Thursday, March 31, 2016

Day 152 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Jah Thomas - Night Life

Picking up where yesterday's track left off... here is the DJ take on the Jumpy Girl tune by the great Jah Thomas and it's called "Night Life" and it is badass!  I was going to go through the trouble of copying and pasting the information about production info and record labels from yesterday's post but instead I decided to take the lazy route... just scroll down a bit and that information contained within Day 150 will apply here today.  Come on, what do you expect?  Today, marks the five month point in this 365 day daily challenge... so that leaves, let me see... only 215 more days to go and that's even factoring in the Leap Day at the end of February!  To be honest folks, I'm starting to wear down a bit, I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day 151 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Barrington Levy - Jumpy Girl

Sticking with yet another tune from 1980!  Barrington Levy gives us a little number called "Jumpy Girl" which comes from a 12" on the JB Music label and was produced by Maurice "Blacka" Wellington of Morwells fame.  "Jumpy Girl" really showcases what a great voice Barrington Levy has and when you couple that with a nice riddim, which relies heavily on the rhythm guitar and a pretty sweet horn embellishment, you've got a tune that I have loved for years.  My only complaint is that this record doesn't combine today's track with tomorrow's into one seamless discomix.  But oh well, you can't have everything.  All I ask is that you stop the Youtube video at 2:55 today and pick it up again tomorrow at the same spot for the 151st song in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge. ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 150 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Eek A Mouse - Heroes Dead And Gone

Day 149... I have selected yet another killer 12" for today's tune!  Ripton Hylton AKA Eek A Mouse gives us "Heroes Dead And Gone," released on the Canadian EAD label in 1980, and it is without a doubt one of the Mouse's best!  Shit, the version itself is worth the price of admission!  The vinyl I have doesn't give any production credits but after a little digging I see that it was repressed as a 7" on the Black & White label some time back as "Falling Heroes"; it lists Carlton Patterson as the producer and King Tubby as the Engineer.  Dig it!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Day 149 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Carlton Livingston - 100 Weight Of Collie Weed

I first heard today's tune "100 Weight of Collie Weed" on a Volcano "sound tape" years ago... can't remember which one exactly, but during this live recording at a dance from 1983 or '84, whenever Danny Dread dropped the needle on this disc an explosion of delighted cheers erupted from the assembled massive and resulted in at least ten "pull ups" in the course of about five minutes.  And though the sound quality was lacking, probably due to the dance being recorded for posterity on a cassette recorder intended for capturing voices during a long and drawn out sales meeting in an office conference room, it was obviously a killer tune.  I quickly found out that "100 Weight Of Collie Weed," which discusses about the day-to-day struggles of ganja smuggling, was by Carlton Livingston and when I found his 1984 album of the same name on Greensleeves, I figured I had hit pay dirt!  Unfortunately, the version contained on that set was not the same one as I had heard on the sound tape and I was a little disappointed.  For one thing, as I quickly learned, the LP wasn't produced by Junjo Lawes and backed by the Roots Radics like the original; so that should have been an immediate red flag.  Don't get me wrong, I dug the album but it wasn't the missing link I needed to add to my collection.  I got around to locating a copy of the 12" single on the Kaya label out of Jamaica... this was before the advent of online record shopping so it took some serious digging through some actual printed "new-arrival/used" lists that came through the mail and obviously without the luxury of a sound sample.  I got on the phone and called the seller to reserve the record and immediately went to the local post office to plop down my hard-earned cash to convert into a money order, and sent it off blindly, keeping my fingers crossed that this was the record I had been wanting so badly.  Thankfully after what felt like an eternity, I arrived home from work one night to find that beloved square mailing box by the front door.  You fellow record collectors know that box don't you?  That one that catapults you into a giddy, almost euphoric, state of blissful anticipation... that one that makes you toss a tax refund check on the floor or forces away the affection of your loved ones greeting you after a hard day at work... that one that you tear into with a steak knife without regard to your own personal safety or that of anyone or anything that may stray too close to the blade or the packing tape?  When I got it out of the box and threw it on the turntable I was immediately transported to Skateland, Kingston Jamaica circa 1983... and it still remains one of my favorite records.  Enjoy!  As you can see the Youtube clip is on Greensleeves but it's the same mix.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day 148 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Michigan & Smiley - Arise

