Various artists album review
Joe Gibbs Anthology 1967 to 1979
05 - 08 - 2001
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 3/4||Sleeve : 5|
Joel A. Gibson, better known as Joe Gibbs, was born in Montego Bay in 1945. He had qualified as an electronics engineer in the USA before returning to Jamaica to open his own TV repair shop. In early 1967 he expanded the business through selling records in his shop at 32 Beeston Street, Kingston. |
He purchased a two-track tape machine and set up his own studio in the back of his shop, enlisting the services of Lee Perry, who had at that time just ended his long association with Coxsone Dodd. Aided and encouraged by Bunny 'Striker' Lee he released a string of hitsingles on his newly launched Amalgamated label. In early 1968, after Lee Perry left to set up his own Upsetters label, he employed a talented young engineer, Winston 'Niney' Holness, whose prolifiency helped maintain Amalgamated's continued success. His most consistent hit makers during this period were a vocal trio,the Pioneers and young Errol Dunkley. Throughout the rocksteady era Lyn Taitt and The Jets provided the backbone of the producer's releases.
With the demise of rocksteady, Joe Gibbs ably adapted the development of its successor, reggae. In 1970 he finally made his mark internationally with his production of Love of the common people by Nicky Thomas, which peaked at number 9 in the UK that summer. By this time he had introduced three further labels, Shock, Jogib and Pressure Beat, opened his New York Record Mart at 11 South Parade, Kingston and created his own two track studio at 17 Burns Avenue in the Duhaney Park region of the town. During this period he cut a number of superb sides with artists like The Heptones, Ken Parker, Peter Tosh, Nicky Thomas, Ethiopians, and Delroy Wilson. He released the popular The Heptones & Friends album, comprising his best singles, a year later followed by another showcase for his productions : The Heptones & Friends Volume 2. Both albums became bestsellers on the island.
In 1972 he moved his base operations to 20 North Parade, Kingston and released Dennis Brown's first version of Money in my pocket, soon followed by Big Youth's version Ah so we stay. At that time he teamed up with sound engineer Errol Thompson, who had left Randy's Studio 17, with whom he would enjoy a longlasting prolific and successful relationship as The Mighty Two, producing more than well over one hundred #1 hit records.
In 1975 Joe Gibbs relocated once again, setting up a sixteen-track studio and pressing plant at 24 Retirement Crescent, Kingston. For the next years the hits came thick and fast, many issued on a number of new labels, including Crazy Joe, Reflections, Belmont, Town & Country and Errol T. Jacob Miller's I'm a natty, Sylford Walker's Burn Baylon, The Mighty Diamonds' Ghetto living and numerous Dennis Brown sides were notable hits from this period.
The Mighty Two productions covered both roots and lovers concerns. Ruddy Thomas, Marcia Aitken, Tyrone Taylor and Wayne Wade, just to name a few, voiced a string of excellent lovers tunes, while Bobby Melody, Devon Morris, Dennis Walks, Prince Alla, Gregory Isaacs, Junior Byles and female vocalist Dhaima delivered convincing roots records. Culture released their seminal Two sevens clash and the equally brilliant Baldhead bridge. Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson had also remarkable success with the release of the popular African Dub series, containing updated recuts of vintage Studio One and Treasure Isle riddims.
In 1977 The Mighty Two released the impressive second set from Prince Far I, entitled Under heavy manners. The same year saw the issue of Trinity's hugely popular Three suite piece, which utilized the riddim of Marcia Aitken's updated version of Alton Ellis' Studio One hit I'm still in love. This success led to a whimsical follow up by teenage schoolgirl duo, Althea Forrest and Donna Reid. Despite the lyrics in the resulting release of Uptown top ranking being almost non-sensical to those unfamiliar with Jamaican patois, the song reached the UK charts towards the end of the year, and early 1978, hit the number one spot.
He also released several strong deejay tracks from Ranking Joe, Prince Jazzbo, Prince Mohammed, Dillinger, Luie Lepke, Clint Eastwood, I Roy and bald headed Kojak & Lisa. In 1979 Dennis Brown recorded two of his best albums for The Mighty Two, Words of wisdom and Joseph's coat of many colours, comprising wonderful versions of Marley's Slave driver and John Holt's Man next door. The Words of wisdom set included a recut of his 1972 smash hit Money in my pocket which broke into the British charts, finally peaking at a highly respectable 14.
In the 80s The Mighty Two produced further popular Dennis Brown albums such as The prophet rides again, Yesterday, today & tomorrow and the crossover album Love has found its way. Another upcoming star at the time, Frankie Paul, cut some interesting sides for the Joe Gibbs Music label and recorded the album Be my lady in 1984 for Joe Gibbs' son, Carl 'Rocky' Gibbs.
From the mid 70s to the mid 80s, when a costly legal battle concerning unpaid royalties over J.C. Lodge's international smash hit Someone loves you honey brought an end to recordings from Gibbs - although he recently took up recording and producing alongside Sidney Crooks -, the bulk of his output dominated the Jamaican music business. During that period he and his main rivals at the time, Bunny Lee, Sly and Robbie, Lee Perry and the Hoo Kim brothers, probably have been the most influential and successful figures to produce new sounds and develop new, fascinating variants of established formulas.
This double CD collection highlights classic roicksteady and reggae tunes produced by Joe Gibbs and spans the period 1967 to 1979. The compilation includes tracks from such luminaries as Lee Perry, The Pioneers, Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, The Heptones, Delroy Wilson, Sylford Walker, Dillinger, Trinity and Ruddy Thomas. The collection comes complete with a 8-page booklet with historical liner notes and some rare pictures. It's obvious that this release is a repository of hits and classic gems from some of Jamaica's biggest hitmakers. From the early rocksteady gems Hold Them by Roy Shirley to the early deejay style of Sir Lord Comic with Jack Of My Trade to the sweet lovers tune Pretty Girl by Delroy Wilson and finally ending with the roots rock reggae of Glen Washington (Rockers No Crackers) and Prince Far I's Heavy Manners.