Shank I Sheck Riddim

by Sep 28, 2018

Baba Brooks
Shank I Shek Riddim

The original recording of ‘Shank I Sheck’ is a Ska instrumental by trumpeter Baba Brooks, which is produced by King Edwards. The tune’s title is derived from the name of the Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek. Baba Brooks and Ernest Ranglin play some good solos and Val Bennett plays a tenor saxophone riff that would be used on all later recordings as the bass line.

Bobby Ellis

The next recording of the piece was by another trumpeter, Bobby Ellis, whose recording for Ms Sonia Pottinger is basically a straight-forward update of the original. The riddim has been slowed down and Val Bennett’s riff is played by the bass and saxophones. Bobby’s version is the model for all subsequent recordings.

Yabby U & Coxsone Dodd

In the late ’70s Yabby U recorded an instrumental adaptation of the piece, ‘Love In Zambia’, which was also released as ‘Zambia’. Coxsone Dodd recorded the riddim for a beautifully subtle vocal cut, Devon Russell’s ‘Thanks And Praise’, and he also issued DJ versions by Jim Brown and Lone Ranger.

Baba Brooks

Baba Brooks

Early ’80s

The riddim became particularly popular in the early ’80s after the release of ‘Four Fold Runner’ by Ras Imruh Asher and ‘Hard Times’/’All Nations Have To Bow’ by 7th Extension and Ranking Devon. Dennis Brown recorded ‘Unite Brotherman’ which also appears on a whole album of the riddim that was issued by Tad Dawkins. This was only the third riddim album ever to be issued (after ‘Yamaha Skank’ and ‘Master Showcase’), and is a nice showcase for the riddim.

Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes

Another lovely cut is Sugar Minott’s ‘African Girl’ which features a touching vocal. Lloyd Barnes recorded a great version and issued two excellent vocal cuts, Barrington Spence’s ‘Rockers Time’ and Joy Card’s ‘Black Girl’. Barrington’s cut is an anthem to Rockers music, while Joy’s is an excellent reality song. There is a discomix version of Joy’s song that features a particularly masterful mix. Bullwackie also recorded a beautiful instrumental version featuring Roland Alphonso.

George Phang

George Phang released good cuts from Sugar Minott, Charlie Chaplin and Michael Palmer, and nice versions by other producers include Cornell Campbell’s ‘My Love Will Never Stop’ and the Mighty Diamonds’s ‘Juvenile Child’.

(Source: Ray Hurford & Jean Scrivener’s “Rhythm Wise One & Two”)


Selected tunes from the ’60s, ’70s & ’80s :

Baba Brooks – Shank I Sheck
Bobby Ellis – Shank I Shenk
Culture – Dog Ago Nyam Dog
Yabby U – Love In Zambia
7th Extension – Hard Times
Al Campbell – Riot
Barrington Spence – Rockers Time
Brigadier Jerry – Gwan A School
Charlie Chaplin – Hey Youth Man
Charlie Chaplin – Now-A-Days
Cornell Campbell – My Love For You Will Never Stop
Dennis Brown – Unite Brotherman
Devon Russell – Thanks And Praise
Earl Sixteen – Super Duper
Eek-A-Mouse & Louie Lepkie – Virgin Girl/ Lovers Takeover
Fantels – Name Of The Game
Frankie Paul – Nah Jump No Fence

Hugh Griffiths – Sea Cruise
Hugh Mundell – Walk With Jah
Jah Batta – Youth Man School
Jim Brown – Love In The Town
Joy Card – Black Girl
Lone Ranger – Badda Dan Dem
Louie Lepkie – Tribute To Bob Marley
Michael Palmer – Appetizing
Mighty Diamonds – Juvenile Child
Ranking Joe – We Have To Forward Home
Ras Imruh Asher – Four Fold Runner
Reverent Dread – Come Trod With Me
Roland Alphonso – Shank I Sheck
Steely And Clevie – Shank I Sheck
Sugar Minott – A True
Sugar Minott – African Girl
Triston Palma – Run Around Woman
Yellowman – Love Strock
Yellowman – No Luck In Gambling
Yellowman – Wreck A Pum Pum
Bobby Ellis - Shank I Sheck (1977)
7th Extension - Hard Times
Yabby U & The Prophets - Zambia