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 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.

13 comments:

i said...

it's nice to understand the history of songs like these that, when heard individually or out of order, sort of lose their meaning for lack of context. it is also nice to know that the two had an amicable relationship outside of the sound booth...

HEARWAX said...

Thanx for the interesting history lesson, I had never really investigated the reason's behind the 'feud'.
There is a track on Jazzbo's 'In The 70's' LP called 'I Roy You A Boy' which unfortunately I don't own, but someone may be able to share?

droid said...

Whoops!

Gwaan Star! Keep up the good work - much appreciated round these ends...

Reggaexx said...

Thanks for the feedback - glad I could share it with everyone!

Downpressor said...

Those words sound familiar, either from "Bass Culture" or another large reggae book I've read....

Reggaexx said...

Downpressor - see if you can find out which book makes reference to the sound clash between the two - hopefully the information in the book has a little more substance... I found Jo-Ann Greene's write-up to be concise but left me wanting to know more.

Downpressor said...

The I-Roy & Prince Jazbo "feud" is discussed (in different words) in David Katz's "Solid Foundation" pp 205-207. Both DeeJays are discussed in Lloyd Bradley's "Bass Culture", but not their recorded feud, or at least not in my scan/index matching. I-Roy is mentioned in the steaming pile of **** that is "Tighten Up! The History of Reggae in the UK" but not Prince Jazbo.

I know I've read this somewhere in print before, but cant for the life of me remember where...

Bogo Cla said...

Very cool. I realize that I-Roy won this feud, but based on these tracks alone I would have to call it for Jazzbo.

Reggaexx said...

I would have to agree with you Bogo - "Gal Boy I-Roy" is absolutely wicked!

Richard said...

Has to be Jazzbo for me each & every time but I Roy is great too & much under-rated. This feud was great! PLEASE re-up this one.
Cheers.

Reggaexx said...

I've had many requests to re-up these tunes but I've got something to share that makes my original post on this topic pale in comparison...

It's a CD called "Once Upon A Time At King Tubbys" and it was released earlier this year on the Pressure Sounds label...

http://www.pressure.co.uk/item/PSCD62/

This phenomenal album chronicles the entire I Roy and Prince Jazzbo "war of words" from beginning to end.

Anonymous said...

theirs a few more songs were they take shots at each other also derrick morgan jumped in and took a shot at i roy only to prompt i roy to retaliate at derrick morgan with a little help from dj diry harry i love this feud and it really had some great moments. I heard somewhere though that the feud was a little serious due to jazzbos allegience to studio one whcih i roy was very vocal against. thats what i originally thought prompted the feud so thanks for the info....my original theory didnt make sence cos they were all chatting on tubbys and bunny lee riddims as opposed to jazzbo using coxsone riddims

Anonymous said...

...hop death of I Roy wont stop The Prince from ticking..The sounds are Irie.Thanks for the story.... Dub