Archive for Pressure Sounds

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.”

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.'”

“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


YouTube: Pick Up The Pieces 1:04:28

Madoo – Backway Mr. Landlord / Prince Mohammed – Backway

Posted in Dancehall, Pressure Sounds with tags , on January 25, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“The burdens of being a landlord… Everybody thinks you’re getting filthy rich by doing …well… nothing, really. You just collect the rent and then go about spending your excessive amount of money. That’s all there is to it. In reality, as these two superb tunes point out, being a rentman or landlord means you’re actually very, very busy. Recovering in the hospital, for instance. It’s a favourite topic in reggae, fighting off the landlord, and I can understand why. Jamaica went through rough times ten years after it became independent; and the Michael Manley government made choices that weren’t particularly benefiting the gross national income of the island. Although well intented, the fight over bauxite levies with US based aluminium companies and the strong links with Fidel Castro’s communist isle of Cuba, drastically affected Jamaica’s economy. So much so, that after years of declining tourist- and industry income rates (after a short stint upwards in the beginning), the IMF had to be called in for economic support.  And with that, heavy interests had to paid and the path went further downhill, economically.

As with everything in politics and economics, it’s the civilian who feels it. Thus, money was low, rent was due, jobs were scarce and fun was needed. The dancehall provided the latter and the deejays talked to people. About getting rid of the landlord, for instance. Ranging from ‘pretty please‘ appeals like the great Termites’ Mr Percy from the rocksteady era and Half Pint’s superb plea from the early 80’s, to  ‘I’m staying, don’t mess with me‘ messages from the likes of Basil Gabbidon – recorded in the ska days- to ‘bring a big dog if you want to get rid of me‘ threats like both Madoo and George Nooks put on display here. Gibbs recorded his fair share of anti-rentman tunes – Luie Lepke and Black Uhuru the most prominent – but I don’t think any were as harsh as the message Madoo conveys on this 7″. The roof is leaking, there’s no water in the pipes, the lights won’t light and rats are walking on the bed. Not a pretty situation, I agree. But Madoo’s landlord’s days are numbered, he states. Madoo’s staying and the landlord will end up in the hospital, well critical, taking saline while they fix up his spine. He might lose his sight.. Ah, sweet revenge!(?)

Madoo always was a great storyteller. Whether he’s talking about being the other man or hunting ladies, Madoo always finds an original angle to make his story come across. Backway Mr. Landlord is another example, in which he puts the landlord’s view – six months rent due, seeing his tenant buying new stuff but not paying his contract – right against the bitter struggle of the tenant  – living in a house that is not functional, with money problems and mouths to feed. The result is a harsh story, realistic and confronting. Yet it also makes for a great, great reggae song, owing much to the pleasant style, tone and character of Madoo’s voice, which is kindred to Horace Andy’s, but also quite unique in its own right. Prince Mohammed, in the meantime, keeps the horror level down a notch or three, but in the process he delivers one my favourite tunes by him under this monicker. Stating the landlord better bring a big dog to scare him, not a maga dog, Nooks sticks to the ‘i’m staying’  framework. He delivers his message in such a relaxed manner, opposite to the frantic style he’s known for, that it’s a shame this tune isn’t that well known. Venturing in between roles as singer and deejay, Nooks may have found his perfect pitch on this 7″, for it’s a true delight. In fact, I like this side even better than Madoo’s. And that’s saying something. The 12″ of this doublesider features Errol Thompson mixing both versions in a ‘call and reply’ mode. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to track it down, nor can I find it on the net. When I do, I will upload that particular mix to Pressure Beat as well.”
Pressure Beat (Video)

YouTube: Madoo – Mr. Landlord

Sylford Walker – Jah Golden Pen (1975)

Posted in Dub, Joe Gibbs, Pressure Sounds, Silford Walker with tags , , , on December 30, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“After running away from home at a young age, Sylford Walker grew up in the tough Kingston 5 area. He filled his days with smoking a little herb, selling wood roots (health juices), running a restaurant and singing. After being arrested for possession of ganja, Sylford used his time in jail well and wrote a song about Babylon. He had not recorded before and getting into a studio wasn’t easy, as Sylford states in the great interview Peter I conducted with him in 2006 and which is published on Reggae Vibes.Errol Thompson gave him a chance, though, and Sylford Walker recorded two songs for him in 1975. The first, called ‘Burn Babylon’, was to become a huge roots anthem, although it took a long time to reach that status. The second tune, ‘Jah Golden Pen’ had more impact on the local crowd upon release. … With a church on every corner, it’s no wonder Jah Golden Pen struck a chord with the godfearing Jamaican society. Loosely based on a gospel hymn (‘Sign my name’), its repetitive, yet ever so slightly changing lyrics are sung over a well crafted, minor key riddim that could never fail. Check that bassline! After getting little or no money at all for the two songs, Sylford Walker recorded the superb ‘I can’t understand‘ for Clive Hunt and then went into a partnership with Glen Brown, with whom he arguably recorded his best material. Look up ‘roots reggae’ in a dictionary and it’ll play tunes like ‘Lambs Bread‘, ‘Prophecies fulflling‘ and ‘Chant down Babylon.’  Yet, despite the great music, Sylford’s debut album was not released until 1988. Sylford was long unaware of the impact his music made on the reggae scenes in Europe and the States, but luckily made a comeback. In 2006 he found himself back at Joe Gibbs, where he re-recorded Jah Golden Pen over the original riddim. Though still sounding good, his voice on this cut sounds is a bit more frail and he’s joined on backing vocals by Errol ‘Black Steel’ Nicholson. The recut was issued as a 7″, causing much chagrin and confusion ‘pon the scene because people were unaware it was recut, and later included on the album ‘Nuttin’ a Gwan‘, for which yours truly was kindly asked to write the liner notes (I kid you not), but that never materialized. Sylford, in the meantime, is back on the scene, performing to eager crowds and Sharing the half that has never been told.”
Pressure Beat (Video)

