King Tubby Presents Soundclash Dubplate Style [1988]

King Tubby Presents Soundclash Dubplate Style [1988]

King Tubby Presents Soundclash Dubplate Style [1988]

King Tubby Presents Soundclash Dubplate Style [1988]

This is as good as it gets, a King Tubby digital album, intros by Fuzzy Jones, and great album artwork by Jethro “Paco” Dennis – this is about as close to the essence of Dancehall as it it possible to get from a single album.

King Tubby’s name will always be associated with dub for many casual reggae fans, but he was equally as at home when the digital age of reggae hit and wasn’t left behind like many other producers who began their careers in the same era that Tubby did.

The Sound Clash culture is a staple of Jamaican dancehall and a clash can make or break sound systems and even artists. For beginners it can be an opaque and a confusing tradition to get to grips with, but this album is a pretty good entry point and acts as a good a blueprint as you will find anywhere to get to grips with this subculture of Jamaican Dancehall where sound systems battle each other by playing unique custom records (dub-plates) until the crowd decides the winner and the losing sound is ‘locked off’.

The album sleeve is a great piece of artwork by Jethro “Paco” Dennis, that shows a sound clash in full flow. The selector is shown on the right-hand side shouting “Dis ya wan, ya a go straight to a Di-Bi Di-Bi Sound Bwoy head!” as patrons look on, or dance. The rear of the sleeve shows a muscled hulk type character throwing a dub-plate into a grave with a sound system speaker lying in it. Above his head is written “Kill A Sound Bwoy”.

The music also attempts something a little different with each track being introduced by Fuzzy Jones who was widely regarded (along with Joe Lickshot) as one of the best intro-men in the dancehall who could hype up a tune and drive the crowd into a frenzy. The intros included here have all be made for this album, but really give an authentic feel of being actually in the dancehall during the late 80s. Each track included in this compilation are all focused around the subject of sound clashing and killing sounds.

The rear of the album also features a great essay by King Tubby describing the principles of a sound clash. Essay reproduced below:


“This album is the first of its kind. The purpose of this album is to give those people who don’t attend dances a feel of what’s happening inside the dance hall also to be used in sound system clashes.

All of the tracks from this album are specials. Specials are recordings which are made from rhythm tracks rented from producers who take along an artiste of their choice to do a recording.

This recording is copied on a Dubplate. A dubplate is made of metal and covered with wax. They are produced for the sound system personal files and they only play them when they compete with each other.

Tubbys made the first special in 1970 with Roy Shirley and Slim Smith, Johnny Clarke and Cornel Campbell.

King Everald opens the album with the tune “Kill Ole Pan”, the line “Do you know how to kill a sound lick dem and chop dem with apiece of ole iron” does not mean a physical chop. Due to the fact that the Dubplate is made of metal and covered with wax, so the term “Chop a sound” means you play a Dubplate with a hot tune on it against the other sound.

Incidentally the voice you hear at the start of each cut is Fuzzy Jones the Intro Man who introduces most specials in Dance Hall business.

Gregory opens side 2 with “The Ruler”. Gregory was passing through the studio and when the idea was put to him, Gregory said he had the right lyrics for the idea. He voiced the tune with just one take.

Gregory buried the Sound but not the Slector or Crew. Pad Nthony closes the album with “Charge Dem” which takes care of all the crew, “charge dem and give dem a sentence” a line from the tune.

This special is a popular one and was done for many sound systems by Pad Anthony. Relax and listen or move some of the furniture to one side of the house and invite your friends and partner over to your Dance Hall”

-King Tubby

Tracklisting:
A1 King Everald: Kill Ole Pan
A2 Johnny Osbourne: Line Up
A3 Trevor Levy: Nah Run From No Clash
A4 Bananaman: Take A Lick
A5 Michael Bitas: Die Yu Die
B1 Gregory Isaacs: The Ruler
B2 Little John: Fade Away
B3 Sugar Minott: Play Me
B4 Conroy Smith: Original Sound
B5 Pad Anthony: Charge Dem

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Listen to ‘Charge Dem’ by Pad Anthony

Listen to ‘Original Sound’ by Conroy Smith



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Sound System Scratch – Lee Perry’s Dubplate Mixes 1973 – 1979

Sound System Scratch - Lee Perry's Dubplate Mixes 1973 - 1979

Sound System Scratch - Lee Perry's Dubplate Mixes 1973 - 1979

Sound System Scratch - Lee Perry's Dubplate Mixes 1973 - 1979

Definitely at the ‘design’, as opposed to the ‘art’, end of the album sleeve scale.

During the 90s the Blood & Fire Record label emerged which lavished detail and care on re-issues of classic reggae and dub albums, they basically presented reggae albums with the reverence, sleeve-notes, and love that Jazz re-issues get. Shortly after Blood & Fire started releasing beautifully packaged albums, Pressure Sounds was born – another label that dedicated itself to re-issuing classic and forgotten reggae albums.

Album art and presentation was a big thing for both these labels, and they both utilised some excellent design led album sleeves. The album art here is credited to Ben Bailey.

This Lee Perry compilation is pretty good and worth tracking down. Some of the sonic experimentation is wonderful and despite the tracks originating from between 1973 to 1979 many still sound futuristic even today. The world isn’t short of Lee Perry compilations, and adding another to the pile seems pointless – but the selections here are great, all mostly rare dubplates, and not that readily accessible via other releases….so no complaints here.

