Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fruits & Veggies... a mix for a Thursday

Two posts in two consecutive days?! What the hell has gotten into me?! Suddenly I've got this urge to compile theme mixes and just like yesterday, following no rhyme or reason. Today I've got one devoted to produce. Yes, you've read that correct... produce; fruits and vegetables. There are a lot of Jamaican songs that deal with cooked food but I just have the intention of exploring the fresh food stalls here at the market.

We start off today's trip to the market with an intro from the late great Louise "Ms. Lou" Bennett and the classic "Linstead Market," from there... it's gonna be a flavorful excursion into Jamaican music just perfect for a Thursday afternoon. Come with an empty stomach because when you're done with this mix you're gonna be stuffed!

What you're gonna hear...

1. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics - Green Mango - Top Secret CD - Beatville
2. Dennis Brown - Little Green Apples - Stagecoach Showcase LP - Yvonne's
3. Junior Byles - Lorna Banana - Every Mouth Must Be Fed CD - Pressure Sounds
4. Clint Eastwood & General Saint - Banana Export - Two Bad DJ LP - Greensleeves
5. Horace Martin - Watermelon Man - Watermelon Man LP - Mister Tipsy
6. Willie Francis - Ripe Soursop - Little Willie Records 7"
7. ? - Juicy Fruit - ? - found this one on my harddrive don't know where it came from.
8. Peter Metro - Vegetable Dish - Want Some Money LP - Bebo's
9. G.G. Allstars - Peanut Baby - Man From Carolina LP - Trojan
10. J.J. Allstars - Mango Tree - Sir J.J. And Friends CD - Lagoon
11. Dennis Alcapone - Ripe Cherry - Guns Don't Argue CD - Trojan
12. Augustus Pablo - Cassava Piece - Original Rockers CD - Greensleeves
13. The Wailers - Guava Jelly - Songs Of Freedom CD - Island
14. Prince Jazzbo - Pepper Rock - Pepper Rock LP - Studio One
15. Roots Radics - Banana & Yam Skank - Dangerous Dub CD - Greensleeves
16. The Techniques - Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) - Queen Majesty CD - Trojan
17. Jah Lloyd - Piece A Banana - Final Judgement LP - Teem
18. Joe Gibbs - Lime Key Rock - African Dub All-Mighty LP - Joe Gibbs
19. Ringo - Coconut Woman - Volcano 7"
20. King Tubby - 91 Orange Street - Bring The Dub Come CD - Heartbeat


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whole Heap A Sugar Down Deh!

I think Homer Simpson said it best in a sleep deprived stupor... "In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women." :)

Nothing too groundbreaking here today just a bunch of songs following a sugary theme... I don't even know what inspired me to put this one together... I think a lot of it has to do with wanting to put this new Virtual DJ program to use. Unlike Garageband where you have a chance to fiddle with the music and effects you actually mix in real time... Regardless of my motives, this turned out to be a pretty fun mix and I hope you'll give it a listen.

As far as the music goes... it's all over the place with no real rhyme or reason behind the order of the playlist. Some real bad-ass tunes in here... I hadn't played Michigan & Smiley's Sugar Daddy in years!

What you're gonna hear...

1. I Roy - Sugar Candy - Dubbing With The Royals - Pressure Sounds LP
2. Danny Dread - Reggae Music A Lemon Popsicle - Jwyanza 7"
3. Ranking Joe - Sugar - Round The World - Nationwide LP
4. Heptones - Sweet Talkin' - Nightfood - Mango CD
5. The Soul Brothers - Sugar Cane - Studio One LP
6. Roy Shirley - A Sugar - Music Is The Key - Trojan CD
7. Dandy Livingstone - Every Day Gets A Little Bit Sweeter - Conscious - Mooncrest LP
8. Winston Williams - Sweet Like Candy - Trojan Rare Grooves - Trojan CD Boxset
9. Ken Parker - Sugar Dumplin' - Groovin' In Style (Best Of) - Trojan CD
10. Michigan & Smiley - Sugar Daddy - Sugar Daddy - RAS Records LP
11. Leroy Smart - Sugar In My Coffee - Let Everyman Survive - Jamaica Gold CD
12. Johnny Osbourne - No Lollipop No Sweet So - Fally Lover - Greensleeves LP
13. Cocoa Tea - Sweet Coco Tea - Crystal 12"
14. Big Youth - Sugar Sugar - Natty Universal Dread - Blood & Fire CD
15. Prince Hammer - Whole Lot Of Sugar - Dubble Attack - Greensleeves LP
16. Michael Prophet - Sweet Loving - Michael Prophet - Greensleeves LP
17. Toyan - Ice Cream - Murder - Vista LP
18. Zap Pow - Sugar Pop - Jungle Beat - Lagoon CD
19. Well Pleased And Satisfied - Sweetie Come From America - Club Paradise - Columbia LP
20. I Roy - Hot Chocolate - Many Mood Of I Roy - Trojan LP

Grab yourself some sugar!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Tribute To Jacob Miller (1952-1980)

It was 31 years ago today this week (March 23rd) that Jacob Miller died tragically in an automobile accident and I thought now would be a good time to pay tribute to another reggae superstar who we lost much too soon.

Miller recorded his first tune "Love Is A Message" for Coxsone Dodd in 1968 at the age of 13 and a couple more as well... unfortunately the song didn't have much success so it wasn't until 1974, when Miller got into the studio with the legendary Augustus Pablo, that things began to improve. Tunes like "Who Say Jah No Dread," "False Rasta," and "Baby I Love You So" hit the market and he got some recognition. Interestingly enough, the original b-side dub version of "Baby I Love You So" was the massive "King Tubby's Meets Rockers Uptown" and Island Records failed to give Miller credit for the vocals bouncing and echoing around inside Tubby's mix and even relegated the vocal version to the b-side in subsequent pressings.

Jacob Miller hooked up with the band Inner Circle soon after; the band comprising brothers Ian and Roger Lewis and future members of the band Third World, Stephen 'Cat' Coore, Michael 'Ibo' Cooper and Ritchie Daley, and the hits began to flow. I've even heard that Jacob Miller and Inner Circle were so big in Jamaica in 1978 that Bob Marley and the Wailers received second billing at the One Love Peace Concert beneath them!

Quoting from the Guinness Who's Who of Reggae Music... "Miller's biggest hits would come as a member of Inner Circle. In 1976 they scored a couple of roots hits with "Tenement Yard" and "Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush" (both credited to Miller). These and Miller's explosive stage act made them the top act in Jamaica at the latter part of the 70s. Miller, an exuberant, amply proportioned man, possessed of a fine tenor which often employed a trademark stutter, went on to make a number of excellent records with Inner Circle..."

But Jacob Miller wasn't satisfied with just being a band's vocalist and continued his solo career as many reggae do by recording sides for producers like Joe Gibbs and Gussie Clarke. He also took up acting by making a cameo in Theodoros Bafaloukos' film Rockers. At the time of his death in 1980 Jacob Miller had been working with Chris Blackwell to arrange for a U.S. tour with Bob Marley to promote his second solo album Mixed Up Moods which had recently been completed.

What I have always liked about Jacob Miller aside from some absolutely killer music was what I've read about his personality over the years... Inner Circle's Roger Lewis said Jacob Miller was “always happy and jovial. He always made jokes. Everyone liked jokes.” He sounded like a real good guy and it's sad to think what he may have done for reggae music on an international level if he hadn't died so soon.

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

We're gonna start it off with "Bionic Skank" from Miller's 1978 LP on the Top Ranking label called Wanted. I've always love the introduction to this tune... Miller warming up his stuttering tenor like a car starting on a cold winter morning. It always gets a smile from me.

One of my all-time favorite Jacob Miller tunes is second and it comes from the 1979 album Mixed Up Moods... a plea for police to end their brutal treatment of Jamaican citizens called "Mr. Officer." The lines "Seam color red, seam color blue, be careful what you do, because the people, the people love you" says a lot about the turbulent times in which it was written and recorded and the quandary that people faced when needing protection from law enforcement... on one hand they are respected and revered for doing their job serving and protecting people but also feared for what they may do if their tempers get the better of them and they turn on the people they are supposed to protect.

"I've Got the Handle" is up next and aside from the rather misogynistic theme it's one helluva tune... this was originally written by Leroy Sibbles and performed by The Heptones but I think Miller does a nice cover. It too comes from the aforementioned Wanted LP.

The next tune is Jacob Miller's trademark call for marijuana legalization called "Healing of the Nation." Originally appearing on his Wanted LP - I borrowed the version we're using in this mix from the excellent Chapter A Day "Greatest Hits" double LP set released by VP Records in 1999.

"I'm A Natty" produced by the legendary Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson and taken from the 2008 VP various artists CD Scorchers From The Mighty Two. The coolest thing about this song? It has to be the bad-ass moogy intro! I wanted to do a rewind at that point in the mix but decided to keep rolling instead.

Next up is "Each One Teach One" lifted from the 1992 release by Greensleeves of material originally produced by Augustus Pablo circa 1974-75, titled Who Say Jah No Dread. A nice selection of songs originally only available as singles - it comes highly recommended!

Jacob gets all lovey-dovey for the next tune... this one is called "I'm In Love" and it comes from a 2004 Auralux various artists CD called Whip Them King Tubby. It too is a compilation of older releases not readily available in one clean package; productions by King Tubby, Bunny Lee and Linval Thompson.

With the sounds of war raging in its introduction we head back into reality... the tune is called "Ghetto On Fire" and comes from yet another various artists CD. The CD is called Life Goes In Circles (Sound From The Talent Corporation) and was released by Pressure Sounds in 2006. This is a fantastic CD and highlights the productions of Tommy Cowan and the top flight Talent Corporation, established in the mid 70's to give Jamaican artists the proper respect it was due in the local music market, and includes some of reggae's biggest names... Jacob Miller included.

Another of my favorite Jacob Miller tunes is up next! The song is called "Silver & Gold" and is also lifted off the Wanted LP. I have to admit this was the first Jacob Miller song I ever heard and Wanted was one of my first non-Marley purchases when I first started delving into Jamaican music as a 16 year old kid. "Silver & Gold" was played on a pretty heavy rotation back in those days and it still puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it!

"All Night Till Daylight" is up next in the mix! A wicked tune and probably one of his best known and originally released in 1976 on the Starapple LP Tenement Yard and produced by Inner Circle's Lewis Brothers, Ian and Roger. I have the original press but it is pretty ratty so I borrowed the tune from the Chapter A Day LP instead. Love this tune!

Another song lifted from yet another various artists compilation... this one is "Dread Ina Babylon" and it comes from the 2001 CD on the Charm label called King Tubby Meets The Reggae Masters. The minimalistic rhythm track complete with vibes makes for a bad ass tune!

Gotta go back to one of Miller's biggest hits, this is the classic "Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush" originally from Inner Circle's 1976's album Reggae Thing. Ours is borrowed from the Chapter A Day LP from VP. A true ganja anthem - if you like that sorta thing.

"Keep On Knocking" from the aforementioned CD Scorchers From The Mighty Two follows up "Tired Fe Lick Weed..." and it definitely fits the bill as a scorcher! Miller riding the Hypocrites riddim is absolutely killer!

We go next to Miller's rather autobiographical tune "Killer Miller" and it is lifted from the greatest hits compilation released by RAS Records in 1988 called Collectors Classics. Originally this was the title track to the 1977 LP released on the Top Ranking label called Jacob "Killer" Miller.

Getting back in a lover's groove with our next track... "Suzy Wong" is also from the RAS Records release Collectors Classics.

"Tenement Yard" is up next and this is the quintessential stuttering tenor Jacob Miller at his best. This was also one of Jacob Miller's biggest hits and was originally the title track from his 1976 Inner Circle collaboration of the same name. I have this tune on a multitude of compilations and I decided to use the one from the 2007 Trojan release Down In A Tenement Yard (Sufferation And Love In The Ghetto) simply because it was the one that was easiest to find.

We follow it up with another title track... this is the title track from the Mixed Up Moods LP originally released on Starapple.

The next tune is an Augustus Pablo produced 7" called "Girl Name Pat" on the Rockers International label. Ironically I'm also in love with a girl named Patti but she would kill me if I ever reduced her name to just Pat. I think a lot of the negativity toward that name has a lot to do with the androgynous character created and performed by Julia Sweeney on Saturday Night Live in the 90's but, I have gone way out in left-field with this analysis so let's get back to the music. :)

We wrap up the mix with two excellent tunes both from the Chapter A Day LP. The first was originally released in 1980 after Miller's death on an album produced by Joe Gibbs called Lives On and it's called "Shakey Girl."

The final track is "Chapter A Day," and it is an absolutely beautiful and timeless tune. It's one of those tunes that gives me chills and usually elicits a few tears from my eyes.

R.I.P. Jacob Miller - You Are Never Forgotten!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Would The Real King Horror Please Stand Up!

A few years ago when I first started my Halloween mixes, I had read in the 2003 book "Young Gifted and Black - The Story of Trojan Records" by Michael de Koningh and Laurence Cane-Honeysett that King Horror "...was actually Laurel (Aitken) on some sides but not others (it largely depended on which company he was leasing the material to and who was around in the studio at the time." It sounded accurate and I had filed the information away in the back of my brain until a couple months ago...

