Various – The Volcano Dancehall Albums

by Jun 24, 2024Reviews, Various

Various - The Volcano Dancehall Albums

Release Info

Label
Doctor Bird/Cherry Red Records
Format
DBL CD
Street date
June 21, 2024
Contact
Website Record Label

Tracklist

DISC ONE:

BARRINGTON LEVY – BOUNTY HUNTER

1 Bounty Hunter
2 Shaolin Temple
3 Shine Eye Girl
4 Moonlight Lover
5 Trod With Jah Jah
6 It’s Not Easy
7 Skylarking
8 Jah Life
9 Wedding Ring
10 Don’t Fuss Nor Fight
BONUS TRACKS
11 Looking My Love
12 Walk 2000 Miles

COCOA TEA – WEH DEM A GO DO

13 Rocking Dolly
14 Informer
15 Jah Made Them That Way
16 Evening Time
17 Can’t Stop Cocoa Tea
18 I’ve Lost My Sonia
19 I’m Wanted
20 I’m Going Home
21 On Top Of The World
22 Chalice Nuh Fi Ramp With
BONUS TRACK
23 Christmas Is Coming

DISC TWO

CHARLIE CHAPLIN – SOUND SYSTEM

1 We Hot
2 Small Days
3 Afraid Of You
4 Bounce, Pon We Corner
5 Why The World Say So
6 Screwface People
7 Principle
8 Tribute To Marvin Gaye
9 Ginal
10 International Robbery

CHARLIE CHAPLIN ‘DANCEHALL ROCKERS’

11 Yan Kee Skank aka Yankee Skank
12 Chalice
13 Face To Face
14 Eden Ah Try
15 Tell Me Why
16 Drifting
17 Hey Youthman
BONUS TRACKS
18 Barrington Levy – Skylarking (12” mix) Version
19 Barrington Levy – Moonlight Dub
20 Barrington Levy – Shine Eye Girl Version

Jamaican music went through change at the end of the ’70s when Dancehall took over from Roots Reggae. It was a mixture of hard-edged elements of Roots and Dub with the upbeat vibes of ’60s Ska. It was arguably the Kingston-based ‘Junjo’ Lawes who launched his career as an independent record producer who bought Dancehall to the fore, working with Linval Thompson. Lawes releases went out on various labels and gained several hits with singer/songwriter Barrington Levy. In the coming years Lawes showed-off his production skills with a series of best-selling singles and albums on his Volcano, Arrival and Jah Guidance labels. Several new artists that Lawes worked with included Charlie Chaplin and Cocoa Tea and both artists gained hits. These four albums give the listener an insight into the world of Dancehall and we take a look at a selection of the tracks from the albums.

DISC ONE

BARRINGTON LEVY – BOUNTY HUNTER
1. BOUNTY HUNTER. One of Levy’s best-known releases and on this we have a mid-tempo rhythm track with the vocal somewhat in the distance. Dancehall with Dub overtones and a quality track to start this collection. Released in Jamaica (album) on the Jah Life label in 1979. 4. MOONLIGHT LOVER. A fast rhythm track on this number that was also released by Trojan Records with Joya Landis on the vocal back in 1969. This stands up well to the aforementioned version and again comes with Dub overtones at various times, gets the feet-tapping. Released in the US (12″) on Dub Irator label in 1978. 6. IT’S NOT EASY. Starting off slowly, it moves into a Roots Reggae sound on which Levy is at his best with a full-on vocal. The rhythm track comes laid-back and straight. Released in the UK (12″) on the Volcano label in 2007. 9, WEDDING RING. Another track on the slow side and again Levy’s vocal is full-on. Nothing special about the backing, just fine Roots sound with no percussion. Released in UK on the Volcano label in 2008. 10. DON’T FUSS NOR FIGHT. This is a faster track on which we hear some classic percussion. Levy’s vocal floats over the rhythm track and overall one ends up listening to a fine Roots sound. Released in Jamaica (7″) on Jah Guidance label and in the UK (7″) on the Volcano label in 2005.
BONUS TRACKS:
11. LOOKING MY LOVE. This starts off as a Reggae number and then moves into a Dub sound. The rhythm track moves back to being straight apart from the occasional percussion. Released in Jamaica on the Jah Guidance label and in the UK on the Volcano label in 2005. 12. WALK 2000 MILES. Coming as a mid-tempo sound with Levy on top form in front of a predominantly straight backing. 4mins 35secs in length and becomes infectious by the close. Released in the Netherlands (12″) on the Reggae Goldmine label in 2003.

COCOA TEA – WEH THEM A GO DO
13. ROCKIN’ DOLLY. A mid-tempo number on which we hear Cocoa Tea at his best. The rhythm track comes straight and compliments the vocal, well. A catchy sound this and lead track on the original album. Released in Jamaica (LP) on Real Authentic label 1991. 15. JAH MADE THEM THAT WAY. This comes as a mid-tempo number on which we hear bongo drums at various times. The vocal is clear and floats over the rhythm track, a Roots/Dancehall sound. Released in Jamaica (12″) on the Volcano label. 17. CAN’T STOP COCOA TEA. A cool slice of Roots/Dancehall on which the vocal once again floats over a straight rhythm track. The overall sound is very catchy and at 2mins 42secs is far too short. Released in the US (LP) on the Volcano label in 1985. 20. I’M COMING HOME. Cocoa Tea on a mid-tempo number that has a clear vocal and punchy rhythm track. It is a cool sound and has some fine bass guitar work on the backing. Another track that has a catchy overall feel. Released in Jamaica (7″) on the Jah Guidance label in 1984. 21. TOP OF THE WORLD. Not to be confused with The Carpenters recording, this comes with a punchy rhythm track which has Dub overtones at various times. The vocal is cool and the backing comes without percussion. Released in Jamaica (7″) on the Arrival label in 1984.
BONUS TRACK:
23. CHRISTMAS IS COMING. A mid-tempo number and how true the title is. The vocal is hard to pick-up but is catchy and gets the feet tapping. The backing comes straight and as original Reggae Christmas songs go, this is a good one. Released in Jamaica (7″) on the Arrival label 1984.

DISC TWO

CHARLIE CHAPLIN – SOUND SYSTEM 
1. WE HOT. As one would expect from this vocalist it is a talk-over track in front of a fine Roots/Reggae rhythm backing. Chaplin’s vocal is spot-on and this is a catchy recording. Released in the Netherlands (12″) on the Reggae Goldmine label in 2003. 3. AFRAID OF YOU. More of the same talk-over sound with Chaplin in fine vocal form. The vocal is very fast at times and the backing track comes with some heavy drumming at various times. Picking up the lyrics is almost impossible, nevertheless the track is catchy. Released in Jamaica (12″) on the Volcano label in the 1980s. 6. SCREWFACE PEOPLE. The backing comes mid-tempo with a slower talk-over than on the previous track. As on the previous track we hear more heavy drumming at times. Good foot-tapping number with a full-on vocal. Released in the UK (CD) on the Cactus label in 1984. 8. TRIBUTE TO MARVIN GAYE. Many music tributes to Marvin Gaye have been recorded over the years, this one must be unique. One has to question the title as it doesn’t come across as a tribute. This is mid-tempo and again Chaplin is in full-voice in talk-over mood. Nothing special about this just another talk-over recording. Released in Jamaica (LP) on the Arrival label in 1984.

CHARLIE CHAPLIN – DANCEHALL ROCKERS
11. YAN KEE SKANK aka YANKEE SKANK. This has a slow intro before moving up a pace to accommodate the talk-over vocal. Not sure what the lyrics are about but one has to say that the track is catchy. This was recorded at the Harry J Recording studio in downtown, Kingston, Jamaica. Released in Jamaica (12″) on Sunset Records in 1985. 14. EDEN ALD TRY. Starts slowly and then the Reggae rhythm comes in with a full-on vocal from Mr Chaplin. Lyrics again are not easy to understand but none-the-less this has a catchy feel. The rhythm track is somewhat in the background, good talk-over this one. Released in Jamaica (12″) on Sunset Records in 1985. 15. TELL ME WHY. This track comes with trombone on the intro before we hear a full-on vocal, talk-over that is. Heavy drumming is a feature of the backing track, good all-round sound. Released in Jamaica (7″) on the Green Farm label in 1994. 17. HEY YOUTHMAN. Has some fine organ work at the start and a familiar backing track, not sure from where. The vocal is as expected and the vocal is full-on with lyrics not easy to understand. Released in Jamaica (7″) on Sunset Records in 1984.
BONUS TRACKS:
18. SKYLARKING (12″ mix) VERSION. This comes as a version of a recording by Horace Andy and starts slowly with a mid-tempo rhythm track, The Levy vocal is full-on with it moving, as one might expect, into a Dub sound around 5mins into a 7min 44sec track. The vocal part of this is not unlike the aforementioned version. Released in UK (12″) on the Lovelinch Music label in 1979. 20. SHINE EYE GIRL. Another mid-tempo sound along with a full-on vocal. Some percussion on the backing track and one ends up listening to a catchy number to finish off this collection. Distributed in Jamaica by Randy’s Record Mart, Kingston, Jamaica. Released in Jamaica (12″) on the Jah Guidance label and in the UK on the Burning Rockers label in 1979.

This is a long overdue collection containing Barrington Levy’s breakthrough album along with Cocoa Tea and Charlie Chaplin collections. This also contains a handful of rare bonus tracks and most of the recordings have been unavailable on any format for decades. This collection provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy original Dancehall at its very best produced and performed by some of its finest talents. At £14 99p and along with the usual 8-page booklet it is well worth investigating.

Read more about:

Barrington Levy – Bounty Hunter

Cocoa Tea – Can’t Stop Cocoa Tea

Charlie Chaplin – Screwface People

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