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. The sales of records proved successful and encouraged him to become more directly involved in the local music industry.

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. The Ossie Hibbert co-produced Earthquake Dub and the similar State of emergency sets contained the riddims that supported the most of Joe Gibbs' popular records of the time.

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. This success lead to the singer's move to London where he launched his own Yvonne's Special label and signed a contract with A & M Records.

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.

An integral ingredient in the popularity of The Mighty Two's output was the musicianship provided by his regular studio band, The Professionals.

At various times included such luminaries as Lloyd Parks and Robbie Shakespeare (bass), Sly Dunbar, George Fullwood and Horsemouth, (drums), Tony Chin, Willie Lindo, Earl Chinna Smith and Bingi Bunny (guitar), Gladdy Anderson, Winston Wright, Franklin Waul, and Ossie Hibbert (keyboards) Ruddy Thomas and Sticky (percussion), along with a horns section featuring Tommy McCook (tenor sax), Bobby Ellis (trumpet), Vinnie Gordon (trombone) and Herman Marquis (alto sax).

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. Their talents and expertise have moulded reggae music and produced an impressive catalogue of hits, thus making it almost impossible to overrate their contribution to reggae music.

Most of Joe Gibbs' productions have been re-issued by his son Carl 'Rocky' Gibbs, who is based in New York. In the 80s and 90s he has released a string of excellent retrospective albums, comprising many of The Might Two's best productions ever. Several other labels, such as UK based Trojan Records and HeartBeat have also released solid compilation sets.
In the second half of the nineties Joe Gibbs has relocated all his material from New York to Miami, where he has set up a company, Joe Gibbs Enterprises. He has started re-releasing his vintage material as well as new material.

Below you'll find the tracklistings of twelve compilation sets, all of them released by Rocky Gibbs on his Rocky One label. These albums provide a fine overview of Joe Gibbs' best work in the 70s and 80s.

Selective discography:

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 1

  1. Barrington Levy - My woman
  2. Dennis Brown - How can I leave
  3. Prince Mohammed - Bubbling love
  4. Jacob Miller - I am just a dread
  5. Ruddy Thomas - Loving pauper
  6. Dennis Brown - Ain't that loving you
  7. Cornell Campbell - Boxing
  8. Danny Mangaroo - Thousand things
  9. Junior Murvin - Cool out son
  10. Culture - Baldhead bridge
  11. Enos McLeod - Hello Carol (not credited on the sleeve, also included on Vol. 6)

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 2

  1. Marcia Aitken - I'm still in love
  2. Althea & Donna - Uptown top ranking
  3. Jacob Miller - Keep on knocking
  4. Ruddy Thomas - Feeling soul
  5. Dennis Brown - Equal rights
  6. Dennis Brown - Money in my pocket
  7. Lloyd Parks - Officially
  8. Culture/Prince Mohammed - Zion gate/Forty leg dread
  9. Mighty Diamonds - Just like a river
  10. Robert Ffrench - What more do you want (not credited on the sleeve, also included on Vol. 7)
  11. Cornell Campbell - If I were a carpenter (not credited on the sleeve, also included on Vol. 5)

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 3

  1. Sammy Dread - Dreadlocks girl
  2. Dennis Brown - Let me love you
  3. Cornell Campbell - Rope right in
  4. Barrington Levy - Wife and sweetheart
  5. George Nooks - Left with a broken heart
  6. Marcia Aitken - My man
  7. Jacob Miller - Keep on running
  8. Culture - Jah Jah see dem a come
  9. George Nooks - Tribal war
  10. Junior Reid - Babylon release the chain
  11. Errol Dunkley - O.K. Fred (not credited on the sleeve, also included on Vol. 6)

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 4

  1. Barry Brown/Kojak & Lisa - Them a fight/Bam bam
  2. Robert Ffrench - Meet me by the river
  3. U Mikes - Tribute to the fisherman
  4. Barrington Levy - Mine yuh mouth
  5. Lui Lepke - Late night movie
  6. Sammie Dread - My princess
  7. Echo Minott - Love problems
  8. Frankie Paul - Not a pretty girl
  9. Al Campbell - One beer bad boy
  10. Frankie Paul - Just be my lady
  11. Cornell Campbell - No man's land

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 5

  1. Robert Ffrench - On the dance floor
  2. Barry Brown - Tourist season
  3. Junior Vibes - Man in me
  4. Al Campbell - There's a fire
  5. Johnny Clarke - Let us be like a soldier
  6. Jacob Miller - I'm a natty
  7. Black Uhuru - Rent man
  8. Culture - I'm not ashamed
  9. Cornell Campbell - If I were a carpenter
  10. Dennis Brown - If you want my loving

