Pressure Sounds | Savage Jaw

More Pressure Vol.1 - Straight To The Head

Diverse Doctrine - Ras Ibuna
Diverse Doctrine Version - The Village Bunch
The Way It Is - Ricky Storm
The Way It Is Version - Ricky Storm
We Shall Over Come - Michael Rose
Over Come - The Key
Skyjack - Bongo Gene
Skyjack Version - Bongo Gene All Stars
Free Meal Ticket - Cornell Campbell
The Winner - Barrington Levy (12")
Nuh Chuck It - Dillinger
Chucky Dub - The Hardy Boys
Free For All - Tafari Syndicate
All For Free - Tafari Syndicate
Folk Song - Uhuru
Folk Song Version - The Freedom Singers
Eight Against Rome Version - The Mercenaries

Off the record...

"The human family now exists under conditions of a global village. We live in a constricted space resonant with tribal drums..."
Marshall McLuhan

It might perhaps be a bit too literal to apply the above to the album you are now holding but it does somehow illustrate the differences between trying to buy the records on this set when they were first released and buying them now.

Previously the only way to hear the majority of the records on 'More Pressure Volume One' was to be one of the obdurate few who, back in the seventies, were willing to trail round from shop to shop, waist their time and perhaps endure a little bit of embarrassment in order to get themselves in a position to buy these highly prized items. it is not an attempt to talk up the product to say how fortunate you are to be able to buy this album. Buying these records was never that easy. Getting to hear them was not a lot easier.

"A sound system man... must have the very latest records from Jamaica, those that will never be heard in England by anyone but the sound system followers. Those that will never be heard anywhere without his efforts..."
Carl Gayle

It is probably difficult to think back to a time when reggae really was a completely underground music. it seems nothing short of incredible that now all anyone has to do is pop into a local chain store or tap some digits into your computer in order to obtain complete, lovingly presented and painstakingly annotated collections of these once unspeakably rare and hard to obtain items. Over the past decade Pressure Sounds, and other similarly inclined labels, have aimed towards making the best in vintage Jamaican music readily available to everyone everywhere. All that is required is a love of the music and a desire to join in and pass it on.

"...but it's a fact even if their appeal is somewhat esoteric at the same time. But to appreciate reggae music fully you have to take the trouble to find out what these 'unknown' artists are singing or shouting about."
Carl Gayle

It was also worth taking the trouble to try and find out who these 'unknown' artists were but some of the singers and deejays never made more than a handful of releases and their stories were never heard; others went on to find a measure of fame and fortune but they all live on forever through their records. The pioneering Jamaican music producers and engineers were among the first to realise the importance and relevance of recorded sound and they made full use of the limitless possibilities that came with creating music in the studio. they were not attempting to reproduce a 'live' sound but to make a music that would live through the records.

One of the long term problems with Jamaican music has always been that no-one involved ever thought of it as a long term proposition until it was too late and, in many cases, original tapes no longer exist and the majority of this set has been mastered from original records. It is worth repeating that many of the records sound the way they do because the cutting engineer (often Dennis Thompson at Randy's Studio 17) would create a mix as the tape ran and the stylus was cutting the seven inch mastering laquer. Master tapes of these sounds do not exist... the record itself was the master.

Diverse Doctrine - Ras Ibuna
Diverse Doctrine Version - The Village Bunch
A record that defines all that is good and true about Jamaican music and Ras Ibuna's willful defiance in the face of adversity is uplifting in the extreme. On the strength of this release Karl Pitterson, better known as one of Jamaica's finest recording engineers, should have got in the producer's seat a bit more regularly.

The Way It Is - Ricky Storm (I Kong)
The Way It It Version - Ricky Storm (I Kong)
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want..."
Psalm 23 A Psalm Of David

This inspirational release from Ricky Storm (aka I Kong) has achieved legendary status over the years and demonstrates where real roots music begins and ends. Tommy Cowan, vocalist with The Jamaicans harmony trio in the sixties and director of Talent Corp. artist management in the seventies, produced this classic while at Dynamic Studios:

"My job with all the companies I worked for was to get records to hit. \the last year when I left Dynamic (1973) we had the number one record every month of the year."
Tommy Cowan

This mesmerising masterpiece was re-released in 1979 on Tommy's Top Ranking label with a new version side that featured subdued contributions from Augustus Pablo but here we present both the haunting vocal and version sides of the original Top Cat release.

