The Mighty Two ~ In Memoriam
Crazy Joe Records
October 4, 2008

Track list
  1. The Heptones - Hypocrite
  2. Nicky Thomas - Have A Little Faith
  3. Prince Williams feat. Nicky Thomas - Channel 7
  4. Earth & Stone - Ring Craft
  5. Snuffy & Wallie - Dreader Mafia
  6. Scotty - We're Gonna Fight
  7. Keith Blake - Wooh Oh Oh
  8. Delroy Wilson - Baby I Need Your Loving
  9. Jackie Brown - People Of Today
  10. Alton Ellis - Knock On Wood
  11. Nicky Thomas - Mama's Song
  12. The Heptones - Freedom To The People
  13. U-Roy feat. The Heptones - Freedom Train
  14. Little Joe feat. Dennis Brown - Dreadlocks Party
  15. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals - Dreadlocks Affair
  16. Michael Campbell feat. Dennis Brown - Friend & Money
  17. Big Youth feat. Dennis Brown - A So We Stay
  18. Lizzy - Sounds Called Aquarius
  19. Errol Scorcher - Dj Spirit
  20. Prince Francis - Rockin Down Old York Way
  21. The Versatiles - In Warricka Hill
  22. The Inspirations - Sweet Sensations
  23. Count Matchuki - It Is (Matchuki's Cooking)
  24. The Happs - In Heaven There Is No Beer
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Essential -Votes: 45-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 1-
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Total votes : 52
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
The legendary duo Joe Gibbs and Errol "ET" Thompson, or The Mighty Two as they were credited on the various Joe Gibbs labels, had their most successful period in the second half of the 1970s. In those years they were the frontrunners in reggae music with countless top hits under their production belt including Jacob Miller's "I'm A Natty", The Mighty Diamonds' "Ghetto Living", Sylford Walker's "Burn Babylon", and Trinity's "Three Piece Suit", to name just four. Furthermore The Mighty Two were responsible for the production of such landmark roots albums as Culture's "Two Sevens Clash", Prince Far I's "Under Heavy Manners", and Dennis Brown's "Visions", which were also very popular releases on an international level. Besides that they played a prominent role in popularizing dub with their acclaimed "African Dub All-Mighty" series.

Joe Gibbs and Errol "ET" Thompson joined forces at Gibbs' 16-track studio on Retirement Crescent after the Chin's had relocated to New York. It was the start of a flourishing partnership with business man Joe Gibbs having a very good ear and feel for the music, even though he didn't play an instrument, and Errol Thompson being an extremely skillful chief engineer who knew how to excel at the mixing board. No artist benefited more from working with The Mighty Two than Dennis Brown, who already gave Joe Gibbs a huge local hit in 1971 with his initial version of "Money In My Pocket". Their collaboration in the late 1970s not only yielded a string of hit tunes on 7" and 12" vinyl and two outstanding albums, but also secured them a dominant position in the reggae scene of that time. Over the years Joe Gibbs also produced numerous deejay versions starting off with people like Dennis Alcapone, Sir Lord Comic, Count Matchuki, Winston Scotland, Prince Williams, U Roy and Count Sticky, all of them belonging to the first wave of deejays. Later on he had hits with such talented chanters as Big Youth, Prince Far I, I-Roy, Dillinger, Ranking Joe, and Trinity.

Even though the late 1970s were the heydays of roots reggae, The Mighty Two didn't forget to serve the needs of those who loved to hear more romantic songs. And also in this genre they enjoyed notable success with singles like Wayne Wade's "After You", Ruddy Thomas' "Let's Make A Baby", Marcia Aitken's "I'm Still In Love With You", and Dennis Brown's "Love Me Always", and "Ain't That Loving You". They even achieved a crossover smash hit in the UK with Althea & Donna's "Uptown Top Ranking". Legal issues regarding a claim for alleged unpaid royalties of another huge crossover hit, J.C. Lodge's rendition of Charley Pride's "Someone Loves You Honey", caused Joe Gibbs' withdrawal from the music business in the mid-1980s. Thus came an end to the output of The Mighty Two, a very successful duo that shaped the reggae landscape in the previous decade. In the mid-1990s Joe Gibbs re-entered the reggae arena, but it was obvious production styles and Jamaican music had changed in such a way that it seemed as if he and Errol Thompson had lost their magic touch.

Errol "ET" Thompson, born 29 December 1948, passed away after numerous strokes on November 14th 2004, while Gibbs died aged 65 on February 21st 2008 at the University Hospital of the West Indies after suffering a heart attack. A great lost for reggae music, but they have left behind a legacy that includes a whole heap of classic works from many significant names in the history of Jamaican music. The 24 tracks collected here cover the various stages of Joe Gibbs production works as this compilation includes recordings from the very beginning up to 1980.

