Tag Archives: Prince Jammy

Classic dub albums from Blood & Fire made available again

the-aggrovators-dubbing-at-king-tubby-s-vp-2xcd-34906-pWell-renowned reggae reissue label Blood & Fire closed its business in 2007 and a number of its best and most important sets are no longer available. Now, however, VP’s subsidiary 17 North Parade has started reissuing a number of classic items from the Blood & Fire catalogue. It started earlier this year with Horace Andy’s In the Light and its dub counterpart In the Light Dub.

Now it’s time for another three other crucial releases to see the light of day again and 17 North Parade has collected Dub Gone Crazy, Dub Gone 2 Crazy and Dub Like Dirt on a double disc CD or two double LPs titled Dubbing at King Tubby’s. These three albums were originally released in 1994, 1996 and 1999 respectively and all tracks were derived from rare 7” singles released in the 70s.

This is classic Bunny “Striker” Lee and King Tubby business with dubwise workouts of songs sung by the likes of Johnny Clarke, Horace Andy, Cornell Campbell and Leroy Smart. All cuts were dubbed at King Tubby’s small home studio by the King himself along with apprentices like Prince Jammy, Scientist and Phillip Smart.

This is as good as dub gets and the 44 tracks are the blueprint of dub with odd sound effects, echo, delay, reverb and vocal fragments dropping in and out of the mix. These skilled mixing wizards showcase Jamaican studio techniques and they were among the first to use the mixing board as their musical instrument. They strip the songs to their bare essentials – drum and bass – and then adding instrumentation and vocals along the way. The results were game changing. As shown on this excellent set.

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An excellent overview of King Jammy and his music

unnamedReggae and dancehall powerhouse VP Records continue their Reggae Anthology series with an excellent overview of King Jammy and his productions.

King Jammy – initially Prince Jammy but crowned after a sound system dance in 1985 – is one of Jamaica’s most successful and influential producers and mixing engineers responsible for several game-changers, including Wayne Smith’s massive hit Under Me Sleng Teng, which has since its release in 1985 been versioned a thousand times.

The new compilation Roots, Reality and Sleng Teng collects both culture and entertainment and is a comprehensive collection covering King Jammy’s productions throughout the various styles and eras of reggae, including the biblical messages of dread 70s roots to boastful early dancehall and ragga.

Collected are several well-known cuts, for example Johnny Osbourne’s Water Pumping, Junior Reid’s Boom-Shack-a-Lack, Half Pint’s Money Man Skank, Chaka Demus’ Original Kuff and Pinchers’ Bandelero.

But there are also a number of rare items to found. Check for example the 12” mix of Black Uhuru’s Bad Girl with deejaying from Scorcher & Nicodemus or The Fantells’ – previously known as Beltones – eerie, yet beautiful, Where You Gonna Run. Several of these rare cuts are also available on the vinyl release of this crucial anthology.

The three discs – including the DVD documentary King at the Controls – shows King Jammy’s range and diversity as a producer as well as his unique talent for keeping up with the times and driving the music forward.


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A fascinating and fun search for new life

Evolution Of Dub vol. 8 - artworkGreensleeves Records’ Evolution of Dub series has over a number of years put the spotlight on key moments in the development of dub. Now the time has come for the series eighth volume, and this one offers something new compared to previous editions.

Evolution of Dub Vol. 8 – The Search for New Life includes two previously unreleased albums – Two Friends Crew’s Voyage into Dub and Shane Brown’s Juke Boxx Dub. The former collects a number of late 80s and early 90s version sides from the Two Friends label, a label run by Mikey Bennett and Patrick Lindsay, two producers and engineers that at the time worked closely with ragga giant Augustus “Gussie” Clarke.

Shane Brown is a Jamaican producer and engineer, and probably best known for his recent work for Busy Signal and Etana.

The other two sets are Prince Jammy’s Computerised Dub, a novelty effort that gives a dubwise/instrumental treatment to some mid 80s early digital gems, and Alborosie’s Dub Clash, a scarce set originally released in 2010 and where Puppa Albo dubs some of his bestsellers.

Picks of the bunch are the two contemporary sets from Shane Brown and Alborosie. The original versions for the dubs on these sets are mostly flawless and both producers/engineers are imaginative when it comes to mixing, especially Alborosie, who has given all tracks a dash of vintage flavour.

As usual, the four disc box set comes with excellent liner notes telling the story of dub and the story behind each album.

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Four superstars showcased on new King Jammy box set

Vocal Superstars At King Jammys - ArtworkSuccessful producer, engineer and label owner Prince Jammy, later King Jammy, has recently earned himself two collector’s box sets on reggae powerhouse VP Records. One of them – Rootsman Vibrations at King Jammy’s – was reviewed by Reggaemani only a week ago.