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 6

  1. Ruddy Thomas - Everyday is just a holiday
  2. Enos McLeod - Hello Carol
  3. Dennis Brown - Girl I've got a date
  4. Errol Dunkley - O.K. Fred
  5. Marcia Aitken - I'm not a queen
  6. Junior Byles - Natty dreadlocks
  7. Beverly Bailey - I was in love
  8. Max Romeo - Stop picking on me
  9. Leo Graham - A win them
  10. Danny Mangaroo/Lui Lepke - Dance hall style/Step mother
  11. Patrick Andy - See dem a come
  12. U Mikes - Turn and twist
  13. Ronie Davis & The Itals - Fancy make up
  14. Barrington Levy - Quick divorce

Tracking list ~ Spotlight On Reggae Volume 7

  1. Dennis Brown - Stop the fussing and fighting
  2. Robert Ffrench - What more do you want
  3. Culture - Money girl
  4. Puddy Roots - Think a wouldn't hold you
  5. Icho Candy - Captain Selassie
  6. Lui Lepke - Lovers take over
  7. Barry Brown - Let Jah love flow
  8. U Mikes - Mary Moore
  9. George Nooks - Love party
  10. Danny Mangaroo - Honey gimme your loving
  11. Jack Radics - If you could see me now
  12. Danny Mangaroo - War and crime
  13. Ruddy Thomas & Big Youth - Windy day
  14. Frankie Paul - Local body

Tracking list ~ Joe Gibbs Revive 45's Volume 1

  1. Mighty Diamonds - Identity
  2. Jacob Miller - I am a natty
  3. I Roy - Knotty knots
  4. Junior Byles - Heart and soul
  5. Prince Alla - Funeral
  6. Dhaima - Inna Jah children
  7. Sylford Walker - Burn babylon
  8. Devon Morris - Su su pon rasta
  9. Earth & Stone - Natty Roots
  10. Dennis Brown & Dhaima - A true
  11. Dennis Walks - Almighty I
  12. Gregory Isaacs - Babylon too rough

Tracking list ~ Joe Gibbs Revive 45's Volume 2

  1. Bobby Melody - Jah bring I joy in the morning
  2. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals - Dub in the morning
  3. Mighty Diamonds - Gypsy woman
  4. Ruddy Thomas - Let me know it
  5. Ruddy Thomas - Let's make a baby
  6. Dhaima - Can't buy my love
  7. Glen Washington - Rockers nu crackers
  8. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals - Dub nu crackers
  9. Wally & Snuffy - Dreader mafia
  10. Tyrone Taylor - Heavy waist line
  11. Mighty Diamonds - Ghetto living
  12. Delroy Wilson - Pretty girl

Tracking list ~ Original DJ Classics Volume 1

  1. Joe Tex and U Black - Friday Evening
  2. Welton Irie - Nice Up The Dance
  3. Madoo - Joe Grine
  4. Kojak and Liza - Sky Juice
  5. Trinity - Three Piece Suit
  6. Trinity - Slim ting
  7. Kojak - Green bay killing
  8. Kojak and Liza - 1000 Gal
  9. Eek a Mouse - Virgin girl
  10. Errol Scorcher - Under me
  11. Big Youth - George Foreman
  12. Althea & Donna - Uptown top ranking

Tracking list ~ Original DJ Classics Volume 2

  1. Prince far I - Deck of cards
  2. I Roy - I pray thee
  3. Madoo - Jammin so
  4. Lui Lepke - Can't take mi landlord
  5. Dillinger - Hold me tight
  6. Prince Hammer - Dreadlocks time
  7. Lady Ann - Informer (Murderer)
  8. Trinity - John saw them coming
  9. Kojak & Lisa - Fist to fist rub a dub
  10. Trinity - Strictly cash
  11. Dillinger - War is over
  12. Mikey Dread - Friend & money

Tracking list ~ Original DJ Classics Volume 3

  1. Yellowman - Gregory free
  2. Clint Eastwood - Badder dan you
  3. Ranking Joe - Leave fe mi girl Arlene
  4. Trinity - Judgement time
  5. Kojak & Lisa - Hole in the bucket
  6. Prince Jazzbo - 12 Tribe possie
  7. Trinity - Starsky and Hutch
  8. I Roy - Natty don't run down shadow
  9. Shorty the President - Natty pass him G.C.E.
  10. Prince Mohammed - Ten years late
  11. Dillinger - Take a dip
  12. Ranking Toyan - Digital
  13. Lui Lepke - Custom officer
  14. Prince far I - Heavy discipline

Check out these other Joe Gibbs' reviews :

Errol 'ET' Thompson & The Professionals : African Dub All-Mighty Chapters 1 & 2
Errol 'ET' Thompson & The Professionals : African Dub All-Mighty Chapters 3 & 4
The Inspirations And Friends : Reggae Fever
Various : Get On Up ! (Joe Gibbs Rocksteady 1967-1968)
Various : Jackpot Of Hits (Explosive Rocksteady)
Various : Joe Gibbs Mood (The Amalgamated Label 1968-1971)
Various : Uptown Top Ranking - Joe Gibbs Reggae Productions 1970-1978

Teacher & Mr. T.

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