Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Day 276 of 365 Day Jamaican Music Challenge - Ranking Devon - Jamaican Style
While there isn't anything in the biography department pertaining to Ranking Devon, there is a healthy stack of singles he recorded in the late 70s and early 80s for a host of varied producers that bear witness to a man who was a damn fine deejay. With tunes like "Pass The Chalice In The Circle" on the All Nation label, "Trespassing" from 1981 and probably his most well-known single "All Nation Have To Bow" both on Zodiac and both riding the Shank I Sheck riddim, Ranking Devon obviously had some real talent. Unfortunately, he was not one of the early dancehall artists who eventually found his way to recording a complete LP. I have read various sources online that claim that Ranking Devon was the deejay persona of the singer Devon "Soul" Russell but I can't confirm or deny those rumors. If that's true, we're talking about a guy who started out in the rocksteady era by singing with The Tartans, recorded some great roots music for Lee Perry in the 70s, produced Big Youth's album Isaiah First Prophet Of Old in 1978, transitioned into a full-fledged dancehall singer and occasional deejay during the late 70s/early 80s and finished out his career doing a tribute album to Curtis Mayfield in 1996 before sadly passing away the following year. In my opinion, it doesn't seem feasible but who knows for sure? Okay enough about that, let's get to today's tune in keeping with the Jamaica theme we've got goin' on this week; Ranking Devon's "Jamaican Style," circa 1977, from a 7" on the From The Top label.