Tuesday, May 30, 2006

5 More From The King

As you can see from the photo (sorry it's so blurry - the security at the concert venue were being real A-holes about taking pictures)... I got the chance to see Yellowman Sunday night and being that I've had his music in heavy rotation since, I thought it would be a good time to share 5 more singles from my favorite DJ!

The first tune is the wicked "Belly Move" or more commonly titled "Body Move" from a Volcano 7". If you're familiar with Yellowman's music you'll notice the mix is a little different that the track that appeared on his "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" album - it's a little more raw sounding and I think you'll dig it! The second track is "Lover's Take Over" from a Witty's Music 12". The third is "Learn The Water Pumpee" with Danny Dread on the Absissa label and it's actually more Danny Dread than Yellow but he does do a cool rap at the tail-end of the track. The fourth track is "Gregory Free" a tribute to Gregory Isaacs from 1983... I have the 7" on the Witty Music label but this one actually came from a rip of the blank pre-release 12" pictured. Finally going a little more digital I've got "Mr. Consular" with Home T4 on Mango from 1985.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Desmond Dekker 1941 - 2006

Taken from the Jamaica Gleaner - May 26, 2006

"Desmond Adolphus Dacres, more widely known around the globe as Desmond Dekker, is dead. The ska artiste, who was born on July 17, 1941, in Jamaica, died in the United Kingdom at 4:00 a.m. Thursday.

According to his manager, Delroy Williams, Dekker, who is known for songs such as Israelites, Shanty Town, It Mek, Writing on the Wall and Unity, was not ill prior to his death. "He was not sick; he simply died suddenly this morning from an heart attack," he said when contacted by The Gleaner yesterday.


Mr. Dekker was also the winner of the National Song Competition in 1968 with his entry Intensified.

When The Gleaner spoke with Lorna Dekker, the sister of the late entertainer, she also explained that he was not sick prior to his death, although he complained of being tired.

"He wasn't sick; he just got a heart attack and died suddenly. The last time I spoke with him was last Friday just after he returned from a tour in Germany. At that time, he was saying that he was tired," she said.

Derrick Morgan, a close friend of Dekker and the person partially responsible for Dekker's introduction to the world after they recorded Honour Your Mother and Father, also reiterated this notion.

"I was speaking with his sister last Friday and she told me he called and was complaining that he was very tired. He is a man that work everyday of the week and has many shows line up so that is understandable," Mr. Morgan outlined.

Desmond Dekker was probably the best-known Jamaican musician outside of Jamaica before the ascent of Bob Marley in the '70s. In 1968, Israelites topped the U.K. charts and reached the top 10 on United States charts. Mr. Dekker was also the first Jamaican performer to enter U.S. markets with pure Jamaican music, a feat he was never able to repeat throughout his career.


According to his sister, it has not been ascertained as to where Mr. Dekker will be buried as some of his family members may still not be aware of his death.

"I am not sure where he is going to be buried. I will be talking to his daughter who is in England tomorrow (today), so we can decide where he is going to be buried. I am also sorry that some of his relatives had to hear about his death over the radio," she said.

Desmond Dekker has left behind a daughter and a son, other family and friends. According to his official website, desmonddekker.com he is booked until November 18. He had show dates in Poland, Belgium, London, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Czech, Ireland, Switzerland and several other countries."

As a tribute to this legend I'm sharing 5 songs from Desmond Dekker all taken from various releases. He'll be missed...

Desmond Dekker Tribute

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tappa Zukie - Living In The Ghetto

In conjunction with Hearwax, Rockers Radio and Schrikdraad... it is my pleasure to present another piece of the Tappa/Tapper Zukie discography. This album is called "Living In The Ghetto" and as you can clearly see from the gigantic word bubble on the sleeve it does in fact include the big hit "Oh Lord!"

Engineered by Jammy, mixed and voiced at King Tubby's, featuring Sly and Robbie on the essentials and released on the Stars label, I think you'll dig it!

In the next week I'm going to mix it up a little... gonna go more mid-80's with a feature w/shares from one of my all-time favorite DJ's Admiral Bailey and later we're going to go real old school with some Studio One ska courtesy of the Clarendonians... stay tuned!

