This is the self-titled album from DJ Toyan that was released in 1982 on J&L Records, a subsidiary label of Jamaican based Channel One that was owned and run by Jo Jo Hookim and Ernest Hookim.
The artwork here is by Jamaal Pete and it shows a full portrait of Toyan positioned above his name, with red, gold, and green as the dominant colours in the piece. This is actually one of the more simple Jamaal Pete artworks, usually his pieces have far more detail and colour – the simplicity on display here actually makes this cover more eye-catching with greater gravitas.
As ever with Jamaal Pete’s work, the rear of the cover has a real sense of care about it, with all the credits and tracklist being done by hand. You can see Jamaal’s signature on the inside of Toyan’s collar on the rear sleeve.
The music is what you owould expect from early 80s Toyan, solid bass-heavy rhythms with hypnotic DJ’ing that almost slips into chanting. Classic early dancehall.
A3 Wife + Sweetheart
A4 Spar With Me
A5 Cuss + Cuss
B1 Life In Jam Down
B2 World War Affair
B3 Gun Shot
B4 Ronnie + Lou
‘King of Dub’ is a 1978 dub album released initially on Clocktower Records, and then later on Blue Moon Productions.
Clocktower was a label based in New York and was owned and operated by Brad Osborne that focused on dub and roots releases. Many of the releases from the 70s and 80s are thankfully still available now in digital form.
This is a rich dub album, with heavy bass and plenty of horns.
The artwork was done by Clocktower regular Jamaal Pete, and features a painted lion on the cover. It is a bold cover, but (iun our opinion) not one of Jamaal Pete’s best covers. The rear of the sleeve also features a short essay by Brad Osbourne that reads as follows:
This form of music started in the dance halls in the early 60s by some of the pioneer record producers. Mainly Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, by both of whom I’ve been tremendously influenced…
As a youth, from Jones and Trench Town, I’ve learned you must have an adequate power amplifier, right preamp and speakers…
For the right sound and effect, King Tubbys “the dubmaster” is a must, knowing when to bring in the Rhythm and leggo the Bass and Drum.
This album, it’s clean, heavy and right effects; we diged into the Rhythm vault and came up with TEN of the Hardest Rhythm Tracks. You’ll be convinced that this is the King of Dub.
A1 King Zion Dub
A2 Super Star Dub
A3 Graceful Dub
A4 Rubba Dunza (Clock Tower Mix)
A5 Jah Angel Of Dub (Clock Tower Mix)
B1 Blood, Sweat & Dunza Dub
B2 King, Queen & Minstreal Dub
B3 Easy Dread & Check This Dub
B4 Fancy Up A Dub
B5 Stalac 80 Dubwise
Released on Tads Records in 1980 this was Jah Thomas’s third album.
Despite being a local celebrity since the mid-70s, Jah Thomas found international fame with his first album ‘Stop Yuh Loafin’ when it was picked up by Greensleeves Records, a new label at the time that was founded by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick, and was based in West London. Greensleeves would go on to become an integral part of taking a wide roster of reggae and dancehall artists to international markets, and ‘Stop Yuh Loafin’ would also feature the first cover-art by Tony McDermott – another artist responsible for some of the most creative and distinctive reggae album art o.ver the years
The artwork here is another striking piece by Jamaal Pete, and features his detailed and colourful style and brush strokes.
The rear of the album is equally as impressive, featuring hand-drawn lettering for the tracklisting and other album details which gives a true artisan feel to the whole product.
The music itself is a pretty good set, not the best by Jah Thomas, but solid enough with heavy rhythm tracks from the Roots Radics band and deep mixing by Scientist.
1 Hear It In The News
2 Please Mr Officer
4 Nah Fight Over Woman
5 Have To Spend Me Hotel Fee
6 Mary Lou
7 Cocky & Pussy
8 Hotel No Lack
9 Morning Ride
10 Put It On Back
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.
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
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).