Tracklist:
1. Dub Plate Pressure – Lee Perry
2. Lama Lava Mix One – Augustus Pablo & The Upsetters
3. Groove Dubber – The Upsetters
4. Groove Rider – The Upsetters
5. Jucky Skank – The Upsetters
6. Chim Cherie – The Upsetters
7. The Rightful Organiser – Lee Perry & The Upsetters
8. Stagger – Lee Perry & The Upsetters
9. Big Neck Cut – Lee Perry & The Upsetters
10. Zeal Of The Lord – The Upsetters
11. Dub Of The Lord – The Upsetters
12. Returning Wax – The Upsetters
13. Bushdub Corntrash – Winston Wright & The Upsetters
14. From Dub Four – Clive Hylton & The Upsetters
15. Roots Train Number Two – Junior Murvin & The Upsetters
16. Locks In The Dublight – Lee Perry & The Upsetters
17. Moonlight Version – The Upsetters
18. Dub History – Carlton Jackson & The Upsetters
19. Groovy Dub – Keith Rowe & The Upsetters
20. Living Dub – Keith Rowe & The Upsetters

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Listen to ‘Dub Plate Pressure’ by Lee Perry



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Charlie Chaplin – Que Dem [1984]

Charlie Chaplin - Que Dem [1984]

Charlie Chaplin - Que Dem [1984]

Charlie Chaplin - Que Dem [1984]

This is a very young looking Charlie Chaplin on the cover of his album ‘Que Dem’ that was released in 1984 on Power House records and distributed by Sonic Sounds.

The album cover is by Wilfred Limonious who also provides his signature hand-drawn cartoon on the rear of the sleeve. The cartoon shows Charlie Chaplin (the actor) bumping into his Jamaican DJ-namesake and saying “Reggae? What ever it means, it sounds good to me“.

Limonious started his career illustrating albums at Sonic Sounds, but as soon as his reputation grew he designed album sleeves from pretty much every label on the island (as well as a few abroad)….but it was on Sonic Sounds where he cut his artistic teeth and made his name as a designer/illustrator.

The album is pretty awesome too and shows why Charlie Chaplin rapidly became one of Jamaica’s most popular DJs in the early 80s. This is laid back dancehall DJ-ing over some great rhythms from some top Jamaican musicians including Skully, Sly & Robbie, Willie Lindo, and more.

Tracklist
A1 DJ A Dance
A2 Exploiting
A3 Now A Days
A4 Pretty Girl
B1 Coco Deala Brown
B2 Unfair
B3 Diet Rock
B4 Que Dem
B5 Food Man Rock

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Listen to ‘Unfair’ by Charlie Chaplin:



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Perfect – Born Dead With Life [2008]

Perfect - Born Dead With Life [2008]

Perfect - Born Dead With Life [2008]

Intense!

Released on Irie Vibrations Records in 2008, this is ‘Born Dead With Life’ by Perfect, aka Greg Rose, aka Perfect Giddimani.

Originally from Jamaica, Perfect spent time in Europe and this album originates out of Austria.

Pretty serious and striking artwork for a modern reggae release – the cover shows a black and white background featuring notable black icons (Haile Selassie, Black Panthers etc…) and scenes from social movements, with a colour image of Perfect in the center holding a new-born baby and a skull. This is a hand drawn cover that looks amazing and pretty much gives you a sense of what to expect – that this isn’t really a party album, lots of serious reasoning going on here.

Tracklisting:
1. Greg Rose
2. This City
3. Hanging Day
4. 30 Pieces
5. Smile
6. Love in Your Heart
7. Journey
8. Unforgivable
9. Rasta Dubplate
10. Unlock
11. Catch a Fire
12. Interlude Speech
13. Da Rendition
14. Black Seeds
15. WTC 9/11
16. Born Dead with Life

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Listen to ‘Love In Your Heart’ by Perfect

Listen to ‘Born Dead With Life” by Perfect


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Leroy Smart ‎– Impressions Of Leroy Smart [1977]

Leroy Smart ‎– Impressions Of Leroy Smart [1977]

Leroy Smart ‎– Impressions Of Leroy Smart [1977]

Leroy Smart ‎– Impressions Of Leroy Smart [1977]

‘Impressions of Leroy Smart’ was released in 1977 on UK based record label Burning Sounds.

The artwork was by Tyrone Whyte, a UK based artist who was a long time collaborator with Burning Sounds, as well as creating artwork for other reggae release on other UK labels.

It is a wonderfully surreal and interesting piece of album art. The cover features a gambling table, Leroy Smart appearing in the middle of the record sleeve, and the rear oddly jumps to Leroy Smart in a spacesuit in a 2001 Space Odyssey type scene (complete with Jamaican flag on the spacesuit).

We can only assume that the sleeve is taking inspiration from a couple of tracks on the album, notably “Gambling” and “Man Of Future”.

It’s wonderful stuff, exactly the sort of artwork that we’d personally like to see more of these days.

Tracklist
Lorna
Music Is Sweet
Gambling
Jah Is My Future Guide
Don’t Let Me Down
Man Of Future
In This Time
Rasta Man
Back Out Weak Heart
You I Can’t Forget
Do You Remember
Rasta Time

We have never really been the biggest Leroy Smart fan, no particular reason other than not really taking to his voice, but the work on show here is really good. This is a deep roots album with some great productions, include a great version of Yabby You & Wayne Wade’s ‘Man of the Living‘ – re-cut here as the track ‘Rasta Man‘.

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Listen to ‘Man Of Future’ by Leroy Smart:


Listen to ‘Rasta Man’ by Leroy Smart:



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