Monday, October 8, 2018

Desmond Dekker - The Writing On The Wall

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"Before Bob Marley, before even Jimmy Cliff, there was Desmond Dekker, the self-styled original rude boy who with his 1968 international hit "Israelites" put Jamaica and its skewed, unique, upside-down take on pop music firmly on the map. Unfortunately, "Israelites" is not included in this set of early Dekker sides recorded between 1963 and 1970, and neither is the enduring "007 (Shanty Town)," so this isn't the first place for casual listeners to sample Dekker's work, but it is a nice look at his early ska sides, including "Honour Your Mother and Father" from 1963, the Jimmy Cliff-like "I Believe," and the loopy but infectious "Mother Pepper." Also worth noting is "I've Got the Blues" where the normally sweet-toned Dekker roughs things up a bit and turns himself into a pretty convincing soul shouter."

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Delroy Wilson - Cool Operator

"Regarded as the first Jamaican child singing star, Delroy George Wilson was born on October 5, 1948. Wilson began his recording career at the age of 13 while still a student at Boy’s Town Primary School. Barely out of short pants, he recorded his first single, ”Emmy Lou”, for Producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. His early years with Dodd yielded a number of ska hits, the biggest of which was the Lee Perry- penned “Joe Liges”, an attack on rival producer and former Dodd artist, Prince Buster. Wilson later followed up with “Spit in the Sky”, yet another lyrical attack on Buster. But it didn’t stop there, Wilson went on to record:
  • One, Two, Three
  • I Shall Not Remove
  • Look who is Back (Duet with Sun Smith)
  • Prince Pharaoh (the only recording featuring Coxsone)
It was in the mid 60’s when Wilson’s voice began to mature and as he left his teenage years behind that he began to transition from ska to rocksteady. This would be his peak production period. His songs included one of the first rocksteady hit records, “Dancing Mood”, and also Jerking Time, Feel Good All Over, I’m not a King, True Believer in Love, Rain from the Skies, Conquer Me, and Won’t You Come Home”, a duet with Ken Boothe. His hit with Boothe went on to become one of the most versioned tracks ever.
Wilson left Studio One and recorded tracks for other labels before him and his fellow artists created their own “D&C” label in 1972. Under this label he recorded the song “Better Must Come”, a song that was later used as the People’s National Party political slogan and campaign song. This same year Wilson recorded the hit “Cool Operator”, which later became his nickname.
It was in 1976 that Wilson recorded “I’m Still Waiting”, which met with some crossover success. This was followed by “Last Thing on My Mind”, which sailed up the Jamaican music charts to occupy the #1 spot.
In his later life, Wilson drifted in and out of the limelight. He eventually died on March 6, 1995, due to complications of liver disease. He will always be remembered for his earlier works. His son Karl “Konan” Wilson is carrying on his legacy to this day." Exquisite Soul 

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bob Andy - Retrospective

As a founding member of the Paragons, Bob Andy began his musical career at Studio One, and it was from there that he launched himself as a solo singer. Coxsone Dodd bundled up the best of these early cuts for Andy's Song Book album, and thus Retrospective looks mostly beyond his work at Studio One. However, two songs are drawn from the Dodd era -- 1968's bubbly sufferer's song "Let Them Stay" and the 1970 romantic masterpiece "Desperate Lover," later covered by Taj Mahal. By the time that latter 45 hit the shops, Andy had already linked with Marcia Griffiths, with the duo storming across the Jamaican charts and up the U.K. listings with a stream of pop and reggae-lite singles. Simultaneously, Andy was penning more hits for a solo Griffiths, as well as for himself. Although the more pop-flecked John Holt was responsible for the bulk of the Paragons' hits, Andy was arguably the better songwriter. One of his best was "You Don't Know," an extraordinarily poignant, cultural number, that elegantly presented both believers' and outsiders' views of Rastafarians. Andy revisited this on the infectious "Nyah," but then strictly from the believer's viewpoint. An eloquent discourse on getting the most out of "Life" is just as strong, as is "Fire Burning," one of the most unusual apocalyptic numbers ever recorded, a sublime pop piece that gives a gentle musical but vivid lyrical warning of the coming Armageddon. "Life" was produced by Harry Johnson and "Fire" by Lloyd Charmers, while Andy himself oversaw "You Don't Know." All three come from the first half of the '70s, the period from which virtually this entire set was drawn. From stunning cultural numbers -- "Hell a Go Broke Loose" is also worth noting -- to emotive romantic pieces, and across uplifting messages, like the show-stopping "Too Proud to Beg" to sound system rousers, Retrospective proudly showcases Andy at his most magnificent. With his unforgettable lyrics and his superb performances, Andy was an absolute phenomenon during this era, and this set is the ultimate proof of that.

