Archive for Joe Gibbs

The Fantels – Hooligan (1977)

Posted in Jimmy Cliff, Joe Gibbs with tags , on January 16, 2018 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Some gwaan like hooligan, some act like maffia and some follow their path as a musician. In the case of Hal Anthony Lewinson this choice must not have been a hard one to make. Born into a musical family; Jimmy Cliff is his cousin and the Jamaicans’ Norris Weir is his uncle; it seems only logical Hal Lewinson ended up as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Like Ken Boothe once sung, it’s the way nature planned it. And nature plotted it correct allright, because anno 2013 mister Lewinson is still going strong. From the minute he picks up the phone, Hal proofs himself a charismatic, enthusiastic and eager spokesman of reggae. Born in Frankfield, Jamaica (Clarendon) he joined his first group called The Beltones after they scored a major hit with ‘No More Heartaches‘ for Harry J in 1968. Whether or not this was the first ever reggae tune shall forever be open to debate, but the group did create a template for what was to come. The Beltones disbanded in the early 70’s due to financial discontentment. Leadsinger Trevor Shields went solo and Hal Lewinson joined the Fantels, who were also briefly known as The Beltones. …”
Pressure Beat (Audio)
YouTube: The Fantells – Hooligan + Version


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

The Heptones – Be the one + the road is rough (1972)

Posted in Joe Gibbs, The Heptones with tags , on November 12, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“I’ve already stated my sentiment elsewhere that the almighty Heptones recorded their best material right after leaving Studio One. No longer tied to a studio or a producer the gifted threesome were free to record whatever sound they were after. The result is a sublime songbook; featuring originals, cover songs and do-overs; which is worth, or mandatory I would say, checking out for everyone digging reggae, soul and funk. Despite having laid down many classic tunes, superb basslines and tight riddims over at the foundation studio, I feel the strongest Heptones material was recorded in the early seventies. Because it all just seems to come together in this era. The new studio’s in which they now recorded provided them with a crisp, more modern, edgier and fatter sound. Add to that their unique way of choosing their cover songs; the late, great Barry Llewellyn read the lyrics of the ‘Book of rules‘ somewhere and thought it would make a good song; and their baffling songwriting skills and you have a picture perfect. And just as when they were operating from Brentford Road, the Heptones continued to spawn classic tune after classic tune. ‘Be the one’ is one of those songs. Slightly overlooked, perhaps, due to the big heap of quality Heptones material out there, a first listen will issue a song that fits both in the soul, gospel and reggae corner. The traditional Heptones cookbook, if you will. ‘Be The One’, a song the Heptones first recorded for Studio One (titled ‘Show us the way‘), is an upbeat song driven by a heavy halftimed bassline and a punchy keyboard that delivers an irresistable hook. It’s the same hook that makes it a standout track, as “Be The One Version”, on the infamous Dub Serial lp. On the original 7″ that dub is called ‘The Road is rough’ which is an excerpt from the positive lyrics the Heptones’ wrote for this song. I can’t make out if the song is about young lovers, religion or politics, but I suspect all topics are at hand here. …”
Pressure Beat (Audio)
YouTube: The Heptones – Be the one + the road is rough

Joe Gibbs and The Professionals – No Bones For The Dogs b/w The Mighty Two – Throw It Joe (1977)

Posted in Dennis Brown, Joe Gibbs, Treasure Isle with tags , , on October 16, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Jamaica is probably best known for their immense musical output. It never ceases to amaze me that an island so small, relatively speaking, produces so vast an amount of great music and, in the process, is able to influence the entire world with their unique and one-of-a-kind sound. But there is more to Jamaica than just the music alone, ofcourse. Its isolation has granted the island with extraordinary flora and fauna, including thousands of plants, manifold sorts of reptiles and numerous kinds of butterflies. If birdwatching is your thing, a visit to Jamaica even seems mandatory. Currently Jamaica hosts an impressive 324 species of birds, of which a whopping 160 are rare and an elite class of 28 are exclusive to the island. The Doctor Bird is one of those endemic species -the Arawaks called it the ‘God Bird’, for they believed it possessed magical powers – and is one of the national symbols of the nation. Naturally, the music scene of Jamaica took influence from their surroundings, although less than you’d expect with that rich an avifauna. The legendary engineer Graeme Goodal named his label after the humming bird, Jackie Mittoo imitated a songbird and Alton Ellis wondered ‘Why birds follow spring.‘ The latter was a big hit when it was released by Treasure Isle in 1967 and it has never stopped to grasp the attention of musicians, singers and fans alike. Even today the riddim is very popular and it can pride itself in receiving an update every few years or so. Joe Gibbs, never one to deny a good Treasure Isle riddim a new lick, also made good use of it. …”
Pressure Beat (Audio)
YouTube: No Bones For The Dogs b/w The Mighty Two – Throw It Joe

Big Joe – American pum pum / Unknown artist (1971)

Posted in Joe Gibbs with tags on September 17, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Two further tracks from the Errol T/Randy’s camp, on which fun is had on top of the ‘Bum Ball’ riddim. On one side Brother Winston gives Bredda T some advice on how to score American Pum Pum, although she seems ready to get it on from the get go. This track is credited to Big Joe on the dutch pressing of Fab and to the Senators on Impact. On both these versions, the b-side deals with Nixon’s impeachment in a rather raunchy tune called either Impeachment Tape or Tape White Wash. My version, however, has a different tune on the flip, which is best described as another chapter in the White Liver Mabel  story. Man comes home after work, he’s tired but has to perform once more. I haven’t a clue which artist is involved in this musical shenanigan. Errol T released far better cuts on the Bum Ball riddim in 1971, but revisited it 3 years later for the Impeachment Tape, American Pum Pum and the (yet) unknown tune.  This pairing is one of the rarer ones; I have stumbled upon this disc by surprise and so far have come across just one other copy, which went for crazy money. If you listen closely, you can hear Slim Smith singing a tune in the background. Anyone know which tune this might be?”
Pressure Beat (Audio)

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

Prince Allah – Naw Go A Funeral + Version (1978)

Posted in Dub, Joe Gibbs with tags , on July 28, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Keith Blake (born 10 May 1950), better known as Prince Alla (sometimes Prince Allah or Ras Allah) is a Jamaican roots reggae singer whose career began in the 1960s, and has continued with a string of releases into the 2000s. Born in St. Elizabeth, and raised in Denham Town, Kingston, Jamaica, Blake’s career began in the vocal group The Leaders with Milton Henry and Roy Palmer, who recorded three tracks for producer Joe Gibbs in the late 1960s. When The Leaders broke up, Blake continued to work with Gibbs, who issued his debut solo release, ‘Woo Oh Oh’. Blake had been interested in the Rastafari movement since he had a vision as a child, and in 1969, Blake’s Rastafarian faith saw him get heavily involved in Jamaica’s camp community, withdrawing from the music scene and living in Prince Emmanuel Edwards‘ camp at Bull Bay. …”
YouTube: Naw Go A Funeral + Version