Happy Easter everyone!  Believe me, I spent a lot of time trying to find a song that would be considered Easter appropriate but aside from a tune from Rico Rodriguez called "Easter Island" that I'm not real crazy about, I came up empty.  So, I came up with this one from Michigan & Smiley called "Arise" - which works pretty well if you celebrate Easter for obvious reasons.  But the title is about as far as you're gonna get with a Christian tie-in, as you'll soon hear.  This one comes from Michigan & Smiley's 1982 album Downpression on the Greensleeves label.  Have a great Sunday my friends!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Complete 21st Week Mix - Complete & Uninterrupted!

Here it is... week 21, in all of its uninterrupted glory!  What you're gonna hear!

1.  The Aggrovators - Spring Time
2.  The Heptones - Book Of Rules
3.  Trinity - Turn Yu Roll
4.  Reggae George - Stop Push The Fire
5.  Prince Far I - Throw Away Your Guns
6.  John Holt - Tribal War
7.  Hell & Fire - Show Us The Way

Day 147 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Hell & Fire - Show Us The Way

Gonna go with another top Channel One track for the 146th day... this one is by Hell & Fire, the vocal duo of Lunsford Simpson and a harmony singer by the last name of White whose full name has been lost to reggae history, that cut a couple killer tunes at Maxfield Avenue as well as for Alvin "GG" Ranglin, Linval Thompson and Sonia Pottinger to name a few.  While the actual facts behind the band are sadly missing, the tunes still survive and they sound just as nice as they did when they were recorded.  "Show Us The Way" was released on Channel One's Well Charge label sometime in the mid 70s and it is pure niceness!  In all actuality this song is a reworking of Winston Francis' Studio One classic, "Mr Fix It,"  but instead of simply fixing a lover's broken heart, Hell & Fire take it to a whole new spiritual level.  And while I may not be the world's most religious person I have to admire, respect and appreciate the conviction in which Mr. Simpson and Mr. White deliver their message of faith.  Really a beautiful song... and the horn section doesn't hurt things either.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Day 146 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - John Holt - Tribal War

What can I say about the next tune that I probably haven't already said already?  In my opinion, this is one, if not thee, finest discomix to ever be captured on tape at Channel One... John Holt's take on Little Roy's "Tribal War," recorded and released on the Channel One label in 1978,  is one of the most cherished gems in my entire record collection.  Don't get me wrong, Little Roy's self-produced original, recorded in 1974 and released on the Tafari label is a great song but there is something about this Hoo Kim arrangement that seems to elevate "Tribal War" to a higher level.  It's the prevalence of the drum and bass, which may or may not be Sly & Robbie, and the funky drive of the organ throughout, that make it an all-time favorite of mine.  


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day 145 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Prince Far I - Throw Away Your Gun

Speaking of Prince Far I... we're gonna stay on the same badass riddim as yesterday's tune for the 144th track in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge and it is an absolute killer!  Prince Far I, born Michael James Williams in Kingston, was the Voice of Thunder.  His authoritatively booming "Voice of God" delivery commands your respect and when meshed with this sinister, bass-heavy Roots Radics rhythm, it's about as tuff as you can get.  Originally a single on Far I's Cry Tuff label, "Throw Away Your Gun" was released in 1980 on the album Showcase In A Suitcase.  To me this is Prince Far I at his absolute best!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Tribute To Jimmy Riley (1954-2016)

