Rare Reggae Roots Mix — Annotated & Illustrated

Thanks and praise to Rastawelt for posting this righteous reel-to-reel roots reggae mix:

Listed below is the running order of songs for this special cross-faded set that — based on the original Jamaican release dates — could have been assembled in the late 1970s (though not 1973, as claimed), were it not for the recording that precedes the closing track:

Sun Is Shining” — The Wailers & Johnny Lover1971

Note: Johnny Lover had purchased records in The Wailers‘ Tuff Gong shop in Jamaica prior to recording a few DJ (“toasting”) singles with The Destroyers as his backing band, according to Discogs. Lover also recorded a DJ version of “I Like It Like That” for Tuff Gong in 1971 (released in the UK as “Soul Town“). Interesting to see how many Johnny Lover singles were released in the US, but even more surprising is how little overlap there is with his recordings from Jamaica. Original 7-inch release of “Sun Is Shining” on Tuff Gong sold for $350 at auction in 2015.

Must Be a Revolution” — Righteous Flames & Black Liberators1975

Note: Winston Jarrett, originally in the The Flames with Alton Ellis, reformed the group as The Righteous Flames after Ellis’ departure to the UK in 1969, according to Discogs (although, confusingly, the group’s earliest recordings can be traced to 1967). Worth noting that “Must Be a Revolution” was also released in the US in 1975. Not much known about the Black Liberators Band (featured on the B-side “Revolution Dub,” which can be heard here beginning at 3:33) other than a handful of singles.

Girl You’re So Divine” — Maurice Wellington / The Morwells1974?

Note: YouTube contributor Hot-Buttered-Dub points out that this track sounds great played back-to-back with Little Roy‘s ‘Prophecy‘ from 1972. Song also appears to have been recorded by Barry Heptone(s) for the Morwell Esq label. Blood and Fire did humankind a solid favor, when the label reissued a long-unavailable King Tubby mix of 1975 vocal album Presenting the Morwells (Blacka Morwell, Louis Davis & EricBingy BungyLamont) on a CD mix from 1997 — Morwell Unlimited Meet King Tubby’s Dub Me — that includes two extra cuts.

To Be a Lover” — Shenley Duffus1971

Note: This 45 – produced & directed by “Upsetter Wonder Man” (i.e., LeeScratchPerry) – includes a spare (mostly) instrumental mix on the B-side (which can be heard here beginning at 3:30). Duffus – also known as Chenley (whose earliest recordings go back to 1962) – once graced the turntable of future Apple Records executive, Barry Miles, as recounted in his unreal and offbeat memoir, The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label — “At my flat Paul [McCartney] listened to Blue Beat records (Shenley Duffus, “Duck Soup” by Drumbago, the Charms, Derrick & Patsy, Prince Buster & the All-Stars) as well as John Cage’s Indeterminacy.”

Zion” — The Flames1971

Note: Remember The (Righteous) Flames from three songs previous? “Zion” was written by “Danny” — i.e., Danny Clarke of The Meditations, affirms David Katz in Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae — and produced by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Flip side features a drum-driven version — the sole recording by The Adisababians — that can be heard on this streaming audio clip.

Oh Jah Come” — Ta-Teacher Love1975

Note: Song written by OliveSenya” (Ta-Teacher Love) Grant, produced by Clive Chin & AstonFamily ManBarrett, and mastered at Randy’s (a.k.a., ‘Studio 17,’ located in Kingston at 17 North Parade Street). French reissue 45 from 2020 notes The Wailers as the backing band. Family Man’s B-side mix “Ta Teasha Dub” can be heard on this streaming audio clip (beginning at 2:20).

Christopher Columbus” — Little Roy & Ian Rock1975

Note: Ian Rock is a vocal group — Ewan Gardner & AnthonyRockyEllis — also known as Little Ian Rock, when joined by Little Roy. Single (on the Uprising label) was produced by Carl Fletcher & L. Grant, arranged by Paul Dixon, and remixed by the legendary Sylvan Morris. Flip side “Columbus Park” – minimalist dub mix by Advocates Aggregation – features jazz-inflected guitar lines.

This Train” — Errol Dunkley1971

Note: This blank “pre-release” – produced by Rupie Edwards, according to 45Cat – is a rare piece of wax that has traded hands in recent years. Dunkley’s earliest release (just prior to “Please Stop Your Lying“) was in 1966 for Prince Buster — “Love Me Forever” b/w “Toughest” (by the Prince Buster All-Stars).

Money Never Build a Mountain” — Ronnie Davis & The Tennors1973

Note: This B-side (alternately titled “Who Make Such Miracle“) is a Bunny Lee production that was released as a blank promo in 1973, with “Take Heed” as the A-side. Song was also recorded for producer Lloydie Slim in 1975. Davis, who had been asked by Clive Murphy to join The Tennors after the tragic loss of founding member, Maurice Johnson, also enjoyed success as a member of The Itals and, later, Ronnie Davis & Idren.

