Friday, April 28, 2006

By Request... 3 Rockers International Singles

In response to a request I’m sharing 3 Augustus Pablo produced singles on the Rockers International label that I picked up at an Eek A Mouse show, of all places, some time in 1994. Is it me or does anyone else out there remember clearly where they found nearly every record in their collection? But I digress… now these aren’t from the rockers era, the Jacob Miller re-press may be the only one close to that period, but they do represent some of the work that Pablo continued to do all the way through 90’s and until his untimely death in 1999. Now I don’t claim to be an expert or well versed in Augustus Pablo’s music and productions so check out the excellent Augustus Pablo Discography page for all the additional information you’re looking for that I’m unable to provide. I've also included the versions for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Check out the press on that one! As you can imagine the MP3 had to be edited, I don't think anyone wanted to listen to the label.

Rockers International 7"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The High School MC... Billy Boyo

Billy Boyo (born Billy Rowe, September 21, 1969) was probably the most prolific of the early-80’s child MC’s, sure Beenie Man was the only one that achieved the majority of his success far after puberty, but Billy Boyo was the man back in the day. Junjo Lawes, who was his brother-in-law, was chiefly responsible for getting the youth in a recording studio. Though his lyrics may not have been on par with the cultural and seasoned DJs of the time they are nonetheless entertaining. In 1982 Greensleeves released the album “DJ Clash Volume Two” with Billy sparring off with Little Harry (another teenage DJ at the time) and I don’t know if the Radics’ riddims made the album or what but I think it’s a pretty cool album.

Unfortunately Billy Boyo never achieved success beyond his teenage years and he sadly died on October 29, 2000 from a brain tumor.

I present for your enjoyment 3 Billy Boyo releases. The first is from a Volcano 7” called, “School I Attend.” The second track is “Bushmaster Connection" with Little John, produced by Toyan and taken from a 1982 Greensleeves 12". The third is "The Good, The Ugly And The Bad" produced by Junjo and also a Greensleeves 12" from '82. When I was going through the vinyl I realized that I have about 5 other Billy Boyo singles that I could have shared but these were the first three that popped in my head so here they are. Enjoy!

Billy Boyo

While doing the research for the bio I came across this CD released by Silver Kamel! Gotta add that one to the list of upcoming purchases!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wailing With The Wailing Souls

The Wailing Souls, originally known as the Renegades, first consisted of Lloyd “Bread” McDonald, George “Buddy” Haye and Winston “Pipe” Matthews. The trio provided backing vocals for Ernest Ranglin before they broke up in 1968. McDonald and Matthews then teamed up with Oswald Downer and Norman Davis, recording “Gold Digger” for Lloyd “Matador” Daley. Their next move was to Coxsone over at Studio One where they recorded some of their greatest early work. Eventually as Pipe and the Pipers they recorded a couple classic tunes at Tuff Gong in the early 70’s and in effect became the first artists signed to Bob's fledgling label. In 1974 Downer and Davis left the group, and former Renegade George Haye returned for a short while but it was short-lived. Throughout the rest of the decade the line-up changed on nearly a weekly basis with vocalists including Joe Higgs and Garth Dennis of Black Uhuru fame joining the ranks for short stints. But that’s enough discussion of the many who have passed through the revolving door that has been the Wailing Souls; we’ll get to the music.

To be honest with you I can’t ascertain exactly who was recording with the group when the tracks we’re going to hear were recorded. All I know is that I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here, these tracks, all from the early 80’s were recorded for a certain producer whose first name begins with an H and last name begins with an L… still don’t know who I’m talking about? Check out many of the previous posts if you’re still unsure. I feel kind of bad about featuring so much Volcano/Junjo because it has always been my intention to provide a decent cross-section of all era of Jamaica music but I’ve really been listening and rediscovering a lot of music from the early 80’s as of late. Besides if my record collection is any indication I’d say it’s my favorite era.

Featured today are 4 real nice tracks from the Wailing Souls all backed by the incomparable Roots Radics… all but one direct from vinyl. The track “A Fool Will Fall” is from the “Firehouse Rock” CD that I also have on vinyl but I’m lazy and wanted to make things easy on myself, I don’t think anyone minds which format it came from anyway! Included in the zip is the Jah Guidance 12” “Baby Come Rock,” followed by the excellent “Kingdom Rise, Kingdom Fall” 12” released on Greensleeves in 1980. Third I’ve got “A Fool Will Fall” from the excellent “Firehouse Rock” CD – if you don’t own this album go get it immediately; essential reggae! Finally I’ve got a track called “Oh What A Lie” from the 1982 LP “Inchpinchers” which is also a pretty good album! Enjoy!

I hate to have to use the rereleased CD image because they junked the hell out of it by placing that special price proclamation in the corner! Unfortunately my wife took the digital camera to work today so I can't get a decent photo of the original cover! Oh well...

Wailing Souls

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Five From The Original Little John... And No I'm Not Talking About Robin Hood's Sidekick

Little John (born John McMorris, 1970) first recorded “51 Storm” at the age of nine with Captain Sinbad for the Youth In Progress label and from that point on he was seldom off the charts. Many claimed that he was the first true dancehall singer because like the best DJs he could ride any rhythm. By the time he turned 17 he had become a superstar.

Originally Little John started singing with the Romantic Hi Fi, and then went on to Killamanjaro, Gemini and the mighty Volcano Hi Power where he honed his skills by performing constantly. During this period he was also recording for any producer in Jamaica who was willing to put his voice to tape; In other words, I pity anyone who wants to undertake putting together Little John’s complete discography.

I have compiled 5 Little John singles for your listening pleasure… all but one comes directly from vinyl. As you’ve probably learned to expect from me the majority included were Junjo Lawes productions and they are top notch… at least I think so. The first track is “United We Stand, Divide We Fall” circa 1983 produced by Junjo on the Jah Guidance label and also includes a smooth Roots Radics version towards the end. The second track is “Little Girl” which was produced by Toyan, recorded at Channel One, backed again by the Roots Radics, mixed at King Tubby’s and released internationally on the Greensleeves label (wow that was a hell of a lot of info off one 12” label!) The third single is an absolutely killer song with Little John teaming up with Al Campbell. The song is called “Mash It Already” released on Junjo’s Volcano label and I absolutely love the Radics’ dub mix toward the end of the disk, it’s so good I think you’ll be able to ignore the record hiss. Fourth we have a track called “Spin You Roll” recorded at Channel One and released on a pretty decent CD called “Grapevine/Dynamite Records Vault Classics Vol. 2”. The last track I’m sharing today is probably one of my all-time favorite DJ/Singer combination records, it’s called “Dance And Studio” and pares Little John with DJ Josey Wales and was released on George Phang’s Powerhouse label. The two just work so well together on this record and the Little John lyrical variation on “The First Cut Is The Deepest” just flows beautifully. I love this song!! To be honest… I love all these songs! Maybe I need to find and buy some more Little John! Enjoy!

Little John

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I-Roy & Prince Jazzbo At War

I was driving to work sometime last month and up popped the song by Prince Jazzbo called “Gal Boy I-Roy.” It sparked an immediate interest in the clash I remember reading about between I-Roy (born Roy Reid 1949, died November 30, 1999) and Prince Jazzbo (born Linval Carter 1951) back in the 70’s. When I arrived at work I did a quick scan of Yahoo and sure enough I found this exact same write-up on every music related website that popped up. After a bit more digging I’m happy to give Jo-Ann Greene of credit for this concisely written history (the VH1’s, MTV’s and CMT’s don’t even have that much courtesy).

“…By the end of the year, I-Roy had sent a baker's dozen of cuts soaring up the chart, including "Fire Stick," "Dread in the West," "Padlock," "Teapot," and a pair of songs taking exception to fellow DJ Prince Jazzbo, one of a number of young toasters determined to knock I-Roy off his throne. Dissing the competition on record has a long and illustrious history in Jamaica, dating back to the early '60s and Prince Buster's feud with singer Derrick Morgan and producer Leslie Kong. That was personal, I-Roy's and Prince Jazzbo's musical battle was not, but that didn't stop the two from taking even more personal, and more hilarious, potshots at each other. I-Roy opened the account with "Straight to Jazzbo's Head," which prompted the victim to retort with "Straight to I-Roy's Head." Soon after, the younger DJ had a run-in with a bus, thankfully with only bruises resulting, the elder DJ utilized this incident for "Jazzbo Have Fe Run." As I-Roy had not suffered any misfortunes of his own, Jazzbo opted to question his manhood with "Gal Boy I-Roy." That received a sharp retort with "Padlock," wherein the DJ attempts to arouse the sleeping "Princess Jazzbo." And the sparring continued, much to audiences' delight, with other DJs jumping on the bandwagon to take their own potshots at the mighty I-Roy. Unlike earlier feuds, this one never resulted in clashes between supporters, and the two DJs remained friendly behind the scenes.”

I present the first four of the tunes from that lyrical feud for your listening pleasure but before I do that I need to send out a massive thank you to Krieger who after a slight miscommunication answered my plea for “Straight to Jazzbo’s Head” – a song I didn’t own, had only heard snippets of in the past and couldn’t find online or on accessible CD or vinyl! Without his contribution I probably would have just done something else but I’m glad to present this interesting piece of reggae history that’s been mulling around my head for nearly a month now.

Of note - I've also included Krieger's cleaner version of "Straight to I-Roy's Head" because the file I have was taken from some pretty rough sounding vinyl. Thanks Krieger!!

The tracks are as follows…

1. I-Roy – “Straight to Jazzbo’s Head”
2. Prince Jazzbo – “Straight to I-Roy’s Head”
3. I-Roy & Prince Far I – “Jazzbo Have Fe Run”
4. Prince Jazzbo – “Gal Boy I-Roy”

If you want the entire story of the I-Roy & Jazzbo clash, you need to check out Pressure Sounds CD called "Once Upon A Time At King Tubbys" which chronicles the entire war from beginning to end... it's a fantastic release and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more and hear more on the topic.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Scratchin' For A Guinness

I was forwarded the link to some mpeg files from a Guinness ad campaign that featured Lee "Scratch" Perry hawking his favorite stout, all the way back in 2001! I know if I was in charge of advertising over there at ol' St. James' Gate I would never have drawn a correlation between the two or even contemplated putting the Upsetter in the role of a pitchman but, the results are incredible! Thanks to Smokeyroom.Net for making them available. Check 'em out!