Was Your Trade
In The Ghetto - Big Joe
War & Friction - I-Roy
Tradition Skank - Little Joe
Jah Is I Guiding Star - Tappa Zukie
Set Up Yourself Dreadlocks - Jah Stitch
Mash It Up - Doctor Alimantado
The Barber Feel It- Doctor Alimantado & Jah Stitch
Bury The Barber - Jah Stitch
Black Harmony Killer - Jah Stitch
Greedy Girl - Jah Stitch
Regular Girl - Dillinger
Daylight Saving Time - Dillinger
Gal Boy I Roy - Prince Jazzbo
Good Memories - Prince Jazzbo
Shuffle & Deal - Prince Far I
Deejay was your trade in Kingston during the seventies, chances were
odds-on that you'd record for Bunny Lee. Bunny, aka 'Striker', has been
one of Jamaica's most successful and prolific producers. Although
Channel One and Joe Gibbs had wrested dominance from him by 1977, his
position as one of Jamaican music's prime movers was assured. Hitmaker
for vocalists like John Holt, Delroy Wilson and Johnnie Clarke, when
deejays like Big Youth and U. Roy achieved a measure of crossover
success in the UK market during 1975/6 he began issuing deejay tracks
galore. During the seventies he recorded nearly every Jamaican deejay,
from Alcapone to Zukie. This compilation collects work from nine of
those great toasters, boasters and jesters.
The deejay records Bunny Lee made at this time were usually done quickly; Bunny had evolved a production method in which everybody - artists, musicians, engineers - performed at full stretch with studio costs kept to minimum. The rhythm tracks - often versions of classic Coxsone or Treasure Isle tunes- were built at studios like Dynamic, Randy's and Channel One. All the deejays voiced at King Tubby's studio in Waterhouse, Kingston 11. The aim was to get the records on the street and selling as quickly as possible. In spite of limitations, this method proved successful time and again, the resultant music always enjoyable, often inspirational. Here then, sixteen pieces of old school deejaying, the real roots of today's dancehall and rap sound - so check it out yah!
Steve Barrow - January 1994
1. 'In The Ghetto' - Big Joe
Big Joe had worked for Spanish Town producer Harry Mudie, making fine records like 'Black Stick Rock' and 'Set Your Face At Ease', then for producers like Coxsone Dodd, Lloyd Daley and Winston Edwards before linking up with Bunny for whom he made the album 'Keep Rocking & Swinging'. Here he expounds sound system philosophy and name checks ghetto areas like Greenwich Town, Riverton City and Payne Avenue. Rhythm track is Johnnie Clarke's stepping version of 'Satta Masa Gana'
2. 'War & Friction' - I. Roy
I. Roy was the first deejay to record for Harry Mudie, after deejaying his own Son's Junior set and the great Ruddy's Hi-Fi. Following U. Roy on King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi, he soon established himself as a master lyricist with scores of hits for many producers by mid-decade, when he made several LPs for Lee. This track features the deejay as trenchant social commentator. He delivers a meditation on ghetto violence over a booming dub of producer/vocalist Yabby U's Death Trap.
3. 'Tradition Skank' - Little Joe
Joe started out on one of the champion sets of the early seventies, El Paso Hi-Fi, following foundation deejays like Dennis Alcapone. He first recorded for Coxsone, cutting Gun Court in 1975. Sides for Watty Burnett and Pete Weston followed. He made just one track for Striker, a set of repatriation lyrics dropped immaculately onto a hi-power Ronnie Davis version of Burning Spear's Tradition. Prince Tony Robinson renamed him 'Ranking' Joe on a series of hits in 1977; he then recorded for Joe Gibbs, Sonia Pottinger, Sly and Robbie, and others, all whilst deejaying U. Roy's Stereograph set with selector Jah Screw. In the process he became a major influence on modern dance hall style. In 1980 he and Screw rejoined champion sound Ray Symbolic until Ray's untimely death. Since then he has been active both as deejay and producer from his base in New York.
4. 'Jah Is I Guiding Star' - Tappa Zukie
Unusually for a Jamaican toaster, Tappa Zukie first made his name in England, with the Man Ah Warrior album (1973). 1975 saw him back a yard, voicing Judge I O Lord for Lloydie Slim. Tracks for Striker soon followed, like Natty Dread Don't Cry, Pontius Pilate and this, an impassioned avowal of Rastafari. By mid1976 Tappa was producing himself on hits like MPLA and Rockers. He also produced brilliant roots music with Greenwich Farm artists Prince Alla and Junior Ross. Big dancehall hits in Jamaica followed, like Oh Lord and She Want A Phensic. He crossed over the punk audience via appearances with the Patti Smith Group. He continued production throughout the eighties, building a varied catalogue and hitting with Dennis Brown and Beres Hammond amongst others.
