Our Deep Listening Station has literally changed the way customers can listen to music at our store in Amsterdam. We offer use of the turntable to those who want to get stuck into records on real HiFi sound. Recently we began making regular store selections of titles we recommend giving the long listen. We'll be sharing them with you, monthly, here.
Pt.2 of September's Deep Listening Station selection.
All Reggae/Dub re-issues that make the headphones rumble. A mixed bag here!
Originally released in 1976, in paper inners only. Smartly sleeved in quintessential Dug Out style this time around with an insert, including a recent interview with Mabrak.
Leroy Mattis' first drum was a plastic butter container. 'My mother wouldn't buy me a drum because back then the situation in Jamaica was very tense... In 1960 Jamaica was still an English colony, and the drum is a roots instrument.' Tommy McCook was living two doors down; during the first years of The Skatalites, Mattis would practise there. In 1970 he was National Junior Drumming Champion, with Count Ossie winning overall; four years later his ensemble battled in the Senior finals with the drummers of the Light Of Saba.
'Our group was initially called Genesis, it was a 7-piece drum group, but I changed the name to Mabrak, which means Thunder in Amharic. We knew that we were coming with a heavy sound.'
Experiments in percussion, in the middle of the night at Harry J's funky versions of rhythms like Curly Locks, Too Late To Turn Back Now and Fattie Fattie, led by talking drums beautifully mixed by King Tubby, who couldn't believe his ears.
The second part of the all-time dub classic, "Dub Landing" Vol.2, originally released by Starlight Records in 1982! Even more rare than Volume 1 from the previous year it is now re-mastered by Kevin Metcalfe and matched with a second disc of original vocal versions of the Linval Thompson productions.
The two disc set got a great newly created cover art by renowned illustrator Tony McDermott, and includes previously unreleased music from Sister Nancy, Papa Tullo, Hell & Fire and other much sought after tunes by The Viceroys and Barrington Levy. This is the classic sound from the Roots Radics band at Channel One with all tracks mixed by Prince Jammy and Overton "Scientist" Brown at King Tubby's studio. The 2CD-set is packaged in a deluxe six-panel hardcover digisleeve with a booklet glued in the package, and there are extended liner notes by reggae expert Harry Hawke. The 2LP-Vinyl set has a one sided giant poster of the frontsleeve atwork inside a 5mm spine double-LP sleeve!
This is the definitive collection of MR. Spaulding's reggae catalogue, reissued with able assistance and blessing from the man himself.
With most of his catalogue now increasingly hard to find and demanding high prices this is the first time “The Twelve Tribe Of Israel” LP has been reissued. This reissue includes dub versions of “Unseen Eye” and “Tell Me” and the extended mixes of “Mr Spaulding” and “Twelve Tribe Of Israel” that didn’t appear on the original LP.
Mr Spaulding aka Renford Ferguson from Clarendon Jamaica, recorded his only album at the age of 19, the masterful “The Twelve Tribe Of Israel”. Recorded at Aquarius Studios, in Half-Way-Tree, Kingston, Jamaica and released in 1983 on the Roots Rockers label, this is an almost exclusive excursion in voice, drum and bass with only the faintest hint of guitar and discordant organ. This is an album of pure minimalist reggae with deep dancehall sensibilities.
Containing an amalgamation of UK and Jamaica recorded rhythms, the “Twelve Tribe” album has some of the lowest bass frequencies this side of Western Kingston. A graduate of the King Stur Gav sound system Spaulding’s fine vocals suggest a talent that should have become much bigger, but it’s never too late and now it’s his time to eat food.
Released on Solomonic in Kingston 'Dub D'sco Volume 1' comprised dubwise interpretations of five tracks from 'Blackheart Man' (Battering Down Sentence'/'Fighting Against Conviction', 'Amagideon (Armagedon)', 'Fig Tree', 'Rasta Man' & 'Dreamland') and 'Love Fire' and 'Roots, Radics, Rockers & Reggae' discos.
Without compromising the integrity of this rock solid foundation, and by combining the best of traditional values with cutting edge technology,'Dub D'sco Volume 1'proved to beone of the greatest dub albums of the decade masterminded by two of Kingston's leading studio engineers, Sylvan Morris and Carl Pitterson, accompanied by Bunny Wailer at the controls.
14 assembled King Tubby produced Niney the Observer cuts.
Winston ‘Niney’ Holmes AKA The Observer, must be one of Reggaes finest Roots Rebel producers. Capable of making some of the heaviest, innovative music, not only in sound but also in the Cultural/Political sense.
