Sound System International Dub LP

Dub Star - The Dynamites
Kingston Dub Town - The Dynamites
King Of Kings - King Stitt
Joe - The Dynamites
Dance Beat - King Stitt / Clancy Eccles
Garrison - The Dynamites
Red Moon - The Dynamites
King Tubby's City Dub - The Dynamites
Phantom - Andy Capp / The Dynamites
I For I - King Stitt
King Banga - The Dynamites
Down Town - The Dynamites
Uptown Shuffle Dub - The Dynamites
House Of Darkness - The Dynamites
Tribute To Drumbago - The Dynamites

"Do you remember when the dance used to keep out a Wildman Street? True true
And music them days there used to real gone sweet?"
Clancy & Stitt: 'Real Gone Beat' 1970

Born 9th December 1940 near Highgate in the parish of St. Mary Clancy Eccles' father was a tailor who sewed dungarees and Clancy too originally trained as a tailor; he would later create and fashion his own highly individual stage costumes. He "went out on the road" at the age of fifteen working in the North Coast resort of Ocho Rios where he served drinks and sang "a few Belafonte songs" for the tourists. But Clancy was far more interested in the music of American rhythm & blues artists such as Ray Charles, Roscoe Gordon and Lloyd Price and, in 1959, he moved to Kingston where he made his first recording for Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd.

"You remember Forrester's Hall and Jubilee?
Lord! Carnival and Chocomo?
See it there my friend?"
Clancy & Stitt: 'Dance Beat'' 1970

'Freedom', a rhythm & blues based tune infused with a revivalist fervour, played extensively on acetate on Coxsone's Downbeat Sound System before it was eventually released on Mr. Dodd's All Stars label. His next recording for Coxsone, 'River Jordan' where Clancy was backed by Herman Hersang & His City Slickers, was also released on All Stars and was another massive hit. He went on to record for a variety of different producers including Charlie Moo's Moo's label, Lindon O. Pottinger's SEP set up and "a calypso for a lady with the Jamaican Military Band".

"Dance beat. Real sweet. Dance beat. Real sweet..."
Clancy & Stitt: 'Dance Beat'' 1970

Clancy started his own Clandisc, Clansone and New Beat labels in 1967 operating out of his tailors and record shop at 122 Orange Street and, just like Clancy's clothes, his music was always made to measure. His winsome rock steady 'What Will Your Mama Say', from 1967, proved to be his biggest ever hit in both Jamaica and the UK. One of the first releases on the Palmer Brothers' Pama label 'What Will Your Mama Say' was a huge underground success and narrowly missed entering the UK National Charts despite repeated plays on the offshore 'pirate' ship Radio Caroline.

Clancy, together with Lee 'Scratch' Perry and Bunny 'Striker' Lee was instrumental in the all important transition from rock steady to reggae in 1968. 'Feel The Rhythm' was comparable, both lyrically and rhythmically, to Lee Perry's renowned 'People Funny Boy' and was another huge hit in the UK when it was released on Graeme Goodall's Doctor Bird label.

"If you try to reach the top they will want to see you drop
And if you don't try at all, yeah, the people call you lazy bwoy..."
Clancy Eccles: 'Feel The Rhythm' 1968

Clancy worked with the multi talented Dynamites, the undisputed number one session band of their time, on all his recording sessions. The same set of musicians, give or take one or two, worked for all the top producers of the period but The Dynamites can be heard at their very best on Clancy's recordings.

"To me the group of musicians I worked with sounded like something was going to explode. Well to get a strong explosion you need dynamite! At the time it proved to be the number one recording group in Jamaica. Everybody wanted to work with them: Duke Reid, Leslie Kong and Dynamic Sounds." Clancy Eccles

"Winston Wright's organ was spot on, Hux Brown's lead guitar added special texture to the rhythm and the rest of The Dynamites chugged away making some of the best music they'd ever recorded." Chris Lane

After radically rearranging the reggae rhythm Clancy went on to produce a series of records in 1970 with King Stitt (pronounced Stitch) that were to introduce the deejay phenomenon. A number of records that featured deejays were released during the sixties but their contributions usually remained uncredited and it was not until Clancy took Stitt into the recording studio that the art of the deejay would be officially recognised.

"Ca when him record tune U-Roy no record no music yet... I-Roy no record no music yet. Big Youth no record no music yet..." Keith Hudson

"No matter what the people say these sounds lead the way
It's the order of the day from your boss deejay I King Stitt"
King Stitt: 'Fire Corner' 1970

King Stitt, was born Winston George Sparkes on September 17th 1940 in Jubilee Hospital, Kingston, started deejaying for Coxsone's Downbeat Sound System in 1957 as "second to King Sporty". 'The Ugly One' never let his disfigured facial features get in the way of his career. His style, firmly rooted in the older Jamaican deejaying tradition, was heavily influenced by American radio announcers and typified by inventive introductions and inspired exhortations. The recordings Stitt made with Clancy demonstrate how the lyrical interjections and interruptions from the foundation deejays would build up excitement in a dance by adding their own original observations to the records as they played.

