This is as good as it gets, a King Tubby digital album, intros by Fuzzy Jones, and great album artwork by Jethro “Paco” Dennis – this is about as close to the essence of Dancehall as it it possible to get from a single album.
King Tubby’s name will always be associated with dub for many casual reggae fans, but he was equally as at home when the digital age of reggae hit and wasn’t left behind like many other producers who began their careers in the same era that Tubby did.
The Sound Clash culture is a staple of Jamaican dancehall and a clash can make or break sound systems and even artists. For beginners it can be an opaque and a confusing tradition to get to grips with, but this album is a pretty good entry point and acts as a good a blueprint as you will find anywhere to get to grips with this subculture of Jamaican Dancehall where sound systems battle each other by playing unique custom records (dub-plates) until the crowd decides the winner and the losing sound is ‘locked off’.
The album sleeve is a great piece of artwork by Jethro “Paco” Dennis, that shows a sound clash in full flow. The selector is shown on the right-hand side shouting “Dis ya wan, ya a go straight to a Di-Bi Di-Bi Sound Bwoy head!” as patrons look on, or dance. The rear of the sleeve shows a muscled hulk type character throwing a dub-plate into a grave with a sound system speaker lying in it. Above his head is written “Kill A Sound Bwoy”.
The music also attempts something a little different with each track being introduced by Fuzzy Jones who was widely regarded (along with Joe Lickshot) as one of the best intro-men in the dancehall who could hype up a tune and drive the crowd into a frenzy. The intros included here have all be made for this album, but really give an authentic feel of being actually in the dancehall during the late 80s. Each track included in this compilation are all focused around the subject of sound clashing and killing sounds.
The rear of the album also features a great essay by King Tubby describing the principles of a sound clash. Essay reproduced below:
“This album is the first of its kind. The purpose of this album is to give those people who don’t attend dances a feel of what’s happening inside the dance hall also to be used in sound system clashes.
All of the tracks from this album are specials. Specials are recordings which are made from rhythm tracks rented from producers who take along an artiste of their choice to do a recording.
This recording is copied on a Dubplate. A dubplate is made of metal and covered with wax. They are produced for the sound system personal files and they only play them when they compete with each other.
Tubbys made the first special in 1970 with Roy Shirley and Slim Smith, Johnny Clarke and Cornel Campbell.
King Everald opens the album with the tune “Kill Ole Pan”, the line “Do you know how to kill a sound lick dem and chop dem with apiece of ole iron” does not mean a physical chop. Due to the fact that the Dubplate is made of metal and covered with wax, so the term “Chop a sound” means you play a Dubplate with a hot tune on it against the other sound.
Incidentally the voice you hear at the start of each cut is Fuzzy Jones the Intro Man who introduces most specials in Dance Hall business.
Gregory opens side 2 with “The Ruler”. Gregory was passing through the studio and when the idea was put to him, Gregory said he had the right lyrics for the idea. He voiced the tune with just one take.
Gregory buried the Sound but not the Slector or Crew. Pad Nthony closes the album with “Charge Dem” which takes care of all the crew, “charge dem and give dem a sentence” a line from the tune.
This special is a popular one and was done for many sound systems by Pad Anthony. Relax and listen or move some of the furniture to one side of the house and invite your friends and partner over to your Dance Hall”
A1 King Everald: Kill Ole Pan
A2 Johnny Osbourne: Line Up
A3 Trevor Levy: Nah Run From No Clash
A4 Bananaman: Take A Lick
A5 Michael Bitas: Die Yu Die
B1 Gregory Isaacs: The Ruler
B2 Little John: Fade Away
B3 Sugar Minott: Play Me
B4 Conroy Smith: Original Sound
B5 Pad Anthony: Charge Dem
Listen to ‘Charge Dem’ by Pad Anthony
Listen to ‘Original Sound’ by Conroy Smith
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