Ranking Joe – Weakheart Fadeaway [1978]

Ranking Joe - Weakheart Fadeaway [1978]

Ranking Joe - Weakheart Fadeaway [1978]

Ranking Joe - Weakheart Fadeaway [1978]

First released in 1978 on Greensleeves records ‘Weakheart Fadeaway’ collected together ten previously recorded Ranking Joe tracks, all recorded and mixed at Channel One Recording Studios, and released on the Channel One label.

Produced by Jo Jo Hookim (Joseph Hoo Kim), this collection featured The Revolutionaires on the riddims who at the time featured some of the best musicians of the era including Sly & Robbie, Ranchie, Ansel Collins, Duggie, and Sticky.

Ranking Joe cut his teeth on the legendary Stur Gav Sound System, and he is in top form on this album. Most long-time reggae fans will be familiar with most of the riddims featured on this album, but the production is slick and Ranking Joe brings his own unique pattern and excitement to each of the tracks.

The artwork is pretty special too. This album easily benefited from the Greensleeves release who clearly put some design effort to create a striking image of the dread on the motorbike – the artwork was created by Paul Smykle, and the sleeve was printed out by Garrod & Lofthouse.

The artwork reminds a bit of Dillinger’s ‘Bionic Dread‘ album on Island Records from 1976.

Tracklist:

  • Dub Sister Dub It
  • Rock Pon De Rock
  • A Dread Earthquake
  • Natty Dread A Trademan
  • Nine Months Belly
  • Weakheart Fadeaway
  • Natty The Collie Smoker
  • Queen Tell
  • Honest Living
  • Milkman Coming

Listen To It

Listen to ‘Earthquake’ by Ranking Joe:


Listen to ‘Weakheart fadeaway’ by Ranking Joe:



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Junior Murvin – Muggers In The Street [1984]

Junior Murvin - Muggers In The Street

Junior Murvin - Muggers In The Street [1984]

If by ‘Muggers’ he means ‘Goat’ then Junior Murvin is spot on.

If not, then this album cover certainly doesn’t really match the social statement and warning that Junior Murvin is trying to convey with the title. Still, it’s a photo of a ‘street’, and the word ‘street’ is in the title, so it’s a partial win.

The rest of the album art, from the font to the graphics used is pure 1980s, so it will come as no surprise that this was released in 1984 on Greensleeves.

It was produced by Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes, who was the king of dancehall riddims in the early 80s, and despite this, it remains a roots album as opposed to a dancehall one. The problem is, it isn’t a great roots album, and whilst we acknowledge that ‘Police and Thieves’ is a classic, there was really no need to do an 80s remake of the track, mix it up a little bit, and call it ‘Muggers In The Street’. Junior Murvin was clearly on autopilot for this record – it’s not all bad though. And the album art has its own charm about it.

Track List:

  • Judas And Jesus
  • Champagne And Wine
  • Jahova’s Children
  • Strikes And Demonstrations
  • Muggers In The Street
  • Stop The Crime
  • Jamaican Girls
  • Hook Line And Sinker
  • Think Twice
  • I’ll Follow You

Listen To It
 
 
Listen to ‘Muggers In The Street’ by Junior Murvin:

Listen to ‘Think Twice’ by Junior Murvin:

Buy It
 
 

Prince Jammy – Prince Jammy Destroys The Invaders [1982]

Prince Jammy - Prince Jammy Destroys The Invaders

This Prince Jammy dub album came out in 1982 on Greensleeves Records and the artwork was created by Tony McDermott.

In the early 1980s, Scientist had a series of dub albums released on Greensleeves that all featured striking cartoon covers showing Scientist defeating space invaders, vampires, or winning the World Cup (covers that will be featured on this blog in due time) – Tony McDermott was the artist behind them all, and on this cover he portrays Prince Jammy iondefending a planet from an invasion of the original computerised Space Invaders.

Musically it’s a great album, with plenty of killer dubs and great sound effects. Well worth picking up.