"Spar? Do you remember the deejays them?
Oh! The bad, bad Red Hopeton. A funny, funny man...
You remember Count Matchuki? A him the boss with the hot soul sauce!
...You remember Brother Sticky? A him play the chi chi down a studio now..."
Clancy & Stitt: 'Dance Beat'' 1970

Clancy Eccles and King Stitt opened the door for Ewart 'U-Roy' Beckford and every other deejay for ever after to "keep on coming through" and when U-Roy began to "wake the town and tell the people" Stitt, despite his on record objections was rapidly overtaken by U-Roy's ubiquitous Treasure Isle recordings.

"You say you rule the nation with versions... Well I'm the king of kings I rule kingdoms
Keep on coming in and swing! This is King Stitt's thing!"
King Stitt: 'King Of Kings' 1970

That same year, before it had been given a name, Clancy produced one of the first ever dub mixes entitled 'Phantom', a startling drum and bass interpretation of King Stitt & Andy Capp's 'Herb Man', mixed by Lynford 'Andy Capp' Anderson and released on Clancy's Dynamite label. His next foray into the genre 'Sound System International Dub LP' was also way ahead of the pack: dub now had a name but Clancy's 'Dub LP' still required the additional explanation in its title. The style of rhythms indicate that it was a very early venture and, almost perversely, the album ignores Clancy's better known tracks, apart from 'Kingston Town' and 'Herb Man', and instead delves deep into his back catalogue. Mixed as an entire album by King Tubby at his Dromilly Avenue studio the style is sparse and clear throughout. Tubby stripped down Clancy's productions to the essential drum and bass elements with minimal use of vocals: a sample or two at the beginning and a drop in here and there. The music and Tubby's mixing do the talking.

"Great intuitive timing. Literally conducting the music through the mixing desk. Like a great electronic orchestra of sound... in total control of the musical elements... in harmony with the music and the studio." Pete Holdsworth

Good music, properly recorded, is the foundation of all good dub mixes. Once the music is taken back to its component parts, and more and more is taken away, the musicianship and the quality of the recording have to stand on their own merits. Without a strong original vocal or instrumental track to work from dub is all style and no substance: the form outweighs the content and the whole exercise becomes meaningless. The juxtaposition here of the tight, top quality musicians coupled with Tubby's unexpected twists and turns is what makes this set so different and so very special.

"You love the rhythm, you feel the rhythm, you got the rhythm, upset the rhythm..."
Clancy Eccles: 'Feel The Rhythm' 1968

However, The Dynamites, through their work with Leslie Kong's Beverley's label and the crossover hits of Jimmy Cliff, The Pioneers and The Maytals, were now perceived to be the uptown, crossover sound of 1969 'pop' flavoured reggae. This did not sit comfortably with the music's new found audience who preferred their reggae to come with a little more 'mysticism'. The sound of The Soul Syndicate, The Aggrovators and The Revolutionaries was everywhere and The Dynamites were considered to be passé. Once again Clancy had opened the door for others to come through and capitalise on his innovations.

A lifelong socialist, "I was taught socialism from birth", Clancy believed that music could be a genuine force for change and he actually stood up to be counted: not content to sit back and sing about the system he actively set about to change the status quo. An outspoken supporter of the People's National Party, led by the charismatic Michael Manley, Clancy recruited other artists and musicians to the PNP cause. In 1971 Clancy helped to organise many of Kingston's top stars, including Ken Boothe, Derrick Harriott, Bob Marley, Max Romeo and Delroy Wilson, to play on the PNP 'Bandwagon'. Clancy not only issued powerful political anthems such as his own 'Rod Of Correction' and 'The Message' by Neville Martin but he also released 'Power For The People': a record that included excerpts from his speeches transcribed by Clancy, "I still have the typed copy in my house", for Michael Manley to read over a backing rhythm in the recording studio.

"We won a landslide victory in 1972. Unquestionably, Bandwagon and the protest music to be found in early reggae contributed much to that success." Michael Manley

After the 1972 election Michael Manley asked Clancy to form a committee to advise the Prime Minister on copyright and musicians' rights but Clancy felt that his contributions were not being taken seriously by the more conservative elements in the government and "I just didn't go back..." Matters worsened and, according to Clancy, the radio stations would no longer play his records because of his support for the PNP.

"For years I didn't get any airplay and it forced me out of the record business... They didn't understand the songs were not done for Manley but for the people who were looking for a change." Clancy Eccles

He continued to record sporadically but ceased recording almost completely in 1977 in protest against increases in the price of records and, during the period of reggae's greatest overground success, the pioneering work of Clancy Eccles, one of its undisputed originators, was completely overlooked.

"Dance beat. Real sweet. Dance beat. Real sweet..."
Clancy & Stitt: 'Dance Beat'' 1970

Although Clancy built his music with an acute awareness of what his audience wanted he was often to progressive. He created a music that was built to last but the burnished beauty of his productions, at the forefront of reggae, deejays and dub, and his penetrating political stance did not always fit in with the tenor of the times. His commitment to music making and his belief in its power to effect social change really were the real thing. Clancy enjoyed good health throughout his life but died tragically in Spanish Town Hospital on 30th June 2005 following a heart attack. We sincerely hope that this release will lead to a long overdue critical reassessment of his towering importance and significance to the development of Jamaican music.

"You can't scrap it! You must have to hop it"
Watch it! Don't catch it!"
Clancy & Stitt: 'Dance Beat'' 1970

Harry Wise - July 2009

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