The second set is titled Vocal Superstars at King Jammy’s. And the title doesn’t lie. The four album box set collects one album each from Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Horace Andy and Sugar Minott. These are some of Jamaica’s most gifted and celebrated singers, and unfortunately Horace Andy is the only one still alive.

This set isn’t as cohesive as Rootsman Vibrations. Or it has one main oddity – Sugar Minott’s Bitter Sweet. A great album in every aspect, but it’s an organic roots album with live instrumentation put out in 1979. The other three albums – Dennis Brown’s History aka The Exit, Gregory Isaacs’ Come Along and Horace Andy’s Haul and Jack-Up – were originally released in the mid to late 80s and have a completely different sound – sparse, computerized and digital with drum machines and synths.

All albums bear King Jammy’s signature sweet reggae sound and even though none of them are regarded as a classic these days, they still sound strong and the box set showcases the shift from analogue reggae to digital dancehall.

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Vibrating roots from King Jammy’s camp

Rootsman Vibrations At King Jammys - ArtworkA recent box set from VP Records collects four rare and in-demand roots albums produced by Prince Jammy, since the mid 80s known as King Jammy.

The box set is very tasty since it features four stellar albums – Johnny Osbourne’s Folly Ranking (not to be confused with the Henry “Junjo” Lawes produced set Fally Lover), Barry Brown’s Showcase, Hugh Mundell & Lacksley Castell’s Jah Fire and Noel Phillips’, aka Echo Minott, Youth Man Vibrations. The latter set was actually recently reissued on vinyl. A timely and odd coincidence since it has been unavailable since it was originally issued in 1980.

All four albums were actually released in 1980. At the time Johnny Osbourne was at the height of his powers, while the other artists were more up and coming. Well maybe not Hugh Mundell. Even though still in his late teens he had already dropped the majestic Africa Must be Free by 1983.

All four albums are hard, relentless and tough roots reggae with driving bass lines and pounding drums. Johnny Osbourne’s singing is as warm and pleasant as always. The other four singers have an energetic and youthful approach, sometimes reminiscent of a young Barrington Levy.

Rootsman Vibrations at King Jammys comes with a sizzling 33 tracks, of which five are in a showcase style with dub versions that could tear down the walls of Fort Knox. An excellent box set to say the least.


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Johnny Osbourne is a Reggae Legend

About ten years ago I was completely hooked on skinhead reggae and roots reggae. I was under the impression that ragga and dancehall were not worth investigating further; I just dismissed it as noisy and annoying.

In May 2001 I visited Dread records in Stockholm. Magnus, the owner, had just got in Fally Lover by Johnny Osbourne on vinyl and suggested that I should take a listen right there in the store. I did, and was blown away. This album was not at all as I’d pictured it in my mind. I asked Magnus to keep it for a few days so that I could make a well balanced decision.

I already had Johnny Osbourne’s album Come Back Darling and knew that he was a great singer. But was dancehall really for me?

I went back after a few days and listened to it again. I still wasn’t sure, but Magnus – the great salesman as he was – persuaded me to buy it. So I did, and haven’t regretted it since. Fally Lover is one of my all-time favourite albums, a record that can’t be spun often enough.

Since that day, I’m hooked on dancehall, particularly the tough riddims provided by Roots Radics with Henry “Junjo” Lawes in the producer’s chair. I also went on and bought every dancehall album from Johnny Osbourne.

And now four of his great early 80’s albums are collected in a Greensleeves Reggae Legends box set. This set contains two Henry Lawes productions – Fally Lover (1980) and Never Stop Fighting (1982). But also Nightfall (1981), produced by Linval Thompson, and Water Pumping (1983), produced by Prince Jammy.

All of these albums have a rightful place in any record collection, especially the first three, which include wicked tunes such as Kiss Somebody, Man of Jahovia and Words of the Ghetto.

The only thing that this box set lacks is information. There are no sleeve notes at all, just the basic information on studio, producer and backing band. Greensleeves could have included the sleeve notes from the Johnny Osbourne Most Wanted set that hit the streets two years ago. That would have made this box set an even more essential purchase.

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Obskyr dub från Jammy

Skivbolaget Pressure Sounds lägger ytterligare en obskyr dubskiva i katalogen. Den här gången handlar det om plattan Strictly Dub från geniet Prince Jammy.

Albumet släpptes ursprungligen i USA på Prince Jammys eget skivbolag Jammys Records, enligt ett pressmeddelande från Pressure Sounds. Strictly Dub sägs också vara ett tidigt exempel på hans mästerliga mixnings- och produktionsteknik.

