Tag Archives: Harry J

Two boss reggae reissues

NO-MORE-HEARTACHESCherry Red’s newly established imprint Doctor Bird has recently put two scorching boss reggae compilations on one CD. No More Heartaches and What Am I To Do were originally released by Trojan in 1969 and 1970 respectively.

Both included singles produced by Jamaican producer Harry J, who is probably best known for Bob & Marcia’s version of Young, Gifted & Black and the killer organ instrumental Liquidator, which contains a bass line borrowed by The Staple Singers for their 1972 hit song I’ll Take You There.

The album comes with a hefty 24 tracks – twelve from each compilation – and No More Heartaches is the stronger compilation showcased by the first half of the album. It represents classics like The Beltones’ aching title track, Glen Brown & Dave Barker’s stomping Lucky Boy, Lloyd Robinson’s lethal Cuss Cuss and Richard Ace’s brutal organ instrumental Hang ‘Em High.

What Am I To Do is much weaker and is probably best known for its title track sung by Tony Scott. The standout cut on that one is however Harry J Allstars’ horn instrumental Wha’pen.

Harry J continued to record throughout the 70s and 80s, but was less prolific. He died in 2013 after a long battle against diabetes.

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Pioneering reggae producer Harry J has died

0000569323_350Veteran Jamaican producer Harry Johnson, better known as just Harry J, died on April 3 due to complications battling diabetes, according to Jamaica Observer. He was 68 years old.

Some of my earliest memories listening to reggae are his recordings and one of the first various artists compilations I bought was The Return of the Liquidator. It collects some of his finest and most groundbreaking productions, including Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths’ Nina Simone cover Young, Gifted and Black and the organ lead instrumental masterpiece The Liquidator released in 1969.

The latter tune was three years later used for The Staple Singers’ soul hit I’ll Take You There. The reggae vocal and sax version by Tony Scott and Val Bennett respectively are just as great as the organ cut.

Two tunes not included though were The Beltones’ No More Heartaches, by some referred to as one of the earliest reggae songs, and Lloyd Robinson’s haunting Cuss Cuss. Both were produced by Harry J.

Later this former insurance salesman established his own studio Harry J where loads of reggae nuggets were recorded, including tracks by Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Dennis Brown.


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