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.