Tag Archives: Niney

Four crucial Niney productions reissued

There have been several well-compiled compilations dedicated to Jamaican producer Winston ”Niney” Holness aka The Observer. Niney The Observer – Roots with Quality, Blood & Fire – Hit Sounds From The Observer Station 1970-1978 and Observation Station should belong in any record collection.

17 North Parade – a subsidiary of reggae giant VP Records – has now issued a new box set dedicated to this hard-edged and uncompromising producer.

Deep Roots Observer Style includes three previously released albums – Dennis Brown’s Deep Down, The Heptones’ Better Days and its dub companion Observation of Life Dub – along with a compilation of I Roy singles titled The Observer Book of I Roy.

Niney got his big break in the early 70’s with roots masterpieces such as Max Romeo’s Rasta Bandwagon and The Coming of Jah as well as his own haunting Blood & Fire.

His production style is the essence of rebel music and is often sparse with a brimstone and fire kind of feeling.

This style suited the late Dennis Brown very well and some of his best material was recorded for Niney. So Long Rastafari and Open the Gate are two sublime vocals included on the Deep Down set, actually one of Dennis Brown’s earliest roots albums.

The Heptones’ Better Days has Naggo Morris instead of Leroy Sibbles on lead vocals and was originally put out in 1978. It contained ten tracks – among them the sublime God Bless the Children – but this version is strengthened by five roots anthems. Through the Fire I Come and Temptation, Botheration and Tribulation are two of the best conscious tunes ever voiced by the trio.

The dub counterpart to Better Days is a lethal drum and bass deconstruction and even though Niney is most well-known for producing singers rather than deejays he managed to capture I Roy in his essence with tunes such as Jah Come Here and slack Sister Maggie Breast.

Deep Roots Observer Style drops on February 13th and the CD version includes an eight page fully illustrated booklet with liner notes courtesy of Harry Wise.

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A reggae legacy made available

VP Records’ subsidiary 17 North Parade has just re-issued Live at the Turntable Club. It’s the first ever live album recorded in Jamaica, and was originally issued on Trojan in 1975.

Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson and Big Youth were all in their prime when this was recorded. The backing is provided by the always reliable Soul Syndicate. And the riddims are raw, sparse and with a no-nonsense approach. Just guitar, bass and drums engineered by King Tubby, Dennis Thompson and Errol Thompson.

Delroy Wilson and Big Youth rock their hit songs, while Dennis Brown performs the well-known Cassandra along with the lesser-known Rock With Me Baby and Give a Helping Hand.

The Turntable Club was the place to be in Kingston in the 70’s, and Winston “Merritone” Blake was the man in charge. The CD booklet includes a thorough interview with him, where he tells his story and gives a glance of a music industry full of hope and enthusiasm.

Live at the Turntable Club is a piece of music history made available for the first time in almost 40 years.

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Tio år sedan Dennis Brown dog

Dennis20BrownEn av mina absoluta favoritartister är Dennis Brown, även kallad The Crown Prince of Reggae. För tio år sedan – endast 52 år gammal – gick han hastigt bort i sviterna av en hjärtattack. En kollapsad lunga är den officiella dödsorsaken.

Dennis Brown var under 70-talet en av världens största reggaeartister – helt i klass med Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller, Jimmy Cliff och Ken Boothe.

Legendariska Studio One var platsen där han började sin karriär. Coxsone Dodd satt bakom spakarna på hans två första fullängdare No Man is an Island och If I Follow My Heart. Märkligt nog gjorde de inget större avtryck i musikhistorien, och Dennis Brown valde att gå vidare.

Och det visade sig vara ett lyckokast. De kommande åren spelade han in hits som Black Magic Woman, Westbound Train och Cassandra. Producenten som lyckades att lyfta Dennis Brown var Niney – som med sparsmakade produktioner och tungt sväng i moll nådde bra kreativ höjd.

Det stora genombrottet kom genom skivan Visions of Dennis Brown. Joe Gibbs var producent den här gången och tillsammans levererade de hits som Money in My Pocket och So Jah Say.

Dennis Brown var en otrolig talang, och det ledde till att han fick möjlighetfront att spela in material tillsammans med alla heta producenter. Det visade sig också att han själv kunde hantera producentrollen och skivan Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours var en stor framgång.

Under 80-talet fortsatte Dennis Brown att leverera, bland annat genom ett hyllat samarbete med Gregory Isaacs.

Hade Dennis Brown fortfarande varit vid liv, så är jag övertygad om att han skulle fortsatt att vara en kreativ och drivande kraft inom reggaen.

Ladda in den här Spotify-playlisten så får en snabb inblick i några av mina favoritlåtar.

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