Låtarna är dubversioner av rytmer som spänner från ska över rocksteady till reggae, exempelvis klassiker som Ba Ba Boom, Ali Baba och Shank I Sheck.

Vinylversionen innehåller tio låtar medan cdversionen bjuder på två bonusspår – en version av Jackie Mittoos Hot Milk och Lester Sterlings Afrikaan Beat.

Håll utkik i butikerna måndagen den 12 april då plattan släpps.


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Spännande platta med Prince Jammy i mars

Den 30 mars släpper skivbolaget VP nya samlingen Jammys From the Roots. Plattan innehåller hela 32 tidiga produktioner från en av reggaens bästa och viktigaste producenter.

Jammys From the Roots innehåller både roots och dancehall, bland annat klassiker som Boom Shack A Lack med Junior Reid och Mr. Landlord med Half Pint. Men samlingen innehåller även mer okända låtar och artister. Vad sägs exempelvis om Life Hard A Yard med Natural Vibes och Natty Dread At the Controls med U Black.

Många av låtarna finns sedan tidigare på en uppsjö andra samlingar. Men Jammys From the Roots verkar ändå vara ett hyggligt försök att samla ett antal intressanta tidiga inspelningar på ett och samma ställe.

Den nya plattan ska för övrigt inte förväxlas med samlingen King Jammy in Roots från 2004 på avsomnade skivbolaget Auralux.

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Black Uhuru i lyxförpackning

Black SoundsUhuru betyder frihet på swahili. Och fri är precis vad den nya utgåvan av Black Uhurus debutplatta Black Sounds of Freedom är.

Black Uhuru bildades 1974. I originaluppsättningen ingick Don Carlos, Rudolph ”Garth” Dennnis och Derek ”Duckie” Simpson. De två första hoppade av efter ett par år. Don Carlos inledde en lyckad solokarriär och Rudolph Dennis blev medlem i Wailing Souls.

Ersättarna var inga gökungar. Errol Nelson hade tidigare sjungit i Jays och Michael ”Mykal” Rose hade spelat in tunga låtar med bland annat Winston ”Niney” Holness.

Love Crisis hette gruppens Prince Jammy-producerade debut från 1977. När den gavs ut på Prince Jammys eget skivbolag och brittiska Third World gjorde den inte något väsen av sig. Men 1981 la Greensleeves vantarna på skivan och så började saker att hända.

Greensleeves mixade om plattan och döpte den till det tuffare Black Sounds of Freedom. Succén var ett faktum. Låtar som I Love King Selassie, Love Crisis och Bob Marley-covern Natural Mystic kan i dag närmast betraktas som klassiker.

Den nya deluxe-utgåvan innehåller 34 låtar hämtade från fyra olika plattor –  hela Love Crisis från 1977, hela Black Sounds of Freedom från 1981 och hela Prince Jammys Uhuru in Dub från 1982. Greensleeves har dessutom kryddat med fyra låtar av deejayn U Black, bland annat grymma Ride Into Zion som är en version av Black Uhurus African Love.

Visst, den här plattan kanske är för komplettister. Men har du inte redan de här låtarna är det rätt tillfälle att utöka skivsamlingen med en platta som innehåller både rariteter och klassiker.

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Nygammalt av Delroy Wilson imponerar

333Jamaica har genom året producerat tusentals duktiga sångare och deejays. Vissa har nått stor internationell publik, medan andra endast spelade in en singel eller två för att därefter snabbt falla i glömska.

Mellan de här ytterligheterna finns en mängd artister. En av dem är framlidne Delroy Wilson, som aldrig slog igenom stort, trots stark röst och bra material. Nu, 14 år efter sin bortgång, är han aktuell med nygamla Dub Plate Style utgiven av skivbolaget Pressure Sounds.

Dub Plate Style, eller 20 Golden Hits som den hette på originalutgåvan från 1978, är en samling klassiska Delroy Wilson-låtar producerade av Bunny Lee. Och så här långt imponerar plattan föga. Esset i rockärmen är nämligen mixarna signerade Prince Jammy.

De flesta med hyfsat reggaeintresse har säkert redan hört flera av låtarna i originalutförandet, men faktum är att Prince Jammy tillför en helt ny dimension. Låtarna är tunga, råa och sparsmakade. Egentligen allt som Delroy Wilsons lovers rock-material inte brukar vara.

Pressure Sounds har i vanlig ordning varit noggranna och re-mastrat samtliga 20 låtar från originaltejpen, vilket ger ett skarp ljudbild. Ta chansen och lyssna på Delroy Wilson i ett utförande du aldrig hört honom.


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