Archive for Joe Gibbs

Mikey Dread – Friend & Money (1978)

Posted in Dennis Brown, Joe Gibbs, Mikey Dread, Studio One with tags , , , on May 15, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage


“Although he did record quite a few tracks in the Joe Gibbs studio, Michael Campbell, (1952 – 2008) better known as Mikey Dread, did not release much of his tracks through any of Joe’s imprints. ‘Friend and money’ is the only one I’m aware of, actually. The song was released on 7″ in 1978 on the Errol T label, riding an update of the ‘Money in my pocket’ riddim which is, well to me personally anyway, more interesting than the toast itself. Although not half bad – it is actually pretty good in its own right – ‘Friend and Money’ suffers a bit from the stiff competition put up by other epic Mikey Dread tracks out there. It’s a great catch as a supplement to your existing collection, but it won’t stand out as the best track in there. That said, this Mikey Dread track is still highly enjoyable for its lyrics, the familiar nasal sound of Mikeys voice and the great riddim update that The Professionals laid down for this take. This track was also released on the ‘Original DJ Classics Vol 2 sampler (lp), that was released on the Rocky One imprint in the 1990’s. Being an avid funk fan as much as I am a reggae fan, I can not deny the influence one scene has on another, and on this 7″ right here, things merge beautifuly and splendidly. A sound commonly heard in the late 70’s funk/disco era was the tweaked and flanged-out sound of the Fender Rhodes and that sound, or a hint towards it at least, can also be heard on the flip of this Mikey Dread single. ‘Bubbler in Money’ is nothing short of a pure funk anthem. One that should easily be able to satisfy fans of, for instance, Larry Youngs’ ‘Turn off the lights or the Ohio Players’ ‘Funky Worm.’ This keyboard heavy sound was recorded and utilized more often at the Gibbs studios in the late 70’s and early 80’s, many of which can be found on the ‘Majestic Dub album, which is, sadly, not as majestic as the title suggests. It’s an album worthwhile checking out for some impressive versions that add some to the more common and familiar styles and versions out there. Why they didn’t include ‘Bubbler in Money’ on there shall forever remain a mystery though. It’s the best version in that particular style they got…”
Pressure Beat (Video)
YouTube: Mikey Dread & Dennis Brown – Friend & Money

Jullian / Unforgettables – The Gardener, 3rd & 4th Generation – Version

Posted in Joe Gibbs, Judy Mowatt with tags , on April 30, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage


“The link between the Memphis based Stax label and the Kingston studio’s has always been tight. Inhouse band Booker T and the MG’s and the label’s fine catalogue of southern soul singers were very influential on the reggae scene and, if you dig deep enough, you can find a large share of Stax’ output in a Jamaican version. The love was mutual, apparently, as Stax headhoncho Al Bell visited the island quite often to vacation and visit the studios. It’s without doubt that these visits must have made an impact on the boss, but whether or not he stole, lent or borrowed the bassline of the Harry J Allstars’ ‘Liquidator’ for his Staple Singers’ “I’ll take you there” shall forever be open to debate. The court ruled ‘no’, Al Bell played the “coincidence” card, Harry J stated that mr. Bell personally took several copies off of him and this fine article on Stax even claims divine intervention. Bickering aside, though, it seems accurate to state that both scenes mutually benefitted and influenced each other. Copyright infringement and reggae unfortunately go together like chicken and rice. You don’t have to be a serious collector to encounter a label that reads ‘adopted’, when the song is clearly a cover, or, even worse, producers themselves claiming the control. Joe Gibbs was no exception, but on this release he plays fair game. Copyright-wise that is, because the singer is hiding behind pseudonyms for legal reasons. The Gardener is both credited to Jullian and The Unforgettables.

Scoring hits with “Silent river runs deep” and “Son of a preacher man” with the girl fronted rocksteady/early-reggae outfit The Gaylettes, Judy Mowatt was asked to leave the group because she was pregnant. Singing and pregnancy didn’t combine, they believed at the time, so she embarked on a solo career. She linked up with Bunny Wailer for whom she wrote several songs, including ‘Reincarnated soul‘ (b-side to ‘Concrete Jungle’) which is credited to her alias Jean Watt, and she recorded under the Julie Anne / Julian / Jullian monniker for Sonia Pottinger, Byron Lee, Joe Gibbs and Duke Reid (for the latter she sung a version of ‘Woman of the ghetto’, which was credited to Phyllis Dillon in the UK.) Although a great songsmith in her own right, Judy regularly visits other artist’s songs on her records and the Gardener is one of them.

