The next official reissue oozes the feelgood factor, a reggae disco cover of ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Jamaican artist Yvonne Archer. For the first time since the original release in 1980 the full length original 12” mix gets the reissue treatment along with the Lovers Rock leaning ‘Checking Out The Way I Feel’.
Balmagie Jam Rock consists of 16 unreleased dub mixes from the dub master King Tubby. All the original songs were written and produced by Roy Cousins from The Royals. Featuring a virtual who’s who of reggae from the classic era — Sly & Robbie, Lloyd Parkes, Pablo Black, Lloyd Charmers, Ansel Collins, Earl Lindo, Tony Chin, Geoffrey Chung, Ernest Ranglin, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Bobby Ellis, Tommy McCook, and many more. With the voices of Prince Far l, I Roy, The Royals, and Baba Dread. Recorded between 1966 and 1979 at Dynamic, Channel One and Randy’s studios, mixed and voiced at King Tubby’s.
In the early 1960’s, when the Jamaican recording industry was still very much in its infancy, the local music scene was dominated by a mere handful of performers. Among these musical pioneers was Derrick Morgan. A year after the launch of the Island record label (1967), they released the ‘Derrick Morgan And His Friends’ LP, which has since become a highly prized collector’s item. Recorded at Jamaica’s premiere recording studio, WIRL, and featuring the musicianship of leading session crews, the Carib Beats and Lyn Taitt & the Jets, the quality of the tracks remains consistently high. Morgan is one of reggae’s real unsung heroes and this compilation makes it all the more compelling.
“Over the years, they would come to say that the Africans just appeared one day in Jamaica. That two Congo men somehow materialized on the streets of Kingston sometime in 1977, almost as if by magic, speaking not a word of English or patwa. The duo, they say, were musicians brought in by a Jamaican promoter—a woman who ditched them, leaving them to fend for themselves, stranded in a strange land. “What really happened is harder to fully divine. The two young Africans—Molenga Mosukola (aka Seke) and Kawongolo Kimwanga (aka Kalo)—were musicians from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then known as the Republic of Zaire, and had indeed been brought to Jamaica by a woman. But she was not a Jamaican promoter; she was a Frenchwoman named Nadette Duget, an executive at CBS France. “Seke and Kalo were both vocalists and guitarists who also played percussion; one of them also handled the saxophone. Initially, Duget had intended for the recording to take place at Byron Lee’s Dynamic Sounds studio. Somehow, though, the project instead ended up at Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark. “When Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo arrived at the Black Ark, Perry was wrapping up the sessions for the Heart of the Congos. He was immediately enamored with the two Congolese visitors and did regard their presence as a fortuitous sign. As he later said in 1992, ‘I know they were sent from Africa, because Africa wanted to make that heart connection in the Ark Studio. So African have to appear in the Ark Of The Covenant to manifest the African drum.’ “Perry eventually completed the work with Seke and Kalo: a deeply rootsy and rugged album under the working title Monama (which in Lingala means ‘Rainbo’). He submitted it to Island, but as they had done with Heart of the Congos, they passed on releasing it. “While it has remained relatively obscure, even as Perry’s Black Ark oeuvre has been rehabilitated and lionized over the past two decades, the album has nevertheless been quietly influential. Its groundbreaking amalgamation of African music and dub anticipated similar experiments by producers like Adrian Sherwood, Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble who would ride to critical acclaim in the ’80s and ’90s.” – Uchenna Ikonne (excerpt from the liner notes)
Long before the fusion of dancehall and reggae, there was a time when vocal trios dominated Jamaica’s music scene. From the early ’60s, three-part harmony ensembles peppered the charts with driving ska hits. By the time the lilting rhythms of rocksteady emerged in late 1966, an outfit made some of the most popular and enduring music ever issued on the island. They were, of course, The Uniques. The Uniques’ classic line-up of Slim Smith, Lloyd Charmers and Jimmy Riley would record a series of superior sides with legendary producer Bunny Lee, most notably The Impressions’ “Gypsy Woman,” the soulful original “Speak No Evil” and the haunting “My Conversation” (which may be one of the most “versioned” tracks of all time). Charmers produced the cover of Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 hit “For What It’s Worth” (aka “Watch This Sound”), which was originally released on the group’s own Tramp label. As 1968 drew to a close, these recordings (along with the remainder of their best-known songs to date) were compiled for The Uniques’ debut album, Absolutely The Uniques, which unusual for the time was released as a full-price collection by Trojan in the UK. Antarctica Starts Here presents the long out-of-print domestic release of Absolutely The Uniques. Reproducing the original sleeve design, this reissue is part of an archival series that focuses on Trojan’s essential ’60s and ’70s catalogue. Liner notes by Laurence Cane-Honeysett.
