Thursday, July 22, 2010

Down In A Tenement Yard

What new can be said for living life in poverty that can't already be discerned from the lyrics of decades worth of reggae music? The epitome of desperation... of suffering... of misery... of persecution is precisely illustrated to me in the roots and rockers music of the mid to late 7o's. As an outsider, I will never know what it's like to really suffer but this music provides me with a peak at what a hard life must really be like.

It's the odd juxtaposition that really draws me to this sub-genre... the rhythms are harder edged and usually "spaced-out" with lots of echo and effects but they still provide a positive energy and a structural foundation for the serious, and oftentimes downright heartrending lyrics. The instrumentation; flying cymbals, pounding basslines and driving tempos, shine through and add the positive spark that keeps this music from becoming dire and downbeat expressions of hopelessness. There is an optimistic energy here that allows the listener to feel that there is love, there is unity and most importantly there is hope.

Here's what you're going to hear...

Dennis Brown starts it off with the song "Tenement Yard" and it's taken from a 2003 various artists CD called Jah Love Rockers (Revolutionary Sounds From The Rockers And Steppers Era) on the Trojan label. It is quickly followed up with the DJ Ranking Buckers and his tune on the same riddim called "Kill Landlord."

Lightening up the mood after those deadly lyrics is Dillinger with "Out De Light," a 7" on the Jamaica Sound label circa '78.

Trinity is up next with his 1977 tune "Natty On De Banking" and it's taken from a 12" on the Caribbean label, it's followed by the B-side version that really kicks ass, if you'll excuse my language.

Errol Dunkley & I-Roy give us "Created By The Father" a 12" circa 1977 on the Love label.

Augustus Pablo's "Jah Dread" from his 1979 Greensleeves album Original Rockers is mixed up with Jacob Miller's "Who Say Jah No Dread" from the 1992 Greensleeves release of the same name, containing music from 1974-1975.

One of my favorites is up next... Sylford Walker gives us the wicked Deuteronomy from the Blood & Fire Lamb's Bread International release from 2000, which was originally recorded in 1977-78, and I've mixed it up with Welton Irie's "Black Man Get Up Tan Up Pon Foot" from the same CD. King Tubby wraps up with a fantastic driving dub version... crank it up to 11!

Big Joe follows it up with a tune called "Woodcutter Skank" from a 1975 various artists LP on the Cactus label called Quad Star Revolution.

Cornell Campbell's "The Gorgon Speaks" is next and I've mixed it up with the version. It comes from another fantastic 2000 Blood & Fire CD called I Shall Not Remove which compiles a lot of great material from 1975-1980.

We follow up Cornell with Jah Stitch and the tune called "Strictly Rockers" and it has been lifted from a 1976 various artists LP on the Live & Love label called Strictly Rockers In A Dread Land.

The Voice Of Thunder, Prince Far I, gives us the next track. It's called "Same Knife" and it's a 7" on the Crazy Joe label... and it's mixed with "Different Dagger" the version from the B-side.

Another favorite... Johnny Clarke's "Do You Love Me?" from the Pressure Sounds various artists CD release from 2009 Once Upon A Time At King Tubby's mixed up with Tubby's version.

Taking a trip to the Black Ark we've got the Cool Ruler Gregory Isaacs and one of his best known persecution tunes, "Mr. Cop." It is available on lots of greatest hits albums and CDs and I took this one from the Trojan's 2003 Cool Ruler (The Definitive Collection).

Sticking with the Ark for another tune... Winston Heywood & The Hombres give us "Backbiting" from the Pressure Sounds 1998 CD Produced And Directed By The Upsetter.

Prince Jazzbo follows it up with "Prophet Live" from the Clocktower LP called Ital Corner is mixed up with "Prophet Dub - Satta" originally released in 1976 on the album Natty Passing Thru on the Black Wax label.