Judy Mowatt would join Bob Marley’s I Three’s shortly after this song was recorded, but, no, the “We Three” credit on the label is not a prophecy. The Gardener was originally recorded by the Staple Singers and featured on their “We’ll get over” album, which, incidentally, was released by Stax in 1969. The song was penned by Homer Banks, Bettye Crutcher and Raymond Jackson. Homer teamed up with his fellow writers after his career with the Soul Consolidators failed to take off. Although he’d written successful songs for others before, it was the threesome that would write the biggest hits. Sure shot knock-outs such as Johnny Taylor’s “Who’s making love” and Isaacs Hayes’ “If loving you is wrong” would eventually earn them the epithet ‘We Three’. With a production team that strong, it makes sense for Jullian to stick to their style sheet closely. Which is exactly what she did and to great effect. The Gardener is a perfect example of Memphis meeting Kingston, of southern flavor meeting yard vibes and of reciprocal inspiration. The results, on both sides, are golden.”
Pressure Beat (Video)

YouTube: The Unforgettables – The Gardener

Joe Gibbs ‎– Dub Serial (1973)

Posted in Dub, Joe Gibbs with tags , on April 21, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage


Greensleeves is re-releasing the first and long lost dub set by one of our alltime favourite producers Joe Gibbs. Originally issued circa 1973 alongside other classic early dub sets including Lee Perry’s Black Board Jungle and Rhythm Shower, Herman Chin-Loy’s Aquarius Dub, Randy’s Java Dub (mixed by Errol Thompson), Prince Buster’s The Message Dubwise and others. Virtually unheard since that time, it’s a dubhead’s dream come true, with early raw drum and bass cuts to Gibbs’s cut to Satta Massagana, Love Me Girl, Money In My Pocket and the killer cut to He Prayed used by Big Youth for his Foreman Vs Frasier. Spare on the effects, just a bit of echo and reverb and a couple of vicious tape rewinds. If you dig Joe’s African Dub chapters, you’ll need this album too. Dub Serial can also be found on cd in the boxset Evolution Of Dub Vol.1, also on Greensleeves.”
Elephant Soundsystem
YouTube: Dub serial 34:45

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

The Royals – Pick Up the Pieces (2002)

Posted in Coxsone Dodd, Dancehall, Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs, Pressure Sounds with tags , , , , , on April 1, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage


“The story of Roy Cousins and the Royals is, sadly, a fairly common one in Jamaican music. The body of work the group released between the years 1973 and 1979 rightly places them amongst the finest vocal acts of the roots era. Yet the failure of various producers and distributors to support the group, and constant changes in membership, led to their eventual obscurity outside of a relatively small group of reggae collectors. Thankfully, Pressure Sounds has sought to remedy this situation with this enhanced restoration of the group’s classic 1977 debut, Pick up the Pieces. Though the Royals toured the usual Jamaican studio circuit, recording for Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Joe Gibbs, and others, it wasn’t until Cousins began funding and supervising the group’s sessions that their music was given the necessary space to develop on record. What followed was a string of stunning, heartfelt releases showcasing the tight harmony singing of the shifting lineup, including ‘Ghetto Man,’ ‘Promised Land,’ ‘Only for a Time,’ and the classic title track. The U.S. soul stylings of the Drifters and the Temptations were an early influence. This explains in part why these titles are some of the most musically sublime expressions of Rastafarian faith and the hardships of ghetto living Jamaica has produced. Cousins moved to the U.K. in the late ’70s and left the group shortly thereafter to focus on producing, thus ending an important chapter in the group’s history. This reissue, then, is a much-needed testament to his work, made even more valuable with a host of bonus cuts appearing for the first time on CD. Another gem in the Pressure Sounds catalog.”
allmusic

Pick Up the Pieces is the debut album from Jamaican roots reggae group The Royals, collecting recordings made between 1973 and 1977, and produced by Royals lead vocalist and only constant member Roy Cousins. Musicians on the album include members of The Wailers, Soul Syndicate, The In Crowd, and the Now Generation. The album was later licensed to United Artists subsidiary Ballistic Records, and was reissued in an expanded form in 2002 by Pressure Sounds. The songs on the album have been described as ‘some of the most musically sublime expressions of Rastafarian faith and the hardships of ghetto living Jamaica has produced.'”
Wikipedia

