Archive for Robbie Shakespeare

Gregory Isaac – Going Down Town (1979)

Posted in Gregory Isaacs, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar with tags , , on April 15, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage


“Gregory Isaacs turns a walk downtown into a declaration of revolution on this powerful single from 1979. ‘Going Downtown’ begins as a sufferer’s tale, with the singer awaking to a meal-less morning and setting off to plow his employer’s field. Now feeling decidedly rebellious, Isaacs pours forth his anger into a determination to go ‘downtown to rock the reggae beat.’ But then his resentment swells into utter defiance. ‘Things that you did to my ancestors, ain’t gonna let you do them to me,’ he angrily declares, ‘I ain’t going to carry your water in a basket.’ Bristling with barely suppressed rage, the Cool Ruler almost loses his composure, at times almost spitting out the vehement lyrics. It’s an appropriate response to a Sly & Robbie riddim whose atmosphere is as inspired by the blues, with a funky edge, as it is the militant sound of roots rockers. The latter fires up the rhythm; the former roils up from the lead guitar. An incredibly powerful number, once the single stormed the Jamaican sound systems, the Riddim Twins bundled it onto the following year’s Sly & Robbie Present Gregory Isaacs (aka Showcase) album.”
allmusic
YouTube: Going Down Town 12″

Culture – Too Long in Slavery (1989)

Posted in Culture, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Sonia Pottinger with tags , , , on January 16, 2017 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“This 13-track compilation is culled from Culture’s three Front Line releases — Harder Than the Rest, Cumbolo, and International Herb. All three date from 1978-79, and were overseen by producer Sonia Pottinger. Pottinger had risen in the rocksteady age and was famed for her straightforward, almost gentle, productions, which placed the focus on the singers, not the rhythms or studio effects. She remained a force into the roots age, even while she eschewed the dread sound so popular in the day. Thus, although thematically Culture was a deeply dread band, and were accompanied in the studio by some of the island’s heaviest hitting roots musicians, all bolstered by the rhythms of Sly & Robbie, these albums had a much lighter musical feel than most cultural offerings from this time. But the lightness nicely counterpoints Joseph Hill’s deeply dread lyrics and Albert Walker and Kenneth Paley’s sublime harmonies, as the trio offered up cultural and sufferer’s songs, fueled by their deeply held Rastafarian beliefs. … The rest of this is set is equally strong, and includes the highlights from this trio of high-quality albums.”
allmusic

“… Despite backing from the rhythmic powerhouse that is Sly & Robbie the bulk of these trackseschew the heavy productions so prevalent of the era. Dub influence is conspicuous by its absence, save for the closing ‘Citizen As A Peaceful Dub.’ Indeed, Culture were very much about the dread lyrics of Joseph Hill and here, above all else, the message is king. Equal rights and cultural emancipation for Rastafarians is the order of the day in Hill’s strictly narrative flow. Such narrow themes could make for a fairly dense listen but repeated plays reveal hidden subtleties – not least the broad scope of the production where all varieties of instrumentation weave into the mix. …”
BBC

YouTube: Too Long in Slavery FULL LONGPLAY (1977-1979)

Sly & Robbie – Riddim: The Best of Sly and Robbie in Dub 1978-1985

Posted in Dub, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar with tags , , on October 15, 2016 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“… RIDDIM collects the duo’s own work in the dub vein between 1978 and 1985. While Sly & Robbie have lent their trademark sound to recordings that range all over the stylistic map, it’s perfectly suited to the deep, heady vibe of instrumental dub. Shakespeare’s pulsing, organic bass bobs and weaves between Dunbar’s fractured, rimshot-filled rhythms, creating grooves that are at once spare, elemental, complex, and irresistible. Ironically, Sly & Robbie man the mixing boards on only a few tracks here, allowing guest producers to assist in constructing their soundscapes. The result is a lengthy, completely satisfying set of instrumental dub that spotlights the talents of one of the world’s most notorious rhythm sections.”
allmusic
YouTube: Riddim: The Best of Sly & Robbie in Dub 1978-1985

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

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“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

Dub Chill Out (1996)

Posted in Augustus Pablo, Dub, King Jammy, King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Robbie Shakespeare, Scientist, Sly Dunbar with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by 1960s: Days of Rage

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“An 18-cut anthology of reggae dub music that, while certainly not perfectly balanced or comprehensive, does a good job in presenting some outstanding creations of several leading dub progenitors. Although leading dub lights King Tubby, King Jammy, Lee Perry, Sly & Robbie, and Scientist are on board, it might be called King Tubby and friends, as he has eight of the 18 selections, sharing billing on a couple with Augustus Pablo. Scientist, by contrast, only has one cut. More important than even distribution, however, is the quality of the individual tracks, which is pretty high, and very heavy on massive reverb, odd percussion, and special effects, as it should be. Listen to Lee Perry’s ‘Upsetting’ for particularly far-out percussion-echo dueling; King Jammy’s ‘Slow Motion’ has the kind of bass that shreds the speaker, with echo that fades away like snowflakes on a warm day. Sometimes there are vocals, sometimes not; vocals in this context, of course, are just another instrument or sound effect, not the tool for a singer’s expression, as they usually are. It would be nice to have some dates or source documentation for the songs; there’s not even a rough indication of the chronological span of the music on the disc. But it’s a good anthology, especially for listeners who want some, but not a ton, of dub on their shelves.”
allmusic

YouTube: Dub Chill Out (Full Album)

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

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‘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.’
allmusic

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

Ernest Ranglin – Below the Bassline (1996)

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

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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.”
allmusic

“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.”
Wikipedia

“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|