The Heptones were the most outstanding vocal harmony group of the late 1960s. Their hit recordings for Studio One are classics in every way. They also worked with Joe Gibbs after their departure from Studio One. The hittune Hypocrite sees The Heptones in fine style. Their rocksteady approach of this early 1970s roots tune makes it a joyful piece of music. Have A Little Faith is a case of gospel meets reggae by vocalist extraordinaire Nicky Thomas. He was born Cecil Nicholas Thomas in 1944 and recorded for several Jamaican producers before he found great success with Joe Gibbs. Unfortunately Nicky Thomas passed away in 1990. In the summer of 1970 he enjoyed his most commercial success with "Love Of The Common People", also a Joe Gibbs production. The deejay version comes from Prince Williams. Little is known about this deejay. His version of "Have A Little Faith" is delivered in the typical early deejay style of that time. It was released on the Pressure Beat label in 1970.

In 1975 bassplayer Lloyd Parks scored a smash hit with "Mafia". It was followed by two excellent answer versions on the same rhythm track, the hilarious cut Dreader Mafia by Snuffy & Wallie and the serious roots piece Ring Craft from the duo Earth & Stone, which was released as a 12" single on the Joe Gibbs Music label in 1980. Deejay Scotty, born David Scott, steps up as a fine vocalist with a very clear voice as he interprets the Studio One Heptones hit "Fight It To the Top". He made his mark as a deejay, especially with his work for producer Derrick Harriott, with his biggest hit being "Draw Your Brakes". Prince Alla is a well known roots singer, who still plays an active role in the reggae business. This compilation includes his debut solo release Wooh Oh Oh, a sultry rocksteady tune from 1968, originally released as a 7" single on the Amalgamated label. The late great Delroy Wilson had a long and rich recording career that spans back right to Studio One. All through the 1970s his output was prolific, scoring hits with Bunny "Striker" Lee, Lloyd Charmers and Joe Gibbs. Being an avid Motown fan it's no coincidence that he reworks one of the Four Tops' best tunes Baby I Need Your Loving. In 1995, at the depressingly early age of 46, he sadly passed away.

Singer and session guitarist Jackie Brown worked for Joe Gibbs for a long time. He backed artists at Joe Gibbs' studio, selected talented artists and recorded a series of songs for Joe Gibbs. Except for People Of Today and a few others, they were never released. Alton Ellis needs no introduction as he's one of the true living legends of reggae music. He had carved out a reputation for himself with his recordings for Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid before he teamed up with Joe Gibbs. Knock On Wood was a huge soul hit in 1966 for Eddy Floyd and has been covered multiple times by numerous artists. The soulful voice of Alton Ellis makes his version a driving performance one can't resist.

The Heptones' Freedom To The People is another powerful 1970s roots tune inspired by black awareness and concern about injustice and discrimination. It was originally released as 7" single on the Jogib label. The deejay cut comes from U-Roy who was one of the leading deejays of the early 1970s. He more or less kickstarted the deejay business with his recordings for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle imprint. Little Joe a.k.a. Ranking Joe was born Joseph Jackson in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959. At the age of 15 he scored his first hit "Gun Court" produced by Coxsone Dodd who nicknamed him Little Joe. During the 1970s he was a popular deejay on the island. In 1975 Joe Gibbs released the single Dreadlocks Party on the Belmont label. It's Little Joe giving his best across the magnificent Dennis Brown hit "Party Time", itself being a solid take on the Studio One hit by The Heptones. The B-side of that single is the instrumental cut Dread Locks Affair.

Michael Campbell, better known as Mikey Dread, recorded his first song "Love The Dread" in 1978. He hosted the infamous "Dread At Controls" JBC radio show between 1977 and 1979 where he played the latest and hottest tunes and exclusive dub plates out of the studio run by King Tubby. He was also one of the first radio dj's who mixed his own radio jingles. The single Friend & Money was issued in 1978 and was one of his biggest hits. The song used Dennis Brown's updated lick of "Money In My Pocket". Errol T's remix of the song was featured on the B-side and is a weird piece of music. Mikey Dread passed away on Saturday, March 15th 2008. Big Youth helped to shape to sound of toasting in the early 1970s. On A So We Stay he accompanies a young Dennis Brown who sings the original take of "Money In My Pocket". The song climbed high in the charts and Big Youth went on to make history.

The Versatiles were a vocal group led by Junior Byles who would become one of the key figures in reggae music. The band released several pieces through Joe Gibbs' Amalgamated label, including "Lulu Bell", a superb slackness tune. Here they perform the tune Warricka Hill. Count Matchuki a.k.a. Machoukie is often nicknamed father of the Jamaican deejays. He started out in the 1950s and worked for the soundsystem Tom the Great Sebastian. Later on he moved to Coxsone's Down Beat. He was rarely recorded during his career. "It is (Matchuki's Cooking)" is a rough example of early deejaying.

With many Joe Gibb collections around, this one stands out as it gathers some interesting lesser known pieces of music. Don't miss it!