U Brown ‎– London Rock [1977]

U Brown ‎– London Rock [1977]

U Brown ‎– London Rock [1977]

U Brown ‎– London Rock [1977]

This is ‘London Rock’ by U. Brown that was released in 1977 on UK based label ‘Third World’.

The artwork on display here is by Tyrone Whyte, who was notable for his hand-drawn album sleeves for a number of UK based reggae record labels in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This one depicts U. Brown, looking somewhat under-dressed, in London with the Queens Guard in the background. The hand-drawn rear sleeve also shows another London scene.

U-Brown was born in Kingston in 1956, and he bacame one of the leading lights of the next generation of DJs that came after originators like U. Roy. His pattern and style is nearly identical to U. Roy, but he pulls it off and managed to put enough of his own stamp on it to become one of the more popular DJs of his generation. This album is a solid DJ set over big roots rhythms, and mostly political leaning subject material.

Tracklist
A1 London Rock
A2 Unity Of Love
A3 Here We Come Again
A4 Travel East To West
A5 Rocking Vibration
A6 Jamaican Shuffle
B1 Manners
B2 Going To The Ball
B3 Special Request
B4 Drum And Bass
B5 Satta Natty Dread
B6 Fire And Desire

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Listen to ‘Manners’ by U Brown

Listen to ‘London Rock’ by U Brown



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Massive Dread – Strictly Bubbling [1982]

Massive Dread - Strictly Bubbling [1982]

Massive Dread - Strictly Bubbling [1982]

We are big fans here of Massive Dread – he has been at the center of some wonderful album art (like ‘Massive Dread‘) as well as some ‘so bad it’s good‘ album covers like This is Massive.

This mini-album, released on UFO Records (Up Front Organization records) in 1982 is at the better end of the artistic spectrum as it shows a great (if somewhat surreal) cartoon piece by Orville ‘Bagga’ Case.

The cover shows a crossroads with cartoon depictions based around some of the tracks on the record – such as a vampire dancing between two soundsystem speakers for ‘Vamps on the Corner’, and numerous chickens and roosters running around for ‘Chicken Chest’ and ‘Mr. Rooster’.

This is solid early 80s dancehall toasting / DJ-ing in Massive Dread’s distinctive laid-back style.

Tracklisting:
A1 This Is Massive
A2 Strictly Bubbling
A3 Mr. Rooster
B1 Vamps On The Corner
B2 Chicken Chest
B3 Just Cool, Melba

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Listen to ‘Strictly Bubbling’ by Massive Dread:



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Beres Hammond – Just A Man [1979]

Beres Hammond - Just A Man [1979]

Beres Hammond - Just A Man [1979]

Sometimes, putting up an album cover on this website is just a good excuse to write about and enthuse about an album, and try to turn you on to something that will hopefully bring you as much joy as it does for me.

This is one of those times…..

Just A Man‘ by Beres Hammond was released in 1979 on Joe Gibbs Music record label, and it is basically the best soul album you’ve never heard. In fact, it is a actually a blend of soul, disco, and R&B, all played by seasoned reggae musicians.

On paper this shouldn’t work – Joe Gibbs was at the height of his powers in reggae, Beres Hammond had been recording roots reggae with Zap Pow, and the musicians featured here like Dead Fraser, Mikey “Boo” Richard, and Willie Lindo were all skilled musicians, but again they had made their name in reggae. So it probably took many people by surprise that this album came out sounding just like it did.

The music and tracks here are excellent (if a little too polished at times) and if you didn’t have any context and heard the album without knowing anything about it, then you wouldn’t guess that this was made in Jamaica by reggae artists – you’d swear it was a New York soul band from the late 1970s.

Beres Hammond’s voice is perfect for Soul music anyway, and you can tell that he is loving every moment as his vocals ooze with joy.

Beres Hammond - Just A Man [1979]

Beres Hammond – alternate cover

The album cover is a bit bland, very bland in fact – but in this case it kind of works, and the music contained within is so alive. Plus the dark cover with flashes of light lends itself well (probably unintentionally) to the moments where the music lets the disco vibe slip to the forefront – it looks like a surrealist disco dancefloor. It has a feel of one of those 12″ extended disco singles from back in the day. It did get another album sleeve on a re-release where Beres Hammond is standing in an ice-white suit in front of a Rolls Royce, which looked a bit more cheesy…..’Just A Man’ with an expensive suit and a Rolls Royce…..yeah, just a man like the rest of us Beres.

VP Records also re-released the album in 2010, retaining the original artwork with the addition of a photo of Beres in the middle – this means that the album still readily available via the usual digital channels, so you have no excuse not to check out this unique and different album from some of reggae’s great talents. Open your mind, prepare to be surprised, and hopefully have some fun.

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Listen to ‘I’m lonely’ by Beres Hammond:

Listen to ‘Just A Man’ by Beres Hammond:



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Toyan [1982]

Toyan [1982]

Toyan [1982]

Toyan [1982]

This is the self-titled album from DJ Toyan that was released in 1982 on J&L Records, a subsidiary label of Jamaican based Channel One that was owned and run by Jo Jo Hookim and Ernest Hookim.

The artwork here is by Jamaal Pete and it shows a full portrait of Toyan positioned above his name, with red, gold, and green as the dominant colours in the piece. This is actually one of the more simple Jamaal Pete artworks, usually his pieces have far more detail and colour – the simplicity on display here actually makes this cover more eye-catching with greater gravitas.

As ever with Jamaal Pete’s work, the rear of the cover has a real sense of care about it, with all the credits and tracklist being done by hand. You can see Jamaal’s signature on the inside of Toyan’s collar on the rear sleeve.

The music is what you owould expect from early 80s Toyan, solid bass-heavy rhythms with hypnotic DJ’ing that almost slips into chanting. Classic early dancehall.

Tracklist
A1 Curfew
A2 Chalice
A3 Wife + Sweetheart
A4 Spar With Me
A5 Cuss + Cuss
B1 Life In Jam Down
B2 World War Affair
B3 Gun Shot
B4 Ronnie + Lou
B5 Posse

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Listen to ‘Cuss Cuss’ by Toyan

Listen to ‘Gun Shot’ by Toyan



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Carl Meeks ‎– Weh Dem Fah [1988]

Carl Meeks ‎– Weh Dem Fah [1988]

Carl Meeks ‎– Weh Dem Fah [1988]

Carl Meeks ‎– Weh Dem Fah [1988]

This is ‘Weh Dem Fah’ which was released by Carl Meeks in 1988 on the wonderful Redman International record label.

This is a great late 80s dancehall vocal album, with Redman International studio regulars Steelie & Clevie laying down the digital rhythms.

The cover artwork is another Wilfred Limonious piece and shows some of his geometric style designs that he was partial to doing in the late 80s for the rear cover. That hand-drawn ‘Carl Meeks’ logo on the cover should turned into an actual font – love it.

Tracklist
Beautiful Woman
Granny Say No Worry
Red Eye Lover
Front Line
Johnny
Whey Dem Fa
Without Your Love
Hey Bad Boy
Evil Eyes

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Listen to ‘Weh Dem Fah’ by Carl Meeks:

Listen to ‘Hey Bad Boy’ by Carl Meeks:


‘Weh Dem Fah’ remains a popular track, so much so, it was recently re-recorded with Gappy Ranks and Lion D jumping on the track with Carl Meeks. Check it out below:


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