Prince Jazzbo – Natty Passing Thru / Ital Corner

Prince Jazzbo Ital Corner

Prince Jazzbo Natty Passing Thru

Prince Jazzbo Ital Corner

Prince Jazzbo, as well as being one of the more under-rated DJs – at least outside of the more passionate and knowledgeable reggae circles, also has a large footprint of both wonderful and poor album covers.

This is one of the wonderful ones.

‘Natty Passing Thru’ was first released in 1976 on Black Wax records, and was later re-released under the name ‘Ital Corner’ on Clocktower Records.

The first release on Black Wax records can be seen in the image at the top and featured a bold cover design featuring a dreadlocked face.

The release that came later on Clocktower records featured a New York style street populated by various dreads hanging around on ‘Ital Corner’. The Clocktower logo is prominent in the upper left corner of the record sleeve and the artwork was credited to Brad Osborne and Jamaal Pete.

Jamaal Pete was a New York based artist that produced some stunning reggae album sleeves – his signature style was painted images, always busy and detailed with bold colours, and often with an otherworldly and fantasy elements.

It is quite rare for a re-release to feature artwork that is as good and as arresting as the original – I personally love the urban 70’s feeling that seeps out of the artwork on the Clocktower release and the fact that the streetlight on the album cover gives off the impression that it is only illuminating a fraction of what is going on in the busy scene – it’s like discovering some hidden part of a city, and only getting a glimpse.

The 1981 re-release also featured a red, gold, and green border (as seen in the image above).

Both releases are effectively the same album, but the track-listing is in a different order on each. The music is incredible and Prince Jazzbo DJs over a selection of Lee Perry produced Black Ark tracks. This is one of the few DJ albums to be released that was based entirely around Lee Perry’s Black Ark productions (Jah Lion’s Colombia Colly springs to mind as another).

Track Listing – ‘Natty Passing Thru’ [Black Wax release]

  • Dreadlocks Corner
  • Story Come To Bump
  • Natty Passin Thru’ Rome
  • Hold My Hand
  • Prophet Live
  • Ital Corner
  • Bloody Dunza
  • Weepin’ And Wailin’
  • Live Good Today
  • Life Is Gonna Easy

Track Listing for ‘Ital Corner’ [Clocktower release]:

  • Ital Corner
  • Natty Past Through Rome
  • Prophet Live
  • Prophet Dub – Satta
  • Live Good Today
  • Dreadlock Corner
  • Coming On Strong
  • Blood Dunza…
  • Weeping And Wailing
  • Story Come To Bump

Listen To It
Listen to ‘Story Come To Bump’ by Prince Jazzbo:

Listen to ‘Ital Corner’ by Prince Jazzbo:

Buy It
The good news is that this album is still pretty easy to pick up on CD, or as an MP3 download (for some great pricing).

The Congos – Heart Of The Congos [1977]

Heart-Of-The-Congos-by-The-Congos_jG4PpvDZBfQx_full

The Congos - Heart Of The Congos

This is going straight into the Iconic & Classic Album Covers category.

Produced by Lee Perry and classed by many as one of the greatest vocal roots albums ever made, The Heart Of The Congos also has a wonderful album cover to match the music.

The cover shows Cedric Myton and Roy Johnson, the main vocalists, playing congo drums in, what is said to be, a local fishing shed – which totally suits the ‘local’ and ‘rural’ feel that the music conveys.

The album itself has also been known as ‘Heart of the Congo Man’ and was first released on Lee Perry’s ‘Black Art’ label in 1977.

If you have never heard this album, then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy – it is a dense and complex roots production with soaring vocals and melodies. The uninitiated may find it hard going at first, but perseverance will eventually reward you as you’ll discover more and more layers to the album with every listen. Steve Barrow (founder of Blood & Fire records and reggae historian) stated the “Heart Of The Congos is the most perfectly realized album to come from Lee Perry’s Black Ark.”

Track List:

  • Fisherman
  • Congoman
  • Open Up The Gate
  • Children Crying
  • La La Bam Bam
  • Can’t Come In
  • Sodom And Gomorrow
  • The Wrong Thing
  • Ark Of The Covenant
  • Solid Foundation

The album has been reissued a number of times on a number of different labels, and more recently the now (sadly) demised Blood & Fire label produced an extended version that captured extra tracks and recordings.

The album cover produced for the re-issue was reverential to the themes contained in the original songs, and even tried to maintain the ‘home-made feel’ to the artwork – it featured the original cover mounted in the center of a sculpture, and surrounded it with symbols relating to the spirit and themes contained within the album.

Album cover for the Blood and Fire re-issue of ‘Heart of the Congos':
The Congos - Heart Of The Congos Blood and Fire

Track Listing for the Blood and Fire re-issue of ‘Heart of the Congos':

  • Fisherman
  • Congoman
  • Open Up The Gate
  • Children Crying
  • La La Bam Bam
  • Can’t Come In
  • Sodom And Gomorrow
  • The Wrong Thing
  • Ark Of The Covenant
  • Solid Foundation
  • At The Feast
  • NicodemusCongoman
  • Congoman Chant
  • Bring The Meakabeak
  • Noah Sugar Pan
  • Solid Foundation

The re-issue is a nice tribute to the original album, but at the end of the day we prefer the original photo and hand-made design of the original release for defining the spirit of this wonderful album.