5. 'Set Up Yourself Dreadlocks' - Jah Stitch
Stitch boosts the natty dread over a storming Aggrovators version of Please Be True, with Cornell Campbell's dubbed vocals prominent.
6. 'Chant To Jah' - Doctor Alimantado
Striker dusted off Slim Smith's The Beatitude from 1968 for one of Tado's best toasts, wherein the deejay turns the Sermon on the Mount into a sermon in the dance hall. Tubby dubs new life into the rhythm, pushing Tado to higher heights of inspiration
7. 'Mash It Up' - Doctor Alimantado
Previously unreleased, the good doctor tries a progressive thing over Delroy Wilson's Mash Up Illiteracy rhythm. Evidently Striker and Tubby didn't think it was working - you can hear both their voices clearly from midway, as well as Jazzbo deejaying in the background. The dub mix is excellent, with great delay effects courtesy Dr. Satan's echo chamber.
8. 'The Barber Feel It' - Doctor Alimantado & Jah Stitch
The rhythm track versioned here, Ali Baba, was originally a hit for John Holt on Treasure Isle in 1970; Striker built his version in 1975 for singer Jackie Edwards, then used it to create a series of records whose premise was a war between barbers and dreadlocks. Since on an earlier cut Tado had shot the barber, he celebrates the victory by riding around on a motorbike with Jah Stitch, laughing insanely at every barber shop, checking out the daughters and looking for a spliff.
9. 'Bury The Barber' - Jah Stitch
Stitch says last rites over the 'poor barber' on Striker's cut of Stealing, pausing to remark only that a woman was behind everything. Stitch made many good sides for Striker, interrupted only when he was shot in 1976. Miraculously, the bullet entered above his right ear and exited below his left, leaving the deejay alive. His first release after micro-surgery was the album No Dread Can't Dead.
10. 'Black Harmony Killer' - Jah Stitch
Just Say Who by Horace Andy is the backing track as Jah Stitch extols the virtues of the sound he deejayed during the mid-seventies. Stitch came to prominence on Tippertone Hi-Fi with Big Youth and Jah Wise. He was very popular in the UK with hits like Danger Zone Chapter 3 and this '76 soundboy killer.
11. 'Greedy Girl' - Jah Stitch
Horace Andy on the rhythm again, the "brother cool as candy" as Jah Stitch styles him, over one of the all time heavy bass lines.
12. 'Regular Girl' - Dillinger
On a version of the Studio One Mean Girl rhythm, Dillinger fashions a catchy 'singjay' track about a very friendly girl. Dillinger started when Alcapone used to give him the mike on El Paso in the early 'seventies, first recording with Lee Perry who gave him his stage name. He has recorded prolifically up to now, first hitting big internationally for Channel One in 1976 with CB200 and Cocaine.
13. 'Daylight Saving Time' - Dillinger
Over a version of Johnny Ace's R 'n' B opus The Clock by John Holt, Dillinger drops some snatches of nursery rhyme and slang using his best ragamuffin delivery.
14. 'Gal Boy I Roy' - Prince Jazzbo
Feuds have been a feature of Jamaican music ever since Prince Buster called Derrick Morgan a 'black head chinaman'. During 1975, Bunny had I. Roy, Derrick Morgan and Jazzbo name calling on record, just for fun. Jazzbo savages I. Roy on Cornell Campbell's Stars rhythm.
15. 'Good Memories' - Prince Jazzbo
Another Coxsone graduate, Jazzbo defends his way of life, praises the herb, and offers horticultural hints on a previously-unreleased version of Johnnie Clarke's Memories By The Score, a 'double-drum' recut of the Paragons' Treasure Isle classic.
16. 'Shuffle & Deal' - Prince Far I
Far I was toasting from the early sixties on El Toro Hi-Fi using the name King Cry Cry. Here he toasts his Deck Of Cards lyric over a tough bass and drum; he did the same lyric for Joe Gibbs in 1976. This track comes from early 1974, according to the tape box. Far I cut many brilliant records from mid-decade, when he started his own label Cry Tuff. He was tragically killed in summer 1983.
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