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Old 06-21-2009, 05:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Awesome thread. Two great threads regarding Reggae on MB. Essential learning!
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Lazer Beam - Don Carlos - Lazer Beam came out of a 1983 session produced by Bunny Lee with the Aggrovators and Sly and Robbie playing the riddim track. Don Carlos founded the stellar reggae group Black Uhuru in 1974 and left the band after one single to perform with a band called Gold. The 12 tracks recorded from the Bunny Lee sessions were the best work Don Carlos recorded in his post Black Uhuru years primarily because of Bunny Lee's minimalist dubwise production values.



War - Wailing Souls War was the Wailing Souls' 1976 epistle against violence in the Jamaican national elections. "War in the East, war in the West, rumors of war." Rumors swirled through the streets insisting the guns were supplied by the CIA, a charge later confirmed by numerous witnesses. As the carnage rose, fears grew of a U.S.-sponsored coup. That was untrue, but with the fall of the Allende's government in Chile still fresh in people's minds, the fear was real, and the violence seemingly unstoppable.

"War only bring destruction," the trio insisted, and so it proved. By the time the PNP swept the elections in December, over 100 Jamaicans lay dead, and much of the inner city ghetto had turned to ashes. Beyond the island, too, havoc reigned. 1976 was a blood strewn year, and the Souls also refer specifically to the terror raging in Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe).

This is the original 12" single of War with dub. The toaster sounds uncannily like U-Roy but in reality it was a 16 year old protege of U-Roy's named Ranking Trevor (Trevor Grant). Trevor was was a major force in the sound systems on both sides of the Atlantic during the roots age. Most of his recordings remain infuriatingly out of print, and his singles and albums, now with hefty price tags attached, are much sought after by collectors.



Police in Helicopter - John Holt is a militant anthem in response to the crackdown on herbs cultivation by the Jamaican police and the CIA in the early Eighties. In 1983 the Reagan CIA used crop dusters to spray the defoliant paraquat with crop dusters to kill the defoliate the marijuana crop. It caused a great deal of hardship on the island. The paraquat spraying was not only killing herbs crop, but killing the bread fruit, bananna and coconut harvest which are staples of a poor person's diet in Jamaica. I was in St. Ann's parish that year and personally witnessed the damage the paraquat spraying did to the food supply in the hills. You never heard about the epidemic of starvation in the bush and the hills of Jamaica because of the Reagan era paraquat spraying policy.

Police In Helipcopter was the ubiquitous song of the moment in Jamaican that year. Holt's defiant tone, threatening, "If you continue to burn up the herbs, we're going to burn down the cane fields." was an invocation of the Maroon rebellions in the days of slavery. Runaway outlaw slaves often returned at night to burn the fields of their British masters just before the sugar cane harvest during the Maroon rebellion.

It was produced by Henry Junjo Laws and the Roots Radics are the session band.

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Old 06-21-2009, 06:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Awesome thread. Two great threads regarding Reggae on MB. Essential learning!
I started the thread unaware of your fantasic thread of reggae albums with Bulldog and my intention was simply to share some of the songs that meant a lot to me during the golden age of roots reggae. Maybe this will create an new interest in the roots reggae style which has always been my first musical love.

Some of the most signifcant trends in contemporary mainstream pop were reggae innovations including the dancehall sound system, dub, and track remixing.

Most importantly, there would be no rap music today without U-Roy, Big Youth and the other Jamaican deejays exported the practice of toasting to the hip hop scene in the Bronx and Brooklyn in the Seventies. One of the reasons I've never been terribly fond of rap music is that U-Roy was rapping a long time before Kurtis Blow, the Furious Five or Run DMC.

U-Roy had better lyrics and a more refined delivery than any rapper. Theew are only two only American hip hop groups that come close to the political consciousness and lyrical sophistication of the original Jamaican toasters and dub poets were Arrested Development and Digable Planets.

Eminem for all of his supposed lyrical and rapping talents would be blown away by old school Jamaican toasters like U-Roy, Papa Levi or Charlie Chaplin in a rap throw-down.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The Music of Culture

Culture has always been my favorite reggae band. Part of my love of Culture had to do with my friendship with Joesph Hill, the charismatic singer and songwriter for the group.

I first met Joseph in 1982 when I hosted a dinner for the Culture and the Roots Radics during an east coast tour in support of their newly released album on the St. Louis based Nighthawk Records. After that dinner and rambunctious game of soccer in the park across the street, Joesph was distraught about not having a suitcase to carry all of his albums he purchased in the USA back to Jamaica. I gave him one of my cheap pieces of luggage and from that point on Joseph called me the Suitcase Man and that became my permanent street name whenever we visited.

Culture's material was devoted almost exclusively to spiritual, social, and political messages, and Hill delivered them with a fervent intensity that grouped him with Rastafarian militants like Burning Spear and Black Uhuru. Off stage Joseph was quiet and diminutive man who only stood about 5' 6" tall but his stage personnae transformed him into a towering lion of Rastafari.

Over the years he'd visit me at home or the radio station whenever he was on tour and I visited him at his family home at Linestead in St. Catherine Parish in Jamaica. Joseph was generous with his time and despite his devout Rastafarianism had a wicked sense of humor. Joseph was always gracious to my friends and taught me much a about life and music. Through Joseph I met the Itals, Albert Griffiths and the Gladiators and the Tamlins who also became vistors to my home and my reggqae radio show in Boston whenever they were touring the East Coast. I was heartbroken when Joseph collapsed on stage in Berlin and died unexpectedly in August 2006.