Possibly the best thing a compilation can do is open the door to a world of music that aside from being unknown to you, is high grade in quality, diverse and open to interpretation in as much as you are left with some if not many questions… particularly when the selected tracks are all from the same record label… When did they start? Why did they start? Who was behind it? Where did the artists come from? What was their inspiration? These are only a few… by the time you get to the end of the eight tracks included on ‘Jicco Funk Volume One’ there may be more. Some background or at least as much as we know: in the early 1970s thru to the ’90s, Onitcha was one of Nigeria’s most important cities sat on the banks of the river Niger about half way between Benin City and Enugu. Aside from the commerce Onitcha was also an important centre for music production, live music thrived and in turn the city had a nightlife which embraced music. It’s where labels like Tabansi and many other smaller companies had their headquarters. It’s where in the late ’60s, the label Jicco was established, an enterprise which would commercialize Kenyan and Congolese music in Nigeria. By the mid to late ’70s Jicco opened itself to new projects, launching a number of sub-labels, from Vox Africa to Guy, more specialized in highlife, native and soukous music to Jicco Funk which was producing small local groups playing reggae, rock and funk. Dig This Way realised they had found something special after discovering the first few releases on Jicco Funk. It’s less about a particular style of music and more about a raw emotive production quality that runs through each of the records. There is a mood and feel to the delivery that expresses a consciousness that’s rooted in a deep soul. The origins of which with hindsight would be near impossible to determine. It’s known that many of the records were produced at the same studio. There are a number of musicians who appear on more than one record. Following an extended period collecting music from the label including a number of months in Nigeria trying to trace family and friends of former band members including the Jicco family, Dig This Way decided to produce a compilation highlighting some of the near unknown music released by Jicco Funk. On the first volume in the series the focus is reggae and funk, particularly the intersection where the two genres converge as a hybrid production that at times is neither one nor the other. Limited to 500 copies.
A unique album of outtakes from the classic Songs Of Praise and In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land albums, compiled by On-U archivist Patrick Dokter from the original tapes and expertly sequenced to work as an immersive listening experience. A companion piece to the acclaimed Return Of The Crocodile set from 2016 that took the listener on a version excursion through the early years of the group.
These are the dubbier and more out-there experiments mixed down whilst Adrian Sherwood was shaping the sound of the albums. Bubbling percussion lines skitter across the stereo spectrum, ghostly voices echo inside the machine and mangled guitar riffs beam down from Mars, whilst staying rooted in the tough tribal rhythms that form the bedrock of the AHC sound, this is music for the head and feet, take heed!
Following The Maytals’ signing to Island Records in 1973 they recorded and released their fourth album From the Roots. Leaving behind their early ska days they had yet to settle into the slower tempos which were used more common in the mid-’70s. As a result, music here generally gallops, and vocals fall in line. As heard on gems like “Koo Koo,” “Got To Feel,” and “Pee Pee Cluck Cluck,” the Maytals’ lyrics tend mostly towards love and the pursuit thereof. The recording quality is outstanding for the era, and some of their most explosive tracks can be found on this record.
Available as a limited edition of 750 individually numbered copies on orange coloured vinyl.