YouTube: Jah golden pen, Mighty Two – Golden dub

Keith Hudson – Brand (1979)

Posted in Adrian Sherwood, Dub, Keith Hudson, Pressure Sounds with tags , , , on November 4, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Another amazing chunk of dub, Brand is the dub version of Keith Hudson’s Rasta Communication. And if you think Pick a Dub was tough to find, Brand was assumed to have fallen into a crack in the universe. Only available at outrageous collector’s prices, Brand was finally rescued by producer and dub mastermind Adrian Sherwood for his label Pressure Sounds. Exhilarating and powerful, Brand proves that Pick a Dub was no fluke and that Hudson was simultaneously writing and rewriting the book of dub. …”
Keith Hudson the Rasta Communicator
YouTube: Felt The Strain (Rasta Took The Blame), My Eyes Are Red Dub, National Anthem Dub 2, Image Dub, Rub Dub (Rasta Communication – King Saul), Barrabas Dub

Winston Jarrett – Wise Man / I Shen Galore (1980)

Posted in On-U Sound, Pressure Sounds, Winston Jarrett with tags , , on October 13, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Give thanks for re-issue labels like Pressure Sounds. Pressure Sounds began as a subsidiary of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound label run by Pete Holdsworth but is now the premier re-issue label in the business. So much crucial reggae once lost is now found and we can meditate on tunes like Winston Jarrett’s ‘Wise Man’ (Uhuru) – a tune also known as ‘Rocking Vibration.’ This 10″ re-issue, produced by Roy Cousins, is an absolute killer pairing of two titles originally issued on a 12″ circa 1980. Major steppers riddims with Scientist dubs inna discomix style. While Winston is brilliant a always, it is Scully and Sticky who shine brightest on these tracks punishing the percussion as if they were born to just bless this track. Try to keep up with them on ‘Wise Man’ as they beat the manhead like fucking madmen, as if they were playing for Jah H.I.M. self! Just mind-blowing from start to finish. The most unassuming, under-appreciated yet most-impactful musicians in the history of reggae music.”
Midnight Raver
YouTube: Wise Man, I Shen Galore

Junior Brown – What A Disaster (2015)

Posted in Dub, Pressure Sounds, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar with tags , , , on July 14, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“Three cuts of Junior Brown/ Phil Pratts ‘What a disaster’. The rhythm was recorded in Jamaica by Sly and Robbie and was part of the Dial M for Murder lp. The Junior Brown vocal was voiced in the UK and released on The Mystic label. We have an extra mix added to the Pressure Sounds release by The Disciple. A killer release that comes in a hand stamped bag made out of re-cycled card.”
Pressure Sounds
YouTube: What A Disaster

Lee Perry – Silver Locks/Jah Jah Words / Jah Jah Words Version (1974)

Posted in Black Ark, Dub, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Pressure Sounds, The Upsetters with tags , , , , on November 6, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

YouTube: Jah Jah Words / Jah Jah Words Version, Silver Locks

Various Artists – Don’t Call Us Immigrants (2000)

Posted in Adrian Sherwood, Pressure Sounds with tags , on August 21, 2013 by 1960s: Days of Rage

“The fact the informative liner notes are written by Pressure Sounds label founder and modern dub avatar Adrian Sherwood is a sure sign of the historical importance attached to this compilation. The music on Don’t Call Us Immigrants marks the emergence of the original wave of U.K. reggae bands, many of them the children of the original post-WWII immigrant wave from Jamaica to the U.K. It features the first-ever recordings by Steel Pulse and Aswad, chronicles the emergence of Dennis Bovell as a producer and major creative force with Matumbi and others, and spotlights U.K. scene mainstays like Misty in Roots, Black Slate, and Reggae Regular. …”

YouTube: Don’t Call Us Immigrants – Tabby Cat Kelly, Where is Jah? – The Regulars, Black Slate – Sticksman, Steel Pulse – Nyah Love, Aswad – It’s Not Our Wish, Misty In Roots – Six One Penny, Lion Youth – Rat A Cut Bottle, AFRICAN BROTHERS – ‘Gimme Gimme African Love’ + Dub Version – 7″ 1976