Beat Down Babylon "The Upsetter Years"
Junior Byles
Trojan Records

Track list
  1. (Festival) da da
  2. I've got a feeling
  3. Don't know why
  4. Demonstration
  5. Coming home
  6. Beat down babylon
  7. A place called Africa 3
  8. Joshua's desire
  9. A matter of time
  10. Poor Chubby
  11. Fun and games / Motion dub
  12. Pretty fe true / pretty dub
  13. King of Babylon
  14. Pharaoh hiding
  15. Hail to power
  16. Fever
  17. Auntie Lulu
  18. When will better come
  19. The thanks we get
  20. Mumbling & grumbling
  21. Curley locks
  22. Dreader locks
  23. The long way
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
Junior Byles, once frontman of the Versatiles (other members were Louis Davis and Earl Dudley), has made a string of high quality recordings in the seventies for Lee "Scratch" Perry. After he left the group to launch his solo career he started working with Lee Perry. His first release was "Demonstration". The relationship with Lee Perry proved succesful for him and in 1973 he cut an album with Lee Perry : "Beat Down Babylon". In that year he won the Jamaican Song Festival competition with "(Festival) da da". He continued working with Scratch, recording both militant roots material and intense love songs, nearly scraping into the UK charts with "Curly Locks" in 1975. He also cut an album (his second) "Jordan" for producer Pete Weston, a year after he had scored big with the Channel One production "Fade Away".
In 1976 he entered Bellevue hospital, retiring from music until 1978, when he recorded two excellent sides for producer Joe Gibbs : "Heart and Soul" and "Dreadlocks Time". He started recording for Blacka Morwell in 1982, and the result of these sessions was the album "Rasta no Pickpocket" , released in 1986. Since then his output has been sporadic.
"The Upsetters Years" includes the "Beat Down Babylon" album in its entirety, along with some of his finest sides for producer Lee Perry. The songs were recorded in the period 1970/75. His biggist hit "Curly Locks" is followed by a "vampire" version by Lee Perry, the evergreen "Fever" is twisted and "perrylised" and is one of the most outstanding tracks on this compilation set. The 1972 election songs (supporting Michael Manley's PNP party) "Pharoah Hiding", "Joshua's Desire", and "King of Babylon" cast Michael Manley as Joshua, the prophet. With this retrospective of his early work he hopefully gets the awareness and appreciation of his true talents not only from the connoisseurs but also from a wider audience.
For more Junior Byles check out the Heartbeat "Curly Locks" album.