I was saddened to hear of the passing of the great Jimmy Riley this morning... A singer with the ability to beautifully voice heavy roots tunes with conscious vibes and lyrics and then to turn it around it "sexy it up" with songs for the late night lovers, if you catch my drift.  Jimmy Riley just has that sweet soulful voice that makes you want to keep listening and as I was going through his music today in anticipation of this tribute mix, it became abundantly clear to me that Jimmy Riley said a helluva lot during his fifty plus year career and the words he sang obviously came from his heart.  I don't think it would be possible to fake your way through this list of songs if you weren't feeling them.  Years ago I was introduced to Jimmy Riley by a former Jamaican co-worker and friend who asked me if I had any of his music in my collection.  I know I had a Sonic Sounds 20 Greatest Hits CD somewhere in my collection but aside from the classic "Love And Devotion" I didn't recall actually ever giving it a good listen.  It was right around Christmas so I decided that I would rip the CD onto the computer and give her the CD as a surprise gift.  Ingrid was ecstatic, saying so many of these songs reminded her of growing up in Jamaica and how many of them reconnected her with memories of family and friends in a different time and in a very much different place.  So on my way home that night I gave the Jimmy Riley playlist a listen and I could get where she was coming from... I obviously hadn't grown up in Jamaica but the love in Jimmy's voice just makes you feel good... it makes you feel at home, and that's what I will always love about Jimmy's music.  Rest in peace and thank you for being a part of our lives, you will not be forgotten.

What you're going to hear...

1.  Give Me A Love
2.  We're Gonna Make It
3.  Statue Of A Fool
4.  Clean Up The Streets
5.  Feeling Is Believing
6.  Everything's Coming Up Love
7.  Jealous Of Your Boyfriend
8.  Exploitation
9.  Prophecy
10.  Nyah Bingi
11.  Woman's Gotta Have It
12.  Majority Rule
13.  I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
14.  Sons Of Negus
15.  It's So Ridiculous
16.  Poor Immigrants
17.  Long Distance Love Affair
18.  Hard Head Israelites
19.  From The Ghetto
20.  My Conversation


Day 144 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Reggae George - Stop Push The Fire

Reggae George, born George Daley, first tasted success after cutting "Fig Root" for Sonia Pottinger's High Note label circa 1978.  He went on to record with producer Hartnell Henry whose session band included both Bingy Bunny and Sowell Radics, who later formed part of one, if not thee baddest backing band ever, the Roots Radics.  Future sessions with Niney Holness and at Tuff Gong and after some commercial success with his song "Three Wicked Men," Reggae George went into Channel One Studio with Prince Far I to produce the 1982 album Mix Up... today's song "Stop Push The Fire," aside from appearing on the aforementioned LP on the Trojan label, was originally released as a 7" single of Far I's Cry Tuff label and with a killer, almost sinister backing by the Radics and the slick engineering of is pure wickedness!  Dig it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 143 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Trinity - Turn Yu Roll

Alpha Boys School graduate Junior Brammer, AKA Trinity, cut his first tune "Set Up Yourself" for Joseph Hoo Kim in March 1976.  He followed that up with his debut album Words Of The Prophet for Yabby You later the same year and by the time 1977 rolled around, he found himself in high demand cutting as many as 20 tracks for a wide variety of producers.  By the end of the decade Trinity began producing his own material and issuing them on his signature Flag Man label but only a couple years later, after when his demand began to wane, he transitioned from deejaying to singing, dropped the Trinity name and began using his given name instead.  Today's track, the 142nd in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge, is called "Turn Yu Roll" and it comes from Trinity's album African Revolution produced by Alvin Ranglin and released on the G.G.'s label in 1979... and damn is it a good one!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 142 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Heptones - Book Of Rules

Leroy Sibbles, Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn first got together in 1965 as the Hep Ones but soon changed their name to the Heptones.  They scored a heap of number one hits working with Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and were one of the most popular vocal trios in Jamaica during the rocksteady era.  Today's tune "Book of Rules" was produced by Harry J in 1973 and released as a 7"on the Jaywax label... an absolute early reggae classic!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Day 141 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Aggrovators - Spring Time

Yes, it's time to relocate the snow shovel to the back of the garage!  And when you throw in the wet snow that won't stop falling, today isn't exactly projecting springtime.  But I for one have had enough of Old Man Winter and this sick game he's playing with us, my brain has decided that I am officially kicking his ass out today!  Bring it Old Man!  Your not going to hold us hostage any longer!  With that in mind, I present today's track "Spring Time"... courtesy of the Aggrovators and take from their 2007 CD Aggrovators At King Tubby's Studio, a collection of 70s era dubs on the Attack label.  Give this a listen and wholeheartedly embrace glorious springtime!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The 20th Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

Here it is... week 20, in all of its uninterrupted glory!  What you're gonna hear!