Big Youth gives us a wicked tune called "Dread Inna Babylon" from the Heartbeat release from 1982 called The Chanting Dread Inna Fine Style... it's the only foray into the 80's but Jah Youth always has this timeless sound anyway. The "Dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeead" call at the beginning is absolutely wicked!

Junior Byles is up next with "Weeping" and its version of course... this is off the Trojan various artists CD Down In A Tenement Yard (Sufferation & Love In The Ghetto) from 2007. I highly recommend this CD - some real nice music from '73-'80 all in one convenient package.

Linval Thompson gives us the title track to the 2000 Bunny Lee produced Blood & Fire CD Ride On Dreadlocks. This one also comes highly recommended... fantastic!

Sticking with the King Tubby groove we've got goin' on, Tappa Zukie and his tune "Jah Is I Guiding Star" from yet another Blood & Fire release. This one is from the '94 release If Deejay Was Your Trade.

"Girl I Love You" by the man Horace Andy is bringing up the rear in this mix. I was going to use my Well Charge 7" but it has an annoying hiss that I can't overcome. I actually went back and remixed this tune because it really stood out... and not in a positive way. This version, which contains a lot more reverb than the vinyl mix, is from the VP compilation CD set called Channel One Story Chapter Two.

We wrap it up with King Tubby and "Hijack The Barber" and it comes from the 1974 Total Sounds LP Dub From The Roots.

Down In A Tenement Yard

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lincoln "Sugar" Minott 1956-2010

I just read the sad news about his passing... and instead of wasting a lot of time writing up a biography that no one will bother to read when scrolling to the download links, I'll just be a "Mr. Cut-and-Paste Google Boy" and post what I read in the Jamaica Observer this morning, Friday the 16th, a week after his passing. But I figured, instead of hiding behind the fact that I didn't have the breaking news first I decided to create a tribute to the man and his music. So, to the asshole who posted the rude comment, I've got some advise... instead of criticizing me for copying and pasting why not spend some time creating a tribute of you own. But really... if you're coming here for the latest news in reggae music you're on the wrong blog, this ain't fuckin' CNN! Better late than never I say... respect due to Sugar Minott! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!

"Foundation reggae and dancehall artiste, Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott passed away Saturday night at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew.

According to Peter Burke, a close associate of the singer, Sugar Minott had complained of feeling ill on Saturday and was taken to the hospital where he died at minutes after 10 pm. "Sugar had a heart condition and it was about a year and a half ago that he got the first scare. He was in Canada at the time and I was with him. But as soon as the flutters subsided, Sugar was back to being his old self. That is just how he is," Burke told the Observer.

"This is just so sudden and unexpected. Sugar Minott has made a major contribution to the music business ... he was truly an icon and I am going to miss him tremendously," Burke said,

Sugar Minott, who was born Lincoln Barrington Minott on May 25, 1956, earned for himself the moniker Godfather of Dancehall. He is credited with being the pioneer, who, by laying vocal tracks over the original tapes from the '60's, rather than using a live band -- as was the norm in those days -- caused a revolution in the sound that brought a new style to Reggae music known as dancehall.

A prolific songwriter and singer, Sugar Minott is has over 60 albums and is known for such anthems as Herbsman Hustling, Mr DC, House is not a Home, No Vacancy, Good Thing Going and Never Gonna Give Up Jah.

The veteran singer also distinguished himself as a talent scout/producer and early on in his career established his Black Roots label, which led to the creation of a sound system and a company, Youthman Promotions, to give young artistes a "buss". Artistes such as Little John, Triston Palmer, Barry Brown, Tony Tuff, Junior Reid, Yami Bolo, Don Angelo, Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty, Garnet Silk who did his first recording for the Black Roots label, Tony Rebel, Colorman, Daddy Freddie, Johnny Osbourne, Steve "Shalom" Harper are among those who passed through Youthman Promotions.

