My Conversation Riddim
The “My Conversation” story begins in the mid to late ’60s with Bunny Lee. Bunny was establishing himself as a hitmaker with the likes of Derrick Morgan, Pat Kelly, Ken Parker, as well as the vocal groups The Sensations and The Uniques, who at the time had Slim Smith as a member.
One of the Uniques’ many hits included “My Conversation”. A tune that is very hard to forget – because of a simple organ riff that runs all the way through it. This alone though does not explain why some six years later this riddim became the first riddim album – titled “Yahama Skank” – with the production credit going to Rupie Edwards!
The riddim was not a recut, it was exactly the same riddim/record that The Uniques had cut all those years ago. Although now it was credited to Slim Smith. And it was this very same riddim that was used for all the cuts on the album.
Shorty The President
One of the cuts on the album was Shorty The President’s “President Mash Up The Resident” which was a big deejay hit of the time – around ’72. It seems that this tune’s popularity eventually led to the release of “Yahama Skank” or “Dr Satan’s Echo Chamber” as it was also known at the time. That album includes organ, horn, percussion, melodica and various deejay cuts.
It is truly a classic album – and one that was way, way ahead of its time. Even now it’s different, most riddim albums today concentrating on singers and deejays rather than instrumentals. Whatever the story is of how Rupie Edwards got hold of a Bunny Lee riddim, the simple fact is, he did good with it. He gave the music something new and for that he deserves respect along with the other great innovators in the music.
In 1979 Rupie re-released “Yamaha Skank”. The reason he did this was due entirely to the huge success of Lone Ranger’s “Barnabas Collins”, produced by Alvin Ranglin – owner of the GG’s label. This record ruled the Reggae charts for weeks – eventually being picked up by Island for the pop market. Lone Ranger went on to become the first big deejay of the Dancehall style.
Studio One Cuts
Not long after the success of “Barnabas Collins”, the “My Conversation” riddim returned to top the Reggae charts again. This time it was with The Heptones’ “Give Me The Right”, produced by Rupie Edwards. The tune was old, probably recorded at the time of “Yamaha Skank”, but it is not on the LP. Rupie had struck gold again – what a riddim! Also of great interest are the two Studio One cuts; “Conversation” by Cornell Campbell – a straight recut – and “Haunted House” by Windel Haye, both on 12″ vinyl.
(Source: Ray Hurford & Jean Scrivener’s “Rhythm Wise One & Two”)
Selected tunes from the ’60s, ’70s & ’80s :
Slim Smith & The Uniques – My Conversation
The Heptones – Give Me The Right
Cornell Campbell – Conversation
Cornell Campbell – Have Mercy Oh Jah
Danny Dread – Bible Connection
Delroy Wilson – My Conversation
Dillinger – Slipe Pen Road Rock
Errol Dunkley – Come Natural
Errol Scorcher – Paulette You A Fret
Gregory Isaacs – Conversation
Jah Thomas – Cricket Lovely Cricket
Jah Thomas – Praise God
Joe White – President Rock
Leroy Smart – Jah Forgive Them
Lizzy – Bandolo Skank
Windel Haye – Haunted House
Lone Ranger – Barnabas Collins
Pinchers – Got To Be Me
Sugar Minott – Devil Is Dope
Sugar Minott – Rhythmatic
Teddy Brown – President
Tyrone Downie – Tribute To Slim Smith
Barry Brown – Nice Time
Big Joe – Lick Her Gone
Carlton Livingston – What In Battle Is Sweeter Than Victory
Anthony Blackwood – Once Bitten Twice Shy
Tippa Irie – Good To Have The Feeling
Yellowman – A Me Kill Barnie
Uglyman – Night Rider