Jammy$ From The Roots 1977-1985
March 30, 2010
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 5|
Born in 1947 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Lloyd James moved to Kingston, where he began his career as an apprentice mixer, known as Prince Jammy, under the late great King Tubby. In 1977 he was enlisted to mix the dub counterpart to 'In the Light' by Horace Andy. In that same year he produced Black Uhuru's classic 'Love Crisis' and he also put out the dubs as the 'Lion Dub Style' lp. He owned his own studio at his in-laws' home in Waterhouse and started his own soundsystem.
In 1985 he build the "Sleng Teng" riddim. When his Super Power sound system met the Black Scorpio set for a popular sound clash Jammy played that tune and turned the reggae world upside down, because this song was to alter the sound of reggae music : the digital era had begun. His productions lead in the integration of synthesizer driven (digital) sounds in dancehall reggae. His son John John emerged in the 90s as a highly successful producer. King Jammy continues to produce records, and recent years witnessed a number of reissues of Jammy's classic productions. The man's contribution to reggae music is impossible to overstate. Check out Beth Lesser's book 'King Jammy's' for more info about the man, his music and his influence on Jamaican music.
This excellent release shines the light on the first half of the King Jammy's legacy (1977-1985), when he earned himself the moniker of Prince Jammy working alongside Scientist and Prince Phillip at King Tubby's studio in Waterhouse. Here is collected the best of his more rootical productions before computerized riddims hit the island in 1985 when Jammy released Wayne Smith's 'Under Me Sleng Teng', a record that irrevocably altered everything.
If you're over 40 you'll probably be familiar with most of the tunes, although some lesser known gems are included here. Interesting is the Augustus Pablo tune Pablo In Moonlight City. It's the melodica man's version of Earl Zero's classic roots tune Please Officer and happens to be the one and only tune Pablo recorded for Jammy. Two early Black Uhuru songs from their underrated debut album 'Love Crisis' are from a batch of Black Uhuru tunes that Jammy describes as 'my first real set of songs'. Johnny Osbourne did good business recording for Jammy. Fally Ranking and Jah Ovah are two super tunes. The latter was recently redone by Johnny Osbourne with Bitty Mclean on Bitty's latest album.
Biblical and Rastafarian inspired songs come from Hugh Mundell with the nyahbinghi led Jah Fire Will Be Burning, Lacksley Castell's devotional What A Great Day (extended mix!) and Prince Alla's Last Train To Africa. Then there is a bunch of hits like Junior Reid's Boom-Shack-A-Lack, Half Pint's Mr. Landlord and Junior Delgado's Love Tickles Like Magic. Although Wyane Smith will always be remembered for the first ever digital hit 'Under Me Sleng Teng, he also was more than capable of voicing roots. Check out his murder tune Time Is A Moment In Space! Worthwhile mentioning is also the group Natural Vibes with their sufferer's tune Life Hard A Yard.
During the 80s Frankie Paul was one of the Dons in the dancehalls. He scored numerous hits with a variety of producers such as Junjo Lawes, Winston Riley and King Jammy. This compilation brings us three fine early tunes, with Foreign Mind being a very strong cut. The late great Dennis Brown contributes They Fight I and a recut of the Gaylads' Africa We Want To Go.