Junior Keatting ‎– Weekend Lover [1980]

Junior Keatting ‎– Weekend Lover [1980]

 Junior Keatting ‎– Weekend Lover [1980]

 Junior Keatting ‎– Weekend Lover [1980]

This is an incredible Jamaal Pete album design – basically everything here is hand drawn or painted, including the lettering on the rear sleeve.

Jamaal Pete was a Bronx native that used to hang around Brad’s Record Den, when the owner of the shop (Brad Osbourne) decided to launch Clocktower Records and gave Jamaal his first artistic break after recognizing his talents. Jamaal Pete went on to illustrate and create many distinctive artworks for reggae albums, and his style was instantly recognizable.

Jamaal Pete created rich, dense, and colourful artworks using paint and brush. His style was unique and distinctive – any serious reggae fan would be able to identify his work as easily as they would be able to identify a Wilfred Limonious drawing on an album sleeve.

This piece for Junior Keatting’s album ‘Weekend Lover’ (released in 1980 on Tad’s Records) is pretty amazing – Keatting is presented on a ‘wild west’ style wanted poster in a signature Jamaal Pete style. And like we mentioned, the rear of the sleeve, from layout to lettering has all been done by hand.

It’s a great vocal album too – the chances are that you probably won’t have heard much about Junior Keatting as he wasn’t a prolific artist and this is the only full album that is available…..plus not much has been heard from him since the 1980s. The good news is that this album has been remastered and is available in digital form. It is a great piece of work, with solid production from Jah Thomas and a heavy roots feel to it. You should make some time for it.

Tracklist
A1 Long Long Time
A2 Conquering Lion
A3 Jah Wrote Me A Letter
A4 Weekend Lover
A5 Watch What You Do
B1 Baby Please Be True
B2 Hang Up The Telephone
B3 Something Is Bugging Me
B4 Coming Of A Storm
B5 Dubbing Of A Storm

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Listen to ‘Conquering Lion’ by Junior Keatting:

Listen to ‘Long Long Time’ by Junior Keatting:



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Survival – Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival - Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival - Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival - Bob Marley & The Wailers [1979]

Survival‘ was released in 1979 on Island Records and Tuff Gong Records, It marked a return to a more militant themes in Bob Marley’s music and the album was originally going to be called ‘Black Survival.

The album cover is comprised of 48 African flags representing a call for unity and strength in numbers, over an image of a slave ship.

The artwork was designed by a Jamaican-born, but US-based artist called Neville Garrick. Garrick was responsible for a number of other Marley album sleeves, and also went on to provide artwork for Burning Spear (Hail H.I.M, Farover), Bunny Wailer (Blackheart Man), Steel Pulse, Peter Tosh (Wanted Dread & Alive) and many more. Neville Garrick also created the backdrop for the iconic Reggae Sunsplash festival.

Tracklist
Wake Up And Live 4:55
Africa Unite 2:55
One Drop 3:52
Ride Natty Ride 3:53
Ambush In The Night 3:14
So Much Trouble In The World 4:00
Zimbabwe 3:49
Top Rankin’ 3:09
Babylon System 4:21
Survival 3:54

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Listen to ‘Top Rankin’ by Bob Marley


Listen to ‘One Drop’ by Bob Marley



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Jacob Miller – Wanted [1978]

Jacob Miller - Wanted

Jacob Miller - Wanted
wanted back cover
You know those guys who were always effortlessly cool no matter how they looked, and always looked like they were having more fun than you? Well that’s Jacob Miller. And it is pretty much backed up with every album sleeve he has ever appeared on.

This album came out in 1978 on the Top Ranking record label and its a collection of thunderous roots reggae songs with Jacob Miller’s vocals in fine form as they soar across the tracks.

The rear of the album cover presents the band members as fugitives on the run, and the text reads like a police ‘wanted’ poster for each of the.

Although, to be fair, at that time if Jacob Miller and the Inner Circle band had been on the run from the police, then they would’ve been easy enough to spot – they were probably the heaviest band measured in pure body-mass terms in the history of reggae. And they wouldn’t have got far running anyway.

This is a better close up of the text on the back of the album:
wanted close up

The album itself is great. As mentioned, Jacob Miller and the boys were heavy in frame, but also heavy in music and this album is full of blistering roots anthems like ‘Healing of the Nation’.

Track list:

  • Silver & Gold
  • I’ve Got The Handle
  • Standing Firm
  • Healing Of The Nation
  • Wanted
  • Sinners
  • Ital Light
  • Peace Treaty Special
  • Bionic Skank

Jacob Miller burned brightly in his short time in the music industry, and the reggae world lost a huge talent when Miller died at only 27 years old in a car crash.