Track Listing:

  • Conspiracy On Neptune
  • Martian Encounter
  • Saturn Bombardment
  • Attack On Ganymede
  • War In The Asteroid Belt
  • The Great Red Spot
  • Life On Uranus
  • Final Destruction

Listen To It
 
 
Listen to ‘Conspiracy On Neptune’ by Prince Jammy:

Listen to ‘War In The Asteroid Belt’ by Prince Jammy:

Buy It
 
 

Sizzla – Ghetto Youthology [2009]

Sizzla - Ghetto Youth-Ology

Sizza is a notoriously prolific dancehall artist, even by Jamaican standards, and he seems to come out with a couple of albums a year at the very least. Unsurprisingly his output can often be hit and miss (sometimes even terrible) – as can his album artwork, so it’s great to see a return to form for Sizzla like this.

It’s also great to see a modern dancehall album not obsessed with a moody, vanity shot of the artist. This cartoon of Sizzla entertaining and educating the Ghetto Youths is a tribute to some of the fantastic cartoon album covers from Tony McDermott, that were commonplace in the early 1980s (such as the series of dub albums by ‘Scientist’).

This album is full of roots and conscious reggae all performed in Sizzla’s classic sing-jay and chanting style (this is not the rushed, gruff ‘dancehall-by-numbers’ like some of his previous efforts have been)

Tracklisting

  • Jah Love
  • Ghetto Utes Dem Ah Suffer
  • Stop It Right Now
  • Gwaan Bear
  • Hey Youths (Respect)
  • Black Man In The White House
  • Future Is Yours
  • Premeditate
  • I`m Loving You
  • Open Up The Doors
  • What Am I To Do Baby
  • I Love You So
  • Tax Payers Money
  • Qualities In Life
  • Babylon Ease Off

Buy It

The album is worth picking up to hear Sizzla’s return to form. It’s available at pretty cheap prices online.

Sizzla – Ghetto Youth-Ology on CD

Sizzla – Ghetto Youth-Ology on MP3

Listen To It

Listen to ‘Stop it Right Now” by Sizzla

Listen to ‘Premeditate’ by Sizzla:

Yellowman – Mister Yellowman

Yellowman - Mr Yellowman

In the early 1980s, Yellowman pretty much ruled the dancehall and the ‘Mister Yellowman’ album by Yellowman is one of my favourite covers ever – there is something simple and unpretentious about this album cover, and it looked great on a full size album sleeve. Dancehall would go on to have more crass and image conscious album covers as guns, girls and personal wealth would become dominant themes in the late 80’s and early 90’s (Yellowman himself was equally to blame in later years), so there is a nice simplicity and sense of reality about this Yellowman album cover – it’s like finding somone’s personal photo.

The sense that this album cover was not planned and staged also comes through by the fact that Yellowman doesn’t look like he’s enjoying being in the sun (as it probably evident, Yellowman was born with albinism), you can see him squinting behind the cover of his glasses and hat…….and what a hat! I’ve never seen anyone else pull off wearing a two piece matching tracksuit and what looks like a wool trilby….incredible.

The album itself is a classic – Mister Yellowman was Yellow’s first album with producer Junjo Lawes, and remains one of his best. Some of the dancehall albums of the early 1980’s still sound fresh today and ‘Mister Yelowman’ is one album that I can return to and still get huge amounts of enjoyment from. Natty Sat Up On A Rock is an all-time classic track.

Track Listing for Mister Yellowman:

  1. Natty Sat Upon The Rock
  2. Lost Mi Love
  3. Mr. Chin
  4. Two To Six Super Mix
  5. Morning Ride
  6. How You Keep A Dance
  7. Jamaica A Little Miami
  8. Yellowman Getting Married
  9. Duppy Or Gunman
  10. Cocky Did A Hurt Me

Buy It
 
 

Listen To It
 
 

Listen to “Natty Sat Up On The Rock”. Probably my favourite track on the album, and a flawless example of early 80s conscious reggae dancehall.

Listen to “Mr Chin”: