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 Allmusic.com 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.