Rootsman Vibrations At King Jammy$
Four CD Box
September 29, 2013
JOHNNY OSBOURNE - FOLLY RANKING
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 5|
Over the years VP Records has become the major player in reggae music, and boasts what is reputedly reggae's largest back catalogue. In recent times the company has issued several interesting releases from their - and Greensleeves - huge catalogue. Some of their current releases include two 4 cd boxes from the legendary producer Lloyd James, better known as Prince Jammy aka King Jammy. Let's have a look at the box set called "Rootsman Vibrations At King Jammy$"
Lloyd James (born 1947, Montego Bay, Jamaica), better known as Prince Jammy or King Jammy, is one of the best known Jamaican producers. He began his musical career as a dub master at King Tubby's recording studio. His dubs were known for their clear sound and use of effects.
After earning money from building amplifiers and repairing electrical equipment from his mother's house in Waterhouse in the late 1960s, he started his own sound system. He also built equipment for other local systems. After leaving Jamaica to work in Canada for a few years in the early 1970s, he returned to Kingston at the end of 1975 when King Tubby needed a replacement for his engineer Philip Smart who had emigrated to New York, and as a result Jammy started working with such in-demand producers as Bunny Lee and Yabby You.
When Tubby recruited Scientist as his new apprentice, it allowed Jammy to gradually move away from engineering and concentrate on production. It was in the second half of the 1970s when he began to release his own productions, including the debut album from Black Uhuru in 1977 and Sugar Minott's 'Bitter Sweet' album. Further noteworthy productions at the end of that decade were Errol Holt's 'Vision Of Africa', Travellers' 'Black Black Minds', U Brown's 'Mr. Brown Something' and Jolly Brothers' 'Consciousness'.
In the 1980s, he became one of the most influential producers of dancehall music. His biggest hit was 1985's "Under Me Sleng Teng" by Wayne Smith, with an entirely-digital riddim hook. Many credit this song as being the first digital riddim in reggae, leading to the modern dancehall era. Jammy's productions and sound system dominated reggae music for the remainder of the 1980s and into the 1990s. He continues to work as a producer, working with some of today's top Jamaican artists, including Sizzla and Bushman.
This cd box collects four Prince Jammy roots testaments. The first cd is "Folly Ranking", issued in 1980 at the height of Johnny Osbourne's career and it contains some of Johnny's most valued performances. The set was released after Coxsone had issued the Studio One classic "Truths And Rights". The album opens with one of Johnny's (and Jammy's) best selling hits, Mr. Walker. Trench Town School was yet another smasher, using the 'Jah Shakey' aka 'Far East' riddim. The album includes the original lick of Mr Marshall as recently re-visioned with Major Lazer as 'Jah No Partial'. The second cd - "Showcase" - comes from the late great Barry Brown. The six track album is in showcase style, stretching out 12inch style to deliver a Waterhouse rock solid vocal and dub statement. That same year Bunny 'Striker' Lee issued a Barry Brown album of the same name, while Jah Thomas also issued a showcase set by Barry. Anyway, the singer feels very comfortable with the Jammy riddims, laying down several rootical highlights such as Conscious Dread, which was a very popular dubplate in the spring of 1980. Ain't Gonna Turn Back sees Barry Brown in combination with deejay Scorcher across a revitalized version of the 'Shank I Sheck' riddim.
The third set is a 'clash' album, a Prince Jammy pairing of Hugh Mundell and Lacksley Castell for this 1980 roots summit. Both artists had sung for Augustus Pablo and by the time this set was released, Hugh Mundell had already forged a formidable reputation. Lacksley Castell had achieved some cult status in the UK with his release of "Jah Love Is Sweeter". Although the album was credited to Hugh Mundell, Lacksley Castell contributes 5 of the 8 tunes. He opens the set with the well known tune Be My Princess. On Walk With Jah Hugh Mundell shines with his interpretation of the 'Shank I Sheck' riddim. King of Israel is an heavenly ode to Jah underpinned by the riddim of 'Queen of the Minstrel'. This album reminds us what a tragic loss the music world suffered when these two shining talents were taken from us so young.
Noel Phillips big break came when Jammy voiced the Maverley youth for the classic "Youth Man / Living In The Ghetto" double-sider. Its success would lead to the release the following year of the "Youth Man Vibrations" album and its ten tracks did not disappoint. As well as both sides of the aforementioned single, many top notch tunes can be found here. Money Man Skank is another highlight here, and Slavery Days is a bitter retrospective tune. Noel Phillips would go on to even greater success as Echo Minott, but for many it's these early roots recordings that are still his most in-demand and affectionately remembered cuts.