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.

Jah Batta ‎– Argument [1983]

Jah Batta ‎– Argument [1983]

Jah Batta ‎– Argument [1983]

Jah Batta ‎– Argument [1983]

Another Wackies release – this is ‘Argument’ by Jah Batta that was released in 1983 on the legendary New York based reggae label.

Despite the stern looking cover art, this is actually quite a fun-filled and playful record. Jah Batta’s style is firmly early 80s toasting, not unlike the vocal patterns of Michigan & Smiley, Yellowman, Fathead etc….

This is a bold looking album cover with a great colour scheme – simple and effective. Artwork and design was created by Yahsushi Kimura.

The rhythms all come from the Youthman Promotions stable of players, various Jamaican musical legends like Jackie Mitoo, as well as members of the US Wackies label. The rhythms were then mixed and edited in the Wackies studio in New York. Sugar Minott takes a co-production credit on the album.

The rear of the album also has various photos of Jah Batta with the Wackies crew, including a photo of Sugar Minott, who, as well as being a regular collaborator with the Wackies label, is also used as subject material track where Jah Batta DJs a story that includes a mention of his girlfriend running off with Sugar Minott.

Great rhythms, great production, and an infectious style means that this is an album that you don’t want to pass you by, especially if you are an old-school dancehall fan.

Tracklist
1 No Meat
2 Ten To Seven
3 Argument
4 I Don’t Want To Wait
5 Mi Black
6 Youthman School
7 Hold On Pon The Woman
8 Informa (Watch It)
9 Youthman Time
10 Out A Reach

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Listen to ‘Argument’ by Jah Batta:

Listen to ‘Youthman Time’ by Jah Batta:



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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.

Tracklist:
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

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Listen to ‘Skylarking’ by Bullwackies All Stars:

Listen to ‘United Rock’ by Bullwackies All Stars:



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Horace Andy – Dance Hall Style

Horace Andy Dance Hall Style

Horace Andy Dance Hall Style

Horace Andy Dance Hall Style [rear]

Despite being released in 1982, this album was actually recorded in the late 1970s, and it shows – the music is deep, heavy and has the unique Wackies sound and arrangement steeped through it.

Produced by Bullwackie and recorded in the Bronx, this album is notable for the release of ‘Spying Glass’, a song that Horace Andy would later re-record with Massive Attack.

This is a great album and has an ‘otherworldly’ feel to it that comes from the arrangements and the incredible extended dubs, as much as from Horace Andy’s etheral vocals. Horace Andy is also credited with contributing guitar and bass to this album.

The album art really suits this record and it’s a personal favourite of ours. The black and white grainy effect, with a near full length artist shot was used on many Wackie’s releases, and really gave the label a distinctive feel – whether it was intentional or not.

The rear of the record sleeve features some great studio shots too that really suits the whole set. And in true Jamaican fashion (despite being a US based label) there is a misspelling on the sleeve of the CD version: The final track is listed as “Lets Kive in Love”, when it should be “Lets Live In Love” – but we aren’t complaining as the album is so good.

Totally recommend that you seek this out if you haven’t got it already. Buy it, sit back, and immerse yourself in one of the most unique and heavy vocal/dubs sets to come out of the end of the 70s.

Track List:

  • Money Money
  • Lonely Woman
  • Cuss Cuss
  • Stop The Fuss
  • Spying Glass
  • Lets Live In Love

Listen To It

Listen to ‘Spying Glass’ by Horace Andy:

Listen to ‘Money Money’ by Horace Andy

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John Clarke – Reggae Super Star / Visions of John Clarke [1979]

John Clarke - Reggae Super Star / Visions of John Clarke [1979]

John Clarke - Reggae Super Star / Visions of John Clarke [1979]

Argh, my eyes – electric turquoise and sepia coloured album artwork! No no no.

Originally released in 1979 on Wackies this is a vocal roots set by John Clarke (not to be confused with Johnny Clarke). Hard to locate now – but it has some good tunes on it.

Track Listing:
A1 Good Collie Weed
A2 You Like To Borrow
A3 You’re Just The One
A4 Tell Me The Truth
A5 We Need Some Solution
B1 Wasn’t It You
B2 Babylon Spanking
B3 John Brown
B4 Shack Up With You
B5 Come Back Darling

Listen To It
 
 
Listen to ‘Shack up With You’ by John Clarke:

Listen to ‘Come Back Darlling’ by John Clarke:

Buy It
 
 
Wackies have digitised this album and it is readily available for download.