Yellowman and Fathead are the (probably unintentional) kings of funny and cartoonish album covers. “Live at Aces” came out in 1982 on Music Works record label and it’s a collection of tracks from Yellowman and Fathead (and others) live on stage.
I have no idea what “Feeding in the Dancehall” refers to. Seriously.
Released in 1983 on Ariwa records this was Ranking Ann’s second album (her first album was called “A Slice of English Toast”). The album was produced by Mad Professor and as a result it has bass heavy dub feel to it with plenty of sound effects firing off while Ranking Ann DJs over the top.
It’s a real shame that Ranking Ann didn’t really get the recognition that she deserved as her first two albums are really original DJ offerings. Our love for cartoon reggae album covers is well known, and this one is a classic. The album art is credited to Tony McDermott who was famous for the Greensleeves album covers of the 1980s, in particular the Scientist dub albums. Check it out below.
Something Fishy Going On
Call Me Ranking Ann
Stop Romance Inna Dance
Hot! Hot! Hot!
A Wa Do Men
The Man Is Mine
Listen to ‘Stop Romance Ina Dance’ by Ranking Ann:
Ahhh, there is nothing better than a reggae album with a cartoon cover.
Following the meteoric rise of Yellowman in the Jamaican dancehalls, and his success globally – a couple of albino Jamaicans decided to pick up the microphone and emulate his success. Purpleman was one such DJ – he also recorded under the name Peter Yellow, and strangely even released an album as ‘Yellowman’.
Here he teams up with Papa Tullo on a solid early 80s dancehall showcase album with a great cartoon cover.
This album was released in the UK in 1983 on Vista Sounds records. It was produced by Bunny Lee and features riddims from The Aggrovators, Roots Radics, The Taxi Gang and more.
Track Listing :
Papa Tullo – Nuff Stylee
Papa Tullo – Special Request To David Rodigan And Tony Williams
This is just too good, so it deserves a front and back view of the album sleeve.
During the 1970s when reggae was experiencing a relative degree of commercial success, record labels like Virgin, and Island were signing up the biggest names in Jamaica and releasing their albums.
This investment led to some great artwork being created to support the record label’s marketing strategy for their new Jamaican talent. Many major labels went down the rebellious route in marketing and presenting reggae artists, and tried to capitalize on the popularity that reggae had with the punk crowd.
Dillinger’s ‘Bionic Dread’ album is one such example. Released in 1976 on Island records, Dillinger’s Bionic Dread album had some really striking artwork. As you can see, it features Dillinger as a part-human/part-machine roaring past a family in their old-fashioned car.
King Of The Road
As well as having great artwork, it’s a great album too. Dillinger DJs over some heavy roots rhythms by Sly and Robbie.
By 1976, Lee “Scratch” Perry was well established at his Black Ark studio and was churning out totally unique music and productions.
The Upsetters released “Super Ape” in 1976 and it still sounds original and fresh today. As well as being one of the best dub albums of all time, this album also transcends it’s genre so that even people who do not usually like reggae can appreciate the otherworldly and unique production of this brilliant record. Quite simply it’s a brilliant and inventive piece of music.
Super Ape was essentially a dub album of Lee Perry’s finest 1976 rhythms and vocal productions, from Devon Irons’ “When Jah Come” and the Blue Bells’ “Come Along”, to Max Romeo’s “War in a Babylon” and “Chase the Devil.” All the tracks are twisted, de-constructed, re-invented, and covered in a dark and sinister atmosphere.
It also has one of the single greatest reggae album covers of all time. Seeing a hand-drawn picture of spliff-smoking ape trashing the world never wears off for me. I love the B-Movie style horror font used for the words ‘Super Ape’, and the ‘Blacker Than Dread’ postage stamp. The whole thing almost has a Marvel comics fell about it
The Jamaican release for this album had different artwork and a slightly different track listing (Jamaican artwork below), but it’s the global release from Island records that I’m focusing on here.
Jamaican Artwork for Super Ape:
More ‘Lion’ than ape-like, but still a striking cover.
1: Zion’s Blood
2: Croaking Lizard
3: Black Vest
5: Curly Dub
6: Dread Lion
7: Three in One
10: Dub Along
11: Super Ape
If you don’t have this album then I strongly urge that you get it. If this page helps some of you to pick this album up, become captivated by it, and carry it around with you wherever you go, then I’ll be happy.