Monday, January 11, 2016

Day 72 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Big Youth - Train To Rhodesia

Manley Augustus Buchanan, better known as Big Youth honed his toasting skills while working as a diesel mechanic at Kingston's Sheraton Hotel.  In 1970 he became the resident deejay with Lord Tippertone's Sound System and began attracting the attention of record producers.  After trying his hand with Lee Perry, Phil Pratt and Jimmy Radway and not meeting with much commercial success, he switched to recording with upcoming producer Gussie Clarke and scored a hit with "The Killer" on Horace Andy's Skylarking riddim.  Further success came with the classic "S-90 Skank" for Keith Hudson which featured the sounds of a revving motorcycle which had been brought into the recording studio.  It was his first #1 Jamaican hit and lead to future recording for a veritable whose who of 1970s reggae producers.  In 1975, Big Youth's album Dreadlocks Dread, a collection of tunes he originally pressed as singles and with some sweet instrumentals thrown in for good measure, was released on the Klik label and to this day I'm glad it was.  This was the first Big Youth album I ever heard and though some complain that the album only contains a few actual vocal tracks, I have to proclaim that this ranks right up there near the top of my all-time favorite reggae albums!  And for the 72nd track in the Jamaican Music Challenge, I have chosen Big Youth's "Train To Rhodesia" and if you've never heard it you're in for a treat because it is absolutely killer!  The driving rhythm itself is pure roots reggae bliss.

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