Bullwackie In New York 1981 (Wackies Rhythm Force) [Documentary]

wackies reggae

wackies reggae

If you doidn’t know already, Wackies is a highly influential reggae label that ran out of New York and was at the height of its powers in the late 70s and through the 80s, working with US and Jamaican artists alike, including Leroy Sibbles, Horace Andy, Love Joys, Jah Batta, Sugar Minott and many many more. Wackies went on to have a studio, label, and record shop all under the Wackies brand.

It was established and run by Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes, and Barnes is still involved in re-issues from the Wackies catalogue, as well as working on the odd new release with collaborators.

The Wackies sound was distinctive, and had a focus on deep bass heavy rhythms, with cutting edge technology often used to layer on sound effects and create the signature Wackies style.

This documentary called ‘Bullwackie In New York’ was directed by Christopher Coy and is a fascinating hour long look at the Wackies family and how they became the most recognizable and influential reggae label in the USA during the 1980s.

It is full of great interviews, live shows, and studio footage, creating a great snaphot of the New York reggae scene.

Bullwackies All Stars – Black World Dub [1979]

Bullwackies All Stars - Black World Dub [1979]

Bullwackies All Stars - Black World Dub [1979]

Bullwackies All Stars - Black World Dub [1979]

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


Listen to ‘Skylarking’ by Bullwackies All Stars:

Listen to ‘United Rock’ by Bullwackies All Stars:


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