We Shall Overcome -Michael Rose
Over Come - The Key
A seriously obscure solo release from Michael Rose for New York based producer Sol Rauch that illustrates all the signs for his subsequent trajectory to world stardom with Black Uhuru. Michael Rose's lyrical preoccupations always remained firmly rooted in truths and rights and his 'Waterhouse' style of singing would prove to be massively influential on an entire generation of singers during the following decade.

Skyjack - Bongo Gene Campbell
Skyjack Version - Bongo Gene All Stars
Reggae's newly self appointed expert's had started to write off the music as being past its peak by the time this gem appeared as 1977 drew to a close. However, they still grudgingly considered that the instrumental 'version' side of 'Skyjack' with its beautiful uncredited horns solo set against a seriously heavy dub mix was worth consideration but that it recalled the music's so called 'classic' era. However, there was endless classic music still to come.

Free Meal Ticket - Cornell Campbell
The themes of keeping one's dignity and sharing love against a background of extreme poverty in The Winston's USA recording of 'Love Of The Common People' touched a nerve in the ghettos of Kingston and Nicky Thomas achieved a UK Top Ten crossover hit in 1970 when he sang the song for Joe Gibbs. Former Eternal Cornell Campbell expanded and expounded on the same theme for his Trojan release 'Jah Jah Me Horn Ya' and returned to it for this 1977 self production released on the EJI label. A serious obscurity that deserves to be more widely known and is guaranteed to mash up the dance whenever a discerning deejay chooses to play it out.

The Winner (Twelve Inch Version) - Barrington Levy
Barrington Levy burst on the scene in the late seventies in partnership with Henry 'Junjo' Lawes and it did not take long for him to establish himself in the top flight of Jamaican vocalists. His records for 'Junjo' and the Hookims at Channel One laid many of the rules for the eighties dancehall explosion (see PSCD 22 'When The Dances Were Changing'). The dub mixing featured here, taken from the USA twelve inch release of this brooding masterpiece, is truly penomenal.

No Chuck It - Dillinger
Chucky Dub - The Hardy Boys
'Jamaica the land of wood and water... now becomes motor vehicle and manslaughter"

The opening lines of Dillinger's excellent version to Rod Taylor's 'Bad Man Comes And Goes' set the tone for this blistering release and also for much of his careering career. Brimming over with lyrical invention Dillinger was the undisputed top deejay of the mid-seventies with a non-stop string of hits ofwhich this particular track was something of an all time high.

Free For All - Tafari Syndicate
All For Free - Tafari Syndicate
The first cut of 'Free For All', an adaptation of Jackie Mittoo's Studio One release 'Autumn Sounds', has been the theme music on the Pressure Sounds website for a number of years and has prompted many, many enquiries. Originally released on a Tafari seven inch in Jamaica it subsequently became the title track for the extremely rare Tafari dub LP released in New York on the Aires label. The second cut 'All For Free' was entitled 'Red Up Paluka' on Jamaican release and was a reference to Little Roy's nickname of 'Paluka' around the Packin' House. (For more beautiful Tafari music see Little Roy's 'Tafari Earth Uprising' PSCD 06 and also 'Packin' House' PSCD 26).

Folk Song - Uhuru (The Sound Of Freedom)
Version - The Freedom Singers
Garth Dennis, Derrick 'Ducky' Simpson and Don McCarlos as Uhuru harmonise here on a roots rendition of Curtis Mayfield's incredible 'Romancing To The Folk Song' that should need no further explanation. Whole books could be written about the importance of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions and their contribution to the development of Jamaican music but for now, this short, sharp lesson in the strength and power of music and its everlasting influence will suffice.

Eight Against Rome Version - The Mercenaries
This enduring popularity of 'Death In The Arena' has ensured its place on the pantheon of all time classic Jamaican rhythms. Alton Ellis' uncredited appearance, deejaying along with the Soul Vendors, on 'Whipping The Prince' had set the rhythm in motion in 1968 and this cut featuring a wild, if at times inappropriate, melodica shredding of the rhythm continues in that same mix and match tradition. One eminent expert noted "this really cleans your ears out..."

So, for the record, there we have it. A superb selection of some of the best records ever made by anyone anywhere that we fervently trust you will enjoy every bit as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Watch out for Volume Two...

Harry Hawke - January 2006

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