CD / LP
March 23, 2010
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : -||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 3|
Before developing into Jamaica's most successful record producer of the 1980s, Lloyd James -- better known as Prince/King Jammy -- was an apprentice of the brilliant mixing engineer Osbourne Ruddock aka King Tubby.
Born 1947 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Jammy's family moved to the Waterhouse district of Kingston Jamaica in 1956. Like the great King Tubby his connection to music grew through the building of amplifiers and repairing of electrical equipment. He had his first sound system, 'Jammy's Hi-Fi', up and running by 1962 and in the years that followed would see his amps used on the up and coming local sound systems like 'El Toro', 'Lord Kelly' and 'Emperor Faith'.
Word soon got around to King Tubby that Jammy had a talent with electronics and as they were nearly neighbours at Dromilly Avenue, Tubby would have him over to his yard repairing various pieces of equipment. The early 1970s saw Jammy leave Jamaica for what initially was to be a few weeks trip to Canada, but this was to last 5 years. He continued his involvement in music and worked with various sound systems in Canada, and kept in regular correspondence with King Tubby over the musical happenings in Kingston, Jamaica.
His return to Jamaica for a holiday in 1975 coincided with the emigration to New York of Phillip Smart. The latter was King Tubby's main engineer and it was then leading producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee (actually the man who gave him his monicker prince Jammy) who persuaded Jammy to make his return more permanent in order to take over Phillip Smart's job, that at the time was being filled by the singer Pat Kelly. Soon Jammy was installed at Tubby's tiny 4 track studio at 18 Dromilly Avenue, and became involved in the many sessions that took place at Tubby's. He learned his craft during those prolific times, and Tubby, trusting Jammy's judgement, would often leave him to run the desk.
In 1978 he launched his own label under the name 'Jammy's Records', with Black Uhuru's debut vocal set "Black Sounds Of Freedom" being his first release. The most important dub encounters for which he was responsible were Horace Andy's "In The Light Dub" for New York based Jamaican producer Everton DaSilva, Gregory Isaacs' "Slum Dub" and his own "Jammy's In Lion Dub Style" (a stripped-down variation of "Black Sounds Of Freedom"). Another dub album that came out on 'Jammy's Records' was "Prince Jammy Presents Strictly Dub". Like most dub albums it was printed in very small quantities and thus it briefly surfaced in New York in the early 1980s. Now it has been made available again by London's re-issue label Pressure Sounds.
Prince Jammy is in typically fine form at the mixing board, while the cream of Kingston's session players including Sly & Robbie, Winston 'Bo Peep' Bowen, Radcliffe Bryan, Ansel Collins, Winston Wright, Gladstone Anderson, 'Deadly' Hedley Bennett, Bobby Ellis, Uziah 'Sticky' Thompson and Noel 'Scully' Simms, are responsible for great relicks of many classic rock steady riddims including The Jamaicans' "Ba Ba Boom", John Holt's "Ali Baba", Three Tops' "Do It Right", Bob & Marcia's "Always Together", and the Baba Brooks ska classic "Shank I Sheck". The bonus tracks on the cd, "Mother Dub" and "Dis Dub Rule", are recuts of Jackie Mittoo's "Hot Milk" and Lester Sterling's interpretation of Bert Kaempfert's "Afrikaan Beat", both dating from a slightly later period. The selection of original riddims includes Hugh Mundell's apocalyptic "Jah Fire Will Be Burning" ("Old Country Dub"). The dubs featured here have a brilliantly clear sound and the precision with which Jammy handles the considerable array of effects that were installed in Tubby's studio is demonstrated to the fullest.
All in all this is a real fine dub album and without doubt a worthy addition to the collection of any vintage dub fan.