King Jammy's Dancehall Part 3: Hard Dancehall Murderer 1985-1989
Dub Store Records
CD / Dbl Vinyl LP / Digital Release
April 14, 2017
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
Born in 1947 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Lloyd James moved to Kingston, where he began his career as an apprentice mixer, known as Prince Jammy, under the late great King Tubby. In 1977 he was enlisted to mix the dub counterpart to "In the Light" by Horace Andy. In that same year he produced Black Uhuru's classic "Love Crisis" and he also put out the dubs as the "Lion Dub Style" LP. He owned his own studio at his in-laws' home in Waterhouse and started his own soundsystem. In 1985 he build the "Sleng Teng" riddim. When his Super Power sound system met the Black Scorpio set for a popular sound clash Jammy played that tune and turned the reggae world upside down, because this song was to alter the sound of reggae music: the digital era had begun. His productions lead in the integration of synthesizer driven (digital) sounds in dancehall reggae.
King Jammy was the undisputed ruler of the dancehall in the second half of the 1980s. By the end of the decade there were at least 150 albums in his catalogue, with countless other songs appearing on singles. During that period of time, he was catching the best of the old and new performers and recorded them over the most progressive riddims then being built.
Fourty years after he started his career as a producer and some 32 years after his digidubs revolutionised Jamaican popular music, Dub Store Records outta Japan comes up with a noteworthy compilation series featuring a mega selection of King Jammy produced music ranging from classics to rare cuts. Combining the mixing talents of engineers Bobby "Digital" Dixon and Squingy Francis with the skills of arranger/songwriter Mikey Bennett and musicians such as bass player Wycliffe "Steely" Johnson, drummer Cleveland "Clevie" Browne and saxophonist Dean Fraser contributed to the success of King Jammy's studio.
Dub Store Records' compilation series mainly focuses on bringing together the very best heavyweight dancehall tunes from Jammys released during the digital phase of reggae music. "King Jammy's Dancehall Part 3", subtitled "Hard Dancehall Murderer 1985-1989", focuses mainly on sound-bwoy tunes. The set gets started with Gregory Isaacs' "The Ruler" aka "Ruler For The Dance", a sound-bwoy boast from the Cool Ruler across the same riddim as Admiral Tibet's "Running From Reality". It's a great tune originally featured on a vinyl LP entitled "Reggae Sound War (The Soundclash): Electrocutioner Vol. 2". Nitty Gritty's style seemed made for the early digital riddims. He sang in the oddly expressive flat wail that was a digital counterpart to the Waterhouse style established by Michael Rose and Junior Reid during the early eighties. Also King Kong and Tenor Saw utilized a style similar to Nitty Gritty, although the latter was the most vocally accomplished. Nitty Gritty had his greatest impact with King Jammy for whom he recorded a string of hits. Here he's present with "Butter Bread", another quality tune he recorded for the King. "I Am Back" by Echo Minott was the artist's come back tune in 1988, after he had become absent in the business and away from Jamaica for nearly 2 years. It's a digi killer, followed by the matching "Trouble Nobody", a next cut to Super Black's "One Time Girlfriend".
Johnny Osbourne, who had notched up significant successes in the dancehall explosion of the first half of the eighties, gave Jammy a string of best-selling singles. "Chain Robbery" is a big reality tune, one of his best recordings for King Jammy. "Musical Murder" is a real sound-bwoy anthem from Banana Man, who rides a digi version of Glen Brown's 1970's classic roots tune "Wicked Can't Run Away" riddim in great style. King Kong's solid "Can't Ride Computer" is underpinned by King Jammy's version of the "Tempo" riddim. Back to the sound-bwoy tune with first Robert Lee's "Come Now", from the vinyl LP "Electrocutioner Phase 1: Sound Wars", followed by Pad Anthony's "By Show Down" on the then popular "Tonight" riddim and Nitty Gritty's "Rub A Dub Kill You", who rides a cut of the "Rockfort Rock" riddim. Next comes Wayne Smith's "Like A Dragon", which came only out on the singer's classic "Under Mi Sleng Teng" album. For the solid "Ram Up Every Corner" Tonto Irie skillfully delivers his lyrics across the riddim known from Half Pint's "One Big Ghetto", originally from The Blackstones' roots classic "Open The Gates". Pad Anthony's has a second sound-bwoy tune here called "Murderer", an outstanding cut across the "Heavenless" riddim. The deejay Admiral Bailey joined King Jammy's in 1986 and became a reggae superstar in 1987 with his massive hit "Punanny". Here he brings a rough badman tune with "Me A De Danger" on the "Love Punaany Bad" riddim. Robert Lee & Bunny General adopted the phrasings of Wilson Pickett's soul classic "Midnight Hour" for their nice sound-bwoy tune, which rounds off the vocal part of this set. And just like the previous two sets in this series, it continues with five dubwise versions worth hearing.
Another great selection from King Jammy's huge catalogue. Worth adding to your collection!