On hearing of his passing, singers Freddie McGregor, Johnny Osbourne and Leroy Sibbles reportedly volunteered to do a spontaneous tribute at the Rose Garden in Brooklyn New York, where Sugar was scheduled to perform last night. Minott also reportedly had gigs in California later this week including the popular Reggae on the River on July 18.

The Reggae music fraternity has been rocked by a number of deaths in recent months. Minott's death follows on the heels of IRIE FM founder Karl Young and Voicemail member O'Neil Edwards."

What you're going to hear...

1. Change Your Ways - At Studio One - Soul Jazz LP
2. Careless Ethiopians - The Roots Lover: 1978-1983 Compilation - Moll-Selekta CD
3. Walking Through The Ghetto - Down In A Tenement Yard Compilation - Trojan CD
4. Feel The Rydim - Power House Selector's Choice Vol.1 - North Parade CD
5. Cell Block One - Power House Selector's Choice Vol.4 - North Parade CD
6. Herbman Hustling - Herbman Hustling - Heartbeat LP
7. Hang On Natty - At Studio One - Soul Jazz LP
8. Sandy - The Roots Lover: 1978-1983 Compilation - Moll-Selekta CD
9. Buy Out The Bar - Power House Selector's Choice Vol.2 - North Parade CD
10. Sprinter Stayer - Strictly The Best Vol.12 - VP CD
11. Jam In The Streets - 1985 Master Mega Hits - Jammy's LP
12. Come On Home - At Studio One - Soul Jazz LP
13. Never Too Young - Trojan Lovers Rock Boxset - Trojan CD
14. A House Is Not A Home - Gumari 1 12"
15. Dance Hall Style - The Roots Lover: 1978-1983 Compilation - Moll-Selekta CD
16. Have You Ever Found A Love - Sufferer's Choice - Heartbeat LP
17. Ghetto-ology - Down In A Tenement Yard Compilation - Trojan CD
18. Give Me Jah Jah - At Studio One - Soul Jazz LP
19. Come Back Baby - Dancehall Showcase Vol.2 - Black Roots LP
20. Hold On - The Roots Lover: 1978-1983 Compilation - Moll-Selekta CD
21. Leave Dreadlocks Business - Sweeter Than Sugar - Sonic Sounds LP
22. Dancehall We Deh - Roots Dancehall Party - Silver Camel CD
23. Jah Jah Rule - Stalag 17, 18 & 19 - Techniques LP
24. Get It All Over - Sweeter Than Sugar - Sonic Sounds LP
25. In This Time - Rockers Vibration - Dread At The Controls LP
26. Jahovia - At Studio One - Soul Jazz LP
27. No Vacancy - The Roots Lover: 1978-1983 Compilation - Moll-Selekta CD
28. Devil Pickney - Taxi 7"
29. Uptown Girl - Bebo's Music 12"
30. Not For Sale - King Jammy's At Channel One - Jamaican Recordings CD
31. Stop Fight Rasta - Sweeter Than Sugar - Sonic Sounds LP
32. Too Much Backbiting - When The Dances Were Changing - Pressure Sounds CD
33. Playing Rub A Dub - Waterhouse Revisited - Hightone CD
34. Nah Follow Fashion - Power House Selector's Choice Vol.3 - North Parade CD
35. A True - Power House Selector's Choice Vol.2 - North Parade CD
36. Chatty Chatty Mouth - Power House Selector's Choice Vol.3 - North Parade CD
37. Dance Hall Business - Herbman Hustling - Heartbeat LP
38. Rosabelle - Sweeter Than Sugar - Sonic Sounds LP
39. Vanity - At Studio One - Soul Jazz LP
40. Oh Mr. D.C. - Best Of Studio One - Heartbeat CD

RIP Sugar Minott

I noticed that Garageband has a new option to compress files... and I'm not happy with the way it turned out. I'll repost a hi-fi version of the mix on Monday...

Have a great weekend,

Mr. Cut and Paste Google Boy