Album review
How The West Was Won
15 - 07 - 2002

Tracking list

  1. How The West Was Won
  2. African Ting
  3. Big Showdown
  4. Toyan On The Go
  5. Lover Man Style
  6. Children Children
  7. Capital Offence
  8. Pope In A Di Corner
  9. Tribute To Entertainer
  10. Reggae Gone International
  11. Overseas Posse
  12. Bully Dread
  13. Tell Me Your Occupation
  14. Wife & Sweetheart
  15. Jah Love In We Heart
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

One of the UK's most famous reggae labels, Greensleeves, continues to re-release albums from their extensive back catalogue. All the albums in this "Greensleeves Reggae Classics" series are Digitally Re-mastered and are at a special cheaper price. Titles range from early Roots and Dub, through the heady days of 80's Dancehall to today's hardcore Ragga, and feature just about all of Reggae and Dancehall superstars from 1976 to the modern day.
For the first time presented on CD format is Toyan's Henry "Junjo" Lawes produced album "How The West Was Won". Added to this classic album are no less than five bonus tracks (11-15), all of them originally released on the LP "DJ Clash - Nicodemus v Toyan". Both sets belong to Toyan's best album releases as they showcase the deejay at very near his best.
Toyan - or Ranking Toyan as he is also called - emerged in the mid-seventies when he started to appear on the sound system scene of Kingston JA, soon becoming a highly rated live performer with local sounds like Social Roots and Romantic Hi-Fi. He was heavily influenced by the deejays Big Youth and Dillinger, whose approach he adapted when he started his recording career with producer Don Mais of Roots Tradition in the latter half of the seventies. It was with Don Mais that he delivered his first strong tunes on vinyl. However, his most notable efforts were presented to the dancehall audience when he started to record for Henry "Junjo" Lawes' Volcano label. His teaming with the leading producer of the early eighties led to the release of "How The West Was Won" in 1981. Although he continued recording throughout the eighties, and even scored an occassional hit, he never reached the heights of the "How The West Was Won" set. His life and career came to a tragic end: Toyan was murdered in 1991.
The album opener and title track "How The West Was Won" comes across the wicked "Gunman" riddim, and was actually recorded before Michael Prophet's hit single was released. Also included here are deejay versions of Johnny Osbourne's "Baccara" ("Toyan On The Go") and "Ice Cream Love" ("Children Children") as well as the Wailing Souls' "Bandits Taking Over" ("Capital Offence"), "Act Of Affection" ("Pope In A Di Corner") and "A Fool Will Fall" ("Reggae Gone International"). With ten solid to excellent vintage deejay pieces and five matching bonus tracks this classic reissue is truly well worth checking!
All fifteen tracks were recorded at Channel One with the Roots Radics Band, being responsible for the tough riddims. The original tracks from "How The West Was Won" were mixed by Hopeton Brown aka Scientist at King Tubby's Drommily Avenue Studio, whilst Soldgie recorded and mixed the bonus tracks at Channel One Studio.

Teacher & Mr. T.