First official reissue of Jamaica All Stars Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Compilation of the Studio One releases Jamaica All Stars Vol. 1 (1972) and Vol. 2 (1974), featuring the original pressing artwork and labels.
Jamaica All Stars combines two rare and long-out-of-print releases from the archives of Studio One, Jamaica All Stars Vol. 1 (1972) and Vol. 2 (1974). The albums featured early performances from some of the most legendary reggae artists of all time, including Alton Ellis, John Holt, Horace Andy, Burning Spear and more. Jamaica All Stars Vol .1 and Vol. 2 were never officially reissued, making this compilation of the two albums the first time the material has ever gotten a proper reissue. Produced by Studio One founder and “Father of Jamaican Music” Coxsone Dodd, Jamaica All Stars exhibits the quality of musicians that Jamaica had to offer in the ‘70s. Placing iconic artists like Ernest Ranglin and Hortense Ellis next to lesser-known vocalists like Jerry Jones and Winston Francis, the high quality of Studio One rocksteady, roots, and ska stays the same. All material on Jamaica All Stars is completely remastered and taken from the original tapes. A must-have for reggae collectors and a testament to the power of Studio One, the #1 sound of Jamaica.
Mikey Dread was a Jamaican singer who played an important role in the popularization of the reggae during the 1970s. His second album, ‘Dread At The Controls’, was released in 1979 and can be seen as a crucial album in the reggae world. Some of the most superb rhythms he recorded with the help of musicians like Robbie Shakespeare, Ranchie McLean, and Earl “Bagga” Walker.
A heady mix of digi killers, digital roots, dub, electro, and unlikely vocoder magic, Love Lives Forever is the first ever compilation of Miami reggae-notreggae diva Dhaima. The record gathers a collection of the original Natty Queen’s seminal ’80s and ’90s recordings, including her big 1982 chune Reggae On Sunset, the Ninakupenda-issued Don’t Feel No Way, the previously unreleased Loving You Is My Thing, and Surrender—the last song recorded before her untimely death in 2000. Pressed loud on vinyl in a long-playing format to mash up your home speakerbox.
Partial Records present a reissue of Bush Chemists’ Strictly Dubwise, a classic UK dub album from 1994. This was the first album from the Bush Chemists spilling out of Conscious Sounds studio, London, at a time when the UK dub scene was just blossoming. 25 years after, Strictly Dubwise was released, the LP is long-deleted and the demand for this set is strong. The Bush Chemists consist of Dougie Wardrop and Chazbo, with this album featuring guest vocals from King General, Culture Freeman, and Disco Dread. Edition of 500.
Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee “Full Up (Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee’s Early Reggae Productions 1968-72)” (Pressure Sounds)
Repress. ‘BUNNY ‘STRIKER’ LEE’s EARLY REGGAE PRODUCTIONS 1968-72′. This post rocksteady jamboree of Striker Lee’s early reggae productions includes some pulsating instrumentals, soulful vocals and twisting DJ verbosity. You get 21 tracks, many of which are taken from the original master tapes. The artwork is laced with evocative photographs that have been supplied by Bunny and his family and there also are some excellent notes on the Bunny Lee modus operandi by Diggory Kenrick.
‘Jay Glass Dubs is back on Berceuse Heroique after his inaugural release and this time he is going straight for the jugular. Jay Glass took a small break from the 80’s experimental pop of The Safest Dub and he invoked the spirits of German Kosmische Musik and the studio insanity of African Head Charge. Film Noir vibes are mixed with the greek ancient tragedies, leaving the Apollonian aesthetics of his last release and going for a darker, denser and completely Dionysian approach for this one. Medea meets Touch Of Evil. Harmonia and young Adrian Sherwood are getting loose on some pentatonic Greek Traditional music from Epirus. Jay did it again and we are very happy to release this one.”
John Holt was known as a member of The Paragons, before establishing himself as a solo artist. Like a Bolt adds up to all the singer’s output with Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label. When this album was first released in 1973, John Holt was already a veteran in the Jamaican music scene. John wrote most of the songs himself, a different approach from the covers he recorded before. It features a lot of his best work from the early years. His classic voice is backed by a musical landscape full of melodies and rhythms. Like a Bolt is a true gem of original reggae.
Dandy is Robert Livingstone Thompson a.k.a. Dandy Livingstone, the Jamaican British songwriter performer producer responsible for the hits Suzanne, Beware of the Devil, Rudy, A Message to You (later covered by The Specials), and Version Girl (later covered by UB40). This 1968 platter is his second solo album, and one of the first long-players issued by the legendary Trojan label (catalog # TRL-2!); it’s a must-have, highly sought-after rocksteady release featuring a host of Dandy originals along with covers of Chad & Jeremy’s Only a Fool Breaks His Own Heart (also notably recorded by Mighty Sparrow at about the same time) and the Beatles Yesterday. This is the first-ever reissue in any format of this highly collectible classic; we’ve pressed it up in orange vinyl limited to 1000 copies!
SKA was the name given to the music that came out of Jamaica between 1961-1966. Based on the American R&B and Doo-wop records that the Sound Systems in Kingston Town used to play. However, the American records style started to mellow out, while the Jamaicans preferred a more upbeat sound. So the Sound System bosses became record producers to cater for this demand. Sir “Coxonne” Dodd and Duke Reid led the way putting the top musicians on the Island in the studio to make music unmistakably Jamaican. A lot of their early recordings were cut at Federal Records before they built their own studios.
Federal Records was the first domestic Jamaican studio, based at 220 Foreshore Road, Hagley Park, Kingston. It opened it’s doors in 1961 owned by Ken Khouri who first licensed American records to the island of Jamaica, before cutting his own tunes, which were some of the first Jamaican RnB and Ska singles. Ken Khouri initial studio was Records Limited but very basic so with the help of engineer Graeme Goodall built the new studio complex at 220 Foreshore Road which also contained a pressing plant and disc cutting room. The studio was not only the forerunner for Ska music but the music that followed and in 1981 Ken Khouri sold the complex now on the renamed road Marcus Garvey Drive to Bob Marley who renamed the premises Tuff Gong Studios whose legacy carries on today.
We have compiled some of the best SKA SOUNDS that came out of the Federal Vaults, with some of the best artists, musicians from the time. The great Lord Tanomo, Don Drummond, Rico Rodriguez, Roland Alphonso, alongside some lesser known artist. However, one thing is for sure, the quality never drops on this fine collection of Ska Hot Tunes……
1977, Paris France. Two brothers freshly arrived from Casamance, the Senegalese ‘Florida’, are living the tough immigrant experience. Their plan: becoming pop stars. A challenge so ambitious it sounds like science fiction at the time: Bob Marley, Fela Kuti and a handful of others artists have started making waves in the Western World , but the rise of the Pan-African sound is still at an early stage. The Touré brothers have formed a band, written some songs, and start frequently playing their music live, to great effect, at an underground theatre called the Dunois in the 13th Parisian district. The hype starts spreading.
Overcoming the odds, their parents’ ban on playing music (“a satanic activity”), the death of their brother and mentor Amadou and a stint in a Mauritanian prison, they will ultimately reach stardom a few years later under the name Touré Kunda (The Elephant Family). A legendary 40-year career will follow: 16 albums released, millions of records sold, numerous world tours, awards and collabs with the likes of Manu Dibango, Talking Heads, Carlos Santana, Bill Laswell, Alpha Blondy, Bernie Worrell…
Released in 1979, self-financed by loans from friends and allies, Mandinka Dong is the genesis of Touré Kunda, the cornerstone of the band’s unique sound, at the crossroads of Disco, Funk, Pop, Reggae, Portuguese, Guinean, Cuban, Zairean, Mandinke and Soninke music. Limited to 700 copies and very difficult to find in decent condition, the original pressing faded into oblivion for decades. A low-resolution digital version of the album started circulating in recent years, not doing justice to the rich analog sound of the recording.