Born George Boswell, Montego Bay, Jamaica 1951, and name checked ‘Niney’ due to losing a thumb in a workshop accident. He began his career in music by organising bands to play at school dances. But his first steps learning the musical ropes came working under the tutelage of producer Bunny Lee around 1967, organising sessions for Bunny’s stable of artists. He moved on to work alongside Lee Perry at Joe Gibb’s ‘Amalgamated’ label setup, where on Lee Perry’s leaving in 1969 to start his own ‘Upsetter’ label, Niney became chief engineer.
Inspired by Perry’s success it wasn’t long before his own ‘Destroyer’ label was under way. It was 1970, and his first production entitled ‘Mr Brown’ by DJ’s Dennis Alcapone and Lizzy, proved to be a minor hit, but his own ‘Blood and Fire’ track released in December of that year would become a major hit. After initial problems with it’s likeness to Bob Marley’s track ‘ Duppy Conqueror’ being ironed out, it’s reissue on his now named ‘Observer’ label, saw it go on to become, Jamaican Record of the Year 1971. Far out selling Bob Marley’s track to the tune of 30,000 copies in Jamaica alone. A roots classic…
Niney’s reputation for building great roots tracks, was furthered with more success working with singer Max Romeo. Issuing cuts such as ‘Beard Man Feast’, the great ‘Reggae Matic’ and ‘Aily Ailaloo’ and renewing his friendship with Lee Perry on the track ‘Rasta Band Wagon’, who’s production credit read Perry, Niney, Maxie. In 1973, Niney began working with Dennis Brown, who was already an established star from an early age, they found a chemistry that went on to produce some of Dennis’ finest work. The 1973 hit ‘Westbound Train’ was followed in 1974 by ‘Cassandra’, ‘I am the Conqueror’ and the timeless ‘No More Shall I rOam’. Another important connection around this time was the great King Tubby who Niney would take his tapes along to and even record some of his tracks at Tubby’s house, 18 Drummlie Avenue, Kingston, which doubles as his Studio of Dub.
Tubby would strip the tracks back to the bone and rebuild then sometimes leaving off the hook line. Whether that be the horn line or keyboard line and adding effects over the top that could disguise the cut even more. Even Niney stating that when Tubby had finished with a cut, he found it hard to recognise the track himself. Its these tracks as dub plate specials that Tubby would play on his Hometown HI-FI Sound System and it’s these such tracks that we have compiled for this release. Dub Plated that have not seen the light of day since tragically the great Osborne Ruddock AKA King Tubby was gunned won and murdered on the 06th December 1989. For a few dollars and a gold chain, reggae music has lost one of it’s most creative, inventive forces.
Dub companion to the 'five star' 1978 release, "Africa Must Be Free By 1983", this album underscores the relationship between producer Augustus Pablo and performer Hugh Mundell. Pablo's dub productions, mixed by Prince Jammy form the perfect compliment to these classic rhythms and melodies. Re-mastered by Kevin Metcalfe for release in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Greensleeves label, the album is example of why Augustus Pablo continues to inspire reggae music fans and musicians these decades later.
'Rockin live ruff and tuff', this is the untrammelled counterpart to Dadawah, six years later in 1980, fresh from the Black Ark: free, rawly spiritual trance-music; a full-force nyabinghi freak-out. Beautifully presented in rigid, old-school, tip-on sleeves, with matt-coated fronts and untreated-paper backs; 180g vinyl.
The drummers are headlong and rollicking, thunderous and explosive. Even more so than Dadawah, the mix is ecstatically echoey; giddily dubwise without let-up. Ras Michael himself sings from the mountain-top, like he just don’t care at the top of his lungs, in voices, screeching like a bird with the delirious abandonment otherwise owned in reggae by Lee Perry.
Amongst the uncredited performances swirled into proceedings, there are squiggles of flute straight from the Upsetters song-book, the minor-key organ stabs and abstraction of electric space-jazz, and sax-playing more attuned to the Headhunters than the Blazing Horns. (I Ya I in particular is a stunning fifteen minutes.)
This is the real thing, music without affectation. Pure reggae. Sun Ra fans should love it; anyone with ears to hear.
Ace mid 1980s Bullwackies album w/ revised track listing (w/ download code)
A fresh iteration of the mid-eighties LP (itself a compilation of recordings from the previous five years or so), replacing two tracks — Dancing In The Rain and All Things — with their full 12" versions. This is a deeply personable, expert, limber blend of roots and lovers, kicking off with an exclusive mix of the deadly Mash Down Babylon; dropping classic, lush, spaced-out Wackies dub science to close; and taking in reworkings of Lickshot, Billie Jean and The Righteous Flames’ I Was Born To Be Loved, along the route. The moniker ‘Chosen Brothers’ is Lloyd Barnes’ spiritual way of sharing the credit for his solo projects. “Anyone in the studio at the time could be a Chosen Brother,” he says. In this case a full crew includes Sugar Minott and Prince Douglas at the desk; Jah Batta, Milton Henry, Wayne Jarrett and Junior Delahaye all on backing vocals; and such dream-team Bullwackies instrumentalists as Clive Hunt, Jerry Johnson, Fabian Cooke and Ras Menelik.