I was flipping through some CDs and came across my copy of the Trojan various artists release Loch Ness Monster (originally released in 1970) and had some time to actually read the liner notes... needless to say I grew more confused on the subject of King Horror.

The liner notes, also written by Michael de Koningh, say and I quote... "King Horror was quite likely to be a relocated Calypsonian who worked under the name of Lord Davey. Laurel happened to hear Davey's extraordinary voice and immediately thought of the new Reggae sound he was producing, and what an impact his throaty growl would make. To confuse matters, another voice also snarled out as King Horror on rival discs, and this is considered to be Aitken standing in himself, presumably when Mr Davey was unavailable to lend his growl to the romping rhythm track."

So one day, not too long ago, I was doing a search for King Horror online and up pops this compilation, released this year, on the Pressure Drop label called Boss Reggae Sounds - Laurel Aitken Productions 1969-1971 and it included a King Horror tune that I never knew existed! The song is called "The Vampire" and I was worried about getting my hopes up about another schlock-horror King Horror tune but I bought the CD anyway. Turns out that "The Vampire" was the b-side of Horror's 1969 "Cutting Blade" single on the Grape label and sure enough it was everything I hoped it would be. But here's where things get confusing...

In the liner notes of the Boss Reggae Sounds CD we get more confused about the origins of the raucous voiced King Horror... Phil "Enthucol" Etgart also quotes from "Young Gifted and Black - The Story of Trojan Records" by Michael de Koningh and Laurence Cane-Honeysett but digs a little deeper. Etgart writes about "Cutting Blade" the first single on the compilation; "A quick listen to this track will make it quite clear what exactly the "Cutting Blade" in question actually refers to, but to contrast, the identity of the artist himself is shrouded in confusion. For some time many believed King Horror was Laurel Aitken under a 'nom de vinyl,' but play any of his handful of recordings and you will realize that this is not the case. According to Reggae writer, Michael De Koningh: "Horror was actually Laurel on some sides, but not others (it largely depended on which company was licensing the material to and who around the studio at the time). It is widely believed that the rest of the time, Horror was in fact Calypsonian, Young Growler (real name Errol Naphtah Davy), a Trinidadian who in 1961 came to settle in London, where he went on to record several Calypso tracks, the best known of which is probably 'V for Victory', a song celebrating the West Indies cricketing victory over England in June 1966. More recently, the not-so Young Growler was reported to have left for warmer climes, his present whereabouts apparently being Barbados." He continues... "Another who, according to producer, Joe Mansano adopted the moniker was 'a chap in the band called Lloydie, who was, shall we say, not very pretty, so we called him King Horror: He was one of my DJ's - Lloyd the Matador (not to be confused with Jamaican producer; Lloyd 'The Matador' Daley) was his name - Lloyd Campbell.' Just who exactly was responsible for the Laurel produced King Horror tracks may never be confirmed..."

Regardless of who he actually was, King Horror is one of my favorite "skinhead" reggae artists and his horror themed tunes are like gifts from heaven to me. I owe a lot of my year-long obsession of searching for "duppy tunes" to King Horror's "Loch Ness Monster." Now, here's where I'm asking for your help. There are two more King Horror tune that have yet to surface on a CD compilation and my obsession in trying to track them down is causing me to lose sleep at night. In 1970, 2 other tunes were released... one is called "Police" and was originally pressed on the Jackpot label and the other was called "Ghost Hour" and was pressed on the Reggae/Doctor Bird label but as far as I can discern, the record has never been seen with label art. Now, last year I posted something on the Blood & Fire message board pleading for anyone who owns the record to give me a taste of what I may or may not be missing. Thankfully someone responded and was kind enough to email me a 40 second needle-drop on the tune but unfortunately now it has ignited an obsession that I can't seem to shake. How does one find a 40 year old blank labeled reggae record? How does one search for that on ebay or in online record shops? I'm pleading for help on getting this tune!! At this point, I'm willing to settle for an MP3 of the tune because the odds that I'll ever come across this record are slim to none.

In the meantime, I've put together a little mix of King Horror tunes to get your feet movin'! I've left out "Wood In The Fire" because studies have shown that listeners can only take two veiled references to a man's "junk" in one mix. Enjoy!

What you're gonna hear...

1. Loch Ness Monster
2. The Hole
3. Dracula Prince Of Darkness
4. Frankenstein
5. Cutting Blade
6. The Vampire
7. Loch Ness Monster (Take 2) - from the 2004 Trojan records CD release of the same name!

Also... I couldn't resist adding a little wind and thunder at the intro... I have a hard time thinking of King Horror without it! :)