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Listen to ‘Healing of the Nation’ by Jacob Miller:

Listen to ‘Wanted’ by Jacob Miller:

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The Congos – Congo Ashanti [1979]

The Congos - Congo Ashanti

Outside of reggae circles, the Congos have never really had the recognition that they deserve. Inside of reggae circles they are widely held as being one of the most important vocal groups to emerge from Jamaica, and they have been responsible for some of the most beautiful and complex vocal roots anthems ever – such as ‘Row Fisherman Row’.

Their 1979 album called ‘Congo Ashanti’ was released in Jamaica, but also somehow managed to get picked up by CBS records in France.

Both had the same track listing, but they had very different album sleeves. We have featured both below, beginning with the Jamaican version.

This is the Jamaican 1979 release on Congo Ashanty Records. The black and white artwork, and bright yellow highlights on the edges gives the impression of someone trying to bring something dense and dark out from the shadows – which is a good metaphor for the music which is deep and complex.
The Congos - Congo Ashanti

By contrast, this is the CBS release which came out in the same year (see image below). The bigger marketing budget of CBS shines through in the quality of the photograph, which focuses on one of the Congos with water dripping of his thick dreads.
Congo Ashanti
It’s a stunning photo in its own right.

The album is pure vocal roots, deep basslines, and well-crafted harmonies, and makes a great companion piece to the Congos classic ‘Heart of the Congos‘ which was released in 1977.

Track List:

  • Days Chasing Days
  • Jackpot
  • Hail The World Of Jah
  • Education Of Brainwashing
  • Youth Man
  • Yoyo
  • Nana
  • Thief Is In The Vineyard

The album was re-released again via the Blood & Fire label in 2003, and you really should add it to your collection if you haven’t already.

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Listen to ‘Thief Is In The Vineyard’ by the Congos:

Listen to ‘Days Chasing Days’ by the Congos:

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Don Carlos – Suffering [1981]

Don Carlos Suffering

Don Carlos Suffering
Don Carlos Suffering (back cover)

Released on Negus Roots Records in 1981 [Negus Roots LP #NERLP 001 1981], this Don Carlos showcase album has one of those striking pieces of album art that you never forget. I’ve been wanting to revist this one for ages.

The bright blue background and colouring makes it seem almost otherworldly, and adds to the horror, unnaturalness, and bleakness of the image of slavery being portrayed.

Jamaican ‘Showcase’ albums usually collected together recent singles and songs by an artist, and very often included the dub or instrumental versions of each track. That is the case here, and ‘Suffering’ featured 6 vocal cuts and 6 instrumental versions of each track.

Recorded and mixed at Tuff Gong International Studio, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica – this showcase album features a comprehensive who’s who of the premier Jamaican musicians of the time and Don Carlos is on fine form. Don Carlos has always been one of those rare roots singers that could bridge the gap between Roots and Dancehall and sounded equally at home in each style. This album is pure roots, and a must for any reggae fan.

Track List:

  • Gimme Gimme Your Love
  • Version
  • Crucial Situation
  • Version
  • Working Everyday
  • Version
  • Live In Harmony
  • Version
  • Prophecy
  • Version
  • Jah Hear My Plea
  • Version

Record Details:
Producer : Robert Flako Palmer
Arranger : Robert Flako Palmer & Don Carlos
Mixing Engineer : Errol Brown
Engineer : Errol Brown & Steven Stewart
Vocals : Don Carlos
Drums : Horsemouth Wallace
Bass : Lloyd Parks
Lead Guitar : Junior Marvin
Rhythm Guitar : Bo Peep
Organ : Wire Lindo & Winston Wright
Piano : Winston Wright & Bubbler
Synthesiser : Horsemouth Wallace
Horns : Deadly Headly & David Madden
Percussions : Everton Carrington & Horsemouth Wallace
Syndrums : Horsemouth Wallace

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Listen to Crucial Situation + Version by Don Carlos:

Listen to Jah Hear My Plea by Don Carlos:

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Although the original album is tough to find now, you can still get the tracks from it as it was subsequently re-released under the new name of “Prophecy”, with each track extended to include the dub. Well worth picking up.

  • Get Don Carlos ‘Suffering’ / ‘Prophecy’ on Amazon.com
  • Get Don Carlos ‘Suffering’ / ‘Prophecy’ on Amazon.co.uk
  • Get Don Carlos ‘Suffering’ / ‘Prophecy’ on iTunes [US]icon
  • Get Don Carlos ‘Suffering’ / ‘Prophecy’ on iTunes [UK]