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.
A1 This Is Massive
A2 Strictly Bubbling
A3 Mr. Rooster
B1 Vamps On The Corner
B2 Chicken Chest
B3 Just Cool, Melba
‘Disco Dub’ by Sly & Robbie was first released in 1978 on Gorgon Records and it came with a glorious cover that pictured Sly & Robbie as super-humans, high above the clouds and dwarfing the surrounding planets.
A1 Side Walk Doctor
A2 War Of The Gods
B1 Depth Charge
B2 Mickey Mouse
B3 Battle Of The Titans
Dancehall is rarely subtle, and I think that is pretty much encapsulated by this album cover – a cartoon ‘rasta-rambo’.
‘Mission Impossible‘ is a compilation of tracks that were all released on the ‘Two Year Old’ riddim that was produced by George Phang.
Sly & Robbie as the Taxi Gang ore the musicians, and the compilation features tracks from Johnny Osbourne, Freddie McGregor, Frankie Paul, Peter Metro, and many more.
Artwork and sleeve design credited to L. Hinde
A1 Jakie Statement – Care Yu Body
A2 Johnny Osbourne – Mission
A3 Winston Hussey – Special Attention
A4 Frankie Paul – F P Love
A5 Peter Metro – Hackle The Mike
B1 Freddie McGregor – Don’t Hurt My Feelings
B2 Lynval Thompson – Labba Mouth
B3 Weedie Dread – Sweet Sixteen
B4 Al Campbell – Boarderline
B5 Sly & Robbie – Mission Impossible
Elephant Man is on a mission to bring the fun back to Dancehall. His latest album is called “Dance and Sweep – Adventures of the Energy God”, and it features a fantastic piece of cartoon cover art that brings back memories of those old Greensleeves album covers (especially the Scientist ones). The album art was by Tony McDermott, the legendary artist that produced much of the album art for the Greensleeves reggae release – including the aforementioned Scientist ones.
This is released on VP records, who actually acquired Greensleeves a while back – so the link between the two is not that surprising.
The cartoon cover protrays Elephant Man as the dancehall superhero who is here to start the party and lead the crowd in dancing. Look closely and you’ll see what looks like Usain Bolt in the background, and even Harry Potter clutching his broom for the Dance and Sweep. There’s a possible Barak Obama in the background as well?
1. The Genesis (The Energy God’s Introduction)
2. How We Do It ft. Bounty Killer
3. Party Up In Here
4. In Jamaica
5. Nuh Linga
6. Dance And Sweep
7. Clear ft. Kardinal Offishall
9. Wine And Dip
10. Dip Again
12. Step Ova
13. Shake It
14. Let Me Be The Man
15. Life Of The Party Ft. Bounty Killer (Digital Exclusive)
Dancehall fans will be already familiar with some of the tracklisting as recent singles like ‘How We Do It” and “Nuh Linga” are included.
Listen to ‘How We Do It” with Bounty Killer (Mad Collab riddim):
Wilfred Limonious was an illustrator of many, many reggae album covers and almost all of them featured his distinctive cartoon style, often with scrawled text describing much of the action and adding more energy to his artwork.
This cover is arguably the most famous album cover credited to Wilfred Limonious – partly due to the massive riddim that the album gave a showcase to. The Stalag riddim was created by Winston Riley’s Techniques in the mid-1970s and was arguably made most famous in the 1980s by Tenor Saw with his track “Ring The Alarm”.
The Stalag riddim has gone on to be a dancehall staple and has been re-cut many times since its first release in 1985 – it’s got to be one of the most versioned riddim ever.
But anyway, back to the album art. This is a classic Wilfred Limonious cover and it shows the Technique Sound System busting the prison walls open. The text that is written on the Technique Speak Box reads “Yah Sound Tear Dung Prison Walls”
Between Wilfred Limonious and Orville Bagga Case some of the most striking and original album artwork was produced in the 80s and 90s……and well as some bad ones.
Stalag 17, 18 & 19 was released in 1985 and collects together 10 cuts of the Stalag riddim, the ‘wanted poster’ on the floor lists the names of all the artists featured on the album.
Tenor Saw – Ring The Alarm
Admiral Tibet – Trouble To Man
Little Kirk – What’s Love Got To Do
Little John – Look What You Have Done
Lloyd Hemmings – Raggamufin Soldier
Sugar Minott – Jah Jah Rule
Yami Bolo – When A Man In Love
Michael Prophet – Room Full
Brigadier Jerry – What Kind Of World
Techniques All Stars – Stalag 17
Listen to ‘Ring The Alarm’ by Tenor Saw:
Listen to ‘Raggamuffin Soldier’ by Lloyd Hemmings: