju Banton sang into the charts with his ‘Murderer’, the track he wrote to commemorate his friend Pan Head who was killed earlier that year. Mickey Simpson also scored big on the riddim, but when his ‘Save a little bit‘ came out, the label read; ‘Mickey was murdered on december 6, 1993. May his soul rest in peace.’ I have nothing to add to that.”
Pressure Beat (Audio)
YouTube: See dem a come

U-Roy – Version Galore (1971)

Posted in Riddims, U-Roy with tags , on September 17, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“‘All of a sudden, Jamaica awoke one morning and U-Roy was everywhere…’ – So read the original liner notes to this classic reggae LP, which originally hit in 1971 and washed over the island like a grooving tropical storm. U-Roy was a true reggae pioneer, dubbed The Originator for good reason. Bursting onto the Jamaican scene in the early 1970s, he pioneered the vocal approach called ‘toasting,’ which in addition to bringing Jamaican music into a new era, was also heavily influential on an American vocal style also in its infancy: rapping. This full-length, his first after a string of singles (mostly on the Treasure Isle and other Duke Reid labels, run by the famed producer and studio owner), rolls like a crazy party where a wobbly, but talented, ‘master of ceremonies’ grabs the mic and won’t let go. Speaking over and around songs that already have straight-ahead vocals on them, U-Roy shows the world why he is considered an iconoclast and trailblazer. In all honesty, there are few standouts on the album since they all run a similar course, and all are captivating in their own way. Modern listeners will especially note ‘Tide Is High,’ originally by the Paragons (featuring dulcet-toned vocalist John Holt) and recorded later as a 1980 smash hit by Blondie. Each track here is a new adventure, and while U-Roy’s approach might take some getting used to, it will eventually capture your ears as it did the entire island of Jamaica in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Sit back, drop the needle, and enjoy.”
get on down
YouTube: Version Galore (1971 Full Album)

I Roy – Trust No Shadow After Dark (1979)

Posted in Bunny Lee, Channel One, I-Roy, Joe Gibbs, Riddims with tags , , , , on August 17, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“The late, great I Roy will forever be remembered for his phenomenal work for producers like Gussie Clarke, Lee Perry and Bunny Lee. Or his association with the Channel One studio. Or his famous feuds with Prince Jazzbo, which were recorded and released in a series of very entertaining records. Or maybe even for the tragic end of his life: when I Roy left this world he was suffering from ill health, was homeless and had just found out his son was killed in prison. Being the legend he was, all material recorded by the man is definitely worth checking out, but in all fairness: his greatest work was captured by other producers and he won’t be remembered for his output for Joe Gibbs. I Roy didn’t record much for Joe to begin with, a few good tunes here and there and an album produced by Bunny Lee in 1979 (which is pretty good, Johnny Clarke sings the melody parts) and that’s it. That said, this recording from 1975 is quite a gem. I Roy sounds upbeat and seems well at home riding the awkward stepping riddim, which updates the Meditations’ ‘Woman is like a shadow.’ Laughing, growling and toasting his way through the track, this makes for one of the finer obscure I Roy records out there. It’s one of those overlooked recordings that turn out a catch when you find it and makes you wonder why it isn’t featured on more compilations out there. In the case of I Roy the answer to that question might be because his back-catalogue of hits is just too large and this isn’t one of them. Don’t let that bother you, though. It makes it all the more worthwhile to track this 7 inch down. …”
Pressure Beat (Audio)
YouTube: Trust No Shadow After Dark

Jah Walton – Gourmandizer / Mighty Two – Mandizer Rock (1976)

Posted in DJ, Joe Gibbs, Pressure Sounds, Riddims with tags , , , on April 7, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“I once saw some raw footage of a, sadly unfinished, documentary about life in Jamaica. The snippet showed an elderly, proud rastaman who declared that it’s nearly impossible to die of starvation on the island. The country indeed produces a very rich and great variety of fruits and vegetables and it may come as no surprise that many also have a song of praise to their name. The mighty Gourmandizer is one such tune. Gourmandizer also marked the debut of a new dj on the scene. Born in St. Ann, a son of the legendary drummer Count Ossie, the consistently sharp dressed Jah Walton quickly made waves with his vegetarian lifestyle promosong and never looked back. … After which the Joe Gibbs version of the ‘Unchained’ riddim is unleashed (a next cut to ‘Schooling the beat’ off of African Dub part I) with Jah Walton explaining he ‘nah deal wid pork.’ It’s hard to believe this is the first recording of this dj, as it is delivered in such a fine and confident style, you’d expect the man on the mic to be more experienced. I guess it’s fair to say Jah Walton is a natural talent. …”
Pressure Beat (Video)
YouTube: Jah Walton – Gourmandizer

Barrington Levy – Love Your Brother Man: The Early Years (2005)

Posted in Barrington Levy, Dancehall, Dub, Riddims, Studio One with tags , , , , on May 23, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Since acquiring Trojan’s deep catalog, Sanctuary has done a very good to excellent job with the seminal reggae label when it comes to single-artist collections. With vibrant and informative packaging, a crucial track list, and some 12” mixes that are truly stunning, Love Your Brother Man falls into the ‘excellent’ category. Covering Barrington Levy’s early years, what you have here is the blueprint for dancehall singing that held on strong up until the gruff badmen made things much more frantic in the mid-’80s. Levy took the standard roots croon and added a bouncy hiccup to it that emphasizes emotion and allowed singers a totally new, less mannered way to show off their skills. Levy made delivery much more important than pitch control; here, you can listen to how it happened. Slang-filled, feel-good numbers intermingle with righteous spiritual tracks with Levy’s effervescence holding it all together. Familiar riddims from Henry Lawes and Alvin Ranglin fill the disc with one cut from producer Whitfield Henry hinting at Levy’s digital future. Later, a confident and more cultural Levy would have bigger hits than the ones here, but Love Your Brother Man is hungry and anxious Levy. Listening to him change dancehall music is fascinating.”

