Few producers can claim to have created their own sound. One who can is however Jamaican music giant Augustus “Gussie” Clarke, who during his long career has created a number game-changers, including Gregory Isaacs’ monster smash Rumors and Big Youth’s superb debut album Screaming Target and its dreader than dread title track.
Augustus Clarke has for many years been a behind the scenes figure and his output in the 70s and 80s has cried to be reissued. And luckily reggae giant VP took their responsibility as a powerhouse last year and put out two excellent compilations – Augustus Pablo’s Born to Dub You and Augustus Clarke’s The Right Tracks.
Now comes another stellar compilation from VP with Augustus Clarke material. From the Foundation follows the brilliant King Jammy compilation Roots, Reality & Sleng Teng. Both sets come with three discs – two CDs and one DVD – and chronologically cover their careers.
And with such as presentation of cuts you can easily follow the development of reggae from the 70s up until today. It’s a fascinating journey jam-packed with rare tracks, golden classics and best-sellers.
Augustus Clarke was instrumental in advancing several artists careers. One of the most successful artists he worked with was Shabba Ranks’ and together they recorded a number of big hits, including Mr. Lover Man, with Deborahe Glasgow, and Twice My Age with Krystal, both included on this magnificent set.
Augustus Clarke helped to revolutionize Jamaican music and that’s clearly showcased on From the Foundation.
Reggae powerhouse VP and its vintage imprint 17 North Parade continue their excellent Augustus “Gussie” Clarke reissue program. After the powerful 40 track compilation Gussie Presenting the Right Tracks came a 7” collection titled Gussie Presenting the Right Sevens. Now comes another album with Clarke productions.
Born to Dub You collects ten rare and in-demand instrumental cuts from melodica maestro Augustus Pablo. Eight of the ten tracks were recently made available on the aforementioned Gussie Presenting the Right Tracks, but No Entry and Classical Illusion (Micron 7”) are fresh additions.
Some of songs on this superb collection might sound odd to an untrained reggae ear, especially the interplay between a screeching and metallic violin and Pablo’s dreamy melodica on Classical Illusion (Dub Vendor 12″), which comes with an extra haunting dub version by Prince Jammy.
Augustus Pablo’s melodica snakes in and out of the mix and this set offers the usual dark and meditative ambiance found on many of Pablo’s songs and productions. Please note though that the title of this set might be misleading, since it collects instrumentals rather than dub versions.
A few years ago I cried on Twitter about the need for a thorough Augustus “Gussie” Clarke anthology, and maybe someone heard my plea, because reggae powerhouse VP’s vintage imprint 17 North Parade can proudly present Gussie Presenting The Right Tracks.
This double disc features the original eleven track album of the same name complemented by no less than 29 more songs, including unreleased material from the same period, i.e. mid 70s. The set collects instrumentals, dub versions and vocal cuts from a plethora of talented singers and deejays, for example Leroy Sibbles, Gregory Isaacs, Horace Andy, Jacob Miller, Delroy Wilson, Dennis Brown, I Roy and Mikey Dread.
Augustus Clarke was born in 1954 and was only in his late teens when he started in the music industry. He was only 19 years old when he cut the original and exceptional debut albums Screaming Target (Big Youth) and Presenting I Roy (I Roy). He was one of the first so called rebel producers and has always managed to break new ground – check the use of violin on I Roy’s classical Black Man Time or Simplicity People’s K.G.’s Halfway Tree – and stay one step ahead of the current scene.
The sounds collected on these two discs are at times uplifting and joyous, but also haunting, ethereal and eerie. Augustus Clarke certainly had a great ear for arrangements and moods.
He has had an extremely successful career and today he’s one of the biggest music publishers in Jamaica, working largely behind the scenes. And Gussie Presenting The Right Tracks only tells one side of his career. In the 80s he scored a massive hit with Mighty Diamonds’ Pass the Kouchie and re-invented reggae with Gregory Isaacs’ monster smash Rumours. But that’s two other stories, and hopefully two more anthologies.