“Reggae singer, songwriter and producer Roy Anthony Cousins will forever be associated with the very dignified cultural Studio One single ‘Pick Up The Pieces, done as singer and leader of the vocal group The Royals. And although there will hardly be a reggae fan who doesn’t know the song and/or its riddim, it’s doubtful if most reggae aficionados know that the man has left an indelible mark on the reggae scene. With The Royals – an ever-changing line up of harmony singers – he released three full length albums (‘Ten Years After’, ‘Israel Be Wise’ and ‘Moving On’), but not that many long-time reggae fans will know that he has released about 100 albums as a producer. Among them are sets with artists such as Devon Russell, Winston Jarrett, Earl Sixteen, Don Carlos & Gold, Charlie Chaplin, Knowledge, Pablove Black, Winston Francis, Jah Stitch and Prince Far I. Back in 1983 Roy Cousins took the Finnish Cool Runnings Posse, Tero Kaski and Pekka Vuorinen, under his wings. They travelled around in Kingston in his pick-up van and he took them to Channel One and Harry J when he had hired the studios for his artists like for example Charlie Chaplin. They also managed to do an interview with Roy Cousins, one of the very few he has done. Many thanks to Pekka Vuorinen for giving permission to publish that interview and for providing photos. Also thanks to Ray Hurford and to Roy Cousins, who generously provided samples of his extensive catalogue. This interview, along with other noteworthy interviews from the early eighties, was published in the book ‘Volcano Revisited – Kingston Dancehall Scene 1984’ (Eronen 2011). …”
Reggae Vibes

iTunes

YouTube: Pick Up The Pieces 1:04:28

Mickey Simpson & Errol Thompson – See Dem A Come (1974)

Posted in Errol Thompson, Joe Gibbs, Micky Simpson with tags , , on March 12, 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 (Video)

YouTube: Mickey Simpson & Errol Thompson – See Dem A Come

The Africans – Kong Pow, The Professionals – Maroon rock (1979)

Posted in Joe Gibbs with tags on March 2, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

the-africans-kong-pow-1979-3
“This 7 inch is special to me. One of the first people that got in touch with me through this blog, is a man called Nick Farris. It wasn’t long after the first few posts, that he hit up me on my e-mail with corrections, extra’s and suggestions. He has also been highly instrumental in telling the world about this blog on various pages on the internet, for which I am still grateful today. As if that wasn’t nice enough he sent me this single the other day as a ‘thank you for your work on the Pressure Beat website and mixes.’ I was baffled, flabbergasted and speechless upon experiencing such kindness, I can tell you that much. The 7 inch did come with an assignment, though. Maybe I could find some information about the track? Now that was quite a hard nut to crack. I’m not sure if I cracked anything at all, to be honest, but anyway: here you go, Nick. I hope it’s sufficient.. The Africans were a duo consisting of Keith Simms and W. Palmer who released their songs in the late seventies and early eighties on various labels such as High Note, Treasure Isle, WildFlower, Nura and their own African imprint. Some of these were produced by Willie Lindo, who had a tight connection with the Joe Gibbs studio as a producer, arranger and musician. Perhaps it was through him the Africans were given the opportunity to release ‘Kong Pow’ on the Belmont label? Or perhaps Joe Gibbs was simply taken in with the group’s least mento-influenced track ever (to my knowledge) and decided to release it.

Although the times were dreader than dread in 1979, the year of its release, the times were changing. As was the music. Rapidly. Perhaps ‘Kong Pow’ came too late to make an impact, or perhaps it was simply too much to handle. Because if one thing is clear: this is as deep as deep roots goes. The Africans sang about repatriation and brotherly love on other sides as well, but never on such a heavy riddim like the one the Professionals laid down for them. I can imagine the minor chorded and percussion heavy backing (probably Uziah ‘Sticky’ Thompson on the bongo’s) tempted the Africans to take it a step further than usual. Gone is the jumpy mento styled singing and in comes a one-off and sincere sounding tribute to the Jamaican heritage and a call for uprising. Kong Pow tells the story of Paul Bogle, one of the seven national heroes of Jamaica, who led the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865 for which he was sentenced to death. Other national heroes like the Kung Pow Nanny (better known as Granny Nanny, the female Maroon rebel who set up Nanny Town and freed many slaves), George William Gordon (a critic of the colonial government and founder Native Baptist church, of which Paul Bogle was a deacon) and Marcus Garvey also get a namecheck, after which the Africans proclaim they won’t surrender as easily (!). The aptly named b-side is sparse and focusses on the percussion, which is treated to just a tad of reverb in the breaks. Kong Pow is not the best known Africans track, nor did it, as mentioned above, break big in the charts, but it is tunes like this that make my collectors heart jump and skip. The thrill of finding an obscurity is always nice, but to discover it’s quality music as well… That just doesn’t happen too often. In this case, I can’t decide between the dub or the vocal, which basically means I keep flipping it over and over. Quite a gift…”
Pressure Beat (Video)