Bless Up

Bless Up

Monday, December 30, 2013

Greetings all dancehall fans and Raggamuffin Selector followers! Once again we have the opportunity to give thanks for the end of a blessed year, and the start of a new one. It's been a quick year it seems, and the coming one probably promises to fly by even faster. Thank you all idren for being patient with my lack of posting... I know I've slowed down and always am (falsely!) promising to get back on track. Hopefully my posts have made up for the far and few in betweeness by the cruciality of the tunes posted. As my way of showing my appreciation for the sweet dancehall music I love, and the international community that upkeeps it, I am posting a chunky number of records this time. Many a great tunes included here... no tin pan sound! So enjoy, bless up, and stay positive for the New Year-

Icho Candy and Hopeton James - Reggae Music Christmas 7'' [198x Crat Original Pressing]

Yes, I know that this song is a little late... but better late than never! Here's a crucial likkle digi combo with Icho singing in his distinct vocal styling. Been holding onto this one for a while, waiting to post it round the holidays. Never been a fan of dancehall Xmas songs, but this one might be the exception... These two also released together a rendition of Joy To The World on Crat at the same time as this one, if you want an example of how corny reggae Xmas songs can be.

Conroy Smith Holiday Treat

Conroy has always been one of my favorite artists from the golden years of dancehall. Often times off the radar, and very underrated, he is not known much outside from the digi heads who eat his material up. Don't know if it's because his lack of a major LP release, or not staying with any one label or sound long enough, or plainly because his career spanned only the digital years... but Conroy is not recognized in many reggae circles. Eighties dancehall is often overlooked by reggae books, shows, historians, etc anyway, so this is no surprise (digital often used as a negative term!). Either way, Conroy killed it back then, and hopefully will start to get the recognition he deserves. I've posted some of his tunes on here already, and here are a few more... he didn't appear on LP's or compilations much either, so most of his work in on 7'' and 12'' vinyl.

Conroy Smith - Secret Admirer 7'' [198x Rockers Master International Original Pressing]

One thing I've always loved is his ability to hold a note for so long... which he would use as his calling card. The beginning of this song is a perfect example, and showcases Conroy riding the classic RMI version of the Kuff riddim, best known from Courtney Melody and Danny Dread's Call Me Angel cover.

Conroy Smith - Girl Yu Mus Be Stallion 7'' [1987 Napthalie Roy Original Pressing]

Nice little robotic version of Answer riddim. Not to be confused with the UK artist Raymond Naptali...

Conroy Smith - Original 7'' [198x Powerhouse Original Pressing]

This track was first recorded for George Phang on the Upon The Roof riddim (same as Big Youth's Things Friend), but Tubby liked it so much that he had him cut a clash version of it called Original Sound for the Soundclash Dubplate Style Vol. 1 LP. That later version is way tuffer, but this one is still a nice piece of history.

Conroy Smith - Facts Of Life 7'' [198x Progressive Original Pressing]

On the label of Derrick Howard aka Eric Bubbles of the African Brothers.
Conroy dwells on karma and the socioeconomic system.

Conroy Smith - Uptown Girl 7'' [198x Techniques Original Pressing]

Great cut of Modern Girl riddim, which was originated by Winston Riley when he was part of rocksteady group The Techniques, and released as I'm In The Mood in the 60's. A lot of the great 80's digi riddims actually had foundations in Studio 1 (Clement Dodd) and Treasure Isle (Duke Reid) riddims, but they weren't named until later as they were recycled more and more. Again Conroy touches upon class issues, comparing stuck up Uptown girls versus struggling Downtown girls.

Tony Tuff - Upside Down 7'' [198x Tesfa Original Pressing]

We're going to just continue down our New Year dancehall bash with another monster tune, this time featuring Mr. Tuff on the same hard riddim as Tommy Trouble's Enquirer (also posted earlier, let me know if I have to reup). These both are not ones you see very often, so snag a copy if they cross your path!

Raphael Foster - Dancehall Night / Devon Barton - Who Seh De Gun Dem Pudung 7'' [199x Wild Geese Original Pressing]

Oh man this is a tuff double sided release on the same sharp version of the Tonight riddim. You don't see double sided 7'' dancehall vinyl often, but both sides are killers. You can also get this repressed, but og is always preferred! Raphael Foster, better known as Romeo Django, and Wild Geese productions are still recording and performing today.

