Tag Archives: Gussie Clarke

Gussie Clarke revolutionized Jamaican music

576a5b1f56Few 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.

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Mind-bending Augustus Pablo compilation

itemReggae 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.

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Only right tracks on new Gussie Clarke compilation

Gussie_Clark_-Gussie_Presenting_the_Right_TracksA 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 DiamondsPass 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.

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A Gussie Clarke extravaganza from VP

Gussie_Clark_-Gussie_Presenting_the_Right_TracksVP Records’ vintage imprint 17 North Parade opens its vaults to present another crucial reissue, this time from one of the most influential Jamaican producers – Augustus ”Gussie Clarke”. He has consistently churned out hits since the 70s until today, and Gussie Presenting The Right Tracks, which was originally released in 1976, captures his early work during the so called golden era of reggae.

The reissue – which drops on July 22 – collects the original LP in its entirety with previously unreleased Gussie Clarke productions for the first time on CD. The double disc set will contain all re-mastered tracks along with extensive liner notes and the original LP artwork.

The cuts were originally recorded and mixed at Kingston’s legendary Channel One studio and King Tubby’s Tubby studio, and the collection includes Gussie Clarke’s work with a parade of Jamaican greats, including Horace Andy, Leroy Sibbles, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Delroy Wilson, Augustus Pablo, Leroy Smart and Jacob Miller.

“There’s no ‘how it comes about’ with these names. I’m that kind of person who’s always thinking outside the box. There wasn’t any logic to it! It’s just a love for the difference and the uniqueness of things. Everybody had a sound and a style and I’d switch the musicians round to get a different vibe and a different feel,” explains Gussie Clarke in the set’s liner notes, and adds:

“I had the songs and in those days compilations were a good idea. I said ‘why not?’ and ‘The Right Tracks’ is appropriate now because they are the right tracks.”

In addition to this 40 track album, there will be a vinyl companion piece (carrying the same name) of eleven tracks from the CD version available the same day.

And on August 5 the label drops a limited edition 7” vinyl box set of rare Gussie Clarke productions designed to augment the two CD collection. The set, entitled Gussie Presenting The Right Sevens, features original recordings of foundation classics from Leroy Smart and The Mighty Diamonds, rare Augustus Pablo and Mikey Dread sides and previously unreleased cuts from Leroy Sibbles and Tommy McCook.

The Right Tracks series is the first installment of several Gussie Glarke collections that will drop via VP Records this year. They will also unleash a newly-compiled LP of Gussie Clarke productions with reggae icon Augustus Pablo titled Born To Dub You plus a three disc Reggae Anthology for Gussie Clarke’s Music Works label slated for late 2014.

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Gregory Isaacs’ in a late 80s style

Gregory Isaacs - Reggae Legends vol.2 - artworkThe 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.

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Curtis Lynch gives Gregory Isaacs a new edge

disc-3123-gregory-isaacs-remixedWhen normal fans devote time and money to build web sites or write fanzines for their favorite artists, UK-producer Curtis Lynch produces a 15 track album dedicated to one of his heroes– the late Gregory Isaacs. And when looking at the cover sleeve it’s obvious that Curtis Lynch is not just any fan since the Cool Ruler is pictured as some kind of angel on stained glass.

On Gregory Isaacs Remixes Curtis Lynch has re-done and re-shaped eleven tracks recorded by Gregory Isaacs for Jamaican producer Augustus “Gussie” Clarke. The album includes a total of 15 tracks and collects classics such as Private Beach Party and Let Off Supm, but a number of tunes are rather obscure since they are taken from Gregory Isaacs’ less creative period.

Curtis Lynch has re-played most of the music and only sampled a few bits. He has also pumped up the tempo and added the kind of ill bass lines your parents doesn’t want you to hang out with. The voice has however been affected by the changed tempo and Gregory Isaacs sounds a bit drunk on the monster hit Night Nurse.

On cover albums or remix sets it’s always a tough task to be better than the originals, even though that’s probably not always the intention of the musicians or the producers. And the tracks on Gregory Isaacs Remixes are not necessarily better than the original versions, they’re just different with a contemporary and more electronic sound.

I’ve to confess that I’m not a raving Gregory Isaacs fan. I like most of his cultural and roots-oriented material, but a large part of his output is too smooth for my taste. And with this new album Curtis Lynch has given his work a new edgier style, which is a good thing.

In an interview Curtis Lynch recently did with Angus Taylor for United Reggae he said that his dad and his stepdad liked the album and that Gussie Clarke was pleased. Well, I’m too.

Gregory Isaacs Remixes is now available on CD and digital platforms.

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