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.
A1 London Rock
A2 Unity Of Love
A3 Here We Come Again
A4 Travel East To West
A5 Rocking Vibration
A6 Jamaican Shuffle
B2 Going To The Ball
B3 Special Request
B4 Drum And Bass
B5 Satta Natty Dread
B6 Fire And Desire
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 – 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.
‘King of Dub’ is a 1978 dub album released initially on Clocktower Records, and then later on Blue Moon Productions.
Clocktower was a label based in New York and was owned and operated by Brad Osborne that focused on dub and roots releases. Many of the releases from the 70s and 80s are thankfully still available now in digital form.
This is a rich dub album, with heavy bass and plenty of horns.
The artwork was done by Clocktower regular Jamaal Pete, and features a painted lion on the cover. It is a bold cover, but (iun our opinion) not one of Jamaal Pete’s best covers. The rear of the sleeve also features a short essay by Brad Osbourne that reads as follows:
This form of music started in the dance halls in the early 60s by some of the pioneer record producers. Mainly Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, by both of whom I’ve been tremendously influenced…
As a youth, from Jones and Trench Town, I’ve learned you must have an adequate power amplifier, right preamp and speakers…
For the right sound and effect, King Tubbys “the dubmaster” is a must, knowing when to bring in the Rhythm and leggo the Bass and Drum.
This album, it’s clean, heavy and right effects; we diged into the Rhythm vault and came up with TEN of the Hardest Rhythm Tracks. You’ll be convinced that this is the King of Dub.
A1 King Zion Dub
A2 Super Star Dub
A3 Graceful Dub
A4 Rubba Dunza (Clock Tower Mix)
A5 Jah Angel Of Dub (Clock Tower Mix)
B1 Blood, Sweat & Dunza Dub
B2 King, Queen & Minstreal Dub
B3 Easy Dread & Check This Dub
B4 Fancy Up A Dub
B5 Stalac 80 Dubwise
Here is a look at two very contrasting album covers for essentially the same album. ‘Dub Classic’ by The Rupie Edwards All Stars, was first released in 1975 under the title ‘Dub Basket’ and was then re-issued in 1977 under the new title ‘Dub Classic’.
Both releases are identical, and have the same track-listing – only the covers are different.
The first release was on Cactus Records, and had artwok that was a pretty literal interpretation of the title, ‘Dub Basket’.
The re-issue in 1977 was on Success Records and had a very different look and feel to it, with a cover simply showing Rupie Edwards suited up and looking like he was forced to have his photo taken despite not being remotely in the mood for it.
A1 A Fine Dub
A2 Bada Dub
A3 Dreamy Dub
A4 Sounds Of Dub
A5 Tempo Dub
A6 The Freedom Dub
B1 Make It Dubwise
B2 Feeling Dub
B3 The Light Of Dub
B4 The Dub Of Fire
B5 A Little Piece Of Dub
B6 Rock A Dub
It’s a great dub album too – mixed by King Tubby and featuring some of the best reggae musicians of the era playing under the title of ‘The Rupie Edwards All Stars’ .
The album is still available too as part of a double release called ‘Dub Basket Volume 1 and 2′.
Listen to ‘The Freedom Dub’ by Rupie Edwards All Stars:
Originally released in 1979 on the Wackie’s imprint label called Hardwax, ‘Black World Dub‘ is a fine example of the music that Wackie’s were embarking on and would continue to push out from their New York base through the 1980s.
This is a tough dub album that combines roots sensibilities with some electronic wizardry from the latest gadgets and technology of the time. Leroy Sibbles acts as a musical director (as well as contributing bass on a number of tracks) and recognisable rhythms are all given the unique Wackie’s treatment – check out the machine-gun style drum effects on ‘Skylarking’, and their interpretation of ‘The Drifter’ (called ‘Recording Connection’ here).
There is a wonderful simplicity to the cover art that suits this release. No fuss or hype, just a title on an off-white cover. There rear gives you a black & white studio photo. Many releases on the Wackies imprints often had simple black and white covers that gave a certain gravitas and seriousness to each release.
Jah T – Recording Connection
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Skylarking
Joe Auxumite – Troubled Land
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Morning Star
Bullwackie – United Rock
Leroy Sibbles – Black World
Joe Auxumite – Simple Little Woman
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Tribute To Studio One
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Rain From The Cloud
The Wackies Rhythm Force – Shining Star