Listen To It

Listen to ‘Children Crying’ by The Congos:

Listen to ‘Fisherman’ by The Congos:

Buy It
Still widely available on CD or download:

Dennis Brown – Live At Montreaux

Dennis Brown - Live At Montreaux [1984]

Dennis Brown - Live At Montreaux [1984]

Dennis Brown - Live At Montreaux [1984] back

This is going into our ‘Iconic & Classic Album Covers’.

This live album first appeared on Joe Gibbs records in 1979 and was subsequently re-released in 1984 on Blue Moon Records – and it is this 1984 version that we are focusing on here.

The album art is striking and really captures the energy of this live performance and the sense of occasion that surrounded Dennis Brown at Montreaux. The artwork and sleeve design is credited to ‘Wyke Studios, Guilford’.

The album itself is a stunning live performance by Dennis Brown recorded at the annual Montreux festival as part of his 1979 tour. The band is incredible and a lot of freedom and time is given to each track with instrumental sections and improvisation throughout the whole album – in places it comes across as heavy as a rock performance. It’s an essential album for all reggae fans.

Track Listing:

  • So Jah Say
  • Wolves And Leopards
  • Words Of Wisdom
  • Ain’t That Loving You
  • The Drifter
  • Milk And Honey
  • Yabby You
  • Don’t Feel No Way
  • Whip Them Jah
  • Money In My Pocket

Listen To It
Listen to The Drifter by Dennis Brown at Montreaux:


Listen to Milk and Honey by Dennis Brown at Montreaux:

Buy It
It is available as a double CD set with the second disc a DVD, and it’s also readily available as a download:

Rico Rodriguez – Man From Wareika [1977]

Rico - Man From Wareika

Back Cover:

Rico - Man From Wareika (back cover)

This is a real favourite album of ours – both for the artwork and the music within.

“Man From Wareika” was Rico Rodriguez’s first full studio album that he created as an artist. Despite being a heavy instrumental roots album there is also a strong Jazz influence that seeps through the entire album. It’s an album that whilst being a true reggae album at heart, also manages to transcend its genre and stand up stong as a stunning musical composition and a genuine classic.

Produced by Karl Pitterson, “Man From Wareika” appeared on Island Records in 1977 at a time when the major recording labels were embracing Jamaican reggae music. Other pressings of the album were also released by Blue Note Records (1977) and Top Ranking Records (1977) in Jamaica.

Sadly this incredible album is very hard to get hold of now and there seems to be no sign of any re-release planned in the near future for it. A version was released in 2004 for Japan and imports can sometimes still be found online.

Track List:

  • This Day
  • Ramble
  • Lumumba
  • Africa
  • Man From Wareika
  • Rasta
  • Over The Mountain
  • Gunga Din
  • Dial Africa

Listen To It
 
 
Listen to ‘Lumumba’ by Rico Rodriguez:

Listen to ‘Man From Wareika’ by Rico Rodriguez:

Buy It
 
 

Gregory Isaacs – In Person (1974/1975)

A side by side comparison starring Gregory Isaacs!

Gregory Isaacs - In Person

Gregory Isaacs - In Person (Trojan Release)

Released on GGs in 1974 (top picture), I loved this album cover of Gregory chilling in his car (Gregory is no stranger to posing in a car). Trojan records released the album in the UK a year later (1975) and chose to turn the original sleeve into a drawing. We definitely prefer the original sleeve.

Track Listing:

  • Sweeter The Victory
  • Love Overdue
  • Financial Endorsement
  • Be Careful
  • Another Heart Ache
  • If You’re In Love
  • Dreams Come True
  • The Way She Walks
  • Far Beyond The Valley
  • Happiness Come
  • No Forgiveness
  • Love Disguise

This is as good a Gregory Isaacs album as you’ll ever get – he was at the peak of his powers here, before drug addiction dulled his lyrical ability and turned his voice into a nasal croak like Bob Dylan crossed with a frog. The album still stands the test of time and it remains an amazing set of tracks. But I’d advise you to forget the Gregory Isaacs output of today and turn up ‘Love Is Overdue’ on your speakers instead.

Listen To It
 
 
Listen to ‘Love is Overdue’ by Gregory Isaacs:

Listen to ‘Sweeter The Victory” by Gregory Isaacs:

Buy It
 
 
‘In Person’ is pretty much impossible to find in the shops, however, you can still get ‘Love is Overdue’ that featured the bulk of the tracks from ‘In Person’ as well as plenty of extras. We highly recommend it.

  • Get ‘Love is Overdue’ by Gregory Isaacs from Amazon.com
  • Get ‘Love is Overdue’ by Gregory Isaacs from Amazon.co.uk
  • Get ‘Love is Overdue’ by Gregory Isaacs from iTunes [UK]
  • Get ‘Love is Overdue’ by Gregory Isaacs from iTunes [US]icon