1.  Ernest Wilson - My Elusive Dream
2.  Kingstonians - Mix It Up
3.  Rudy Mills - Every Beat Of My Heart
4.  The Good Guys - In Like Flint
5.  Derrick Morgan - Three Drunken Nights
6.  Hugh Malcolm - Good Time Rock
7.  Bongo Herman - Thunder Storm Part 2

Day 140 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Bongo Herman - Thunder Storm Part 2

We're gonna wrap-up the week with another early reggae track and this one has an interesting history... The Abyssinians, the vocal trio featuring Bernard Collins, Donald Manning and Lynford Manning, got together in 1968.  Deeply influenced by their Rastafari faith, they went to Studio One in March of 1969 to record their classic "Satta Massagana," a tune partially sung in Ethiopian Amharic.  After the session was over Coxsone Dodd couldn't see any commercial potential so he tossed the tape up on a shelf and there it sat for two years.  In 1971, the Abyssinians bought the master tape from Dodd for £90, released it on their own Clinch label and it became a huge success!  While today's tune is not Satta Massagana it is the b-side version off the very same record and it's called "Thunder Storm Part 2" by the legendary drummer and percussionist Bongo Herman... enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2016

RIP DJ Derek (1941-2015)

Day 139 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Hugh Malcolm - Good Time Rock

We've made it to another Friday and it's time to move those feet with an absolutely joyous stomper from Hugh Malcolm called "Good Time Rock," produced by Joe Gibbs and originally released in 1968 on his Pressure Beat label in Jamaica and his Amalgamated imprint in the UK.  Hugh Malcolm is best remembered as one of the original drummers in the Upsetters and has been credited by some as one the originators of the reggae beat... regardless, this song has got all the intensity of a spirited church revival with apocalyptic lyrics, great harmonies, some wicked hand drumming and punctuated with a soaring horn section that will definitely elevate your mood!  This one is guaranteed to please!  If it doesn't make you want to get up and move I advise you getting to an emergency room right away, you very well may already be dead.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 138 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Derrick Morgan - Three Drunken Nights

If you're of the inclination to celebrate, I wish you a happy St. Patrick's Day!  But if you're like me and not a fan of an overly commercialized day of borderline culturally-offensive green-dyed beer drinking, cavorting and eventual face-down vomiting on a street corner alongside a parked car and a curb, then I say happy Thursday!  Regardless of its alcoholic excesses and the fact that is serves as a flimsy excuse for people to skip work and get shit-faced, today's tune is my roundabout way to honor St. Patrick's Day.  Derrick Morgan gives us the tune called "Three Drunken Nights" released on his own Hop label circa 1971.  The song is based on an Irish version of a folk song called "Seven Drunken Nights," most famously the version recorded by The Dubliners, and released in 1967, where it reached as high as Number 7 on the UK charts and was a Number 1 hit in Ireland.  Obviously Morgan's version whittles the seven nights down to three but the tale of a gullible drunkard who returns each night to find more and more evidence of his wife's lover and the increasingly implausible explanations his wife provides, is a lot of fun... regardless if the storyteller's accent is Irish or Jamaican.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 137 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Good Guys - In Like Flint

Happy Wednesday!  We're keepin' things lively this week with a badass instrumental track from The Good Guys called "In Like Flint," also from 1968, produced by Byron Lee and released as a single on the Trojan label.  I can't find any background information about who actually were The Good Guys but I found it ironic that if you do a search for Good Guys 1968 you get a lot of references to an American sitcom of the same name starring Bob Denver and Herb Edelman which I had never even heard of before.  Coincidence?  I think not.   They should have gone with the name Bob "Gilligan" Denver and the Good Guys!  And while I'm completely kidding about that, I'm not kidding when I say this tune kicks ass!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 136 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Rudy Mills - With Every Beat Of My Heart

Some more early reggae for a Tuesday... this one is called "With Every Beat Of My Heart" by Rudy Mills and it comes from his 1969 album called Reggae Hits on the Pama label.  Mills was part of Derrick Harriott's stable of artists in the late 60s and early 70s and is best know for his tune "John Jones" released as a single on the Big Shot label in 1968.  Today's song, and the rest of the aforementioned album, was recorded at Federal Studio, produced by Harriott, back by the Crystalites and features backing vocals by Keith & Tex... a quality production and a sweet track!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 135 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Kingstonians - Mix It Up

The Kingstonians, Cebert "Jackie" Bernard, his brother Lloyd "Footy" Bernard and Lloyd Kerr, got together in 1966.  They first recorded for Sir J.J. Johnson and scored a hit with "Winey Winey" the next year... today's tune "Mix It Up" was also one of the songs recorded during those sessions with Sir J.J. and it has always been my favorite Kingstonian track.  Just a good old-fashioned, upbeat, early reggae scorcher that it guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get your feet movin'.  Originally pressed as a 7" on the Island label, "Mix It Up" has remained on my wants list for years!     Dig it!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 134 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Ernest Wilson - My Elusive Dream

Getting back into some music that is more my speed as we jump into track 133 in the 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge... this one "My Elusive Dream," is by one-time Clarendonian Ernest Wilson who had gone solo just two years before, was recorded at Beverley's and released in 1969 on the UK-based Crab label.  Last week we featured a couple reggae covers of pop songs and we're starting this week off with yet another.  "My Elusive Dream" was originally done by David Houston and Tammy Wynette in 1967, was number one on the country music chart and tells the tale of a man chasing the good life and the faithful wife who sticks with him even when his best intentions all fall flat.  It's odd to hear an early reggae song making reference to Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, etc. but in the end it makes for a pretty sweet tune!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The 19th Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

Here it is... week 19 in all of its uninterrupted glory!  What you're gonna hear!

1.  Sugar Minott - Bubbling
2.  Tenor Saw - Roll Is Called
3.  Admiral Bailey - Jump Up
4.  Lt. Stitchie - Great Ambition
5.  Leroy Gibbons - This Magic Moment
6.  Tiger - Bam Bam
7.  Frankie Paul - Casanova

Day 133 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Frankie Paul - Casanova

Okay... this is the last Kuff tune to wrap-up the week.  Frankie Paul gives us "Casanova," and like the tunes from the previous five days, also produced by King Jammy and released in 1988.  And unlike Leroy Gibbons' track a couple days back, F.P. didn't have to reach back too far for this one... a cover of the LeVert song from the year before.  Paul Blake AKA Frankie Paul is one of early dancehall's greatest singers and this track is a good example of how he has been able to seamlessly transition from one prevalent style/sound to the next over the years.  Unfortunately he has had some medical issues as of late but thankfully Frankie Paul still remains active...  

Friday, March 11, 2016

Day 132 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Tiger - Bam Bam

Kuff again for a Friday!  This time we're going with a dancehall classic by Norman Washington Jackson AKA Tiger!  Originally starting his career as Ranking Tiger with his first single "Why Can't You Leave Dreadlocks Alone?" in 1978, he went on to perform with the Black Star Sound System in the early 80s.  In 1985/86 he had a string of hits in Jamaica which lead to a deal with Mango Records and the release of his first album Me Name Tiger.  His style was described as "multi-voiced and totally deranged" and he went on to become one of the biggest dancehall artists in Jamaica recording for a host of producers including Harry J, Gussie Clarke, Sly & Robbie and of course King Jammy.  Today's track "Bam Bam" was released in 1988 as a 7" on Jammys.  In 1993, Tiger suffered severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident and was sadly unable to continue his recording career but this track serves as a testament to his talent.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Day 131 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Leroy Gibbons - This Magic Moment

