Various artists album review
Reggae History A-Z Volume 1
23 - 08 - 2002

Tracking list

  1. Roy Ashmeade & Mudie's All Stars - Knocking On My Door
  2. Jo Jo Bennett & Mudie's All Stars - Poison Ivy
  3. Big Joe & Mudie's All Stars - Set Your Face At Ease
  4. Count Ossie & The Wareikas - African Shuffle
  5. Leroy Sibbles & The Heptones - Love Without Feelings
  6. Ebony Sisters - Let Me Tell You Boy
  7. Mudie's Dub Stars - Dub Conference Theme
  8. Don Cornell & The Eternals - Push Me In The Corner
  9. Tommy McCook & Mudie's All Stars - Don't Walk Alone
  10. Gregory Isaacs - Stick By Me
  11. Count Ossie & The Warriekas - Swinging For Joy
  12. Ernest 'Shark' Wilson - God Is Standing By
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Producer Harry A. Mudie was born in 1940, Spanish Town, Jamaica. One of the unsung pioneers of Jamaican recording, Mudie first developed his interest in music while a pupil at St. Jago High School during the mid-50s. His debut with the legendary Rasta drummer Count Ossie and saxophonist Bogey Gaynair, entitled "Babylon Gone", aka "Going Home", backed with "So Long" by Winston And Roy, was released in the UK on Blue Beat Records in 1962. In the same year, he opened the Scaramouch Garden Amusement Center in Spanish Town. Little seems to have emerged, however, between 1962 and 1970, when Trojan Records began releasing his productions on the specially formed Moodisc label. A year later, Rita and Benny King's R&B Discs Ltd created their own Moodisc label. Using a studio band led by pianist Gladstone Anderson, Mudie deftly combined sweet, tuneful melodies with heavy rhythms. The records issued on these and his Jamaican labels, including organist Winston Wright's "Musically Red", Winston Shand's "Time Is The Master", the Eternal's Push Me In The Corner, the Ebony Sisters" Let Me Tell You Boy, John Holt's "It May Sound Silly", Dennis Walks' "The Drifter" and "Heart Don't Leap", Count Ossie's "Whispering Drums', Lloyd Jones" "Rome" and trumpeter Jo Jo Bennett's instrumental version, "Leaving Rome", established Mudie's name among the very best of the reggae producers of the day. He launched DJ I. Roy on record with "Musical Pleasure" and a version of "The Drifter". He was probably the first to use strings in the music, notably on John Holt's classic love song album, 1973's "Time Is The Master", and it is arguably this fact that seems to have prejudiced his standing among some of the more reactionary elements of the reggae audience. In 1973 he enjoyed a big reggae hit with Dennis Walks' calypso-flavoured "Margaret", released on the Cactus label in the UK, following it with vibraphone player Lennie Hibbert's version, "Margaret's Dream". He also produced the Heptones on the classic Love Without Feelings, DJ tunes by Count Sticky, Big Joe with Set Your Face At Ease on the "Rome" riddim, and Jah Lloyd, and a number of "Drifter" cuts by Bongo Herman and others. During the mid-70s Mudie issued three classic dub albums mixed by King Tubby, instrumental sets by Gladstone Anderson and Ossie Scott, vocal albums by Dennis Walks and Bunny Maloney, for whom he produced the popular Jamaican lovers favourite "Baby I've Been Missing You", and two excellent various artists collections. During the 80s and 90s he concentrated on his back catalogue with re-presses and some excellent new compilations such as this compilation "Reggae History A-Z Volume One" and Reggae Bible, the latter being a whole album based on the "Drifter" rhythm. This prolific period produced over 100 singles and several 12-inch "discomix" singles as the decade closed. Mudie recorded a variety of other artists, including Gregory Isaacs -here present with Stick By Me, Freddie McKay, Joe White, Cornell Campbell, Jah Walton (now known as Joseph Cotton), and Prince Heron. During the 80s he kept a low profile, moving to Miami, Florida, issuing his back catalogue and an album by Bunny Maloney.
"Reggae History A-Z Volume One" comprises nuff nice tunes from his catalogue. Here you will find some of his earliest productions such as Roy Ashmeade & Mudie's All Stars r&b flavoured tune Knocking On My Door, the calypso-flavoured Poison Ivy by Jo Jo Bennett & Mudie's All Stars and two classic tunes from Count Ossie & The Wareikas. Very enjoyable are the aforementioned hits by The Eternals, The Heptones and The Ebony Sisters. Ernest Wilson delivers the gospel-related tune God Is Standing By, recently covered by George Nooks.
Great stuff!!

Teacher & Mr. T.