Gun Pudung

 Junior Spice - Keep On Burning 7'' [198x Wild Geese Original Pressing]

While the above 7'' is from the early 90's, this release is an earlier one from Adrian Shippy that predates that one by several years. Here we see another killer Tempo cut, by Jr Spice aka Alric Deass aka Al Sencere, and is on the same instrumental as Romeo Django's Them A Run Come. In fact, the version was so killer, that Romeo recorded a bunch of modern artists over it, and released a Dancehall Tempo Showcase LP in 2011.

Keep On Turning
Junior Delgado - Mona Lisa 7'' [199x Intelitec Original Pressing]

Rough version of Tempo riddim with Delgado inna lovers style. This one's from Blemo Crichton's sound, after he had relocated to Miami (similarly as Skengdon and Buffalo labels did) in the early 90's. On the same instrumental as White Mice's Jah Stands Predominant... a rare but terribly sung 7''. This one is hard to find too... unlike Jamaican girls named Mona Lisa apparently haha.

Frankie Paul - Ride On 12'' [198x Top Rank Original Pressing]

One of the earliest of EJ Robinson's digi releases on his Top Rank[ing] label, this was probably cut around '83-'84 and reminds me of a Channel 1... not quite fully digitalized... sound. That and the fact that it's cut inna 12'' Disco style with the song transitioning right into the version too. Still a killer though, and FP rides the riddim with his usual smoothness. Label art also differs from the more well known yellow and red print that came later in the decade.

Theo B - Jailhouse 7'' [1995 The Linx Original Pressing]

Conscious likkle piece of mid 90's digi. Not the easiest tune to find, but a definite banger. One hit wonder Theo B... not to be confused with ska era producer Theophilus Beckford!

Junior Reid - Loving Juvenile 12'' [1991 Rockers Forever Original Pressing]

Reid just has such an unmistakeable and distinct voice and delivery... the likes that created plenty of imitators inna Waterhouse styleee. He had two rough releases on Henricka Richards' Rockers Forever label... Poor Man Transportation (the 7'' posted awhile ago) and this guy. Both killer conscious releases about the youthman lifestyle in the garrisons of Kingston. This 12'' was the original version, while a remix with Bajja Jedd came out two years later on the same label.

Sluggy Ranks - No Money Na Run 12'' [1991 Rockers Forever Original Pressing]

Sluggy was another singer with a great style, highlighted on his only release on the RF label, this Sleng Teng-vaganza of a chune! Neither of these two rips include the versions on here. RIP the Slug-

Money Move
Courtney Jeffery - Nah Sorry Fi Rude Boy 7'' [1992 Safari Original Pressing]

Nice likkle tune from the Safari stable warning about the dangers of being a rude boy! Appears on the same riddim as Mello - Raggamuffin Love, who was one half of the female duo Mello and Jello. Classic early 90's sound.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wayne Marshall - I L.O.V.E. / Colonel Casper - Fear Of Jah Jah 12'' [1986 Quadro Pack Original Pressing]

Double sided 12'' with both singers riding the same high energy UK digi root riddim. Not sure if this would qualify as a Steppers beat, but tuff either way. Casper kills this one in my opinion though with his conscious lyrics and deejay style! Haven't seen much else released under this label, but it was an affiliate of Greensleeves. Both tunes feature a bit of a version at the end, but the Marshall side has a longer, more pronounced one.

Anthony Redrose - He Be Boomday 7'' [1987 Clarendon Original Pressing]

Redrose rode many tuff digi riddims with his almost robotic style of singing, including this one, which has a instrumental that perfectly matches his approach. Most of his biggest tracks were cut for Firehouse, but he also had some sleepers on independent labels like this 7''. Another one that can be hard to find and pricey.

Admiral Tibett - You A Babylon / Cocoa Tea - Girl Get Ready 12'' [198x Moodies Original Pressing]

If I had a dollar for every Admiral Tibett tune with the word Babylon in the title... 
Well, here's another one that I haven't really seen much. Produced by King Jammy's brother Trevor "Uncle T' James, this side just isn't very crucial. Flip it over to the other side though and you have a dangerous version of Little Kirk's Don't Touch The Crack (Live And Love, repressed by Livity) being rode by Cocoa Tea! Serious tune here... Both with versions included.

Sanchez - Kill A Sound 7'' [198x TB Sharp Original Pressing]

Gonna Kill Your Sound If It Takes All Night...
Nice likkle mellow sound crusher on the Head To Toe riddim. Sanchez made his fame through his romantic crooning and silky style, but he also had a string of dancehall war tunes that are tuff like this.