The hell with it... let's round out the week on the Kuff riddim!  Up next is Leroy Gibbons with his 1988 Jammys produced cover of "This Magic Moment."  This tune was originally recorded by Ben E. King & The Drifters in 1960 and peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Top 100.  It was later re-recorded by the group Jay & The Americans in 1969 and topped out at number 6 but much like any reggae cover of a pop tune, the Jamaican version sounds a whole lot sweeter... at least to me... but like I've stated before I admit I'm a little biased.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Day 130 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Lt. Stitchie - Great Ambition

Okay, yesterday's track was too good not to stick with another on the same Jammys riddim... this one is by Lieutenant Stitchie and it's called "Great Ambition."  Stitchie was born Cleveland Laing and worked as a biology teacher before getting into music.  Originally Lieutenant Stitchie tried his hand as a singer before switching to deejaying in the mid-80s and appeared regularly with the Django Sound System, recorded for a couple producers and made the move to King Jammys in 1986.  Stitchie went on to a deal with a major label and when it didn't go as planned he returned to Jamaica to pick up where he had left off.  In August of 1997 after he was injured in a car accident and decided that he would walk away from music.  After becoming deeply religious Stitchie became an accomplished and well-respected gospel singer.  

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Day 129 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Admiral Bailey - Jump Up

Admiral Bailey, born Glendon Bailey, was a regular on U-Roy's King Sturgav Hi-Fi and was taken to King Jammy by Josie Wales.  From that moment, the Admiral cut one hit after another and his jovial on-stage persona, complete with full Naval uniform, quickly made him a fan favorite in late 80s dancehall.  Plain and simple... I love the hell outta Admiral Bailey!  Back in the late 80s when my pal Nick and I first started exploring dancehall with weekly trips to West Indian Record Mart in Takoma Park Maryland to buy the newest tunes fresh from Jamaica, I immediately knew that anything by the Admiral was gonna be something I liked... and 9 times out of 10 he never steered me wrong.  Better yet, if I saw something with Admiral Bailey on a Jammys label I was guaranteed of a instant classic!  Case in point, today's tune "Jump Up" from 1988 on the top-flight Kuff riddim was one such record.  Though not exactly the most poignant of lyrics or brimming with any real content, it's a helluva lot of fun and even today, 28 years later, it still puts a smile on my face.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Day 128 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Tenor Saw - Roll Is Called

I could easily hijack Wikipedia and give you a summation of Tenor Saw's background but I'm not gonna do that... I'm gonna keep it easy this week.  Born Clive Bright in 1966, Tenor Saw became one of the most distinctive voices of the dancehall era, and today's tune, the 128th in the 365 day Challenge, "Roll Is Called" AKA "I Got To Be There" is a early digital dancehall classic!  Backed by the great Sly & Robbie on the Queen Majesty riddim, recorded by George Phang and released on his Power House label in 1984, I've always considered this track one of Tenor Saw's greatest... an original voice that was unfortunately silenced way too soon.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Day 127 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Sugar Minott - Bubbling

Lincoln Barrington "Sugar" Minott was originally a member of the African Brothers alongside Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard in 1969.  The group released a number of singles with strong Rastafari influence during the early 70s but by 1974 after recording for Coxsone Dodd they decided to call in quits.  Minott stayed on with Studio One and worked as an apprentice by playing guitar, percussion, back-up singer and eventually solo artist... and the rest is history.  After successful albums for Dodd as well as a multitude of other producers by releasing as many as 60 albums and hundreds of singles, throughout the 80s, Sugar Minott tried his luck as a producer... his Black Roots label and Youth Promotion sound system, which as the name suggested, aimed to help upcoming singers and give them their first public exposure, yielded some truly great music.  Sadly Sugar Minott died in 2010 and is still greatly missed.  Today's tune "Bubbling," was one of the songs he did for George Phang in 1985, appeared on his album Rydim on both the Power House label in Jamaica and Greensleeves in the UK.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

The 18th Week Mix! Available For Your Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure!