Gussie Presenting The Right Tracks is available as double disc CD (with excellent liner notes by Harry Wise), single LP and digital download.
The late Gregory Isaacs is one of Jamaica’s most beloved singers, equally at home with both lovers and cultural material, even though his silky side is most well-known.
Over the years his material has been compiled over and over, and now it’s time again. But this new compilation is a bit different since it’s a box set that compiles four original albums with their original sleeves.
Two of the albums – Private Beach Party and Red Rose for Gregory – were smashes at the time of release, and collects game-changers such as Rumours and Mind Yu Dis. The two others – I.O.U and Victim – were also successful, especially I.O.U and the single Report to Me.
Three of the discs were produced by Augustus “Gussie” Clarke and singles such as the epochal Rumours and the smooth Let Off the Supm helped to revitalize their respective career. Hugh “Redman” James and Roots Radics were responsible for the underrated Victim, an effort that includes massive cuts like Rosie, Mr. Music Man and the title track.
Together these four albums give an extensive overview of Gregory Isaacs’ career in the late 80s and many of the tracks became stables in the Cool Ruler’s live set at the end of the decade.
Very sad news hit the world this Monday morning. According to BBC Gregory Isaacs – one of Jamaica’s sweetest vocalists ever – died on Monday in lung cancer, which he was diagnosed with a year ago. He was hospitalized in London some weeks ago and rumours said then that he had died. And now it’s a sad reality.
Gregory Isaacs started his career in the late 60’s and spent a short time in The Concords. And it was solo he became famous with both reality and lovers tunes.
His career is spanning over 40 years and he recorded with almost everybody in the Jamaican recording industry – Augustus “Gussie” Clarke, Lee Perry and Winston “Niney” Holness to name a few producers and Roots Radics and Sly & Robbie are examples of riddims sections he did masterpieces with.
He also produced himself and had his own label and record store African Museum. I think some of his best work is actually self-produced, for example the Cool Ruler set.
I’ve had many, many great moments with my Gregory Isaacs collection and he will be sadly missed. He managed to survive jail and overcome crack cocaine addiction. But cancer was one fight he couldn’t win.
Ten Gregory Isaacs tunes you need to hear:
Artist – song title (producer)
Gregory Isaacs – Rumours (Augustus Clarke)
Gregory Isaacs – Night Nurse (Gregory Isaacs & Errol “Flabba” Holt)
Gregory Isaacs & Carlene Davis – Feeling Irie (Augustus Clarke)
Gregory Isaacs – Soon Forward (Gregory Isaacs & Sly & Robbie)
Gregory Isaacs – Uncle Joe (Gregory Isaacs)
Gregory Isaacs – Mr. Cop (Lee Perry)
Gregory Isaacs – Slave Master (Winston Holness)
Gregory Isaacs – Universal Tribulation (Gregory Isaacs & Sly & Robbie)
Gregory Isaacs & Dennis Brown – Let Off the Supm (Augustus Clarke)
Gregory Isaacs & Mighty Diamonds – Rough Neck (Augustus Clarke)
Producenten Curtis Lynch ligger bakom skivbolaget Necessary Mayhem, ett skivbolag som under 2009 gett ut några av årets bästa låtar, exempelvis Young Gunz med Million Stylez & Joey Fever samt Dubplate med YT, Million Stylez, Tenor Fly, Blackout JA & Mr. Williamz.
Ett av Curtis Lynch signum är att ta gamla klassiska riddims och ge dem en ny och modernare känsla. Han har tidigare tagit sig an Augustus ”Gussie” Clarkes Rumours och Henry ”Junjo” Lawes Police in Helicopter.
Nu är det dags igen. Och den här gången tar Curtis Lynch sig an två ytterligare riddims från Augustus Clarke – Innercity Lady med Gregory Isaacs och Worth Your Weight in Gold med Delroy Wilson.
På det nya materialet medverkar bland annat Etana med en låt på varje riddim samt Gregory Isaacs som teamar upp med Blackout JA.
Låtarna finns att köpa som 7” eller via laglig nedladdning från exempelvis Reggae Sound Network.