Tappa Zukie - Living In The Ghetto

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ranking Joe Inna Combination Style On Waistline

Ranking Joe (born Joseph Jackson, 1959) got into the music business as a youth originally calling himself DJ Jolly. At 15 he went to Studio One where he received a name change to Little Joe and cut "Gun Court," his first hit for Coxsone. As with most DJs of the day he spent a considerable amount of time bouncing from one studio and producer to another cutting tracks for anyone who wanted him. In the mid 70's he hooked up with U-Roy's King Stur Gav Hi Fi and it was there he developed his trademark tongue twisting delivery. It's beginning to sound like a broken record with me but here goes... Ranking Joe went on to further success with Junjo Lawes in the early 80's with the LP "Saturday Night Jamboree" released internationally on Greensleeves.

I've got a decent amount of Ranking Joe's better known music but when I decided to do this post I really wanted to share something the majority of listeners might not have heard. I came across these two singles "They Don't Know" and "Sing Along" on the back of the bottom shelf and at realized I had forgotten all about them and how nice they are... then I knew that they would work perfectly.

When I came across these records about 10 years ago in Ernie B's snail mail listing of records I hesitated buying them. Sure the price was cheap but I didn't, and still don't for that matter, know anything about the singers Carl Dryden or Hubert Lee but I knew with a DJ like Ranking Joe these had to be some hidden treasures. When they arrived amongst a stack of other more expensive vinyl they actually turned out to be some of the best records I bought that month. So for your listening pleasure I present these 12" singles both on the Waistline label circa mid-80's featuring the DJ talent of Ranking Joe. Oddly enough Carl Dryden who sings on "They Don't Know" is also the producer of both singles... it's too bad that I can't find out anything else about him.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bob Marley 1945 - 1981

Sorry no music shares today... but I hope you'll stick around to read my testimonal on the importance of Bob Marley in my life.

I almost forgot that today is the 25th anniversary of Bob's passing and like most music fans I'm forever grateful for Bob Marley's musical accomplishments and contributions to mankind as a whole. But every time this date rolls around I can't help but be saddened tremendously by what might have been. But I'm not going to dwell on that...

My Mom married in 1956 and had her first child, my brother Barry, a year later. Three years later she had her second child, my sister. Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, the marriage didn't work out. My Mom who had nearly been disowned by her parents because she got married at such an early age, found herself alone with two children to raise and with no support. As you can imagine life was rough for my brother and sister and my Mom nearly killed herself working 2 and 3 jobs to put food on the table and most importantly a roof over their heads. Eventually her fortunes changed when she met my father in 1968. My Dad was four years younger than my Mom and he of course faced criticism from his own family for dating an older woman with 2 children but they eventually received my grandmother's blessing and married in 1970. But unlike most problematic step-children/step-father relationships, my 24 year old father loved my older brother and sister as if they were his own children. I came along in 1971 - my younger sister followed in '73.

Some of my earliest memories as a child had a lot to do with my older brother. As with most teens in the 70's Barry was into rock music and so I've been told, got involved with the accompanying drug scene. I was a kid I didn't know what bad things he did with his friends, all I knew was that my brother would let me wear his gigantic headphones to listen to music, would always watch cartoons with me on Saturday morning, bought me my first Matchbox car and even occasionally left a "Jim Dandy" ice cream sundae from Friendly's in the freezer on Friday night and never complained that I always ended up eating most of it. He was my idol and I always cherished the time we spent together.

Sometime in the mid-70's Barry discovered Bob Marley and the Wailers. I don’t know what circumstances lead him to switch from buying Frank Zappa and Joni Mitchell to listening to the emerging genre of music coming out of Jamaica but I’m glad he did. In 1983 our family (my parents, my younger sister and I) took a week-long trip to Jamaica and it was there that my parents heard reggae for the first time. When we got home my Mom brought it up to Barry and sure enough he was quite familiar with the music and provided my parents some recommendations for future listening. Oddly enough the cassette copy of Bob Marley’s “Exodus” they were recommended, quickly became the soundtrack to our summers. Here we were, a white middle-class family in the middle of suburbia grooving to the rhythm and lyrics straight from Trenchtown’s ghetto, and I think it had a major influence on the world outlook of both my sister and I.