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Beres Hammond - Love Affair & Collectors Series

One of the most under-appreciated reggae artists of his time, Beres Hammond was something of a throwback during his '90s heyday: a soulful crooner indebted to classic rocksteady and American R&B, one who preferred live instrumentation and wrote much of his own material. Hammond specialized in romantic lovers rock, but he also found time to delve into light dancehall, conscious roots reggae, hip-hop fusion, and straight-up contemporary R&B. He was born Hugh Beresford Hammond on August 28, 1955, in Annotto Bay, in the Jamaican province of St. Mary. Hammond grew up listening to his father's collection of American R&B (Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, etc.) and jazz, and also fell in love with native Jamaican music during the ska and rocksteady eras; his primary influence was Alton Ellis, and he also listened to the likes of Peter Tosh, the Heptones, and Ken Boothe.


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Monday, October 1, 2018

Cocoa Tea - Israel's King

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Augustus 'Gussie' Clarke - Gussie Presenting the Right Tracks, Disc 1 & 2

VP Records and 17 North Parade present “The Right Tracks” a newly compiled, 40 re-mastered track set chronicling the work of Producer Augustus “Gussie” Clarke. In some of his earliest work (featured here), Gussie Clarke has shown his distinctive talent and created a rich legacy in music that continues to resonate decades later.
The 2 CD package features collectable ‘Gussie’ productions from the 1970s and is a true parade of Jamaican greats with: Horace Andy, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Augustus Pablo, Leroy Smart Jacob Miller and more.

Tracklist:
The Right Track – Tommy McCook
Guiding Star – Leroy Sibbles
Scorch Special – Simplicity People
Gussie Special – Simplicity People
Classical Illusion (12” Version) – Augustus Pablo
Oh No I Can’t Believe – Gregory Isaacs
Believe A Dub – Augustus Pablo
Love You To Want Me – Horace Andy
Girl Don’t Come – Jacob Miller
Lying Lips – Leroy Smart
Schnectady’s Shock – Simplicity People
Logan Street Rock – Simplicity People
How Can I Love Someone – Delroy Wilson
Delilah – Horace Andy
Born To Love You – The Heptones
Born To Dub You – Augustus Pablo
Born To Dub You Pt. 2 – Simplicity People
Their Own Way – Dennis Brown
Pride And Ambition – Leroy Smart
Pride Version – Old Boys Inc.
Try Me – Roman Stewart
Leggo Beast – I Roy
Rhythm Style – Simplicity People
Stardom – Augustus Pablo
No, No, No – Leroy Sibbles
Magnificent Seven – I Roy
Origan Style – Augustus Pablo
K. G.’s Halfway Tree – Simplicity People
High Jacking – I Roy
Skylarking – Augustus Pablo
Skylarking 2 – Augustus Pablo
The Killer Version – The Society Squad
My Time – Gregory Isaacs
Funny Feeling – Dennis Brown
Danger In Your Eyes – The Mighty Diamonds
Danger In Your Dub – Tommy McCook
Black Foundation – Augustus ‘Gussie’ Clarke
Proud To Be Black – Mikey Dread
Love The Daughter – Trinity
Peace Can Solve It – I Roy

Disc 1       Disc 2