The Word Is Love” — The Ethiopians1973

Note: This 45 — released in Jamaica on FRM and in the UK on the Harry J label — was produced by Keith Anderson, a.k.a. Bob Andy, who began his career with The Blinders (later, The Paragons) briefly, before making his first solo recordings for Studio One in 1966, shortly before The Ethiopians had their first hit, “Train to Skaville.”

Ital Queen” — The Mighty Maytones1976

Note: “Ital Queen” is an LP-only track, curiously, taken from The Mighty Maytones‘ 1976 debut album by the vocal duo, Gladstone Grant & Vernon Buckley, whose earliest release (as The Maytones) – “Cold Up” / “Loving Reggay” – helped usher in the “new” reggae sound of 1968. The recording credits inform us that the album — released in Jamaica as Maytones Greatest Hits and in Europe/Nigeria as Madness — was produced by Alvin Ranglin at Channel One and arranged by ErrolFlabbaHolt, with The Revolutionaries serving as the backing band on all tracks (despite the ‘greatest hits’ tag, this is not a “compilation” album, as designated by Discogs).

It’s Like Heaven” — The Heptones — 1970

Note: Another album-only track — from 1970 Studio One LP Black Is Black (later repackaged as Ting a Ling).

I Man Free” — King Burnett & the Upsetters1974

Note: Singer, who goes by Derrick and also Watty Burnett, was later invited to join The Congos, originally vocal duo, Cedric Myton and Roydel ‘Congo Ashanti Roy‘ Johnson. Organist Glen Adams purports to take center stage on the flip side “Free Man” but, alas, this appears to be an urban myth (though the dub mix includes nice trombone work). A-side also released on the Upsetter label under the title “Police Know Who Dem a Look Fah.”

Humble Yourself” — Asher & Trimble1979

Note: This heavyweight Rockers International 7-inch by Asher & Trimble is, incredibly, the sole release by this vocal duo. The bigger story, however, is that Asher & Trimble turned out to be an “accidental” pairing: when Asher departed for the US, according to Discogs, producer MichaelMyrieTaylor finished the recording by adding a harmony vocal! . B-side “Skanking” features Augustus Pablo studio ensemble, Rockers All Stars — check out the toasting vocal that kicks off this dub version in grand fashion. Original vinyl can command up to three figures at auction.

Bosrah” — Prince Alla1976

Note: This song (you are forewarned) has a confusing and contested lineage, having been “released with differently spelt names and titles, and credited with different producers as accompanied by The Spear or [VivianYabby YouJackson‘s] The Prophets,” cautions Discogs. In 2008 the single was reissued in the UK as a special “dub plate” mix produced by Tappa Zukie, with the B-side mixed by Pat Kelly (one-time member of The Techniques).

Cheer Up Black Man” — Marvin Brooks1975

Notes: Song — produced by Winston Riley, founder of the Techniques label, and mastered by the Gentle Genius — is one of Brooks’ earlier releases.on the Mummy imprint, run by Riley’s brother, Buster. B-side mix (3:38 mark) is more dub-like than version, I would beg to differ.

Make Believe” — The Royals1976

Notes: Song — written by LawrenceJack RubyLindo and produced by Erwin & Roy Cousins (for Roy’s own Wambesi imprint) — paired with “Jammy’s Dub” (which begins at 3:18 on this streaming audio clip). The Royals, according to Discogs, were originally formed in 1964, with Roy Cousins as founding and anchoring member, along with MauriceProfessorJohnson, who left the group to join The Tennors.

Rockers” — Gladstone Anderson1976

Notes: Song written and produced by Anderson for Rupie EdwardsSuccess label, likely recorded in late 1975 based on the UK release date.

Life Is Sweet” — Paul Freeman — 197?

Notes: Paul Freeman recorded a handful of singles as a solo singer, including this one for the African Museum label, founded by Errol Dunkley and Gregory Isaacs in 1973. Freeman is said to have joined Knowledge (whose UK debut album was released on A&M) later in the group’s career.

She Used to Call Me Dada” — Bob Marley & the Wailers — [c. 1979]

Notes: Song appears to have originally been an unreleased outtake from 1979 album Survival that was first made available in 1995 on Japanese CD release, The New Birth of Bob Marley.

At the End” — Chenley Duffus1972

Notes: This 45 is one of three singles for Lee Perry’s Justice League label of the early-to-mid 1970s — 7-minute streaming audio clip (assembled by this reggae discographer) seamlessly links the A-side (“At the End“) with its B-side (“Goodnight My Love“).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *