Jah Stitch – Original Ragga Muffin

by | May 2, 2019 | Articles, Obituary

Jah Stitch 1987 (Photo: Beth Lesser)

Artist Info

Jah Stitch 1949-2019

Career: Solo artist | Selector

Selective Discography

Albums

  • No Dread Can’t Dead
  • Watch Your Step Youthman
  • Moving Away
  • Dread Inna Jamdown
  • Jah Woosh Meets Jah Stitch At Leggo Sounds

Compilations

  • Original Ragga Muffin (1975-77)
  • The Killer

Singles

  • Danger Zone
  • Killer
  • Ethiopia
  • River Jordon
  • Bury The Barber
  • Marshall Dread
  • Strictly Rockers
  • Evilous Things
  • Carzy Joe
  • JA Woman
  • Rock Man Soul
  • African Queen
  • Judgement
  • Greedy Girl
  • Jah Jah Forgive You
  • How Long Jah Jah
  • Black Harmony Killer
  • Real Born African
  • Militant Man
  • Cool Down Your Temper
  • Natty Dread Thing
  • Vegee Marshall Rock Steady
  • Third World Stable
  • Dragon Snake And Spider
  • Mash Mouth
  • Ragga Muffin Style
  • African People
  • From The East To The West
  • King Of The Arena
  • Dread Involved
  • Never Too Late
  • Dread In A Jamdown
  • Natty Dread Gone Clear
  • Dread Back A Yard
  • African Book Of Rules
  • Pick Your Choice
Selector Jah Stitch

 

Melbourne James aka Jah Stitch died after a stroke and from a number of inflammations in combination with diabetes. After complaining about not feeling well on Friday, Jah Stitch was taken to the hospital where he passed away on Sunday April 28, 2019. He turned 69.

JAH STITCH – 1949-2019

The original ragga muffin who came back from being shot in the head to make some deep cultural deejay music at the studio of King Tubby, produced by Striker Lee and Yabby You.

Old-time toaster Jah Stitch was one of the pioneering deejays, who although famed as a deejay began his career singing in a music yard alongside Roy Shirley, Stranger Cole, The Wailers and The Heptones. However Jah Stitch soon became the leading deejay with the Tippertone and – his own – Black Harmony Sound Systems before cutting his first sides for Errol ‘Flabba’ Holt (“Danger Zone”) and the ubiquitous Bunny “Striker” Lee for whom he recorded his early hits. Amongst these were deejay versions of songs from Johnny Clarke’s extensive back catalogue and included “Legalise It” as “Collie Bud”, “My Conversation” as “How Long Jah Jah” and “Natty Roots Natty Congo” as “True Born African”. Other hits included “Crazy Joe” (a dismissive sideswipe from Jah Stitch, Bunny Lee and Clive Chin straight to Joe Gibbs’ head), “King In The Arena” and, with Yabby You, “African Queen”.

 

 

Prior to the One Love Peace Concert in jamaica, organized in an attempt to thwart the escalating street violence and bring an end to the State Of Emergency, Jah Stitch was shot. His injuries were such that it was a miracle that he was still alive. When he returned to the studio he recorded “No Dread Can’t Dead”, a song with Cornell Campbell’s vocals soaring heavenwards in the mix and one which marked his comeback after miraculously surviving a shot through the head in a Kingston street dispute that happened in a place next door to the old Wailers shop. The shooting had left him with a permanent rictus, which made him look like he was always talking out of the side of his mouth. It changed his voice (and appearance!) as you’d expect, but with no serious consequence where recording was concerned. By 1977 his hits included “Militant Man” and “Jah Jah Forgive You”. In the early ’80s he wasn’t recording that much anymore. Then, in 1985, he re-emerged as Major Stitch, selecting the tunes for Sugar Minott’s Youth Promotion Sound, supervising the cutting of dubplates for the Sound. A prolonged period of anonymity came to an end when, in 1995, he recorded with Trevor Douglas and Jah Woosh. His career was documented on a compilation set titled “Original Ragga Muffin 1975-77”, released by Blood & Fire in 1996.