Repress from the fourth studio album by Freddy McGray from 1977, so not a compilation as the title suggests. Displaying the fruits of his collaboration with producer Alvin "GG's" Ranglin.
Originally released in 1977. The misleadingly titled "The Best Of Freddy McKay" is the fourth album of the artist and not a compilation. The fruit of collaboration with the producer Alvin "GG's" Ranglin.
Recorded at Channel One & Harry J studios and backed by The Revolutionaries it marks the entrance of McKay in the Roots Reggae era.
The jamaican singer, born in 1947, has first recorded for Prince Buster in 1967 but his first hit coming the same year with "Love is a Treasure" produced this time by Duke Reid.
Visions Of John Clarke was released in 1979. The album attracted the interest of Studio 1 boss Coxsone Dodd, whose bid for distribution-rights was thwarted when the Brooklyn label Makossa quickly put in for a full licence. Out soon afterwards, the new version - entitled 'Rootsy Reggae' - duplicated five tracks, but with markedly different mixes, fresh edits, and sometimes new instrumentation.
The album The One Eyed Giant is regarded a long lost classic, mostly due to Phill Pratt's killer production which drew on riddems from tracks like Al Campbell’s Foot Stool, Delroy Webster’s Book Of Love and Ken Boothe's Who Gets Your Love. As it says on the back of the original LP artwork notes - Check Out King Sighter's roots. DEM HEAVY!
"None A Jah Jah Children" collects the eight best tracks from the two longplayer "Rastafari" and "Kibir-Am-Lak" that Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus made for producer Tommy Cowan in the 1970's
All tracks re-mastered by Kevin Metcalfe. This are nyah chants made sound system ready by the Talent Corporation with the heavyweight musical back-up of Robbie Shakespeare, Peter Tosh, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Robbie Lyn, Tommy McCook, Carlton "Santa" Davis and the Sons Of Negus with the all the various drums like the 1st, 2nd and 3rd funde, akete bass drum, repeater, bass funde and trap drums.
The ultimate edition of the Roots Reggae masterpiece release 1977-2017!
The album classic was originally issued in 1977 in Jamaica only and 20 years later in 1997 released by the Blood & Fire label as the outstanding but now deleted "Heart Of The Congos". VP Records' sub-label 17 North Parade has now released the definitive 2017 re-mastered 3LP deluxe edition
This new 3LP-Vinyl-set is based on the more well-known mix and master from the Blood & Fire re-release, plus dubs, disco mixes, seven and twelve inch versions and has with "Don’t Blame It On I" an overlooked previously unreleased track unearthed.
Limited Edition LP of vintage Jamaican GOLD. Compiled by the ever trustworthy Japanese reggae resource, Rock-A-Shacka, Soul Train Is Coming collects the late Alton Ellis' lesser-known and even lost recordings, giving fans of the "Godfather of Rocksteady" a wealth of hard-to-find material in one desirable package. Big TIP!
The set is bookended by the smooth-strolling highlight "My Time Is the Right Time" and "Bam Bye," the latter being a DJ take on the first tune with the singer "versioning" his own song. That rare cut alone is enough to make Ellis fans flip, but the set goes further by unearthing "Dedication" a straight-up R&B tune which finds the singer in lustful, Otis Redding mode. Also of interest is "I Don't Know Why" featuring a backing track King Tubby would later use for Dennis Brown's massive hit "Things In Life," plus two cuts from Hortense Ellis, Alton's younger sister who would often record "female"-adapted lyrics of her brother's songs. Even if there's no example of that here, great sound quality, informative liner notes, plus plenty of those 45 label photographs Jamaican music collectors cherish more than make up for it. Not an overview or introduction, but the material this set brings to light is worth any rocksteady music fans' attention.
These recordings were made when Sir Coxsone ruled the dancehalls of Kingston in the late 1950s and early 1960s with his number one Downbeat Sound System, where songs were tested out on dub plates at a dance to see a crowd's reaction - the most popular of which were then released commercially
Featuring early material by Roland Alphonso, Don Drummond, Tommy McCook (all of whom would form The Skatalites), Toots and The Maytals, young singers such as Bob Marley and The Wailers, Delroy Wilson, Owen Gray all captured in their formative days. The music here spans a wealth of styles - Jamaican rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, proto-ska, Rastafarian - all of which were drawn upon to create the future sounds of Jamaican reggae that Sir Coxsone and the artists featured would soon create at Studio One which opened its doors in 1963.