“This album showcases The Radics at their peak — sparse, dark and aggresive and it showcases Barrington’s distinctive vocal style which was so strong and influential as to go on to influence many up and coming ragga artists a few years later. Scientist, King Tubby’s and Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes are behind these stripped down primal rhythms and conscious vocal styles. It is at the heart of it, a re-issue of Levy’s earlier ‘Bounty Hunter’ album with a few extras thrown in. ‘Collie Weed’ versions Slim Smith’s ‘My Conversation’ with its hypnotic piano hook. ‘Looking My Love’ versions Cocoa T’s excellent ‘Rocking Dolly’ and is chanted over the same Studio One rhythm. ‘Bounty Hunter’ is another high point, with its monolithic linear dub and enigmatic chant about being hunted for over 2,000 years — as Style Scott’s thunderous snares collapse, tense and reform in the echo chamber. This is good music — but Trojan do not dig up any deep vault rarities here, or obscure discomix 12’s here — which is a shame, because there are a number of rarities from Barrington Levy which do need re-issue.”
Reggae Vibes

YouTube: Love Your Brother Man – The Early Years

soundcloud: Love Your Brother Man: The Early Years Mix
01. Shaolin Temple (aka Pretty Looks) (0:00) 02. I’m Not In Love (1:50) 03. Run Come Ya (4:34) 04. Black Heart Man (7:44) 05. Full Understanding (9:50) 06. Wedding Ring (12:04) 07. Whom Shall I Be Afraid Of (12:43) 08. Skylarking (16:31) 09. Love of Jah (21:17) 10. Time is So Hard (24:18) 11. Jah Life (27:17) 12. Looking My Love (30:10) 13. A Yah We Deh (34:35) 14. Ragga Muffin (37:04) 15. Under Mi Sensi (40:45) 16. Jah is With Me (44:57) 17. Many Changes in Life (48:17) 18. Poor Man Style (50:44) 19. Mary Long Tongue (53:47) 20. Lost and Found (56:21) 21. Murderer (58:27) 22. Mind You Hurt My Mom (1:02:00) 23. Now-A-Days (1:02:29) 24. Revelation (1:02:58) 25. Captivity (1:06:32) 26. Collie Weed (1:07:15) 27. Look Youthman (1:08:16) 28. 21 Girls Salute (1:11:14)

Carey Johnson – Correction Train (1972)

Posted in Carey Johnson, Coxsone Dodd, DJ, Riddims, Studio One with tags , , , , on January 29, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Carey Johnson kicked off his recording career, like so many others, at Studio One, cutting a number of DJ discs for Coxsone Dodd at the tail-end of the Sixties. After making the studio rounds, Johnson returned to his starting point in 1972, and promptly rode the ‘Correction Train’ right into the sound systems. The title is a play on the original riddim’s, The Selected Few’s ‘Selection Train’, own, with The Soul Defenders laying down the smoldering reggae backing. Overhead, Johnson comes on strong, hurrying people into the carriages, all the while interjecting nursery rhymes and threats to bleed dry the woman he marries. Winding up the dancing crowds with his excited exhortations, the DJ soups up this song in fine style.”

YouTube: Correction Train

Welton Irie / Sylford Walker – Ghettoman Corner (1979)

Posted in Dancehall, DJ, Dub, Glen Brown, I-Roy, King Tubby, Riddims with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Welton Irie nices up the ‘Ghettoman Corner’ on the title track to his 1979 Glen Brown produced and King Tubby mixed album. Recouping once again the money he laid out for Lloyd Parks’ seminal ‘Slaving’ single, for the title track Brown oversees yet another fabulous cut on the riddim. There again, ‘Slaving’ was good enough to support them all, with this version remixed by King Tubby in steppers style. Obviously thrilled with the result, Irie lets loose with a superb stream of consciousness toast that’s as propulsive as the riddim itself. Bouncing from cultural themes to the religious realm, Irie bustles about, pumping up the excitement, even when he inexplicably tosses in a counting song that sends ever more men to mow a meadow. ‘Corner’ was a DJ spectacular, inevitably entitling the DJ’s 1979 Brown produced album.”

YouTube: Ghettoman Corner, Black Man Get Up Tan Up Pon Foot (Give Jah The Glory) b/w King Tubby’s – Version, Sylford Walker-Chant Down Babylon, Welton Irie-Ghettoman Corner, I Roy-Black Man Time, Money Man Skank, Mr Irie, Greetings, Give Jah The Glory