It is an honour for Secousse and Hot Mule Records to present a complete reissue of Mandinka Dong. Faithfully restored and remastered, it will be available in both digital and physical formats (in gatefold vinyl illustrated with photos from the artists’ archives and liner notes by Frank Tenaille, the band’s official biographer).
‘Studio One DJ Party’ is the latest installation from the mighty Studio One Records catalogue. A wicked new collection of the finest DJs and toasters including Prince Jazzbo, Dillinger, Dennis Alcapone, Michigan & Smiley and Lone Ranger, as well as a host of lesser known artists and rare cuts from Studio One.
“From the earliest days when Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd ran his Downbeat soundsystem up and down the length of Jamaica, DJs and toasters such as King Stitt and Count Machukie were always a part of the sound of Studio One, introducing new records and exciting audiences with catchphrase lines such as: “No matter what the people say these sounds lead the way / It’s the order of the day from your boss deejay” (King Stitt). So when DJ emerged as a distinct reggae style at the start of the 1970s, Studio One were, as always, way ahead of their competitors.
Legendary artists of the calibre of Dillinger, Dennis Alcapone and Prince Jazzbo all queued up to record for the equally legendary label. At the end of the 1970s, as dancehall exploded onto the island, Clement Dodd was once again able to maintain Studio One’s position on the throne as the number one sound in the Jamaica, fighting off upstart competitors such as Channel One and Joe Gibbs who tried to replicate Studio One’s unique sound. During this period Clement Dodd released a series of stunning dancehall releases from young DJ/dancehall artists at the label including Lone Ranger and Michigan & Smiley.
This selection spans the early 70s up until the mid-1980s, from the earliest days of deejay toasting right up until digital dancehall, ground-breaking tracks over the finest selection of the ultimate Studio One rhythms and tracks. Studio One DJ Party includes specially commissioned sleevenotes by Chris Lane, founder of the legendary British reggae label Fashion Records, as well as fantastic original artwork commissioned by the illustrator Ski Williams.”
Desmond Dekker recorded some of his best known songs together with his backing group the Aces. Their single “007 (Shanty Town)” made him Jamaican music’s first outernational superstar, reaching the 14th place in the UK charts. The Leslie Kong produced “Double Dekker” was first issued in 1973 and consists of the best material Desmond recorded during his early years. In 1969 he scored a number one hit with the legendary song “Israelites”. One will hear how the Ska music from the mid-60s developed to the Rocksteady sound. Even before Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff Jamaica already had their own international superstar, Desmond Dekker was his name. Comes on 180 gram vinyl.
One trio that not only succeeded, but blossomed following the onset of reggae, is The Pioneers, who in 1969 became one of the first Jamaican acts to achieve international success with their UK hit, “Long Shot Kick The Bucket”. Their third album “Battle Of The Giants” is a little bit softer compared to their previous records, and even features a soul ballad. “Consider Me” and the title track “The Battle Of The Giants” are two of the best known songs from this album. The collection is essential for fans of boss reggae and is available once again. Comes on 180 gram vinyl.
Now for one of the oddest’and most sought-after’albums in the voluminous Trojan label catalog! In 1972, the production team of Joe Sinclair, Webster Shrowder and Des Bryan placed classic Trojan instrumental riddims in the hands of prog-rocker Ken Elliot (formerly of the group Second Hand), who proceeded to lay down utterly twisted ARP-2600 synthesizer lines over them. The intent (we think) was to cash in on the strong, early ’70s easy listening market a la Switched On Bach, but the result, like so many like-minded commercial concept albums, turned out to be several parsecs weirder than the original intent. The combination of electronic music and reggae walks the tightrope between cheesy and cosmic, like a B-movie soundtrack listened to on laughing gas, and if a few tracks fall into the merely comical, don’t worry, cuz the next track is gonna boldly dub where no track has dubbed before. In short, a one-off, stone cold classic, here reissued on LP for the first time ever in ‘Deep Space Maroon’ vinyl limited to 1000 copies!