Real Rock Riddim

by Feb 13, 2019

Sound Dimension - Real Rock
Robust Riddim

Sound Dimension’s rocksteady instrumental “Real Rock” is a particularly robust riddim featuring a rumbling bass line and a very tight drum sound over which a trombone plays the melody line occasionally aided by some simple but effective fills. It remains a classic recording. The next cut was a nice toast from Dillinger, “Fountain On The Mountain”, after which several percussion overdubs were added for Michigan & Smiley’s big hit “Nice Up The Dance”.

Big Hit

A similar mix of the riddim was also used for Willi Williams’ big hit “Armagideon Time”, whose lyrics seemed to strike a chord for many people. The discomix version of “Armagideon Time” features a keyboard overdub playing the “Peanut Vendor” melody. This was followed by deejay cuts from Windel Haye, Lone Ranger and Mikey Jarrett, all of which feature overdubs and remixes, but the riddim was left in its original form for the next release, Johnny Osbourne’s “Lend Me Your Sixteen”, and stronger because of that.

Willi Williams 1983 (Photo: Beth Lesser)

Willi Williams 1983 (Photo: Beth Lesser)

Lee Perry

Outside Studio One this riddim has been used for over one hundred different recordings, and has never stopped being used. One of the first people to re-use the riddim was Lee Perry who recorded an excellent version with trombonist Rico Rodriguez for the “Musical Bones” album, which appeared without any label or sleeve details.

Augustus Pablo

Augustus Pablo used the riddim for “Rockers Rock”. A great version featuring excellent melodica and piano work from Pablo himself. Pablo used the riddim for several further cuts including several instrumentals, a deejay version, and Hugh Mundell’s “One Aim, One Jah, One Destiny”. Another great early recording of the riddim is the Morwells’ “I Nah Want Dey Yah”, which is a typical roots offering from the group.

Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes

In the early ’80s Lloyd ‘Bullwackie’ Barnes recorded an excellent cut of the riddim on which he gets a sound that is all his own. This version is more laid back than most cuts, but has a crispness and swing that makes it irresistible. Two great recordings that use this version of the riddim are Sugar Minott’s “Wicked A Go Feel It” and Jah Batta’s “Mi Black”. Both Bunny Lee and King Jammy have issued albums with one side of cuts to the riddim, and Steely & Clevie have issued a whole album on the riddim, “Real Rock Style”.

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


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

Sound Dimension – Real Rock
Dillinger – Fountain On The Mountain
Augustus Pablo – Rockers Rock
Augustus Pablo – Corner Crew Dub
Admiral Tibet – Chase Them Jah
Jah Iney – El Rockers
Hugh Mundell – One Jah One Aim One Destiny
Dennis Brown – Together Brothers
Errol Scorcher – Roach In De Corner
Morwells – I Nah Want Dey Yah
Trinity – Hog & Goat
Al Campbell – Can’t Hold We
Archie & Lynn – Rat In The Center
Asher Senator – Jah Me Right
Badoo – Kinarky
Barrington Levy – Looking My Love
Charlie Chaplin – Exploiting
Cocoa Tea – Rocking Dolly
Cocoa Tea – Love Me
Don Carlos – Ababa John I
Eek-A-Mouse – Anarexol
Frankie Paul – Dem A Go Feel It
Horace Martin – Talk Them A Talk
Hugh Griffiths – Let Me Be
Jackie Mittoo – Mash Down Babylon
Jah Batta – Mi Black
Jah Thomas – Dance Pon The Corner
Jah Thomas – The Girl Them Love Me
Johnny Osbourne – Lend Me The Sixteen
Johnny Osbourne – Lend Me Your Chopper

Johnny Ringo – History Of Jamaica
Josey Wales – Nuffy Nuffy
Josey Wales – Too Greedy
Junior Brammer – Them A Mix Up
Junior Murvin – Cool Out Son
Latty – Kentones Rock
Lone Ranger – You Too Greedy
Louie Ranking & Bobby Culture – Tidal Wave
Michael Palmer – Come Again
Michael Palmer – Gunshot A Bust
Michigan & Smiley – Nice Up The Dance
Mikey Jarrett – Get Your Green Card
Nitty Gritty – Letting Off Steam
Peter Metro – Join The Army
Phillip Fraser – Blood Of The Saint
Ranking Trevor – Spanish River
Rod Taylor – Jah Love Is Real
Shabba Ranks & Flourgon – Shock Out
Smiley Culture – Cockney Translation
Sugar Minott – Mass Mi Mass
Sugar Minott – Wicked A Go Feel It
Tenor Saw – Eni Meeni Mo
Tony Tuff – Back To Back
Willi Williams – Armagideon Time
Willi Williams & Cousin Marshall – Rocking Universally
Willi Williams – Armageddeon
Windel Haye – Flood Victim
Winston Reedy – Lend Me
Derrick Morgan – Ride The riddim
Horace Andy – Found Somebody New
Robotics – Massive Rock
Sugar Minott – Dem Fraid A We
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