In December of 1985, just a week and a half before Christmas, Barry was killed in a car accident. I’ll never forget awakening to the sound of the police at the door at 5 AM and my mother's crying. About a month later my parents, aunts and uncles and older cousins finally got up the courage to empty out the contents of Barry’s apartment. Later that evening I was presented with “my inheritance” – Barry’s record collection. I spent weeks looking through the crates of vinyl until I came across the 7 or 8 Bob Marley LPs. Since I was somewhat versed in reggae music they were the albums that I felt familiar with and listened to repeatedly. Our family didn’t realize it at the time but it was Bob Marley’s music that helped us heal. It also helped shape me into the person I am today.

The next spring a small bird decided to build a nest on my parent’s side porch. Eventually there were 4 eggs in the nest and a short time later all 4 birds had hatched. My Mom who was understandably still an emotional wreck, had been keeping an eye on the birds. One morning she went outside to have a look at the nest and the 4 babies, who had been making quite a remarkable racket for such tiny creatures, and saw that during the night one of the babies had fallen from the nest and died. My mother went back in the house and broke down. But ironically she immediately found a meaningful correlation in the three remaining birds, her three remaining children and the lyrics to “Three Little Birds.” She took it as a message from above that, “Every little thing was going to be alright.”

10 years later, my mother had healed as well as can be expected after losing a child, and I had turned my love of reggae music into a weekly Jamaican music program on my community college’s radio station. It was in February, right around Bob’s birthday, that I decided to do an all Bob Marley show in his honor. About 10 minutes into the show the phone rang. Now it was odd to get any calls and I was psyched because I thought it was a listener who wanted to make a request but it ended up being my Mom. It was evident immediately that she had been crying and I asked her what was wrong. She told me that they (Mom & Dad) were listening to the show – they were my most ardent fans and supporters – when they suddenly heard an odd rattling coming from their bedroom where the 4 high school graduation pictures of the 4 children hung. All the photos were silent except for Barry’s which was vibrating in tune with the bass line in the music. I immediately got cold chills and a held back tears until I looked over at the turntable and noticed, I swear to God I’m not lying here, Barry’s copy of “Survival” was playing.

About two years ago I was in the car with my wife and we were listening to Bob, as we do on a regular basis, and I had a revelation. Whenever I listen to Bob Marley I always find a comfort that is hard to explain. You’ve heard the expression “comfort food?” Well Bob is my “comfort food.” I think in my youth and in my inability to deal with the death of my brother at the time, Bob’s voice had come to represent that of my brother. His music had filled the gap in my life Barry’s death had created and it allowed me to cope in my own way. I’ll always be grateful to Bob Marley for that!

If you've read this far God bless you! Future music shares minus the personal emotion are coming soon! I promise! :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Request... Peter Tosh Live At The One Love Peace Concert

Since time is limited today and because someone else has written it so consisely, I’m quoting directly from the thorough Peter Tosh biography here.

“Peter Tosh was a revolutionary, a freedom fighter who always spoke his mind, and was not afraid to seize an opportunity to expose the inequities of Jamaican society. This conduct culminated in his performance at the One Love Peace Concert on April 22, 1978. At the time, Jamaica was experiencing a political civil war. Kingston was the sight for the battle, which pitted Prime Minister Michael Manley, of the People's National Party, against Edward Seaga and his Jamaican Labor Party. In hopes of resolving this problem plaguing Jamaican society a concert was arranged. The concept behind the concert was that instead of all the "fussin' and fightin'” there should be one love for all brethren, and peace on the island of Jamaica. The organizers of this event got the biggest acts in reggae music to agree to perform. Included in this group was Peter Tosh, as well as Bob Marley and the Wailers, who were the headline band. It was at this concert that Peter took the opportunity to lecture the audience, which included Mr. Michael Manley himself, about the injustice of the Jamaican 'shitstem'. This 'livatribe', as Peter liked to refer to his speeches, or diatribes, that he gave including the following statements directed at both the Manley and Seaga:

"Me glad all the Prime Minister is here and the Minister of Opposition and members of Parliament. We can't make the little pirate dem come here and rob up the resources for the country. Because that is what dem been doing a long bloodbath time...I am not a politician but I suffer the consequences.”