Nerious Joseph - You're My Special Lady / Danger Man 12'' [198x Fashion Original Pressing]

An original classic on the one of the UK's premier sounds from the 80's. The A Side is generic lovers rock, but Side AA is the real treat. Blistering Tempo riddim with killer instrumental and lyrics. This bad boy unfortunately did not get pressed as much as some other Fashion singles, and usually goes for steep prices. Definitely worth grabbing if you come across it though, as it has not been repressed (so far!). Oh and both sides are inna 12'' disco stylee with tune going straight into version.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Super Morris - Danger Zone 7'' [199x Rythem Track Original Pressing]

Wow, play this bad boy nice and loud cuz this shit slapps hard!! Serious sound killah here, Super Morris does his Pinchers (Bandelero) impression (execution) on the same riddim as Shaggy Wonder's Bad Man 7''. Love the simple but heavy riddim and bass here, and of course the great intro... "If Arnold Schwarzenegger was a tune, he wouldn't be as tuff as this..."

Papa San - Life Funny 7'' [198x African Symbol Original Pressing]

Pupa San shows of his classic fast rapping style over a nice and unique riddim as he chats about the daily ridiculousness of money, women, friends, and living in JA. Cool likkle tune here.

Sluggy Ranks - Who Ago Ole We Back / Dem No Ruff 12'' [199x Grade One Original Pressing]

Huuuge banger of a 12'' from the Grade One/ Jah Life stable. Side A features the lyrics of Ghetto Youth Bust over a Real Rock riddim, with Sluggy chatting about how the younger generations can never be held back. Side B is just as blistering, with Sluggy warning all the dibby dibby soundboys out there that no one is as ruff as him. So true... RIP Big Sluggy Ranks-

Hopeton James - Didn't I 7'' [199x Two Friends Original Pressing]

More Two Friends productions as promised, this time on a haunting Tempo riddim even including a mystic flute synth.Those of you that have been following this blog know that Tempo is probably my all time favorite riddim, and I'm always seeking out fresh cuts of it. Of the Two Friends singles on this riddim, the only other one I know of that I don't have is Daddy Lizard's Show Dem The Way.

Peter Mann - Do For Love 7'' [1992 Two Friends Original Pressing]

Same label, same riddim... this time on the same instrumental as Home T's Careless Whisper, which I posted as a 12'' a while ago. Except for this is a cover of Bobby Caldwell's smooth 70's R&B hit What You Won't Do For Love (also sampled by 2Pac on his Do For Love song), instead of George Michael lol. Peter Mann though, was an obscure singer who only released a few singles, most of them for Michael Bennett and Patrick Lindsay.

Horace Martin - Sound Boy Style 7'' [1987 Crystal Original Pressing]

Crucial sing jay style with Martin turning the original Glen Brown Can't Run Away lyrics into a soundboy killing. This riddim is known by a few names... Youthman/Green Bay/Wicked Run Away. Nice digi prodo by Derrick Harriot who didn't do much in this era, and is known best for his ska recordings with the Crystalites in the 60's. Rewind, rewind!!

I Roy - Musical Drifter 7'' [198x Jah Life Original Pressing]

The story of I Roy is a sad one. As one of the founders of the the deejay/chatting style he was one of the premier dancehall artists of the 60's and 70's before it was even called dancehall! At the time he was one of the biggest names in reggae, but by the 80's his output almost ceased completely. After that he battled medical issues and homelessness, and eventually died in 1999 of heart failure. Like many artists of his time, he was taken advantage of by producers and label owners who exploited the artists while making the big bucks themselves.

This tune here is one of the few singles that the great I Roy ever put out in the digital era. It is a wicked cut of the Drifter riddim, similar to King Kong's Pain And Agony, though better in my opinion. Peep game, and if you don't know about I Roy, definitely check out some of his old classic material like The Many Moods Of I Roy LP and the Presenting I Roy LP (both on Trojan).

Frankie Paul - I Want You 7'' [198x Red Rock Original Pressing]

Not an FP cut you see often, this is a nice likkle killer over the Mr. Bassie riddim. Could be from early 90's or late 80's... not sure here. Almost sounds like it could be a cover, but don't think it is.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Michael Anthony - So She Like It 7'' [198x Photographer Original Pressing]

Crucial vibes on this rarity! George Lemon's label was best known for it's Carl Meeks and (to some extent) also Daddy Lilly's hits, but also had a small number of tuff tunes like this one. While Meek's style was more digital rub a dub, some of the rare 7'' releases were much more heavy and slow. I'm not sure if this is the same guy that dropped the Reality LP as Mike Anthony for the Canadian label Elements in 1986. Either way it's a hot likkle chune!!

Apachie Chief - Economic Crisis 7'' [1985 Sunset Original Pressing]

The name of the geopolitical capitalist game... always ah di economics crisis.

Tony Tuff - Don't Stop Seh So / Ain't No Stop Us 12'' [1986 Three Kings/Keeling Original Pressing]

Bubbling little killer, haven't really heard this one much. Three Kings (with help from Jet Star) being the UK based distribution label for the US based Keeling records. The A Side is the standout tune, recorded inna Disco 12'' style with the track transitioning right into the version. 

Dawn Penn - What Do You Do 7'' [1995 Da Beat Original Pressing]

Penn started her career in the 60's as a rocksteady artist, and is best known for her massive Studio One hit You Don't Love Me (No No No). She went on a musical hiatus in in the 70's, but then restarted her career in the late 80's. While still recording new material, she is still mainly known for her biggest single, and has recorded numerous remixes and hooks/samples using her famous No No No line. 

This release here has nothing to do with that tune, but is a crucial mid-90's digi roots example of her later work (she produced this too!).
Brian & Tony Gold - Frontline 12'' [199x Two Friends Original Pressing]

Another tuff release, this time on the Two Friends label (Michael Bennett and Patrick Lindsay being those 2 friends I'd imagine). I have some more ruff tunes from them to post later, as their productions have also slowly been growing on me. Similar to Gussie P's sound, this label has a more modern, almost "Americanized" sound to it but with a distinct Jamaican twist. Some of their material crosses that line and becomes too R&B for me, but then there are other releases that come close but brilliantly don't cross it.

Puddy Roots - Free Mandela 7'' [1989 Bebo's Original Pressing]

Beat up copy of killer tune promoting the liberation of South Africa a couple years before Apartheid officially ended. Puddy and Bebo Phillips gwan beat down di fence!

Yami Bolo - Through The Falling Rain / Steve Harper - Night And Day 12'' [1988 Youth Promotion Original Pressing]

As requested by Ryan Brooks...
Side A is a blistering cover of Teddy Pendergrass' terrible Love Song. This is a nice example of a pop song covered inna dancehall stylee blowing the original out of the water. Yami the youthman again killing it over a great Sugar Minott production. The AA Side on this is a cool tune by YP singer Harper, with a cover of Al B Sure's Night And Day (also from 1988). Song is little weird but has grown on me... 
Both tracks include versions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Anthony Star - Let Me Know Your Intention 7'' [198x Maxfield 77 Original Pressing]

A prized possession of my crates, this rare digi killer has one of the baddest intro instrumental I've heard. Really don't have any info on artist or label, which just adds to the mystique haha. It's these type of independent, small number of pressed 7'' records that make my day. Do yourself the favor and make your acquaintances with this bad boy.
Dread Bob - Hills Run Red 7'' [1995 Music Warrior Original Pressing]

Dread Bob with the self produced ganja anthem badmouthing babylon for burning down the kaya fields. Another tuff digikal roots set with a dancehall flavor, Bob released a good number of good tunes oh his label. I try to keep my dancehall collection between the golden years of 1984-1994, but occasionally will give or take a year or 2 if it's crucial enough!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Anthony Redrose - Modern Sound / Junior Cat - Gal A Say One 12'' [198x Witty Original Pressing]

Side A has sound crushing version of Modern Girl riddim, which Redrose rides while at his height back in the day. Side AA features Super Cat's younger brother, the man named Jr Cat, as he rides a version of Mud Up. Both tunes have Witty give the instrumentals a nice reworking that has a similar sound/style. Versions included on both these guys.

Donovan Joseph - Grow 7'' [199x Earl Jr Original Pressing]

Ruff little piece of early 90's digi roots, which even includes a panther roar as the intro! There was also a remix of this tune with Nardo Ranks featured on it, known as Grow Mi Waan Grow. Joseph released a lot of his material om the High Times label, owned by Earl Chinna Smith, so I'm guessing that Earl Jr is probably his son. He even released an LP in 1991 on Earl Sr's label, named Sounds Of Many Colours, but this song (and the remix) do not appear on it. Cover of LP is below (not my pic), and I do not own copy... if someone wants to post up, please do. Oh, and this 7'' I've got plays little noisily fyi.

Lee Crystal - Give My Loving A Try 7'' [1988 Romantic Original Pressing]

Tuff and cutty version of Screechie Across The Border by little known singer Lee Crystal. Not best quality pressing, with 1 or 2 small skips, but the scaled down instrumental and deep bassline still shines through hard. Big up Little John on production! Apologies for shitty pic too.