Here it is... week 18 in all of its uninterrupted glory!  What you're gonna hear!
1.  Dave Barker - Funky Reggae
2.  Dennis Walks - Heart Don't Leap
3.  The Ethiopians - Band You Belly
4.  The Black Eagles - Brimstone & Fire
5.  Leo Graham - A Win Them
6.  The Chantells - How Can I Get Over
7.  Ken Boothe - Now I Know

Day 126 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Ken Boothe - Now I Know

Lightening up the mood with a heartbreaking love song by the great Ken Boothe!  "Now I Know" featuring the unmistakably trademark guitar of Hux Brown that clearly signifies a Leslie Kong Beverley's production, was recorded in 1971 and released as a 7" on their namesake label.  Like yesterday's track, this baby is so rife with harmonies you'll think you're listening to the Temptations!  For those who don't know... and if you don't know you've obviously been whiling away your time in an underground bunker for the last 50 years, Ken Boothe is one of the living legends of Jamaican music!  Mr. Boothe has recorded in all eras; from ska in the early 60s straight through until now.  Maximum respect Ken Boothe!  Dig this!


Friday, March 04, 2016

Day 125 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Chantells - How Can I Get Over

The vocal trio the Chantells, featuring Samuel Bramwell, Tommy Thomas and Lloyd Forrester, began working with Duke Reid and Clive Hunt in 1975.  Their LP Waiting In The Park, recorded and produced by Roy Francis' Phase One in 1978, is sadly the only complete album they would ever release.  According to what I've read, when the band was getting set to tour the UK some of the members were accused of drug smuggling and subsequently jailed; the band broke up.  Lead singer Bramwell went on to record some solo songs but was shot and killed by police while committing an armed robbery.  All in all, a pretty sad story especially when you listen to today's track "How Can I Get Over," produced by Reid and released on the Treasure Isle label circa 1976.  A song of despair, suffering and struggle... the first couple lines "standing on the side of hell, looking at the side of heaven" and "trying so hard to move my feet but it seems I'm sinking deeper" are in my opinion some of the most simplistically poetic yet pitifully sad lyrics in reggae... complete with the juxtaposition of some of the sweetest sounding harmonies that rival any of those from better know vocal groups, it is a song that if the mood hits me right will always bring tears to my eyes.  An absolute classic that is  beloved by yours truly, it stands as a testament to great Jamaican music and a band that unfortunately never got to live up to their expectations.


Thursday, March 03, 2016

Day 124 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Leo Graham - A Win Them

Originally starting out with the Bleechers before going solo, Leo Graham sang a bunch of great tunes in the 1970s.  Working with Joe Gibbs and Lee "Scratch" Perry, his songs are some of my personal favorites from the entire era.  Today's track "A Win Them" is number one on the Reggaexx Chart.  Recorded and produced by Gibbs and Errol Thompson in 1975 and originally released on the Belmont label be prepared to wrap your ears around an absolute classic! 


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Day 123 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Black Eagles - Brimstone & Fire

Day 123 of 365... The Black Eagles are up next with a tune called "Brimstone and Fire."  Denroy Morgan, who had emigrated to New York when he was nineteen, put together the Black Eagles in 1974... he also had his hand in writing and producing this single which was originally released in '74 on the Black Eagle label.  Thanks to Bobby Bobson for playing this last month at our DJ gig at Waverly Brewing Company, its one of those records and one of those catchy tunes that stick with you for days afterwards.  

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Day 122 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - The Ethiopians - Band Your Belly

The Ethiopians, founded in 1963 by Leonard Dillon, Neville Duncan, Wally Booker and Harold Bishop, were one of the most influential of Jamaican vocal groups.  Starting in the ska era, leading the way as the music transitioned to rocksteady and continuing to produce hits right through into reggae with socially conscious lyrics way ahead of their time, the Ethiopians are a staple in Jamaican music.  Today's tune "Band You Belly" was written by the great Leonard Dillon, produced by Joe Gibbs, engineered by the great Errol Thompson and pressed on Gibb's Belmont label in 1975.  The piano that drives the rhythm is awesome, the vocals are smooth... "Band Your Belly" is an absolute classic!