Bushyard Telegraph
December 15, 2014

Track list
  1. Prince Far I - Stop The War
  2. Jah Stitch - Rising Of The Sun
  3. Baba Dread - Ethiopian Going Home
  4. Charlie Chaplin & Jim Kelly - Sturgav Special
  5. Prince Far I - Survival
  6. I-Roy - Coxsone Time
  7. Baba Dread - Dread So Attractive
  8. Jah Stitch - Give The Children What They Want
  9. Charlie Chaplin - Jamaican Collie
  10. Baba Dread - Roots Rock Reggae
  11. I-Roy - Sugar Candy
  12. Jah Stitch - Life In The Ghetto
  13. Charlie Chaplin & Jim Kelly - Trouble In A Earth
  14. Prince Far I - Ask Ask
  15. Jah Stitch - Damino Tournament
  16. Charlie Chaplin - Chaplin Chant
  17. Prince Far I - African Queen
  18. Baba Dread - Life Boat
  19. Prince Far I - Ejarsa Gora
  20. Charlie Chaplin & Don Carlos - Unity Is Strength
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
In 1972 singer Roy Cousins of The Royals set up his own record label called Tamoki due to bad experiences with producers and UK based record labels. His initial self-financed productions met with little success and the label folded. However he didn't give up and in 1974 he returned with the Wambesi imprint, which survived and continued to release tracks. By the early '80s he fully concentrated on his production skills, nurturing the talents of singers, vocal groups and deejays, with whom he was quite successful.

The compilation "Bushyard Telegraph" focuses on some of the Jamaican deejays who had their finest and most successful moments between 1972 and 1985. Featured here are five tracks by Prince Far I, the gruff-voiced chanter who was murdered at his home at the time he was doing recording sessions for Roy Cousins at Harry J Recording Studio. All these tracks are culled from Prince Far I's "Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear Of The Nation)" album. The solid "Stop The War" has a message to political leaders world wide, while "Survival" is a stellar track. "Ask Ask" is a solid piece about every poor man's problem, and "African Queen" sees Prince Far I paying tribute to all black mothers. "Ejarsa Gora", where the 'marvel of miracles' sample appears in the mix on top of Vivian Jackson's "Yabby You" riddim and traces of Gregorian chant are incorporated, really stands out.

Jah Stitch was one of the pioneering deejays, whose vocals bore a resemblance to Big Youth. Errol Holt produced his debut, "Danger Zone", but many of his early hits were deejay versions of Johnny Clarke's extensive back catalogue, such as "Legalise It" ("Collie Bud"), "My Conversation" ("How Long Jah Jah"), and "Roots Natty Roots Natty Congo" ("True Born African"). Here he's present with four tracks. "Rising Of The Sun" is a decent effort, which however is outmatched by "Give The Children What They Want". But it's the sufferers tune "Life In The Ghetto", Jah Stitch's wicked deejay cut to Knowledge's "Rasta Don't Take Bribe", that stands out. Also really nice to hear is "Damino Tournament" (later re-appearing on "Jah Woosh meets Jah Stich: At Leggo Sounds" over a different riddim), which deals with one of Jamaica's most popular games.

Baba Dread, whose name was changed to Zimbabwe Dread by Kingdom Records when the London-based record company released his "Earthman Connection" album under license from Tamoki-Wambesi-Dove in 1978, was a top sound-system deejay from the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. Four tracks from that album are included here and it are in particular "Dread So Attractive" and "Life Boat" - across the riddim of The Royals' "Israel Be Wise" - that make the best impression.

Charlie Chaplin was first recorded and produced by Roy Cousins and his two Tamoki-Wambesi albums, "Red Pond" and "Chaplin Chant", kickstarted the Stur-Gav star's recording career. Three of the five tracks included here are collaborations, first with Jim Kelly (the murdered brother of Junior Kelly) and then with Don Carlos. However it are the solo cuts "Jamaican Collie" and the great "Chaplin Chant" that impress most. Finally there's the man called I-Roy, one of the best deejays of the 1970s. It's Sir Coxsone Outernational sound from London UK that I-Roy celebrates in "Coxsone Time", a standout piece on Lloyd Parks' "Slaving" riddim - already in 1973 used for his killer tune "Blackman Time". The second I-Roy tune, "Sugar Candy", is known from his self-produced album "Hell & Sorrow" (1973) and is another great track from this legendary deejay.

"Bushyard Telegraph" is a solid compilation that will surely please fans of vintage deejay music.