Various artists album review
Dancehall Explosion 1979 - 1985
02 - 11 - 1999

Tracking list

  1. Charlie Chaplin - Entertainer
  2. Earl 16 - Jah Is The Master
  3. Barry Brown - Please Officer
  4. Delroy Smith - Round The World
  5. Dennis Brown - Unite Brother Man
  6. Charlie Chaplin - One Of A Kind
  7. Earl 16 - Crisisl
  8. Carlton Livingston - Class Of '69
  9. Barry Brown - Chukky Boo
  10. Neville Brown - The Right Time
  11. Purpleman - King On The Way
  12. George McKay - Money Money
  13. Don Carlos - My Baby Just Love I Man
  14. Barrington Levy - Collie Weed
  15. Anthony Johnson - Sitting Everyday
  16. Derrick Pitter - The World And It's People
  17. Earl 16 - Hey Girl
  18. Philip Fraser - Holding On
  19. Cornell Campbell - The Drifter
  20. Sister Candy - Connection Connection
  21. Don Carlos - Johnnie Big Mouth
  22. Tristan Palmer - For Health And Strength
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 4

"Dancehall Explosion" - subtitled "22 Killa Dancehall Classics" - is the sequel to Dancehall Stylee - Trojan's first retrospective collection of dancehall music. Just like the latter this release focusses on the Dancehall phenomenon of the period 1979 - 1985, with special emphasis on the year 1983. The Dancehall stylee attracted notable attention late 1979 when producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes more or less launched Dancehall as a fully developed musical style being the result of combining youth singer Barrington Levy's powerful and distinctive voice with the raw and driving riddims of the Roots Radics Band and the genius of the young and innovative engineer Scientist.
The album concentrates mainly on the works of producers Bunny Lee, Roy Cousins, Jah Thomas and Tad Dawkins. The album kicks off with a tune from deejay Charlie Chaplin - Entertainer. This Roy Cousins produced tune was recorded in 1984 and tells the story of his first trip to America. His second track on the album is One Of A Kind, followed by Earl 16's lick of the same riddim entitled Crisis. Two more Earl 16 tracks are present here. Hey Girl is an alternate take on the riddim to Derrick Pitter's The World And It's People, both Roy Cousins productions, whilst the praising tune Jah Is The Master rides the 'Informer' riddim.
Producer Tad Dawkins delivers two excellent cuts across the 'Shank I Shek' riddim -Dennis Brown's Unite Brother Man and Delroy Smith with Round The World. Reggae vet Carlton Livingston performs Class Of '69 in his own unique style, adapting the riddim to Alton Ellis' Studio One cut 'A Fool'. George Mackay's Money Money is a fine tune dealing with the 'root of all evil'.
Don Carlos is present here with two Bunny Lee produced sides. My Baby Just Love I Man is an adaption of the Nina Simone's song 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' across the immortal 'Conversation' riddin, which is also used by Barrington Levy on Collie Weed, a tune he recorded for Henry Junjo Lawes. Johnny Big Mouth is Don's reworking of the 'Drifter' riddim. The same riddim gets updated by Cornell Campbell and Sister Candy.
Further noteworthy tracks include Triston Palmer's For Health And Strength, Barry Brown' s Please Officer and Neville Brown's The Right Time, complete with the deejay version by Purpleman, both produced by Bunny Lee.
Check out the other two Trojan albums exploring late 70s, early 80s dancehall style :

"Let's Go To The Blues" featuring lovers tracks from several of the artist featured here.
"King Tubby's Rockers" contains dub versions of a number of the vocal tracks that appear on the vocal albums.

Teacher & Mr. T.