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zeppy111 06-12-2009 07:09 AM

Great thread and it is only just beginning I hope.

After reading through it a bit and listening to a couple of the videos I went out and bought Peter Tosh's album that you two recommend and played it in the car on the way home and now again back on the sound system, very interesting and a new experience of music. GREAT ALBUM! Going to have to pick up a few more of those albums.

jackhammer 06-13-2009 08:15 AM

The first review is bulldogs and the second is mine.

Fashioned by the legendary production duo, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, Sinsemilla was the first Black Uhuru album to be distributed to international markets, getting them well and truly on the road to the mainstream success they'd find in later years. Despite operating as a trio, this was essentially a Michael Rose solo album, seeing as he sang all the lead vocals using his own lyrics. The Dunbar and Shakespeare duo provide this album with its pumping, lively rhythms. In spite of peddling these kinds of infectious dancehall rhythms, Rose's lyrics are as revolutionary and radical as any of his roots reggae contemporaries, extolling the virtues of some kind of plant or other (apparently it gets you 'stoned' or something if you smoke it), opposing apartheid and so forth.

At its heart then, this is another textbook roots album, but it also has that kind of danceable quality from the Dunbar/Shakespeare-implimented rhythm section, which gives things an interesting edge. Another real essential of roots reggae then.

Jacob Miller & Inner Circle- Forward Jah Jah Children (Compilation)

The first few tracks on here feature the original Inner Circle vocalist but once jacob Miller joined, the band galvanised themselves and became one of Jamacia's favourite roots/rockers band featuring the bionic man himself Miller.

Once again we are treated to some hard skanking roots Reggae with Millers soulful voice topping the mixture off. he sadly died at the age of 27 in a road crash but he left behind a fantastic voice, some stirring socio-political lyrics and with his band; some fantastic music.

Muzak 06-14-2009 05:32 PM

damn this thread is awesome. I'm gonna have to give this list a thorough run through to build up my library!

Bulldog 06-15-2009 08:10 AM

Thanks for reading everyone. There's tons of wonderful reggae out there, and we hope this thread does it all justice.

Moving on...

Dancehall Reggae & Lover's Rock

It's about time we started the second list, a joint effort between dancehall and lover's rock. First off, let's define the two. Dancehall reggae gets its name simply from where reggae was played live by DJs in so-called sound systems in the late 70s and early 80s. Social and political changes in Jamaica saw the rise of a much more localised market for the new generation of reggae stars, as opposed to the internationally-oriented roots reggae of yesteryear, as well as lyrics changing their focus to violence, dancing and sexuality. Noticeably, the rhythms tended to give off a more lively, pumping sort of vibe, as opposed to the mostly groove-oriented rhythms of roots, giving the reggae of DJs like Yellowman, General Echo and Eek a Mouse a new edge to it.

Lover's rock started off a few years earlier, boasting roots in the earliest reggae of the 60s. It basically serves as a counter-genre to the politically-aware and socially conscious roots and (to an extent) dancehall reggae with its own much more romantic lyrics, as peddled most successfully by artists like Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Freddie McGregor.

What links it with dancehall is that, like dancehall, its rhythms evolved from the bare backbone of the groove-based roots reggae vibe. In lover's rock's case this comes mainly from the combination of the smooth sounds of Chicago and Philadelphia soul with roots rhythms. Both are the forms of reggae which boomed after roots went bust. Plus it's a lot less complicated to do things this way too.

So, I'll just talk about a couple of albums in a moment or two...

Bulldog 06-15-2009 08:39 AM

Barrington Levy - Here I Come (1985)

As one of the big names of the dancehall movement Barrington Levy, unlike a lot of his contemporaries, didn't start work in music in the sound systems of Jamaica, but instead as a bona fide solo artist who'd released some four albums before this one and established himself firmly within the Jamaican music industry. His big comeback after a few years' hiatus from recording through the early 80s, and the scorer of his first international hit, remains the pinnacle of his career and an absolute essential of dancehall. Like the best of the scene, the punchy bass rhythms are absolutely wonderful, pushed right up in the mix along with the dub-esque reverb on the drums, which brings out the key difference between roots and dancehall for the listener - that of the focus coming away from the lyrics and towards the rhythms. Basically, this is one of the essential dancehall albums. For anyone who needs such a point of reference, personally I can hear a lot of Matisyahu's sound in the livelier cuts here (seeing as it does slow down in places with a few lover's rock songs). Stellar stuff!

Eek a Mouse - Wa-Do-Dem (1981)

Eek a Mouse, born Ripton Joseph Hylton (oddly enough), was one of the superstar DJs of the Jamaican dancehall scene, had released a few roots singles and worked on several sound systems before recording any albums, which stand up as a prime example of dancehall reggae by the numbers. Wa-Do-Dem though, which announced his arrival among the hitmakers with singles like its title track, remains his finest achievement. The song in the video below is the perfect example of how dancehall differs from roots - the backbone which holds up countless roots songs is definitely still there, but swamped with danceable bass rhythms and, in that song's case at least, uses dub-style reverb to spice things up a bit. This is definitely one of the first dancehall albums you should look for.

jamstar 06-15-2009 10:05 AM

There are some great roots albums reflected on this thread. Great Stuff! The '70s was the period where roots really dominated the reggae market and it was a great time for quality of music coming out of Ja. I happen to love all the albums already mentioned here. I would add music by the Mighty Diamonds ("Right Time") and Israel Vibration ("Same Song").


Bulldog 06-15-2009 02:47 PM

Israel Vibration and Mighty Diamonds are indeed the shizz. I've got a handful of songs by both but unfortunately no albums, a position I intend to do something about in the near future.

zeppy111 06-15-2009 03:01 PM

I went to the store today and spent about an hour going through the reggae stuff, which is so cheap compared to the rest of the store and picked out about 7 albums which I got them to keep behind the counter for me, to pick up in the next week. Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, U-roy, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs and Jimmy Cliff - An album each from them.

Keep the great reviews coming!

Antonio 06-15-2009 03:11 PM

i'll look a bit more into Steel Pulse and Aswad. i haven't gotten to the rest of it yet, but i will when i get back from school

thanks for the thread :thumb:

jackhammer 06-15-2009 05:09 PM

Dancehall & Lover's Rock are both my least prefered genres of Reggae so don't expect too much from my picks. Dub is ma thang! Nice picks though Bulldog. I will add my next two tomorrow.

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