I’m back from vacation and it’s time to cut through the bull, literally, as I give you a taste of Wackies, by request.
Lloyd “Bullwackie” Barnes emigrated to New York in the early 1970’s and by utilizing production and recording techniques he learned in Jamaica he was able to establish one of the first reggae studios in the United States and in turn created his own unique sound that is still highly popular and sought after today by fans of hardcore roots reggae, hence the countless and unending amount of repressing going on. You could easily blow the whole bank account just trying to get caught up! Initially using his house band the Reckless Breed he recorded with local and seasoned Jamaican talent in his basement studio in the Bronx and initially releasing music on labels such as Hamma, City Line and Bullwackie to name a few until Wackies became his main outlet around 1983.
Now before we get to the mix I need to admit… I’m not very knowledgeable about the Wackies Sound or a lot of the artists that recorded for Barnes but I do have an appreciation for what I have heard and own. So if you go into this mix not expecting unearthing of some long-lost super rare tunes we’ll be good. I did try to mix it up by including a few B-sides but it's nothing spectacular so don't get your hopes up. I just wanted to put together a sampler, if you will, so I can give everyone a taste of this important studio, producer and era in reggae music.
Up first we have the group of Christopher Harvey and Clive Davis that called itself Jezreel and the song “Cheating Girl” which is the B-side to the Wackies 12” single “Stop Playing Tricks” from 1983.
Next up is tenor sax superstar and Jamaican music veteran Roland “The Chief Musician” Alphonso from his 1984 Wackies LP called Roll On and the song is named “Gentle Prophet.”
Third we’ve got a Wackies 10” single from Jah Batta and Skatee “Style And Fashion” which is the DJ Version of Super T’s cover of the Dennis Brown hit “West Bound Train.” This is a recent repress of tunes dating from 1983.
Going back to 1976 with the next tune are the Wackies studio band the Reckless Breed with “Basement Scrub.” This is the B-side to the Bullwackies 7” single “Basement Session” from the artist named Joe Morgan.
The Meditations are up next with “We Gonna Make It” from a six-track Wackies CD reissue of an album from 1982 called I Love Jah. This song definitely has a Lee “Scratch” Perry/Black Ark feel to it and it makes for some great listening.
Bullwackie’s All Stars give us the next tune called “Dance Dub.” This one is also a B-side from a Wackies 12” from Joe Sealy and Barrington Spence called “You Don’t Have To Dance.” A nice sampling of Wackies early digital style.
The Rockstones from a Wackies 10” follow it up with the song called “Be My Queen” from 1983.
The Bullwackie’s Rhythm Force give us the eighth tune in the mix called “African Rootie” from the 1999 CD reissue of a 80’s era album Dub Generals. Check out the flute... it provides a nice mellow vibe.
Up next is Jerry Hitler, an artist who miraculously never got mainstream airplay with such a nice name, and the wicked song “What’s Wrong With You” taken from a Bullwackie 7” from 1976. Such a great voice.
One time Heptones lead vocalist Leroy Sibbles provides us with the tenth track in the mix. It’s called “Now You’re Gone” from a Wackies 7” single from 1979.
The Chosen Brothers are up next with the tune “So Much Loving” from a 1976 Bullwackies 7” presumably featuring vocals from the man Lloyd Barnes himself.
Wayne Jarrett follows it up the classic “Youth Man” taken from a Wackies 2002 12” repress. If you’ve never heard this one you’re in for a treat because it is a smooth tune!
Horace Andy is next in the mix with a track called “I Don’t Want To Be Left Outside” from a Wackies repress 12”. Probably the hardest roots tune in the entire mix.
Next we get a little “Lover’s Rock” flavor from Joy Card and a tune that was originally released in 1982 called “Boy I Love You” taken from a relatively recent German Wackies repress.
Finally we end our Wackie Trip with a little tribute to the place that started it all. The final tune is called “Jamaica Sun” by Jerry Johnson from the Wackies LP called For All Seasons circa '84/'85.