Dem A Payaka - Culture The anthem on behalf of the youths was produced Sylvian Morris at Harry J.'s studio with the Roots Radics providing the riddims It. is one of my favorite Culture tunes. The lyrics on on the YouTube screen. It was released on that Nighthawk collection called Calling Rastafari in 1982.



This Time - Culture This Time came out of the same Harry J./Roots Radics session and in another cry for justice on behalf of the youths of the ghetto.

Some of the lyrics:
Quote:
Burning an illusion in Babylon (3 x)

Ia seh If Babylon kill one more rastaman, I seh,
The sun will stop from shining
The grass will stop from growing

Blood, blood, blood ina Babylon (3 x)
This time...no other time
This time...we're not waiting any longer
This time... it's time to come over
This time.... the youths are crying out
This time

Babylon is your turn to go on the cross...this time
No other time, the youths request it now

Fire fire fire ina Babylon (3 times)


International Herb - Culture Culture's joyful ode to the use of the herbs. Virgin's original 1979 LP version of International Herb generated some controversy thanks to its front cover, which showed Culture's members smoking large spliffs while standing in front of a tall, bushy marijuana plant. Marijuana advocates loved the cover, marijuana opponents hated it.

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Old 06-22-2009, 07:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I only have a Peel Session as far as Culture goes but i've played it to death, this serves as a reminder!
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:22 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I only have a Peel Session as far as Culture goes but i've played it to death, this serves as a reminder!
Culture was a prolific group with many good albums. In the two year span of 1978 and 1979, Culture released five different albums all of which are considered reggae classics:
  • Baldhead Bridge (1978)
  • Harder Than the Rest (1978)
  • Two Sevens Clash (1978)
  • Columbo (1979)
  • International Herbs (1979)
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Three Early Eighties Monster Hits from Henry "Junjo" Lawes and the Roots Radics

Henry "Junjo" Lawes had no studio of his own but usually worked out of Channel One Recording Studio at Maxfield Avenue, north of Spanish Town Road. His session band of choice was the Roots Radics. Lawes is important because he established himself as the leading producer of the next generation's dancehall sound. He discovered and first recorded Barrington Levy, Frankie Paul and Eek-A-Mouse.

During the early Eighties Junjo produced such smash hits as Diseases by Michigan and Smiley, Wa Do Dem by Eek A Mouse, Water Pumping by Johnny Osbourne, Under Mi Sensi by Barrington Levy, Rocking Dolly by Cocoa Tea, Ram Jam Dancehall by Charlie Chaplin, Zungguzunggugguzungguzeng by Yellow Man and the Wailing Soul's classic lp Firehouse Rock. No producer in the history of reggae was as attuned to the sound of the street and voices of the youths as Junjo.


Pass the Tu Sheng Peng - Frankie Paul Another monster hit in 1984 from producer Henry Junjo Lawes. The hook on this one was the brass arrangement of Norweigan Wood to counterpoint the bubbin' riddims of the Roots Radics.




Please Jah Jah - Barrington Levy Barrington Levy is letting loose with the bounciest sufferer's song around. It's Friday, but he didn't get paid, he ends up in jail, and didn't get no bail, no wonder he's crying out to Jah for justice. The Radics fiery backing perfectly complement the singer's aggrieved tones, as he wails over his misfortune, shouting out to Jah for relief. A classic.



Prison Oval Rock - Barrington Levy This song came from the same session as Please Jah Jah and was another smash hit. On all three songs you can hear the emerging trademark dancehall style as it was being perfected by Junjo and the Roots Radics... The bubblin' percision of the Radics, the use of reverb on vocals, one-drop rim shots from drummer Style Scott, and the use of dubwise mixing board techniques. The Radics also did double duty as Gregory Isaac's studio and touring band.

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Old 06-23-2009, 07:54 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Three Hits from Lee Scratch Perry's Black Ark

Life Is Not Easy - Meditations This is the original 10 minute dub single of Life Is Not Easy that was a big hit for the Meditations in 1978. The dub plate version includes a special appearance by the legenday Black Ark cow. The video opens up with of a joyful Perry at the sound board during the session. Lee always worked the board standing up and dancing.




Fisherman - Congos From the masterpiece album 1978 Heart of the Congos which many reggae enthusiasts consider the best roots reggae album that ever came out of the Black Ark Studios. The duo of Cedric Myton and Roy "Ashanti" Johnson had a unique sound, revolving around the former man's crystalline falsetto, which was set off by the latter's rich tenor. The mighty Meditations provide the background vocals on the track. The video has amazing footage of a community fishing event that looks like it was filmed around Negril.



Beat Down Babylon - Junior Byles This 1972 smash hit complete with Perry's use of the bullwhip effect was a crucial song in the forthcoming dub revolution. It's the first Lee Perry production I ever heard and it blew me away. Sorry about the sound quality but it's this vinyl to digital master was the only copy of Beat Down Babylon on YouTube.

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Old 06-23-2009, 07:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Dread Ina Englan- the UK Scene
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin B. View Post
Culture was a prolific group with many good albums. In the two year span of 1978 and 1979, Culture released five different albums all of which are considered reggae classics:
  • Baldhead Bridge (1978)
  • Harder Than the Rest (1978)
  • Two Sevens Clash (1978)
  • Columbo (1979)
  • International Herbs (1979)
Two Sevens Clash is lovely, it's not hitting me as hard as the Aswad and Burning Spear albums i've been listening to lately but there's some low key loveliness there certainly. Title track is still a tune.
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