Archive for the ‘Reggae’ Category

Justin Hines & The Dominoes

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

JustinHinesCarryUKA, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

JustinHinesCarryUK, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

JustinHinesCarryUS, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

Listen: Carry Go, Bring Come / Justin Hines & The Dominoes

Back in ’76, when Howard Thompson was still a junior A&R scout at Island UK, we struck up a quick friendship. Well it happened quick but it’s still going today and as strong a friendship as one can have. The first package he sent over, and a big one at that, included the compilation THIS IS REGGAE MUSIC (Volume 3). His accompanying note implored me to listen, citing the ‘almost psychedelic’ nature of the songs and their production. More accurate words have never been written. That sampler changed my life.

I couldn’t get down the phone fast enough to him. The call was quickly followed by a box, a fucking box, jammed with full length LP’s from just about every act on that comp: Aswad, Jah Lion, Burning Spear, Junior Murvin, Max Romeo & The Upsetters and Justin Hines & The Dominoes’ JEZEBEL – plus a slew of 7 and 12″ singles from all the above and more (Lee Perry, Fay Bennett, The Skatalites, Leroy Smart, Rico, Lord Creator, Millie, Dillinger, Augustus Pablo) each with that vital dub B side. A treasure trove if ever, ever, ever there was one. I’ll never forget ripping that one open. Can you imagine how it blew my mind and my friend’s minds too? Well it did.

There were a couple of singles in there from Justin Hines & The Dominoes. A then current reggae remake of his very own decade old Jamaican ska hit (then listed as Justin Hinds & The Dominoes) ‘Carry Go, Bring Come’. This newer version being my preferred choice.

JustinHinesJezebelUKB, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

JustinHinesJezebelUK, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

JustinHinesJezebelUS, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

Listen: Jezebel / Justin Hines & The Dominoes

It’s flip, ‘Jezebel,’ a confusingly titled non-LP track from the JEZEBEL album, stay with me here, is actually a very nice dub of the A side ‘Carry Go, Bring Come’. Give it a listen and see for yourself.

To my knowledge, it’s never appeared on a reissue of any sort.

JustinHinesFireUKA, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

Listen: Fire / Justin Hines & The Dominoes

‘Fire’ still reminds me vividly of that summer ’76 when Corinne worked the night shift and I had the place to myself, with not a responsibility in the world between semesters but doing a bunch of play whatever you want radio shows. So I’d spend all night spinning records and drinking tea, then sleeping the morning away once she got back home. Ah the joys of being young.

‘Fire’ in particular was the well worn 7″, a perfect song to overlay onto the backdrop of an alarmingly silent city, all asleep, not even a mouse was creeping on the deserted streets – quite eerie. Jack Ruby, the record’s producer, was indeed known for just such a haunting production quality. I still prefer to think of him as Reggae’s Joe Meek. We’d listen to it at least a few times, religiously, every morning before passing out.

JustinHinesNatty, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Jack Ruby, Island

Listen: Natty Take Over / Justin Hines & The Dominoes

There’s not a bad track on that JEZEBEL album, yet there is a favorite: ‘Natty Take Over’. A most obvious A side to me, yet relegated as a B, I was just happy it was on a 7″ at all.

It fit in perfectly with the Island promo shirts announcing these reggae releases. The shirts came in many colors. I preferred the purple one with sky blue lettering that said quite simply, REGGAE on the front, with that palm tree Island logo on it’s sleeve. What better thing to wear almost daily during a nice hot summer. I still have that shirt.

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Listen: It Takes Two (Radio Edit) / Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock

Nothing like chilly autumn weekends to hibernate inside a warm house, filing records. My shelves are freaking me out, they’re jammed, and there’s hundreds of singles in white boxes awaiting a slot. So, much of Saturday was spent removing a ton of records I almost couldn’t believe I owned. Some acts with like ten singles deep, sitting wasting space.

Mind you, nothing really gets eliminated, just moved to the backup library or officially into storage. Mostly 80′s and 90′s rock titles I hadn’t listened to even as they were being filed, like R.E.M., The Cult, Everything But The Girl. Seriously, hundreds and hundreds more.

Years ago I created a hip hop 7″ section. We’re talking the early days, given the confusion I anticipated organizing DJ this or MC that. As with some other random sections: jazz, reggae, world, acid house, I found I quite liked the setup, made it easy to scan for a song when the genre bug has bitten. Mind you, this requires a second copy of everything: one for the genre section and one for the main library. In the heyday of 80′s/90′s record business, everyone was only too happy to unload 7″ singles my way. Nobody wanted them, a result of the 12″ or CD taking preference.


As with some of the aforementioned genres, hip hop 7″ singles looked almost odd, like they weren’t really meant to exist in that particular size. Now of course, they’ve become quite scarce, and I guarantee their values will continue to rise as a result. They’re fast becoming my new obsession so needless to say, I ended up log jamming through them, pulling out more to play than I was putting away.

As with yesterday’s post, and probably tomorrow’s, I’m on a roll. Even the most mainstream hits look and sound great on a 7. Hip hop pressed in the UK is even more perverse. They might be my favorites of them all.

‘It Takes Two’ got slammed with sampling issues early, like a bunch of other records at the time. In the case of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s biggest hit, the single used James Brown and Lyn Collins’ ‘Think (About It)’ without clearance. Combine that with other unauthorized snippets, especially a Frankie Beverly & Maze sample, and the IT TAKES TWO album, despite selling millions, hit financial disaster. The calamity was the talk of the industry, which of course likes to talk so who knows, but the mess seemed to throw cold water onto their career.

One last bit. Many of the hip hop 7′s provide the only access to each song’s radio edit, and out of laziness, the labels carelessly assigned the instrumental version or some throwaway remix onto the B side, making them even more collectable.

The Persuaders / Junior Tucker

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Listen: Some Guys Have All The Luck / The Persuaders PersuadersLuck.mp3

Only in hindsight did I hear The Persuaders version of ‘Some Guys Have All The Luck’. God only knows how that happened. I worked at a one-stop in Fall ’73, delivering records to accounts, and to my apartment….bad karma. I thought there wasn’t a 7″ I had left out of those personal allocations, but obviously I was wrong.

Add to that, how did I miss it on the radio? There was nothing else to listen to while doing those said deliveries and this one went pop, peaking at #39 in Billboard that very November.

Eventually, around the Christmas season, I got moved inside, pulling orders and restocking. At this I was a whizz. Could do it in my sleep – and loved it. I was in the LP department – all organized by label, then chronologically by catalog number within each. Can you imagine sections for King, Okeh, Fontana, Sue, Deram, Philips, Parrot, Stax, Smash…….ok enough torture.

The front half of the warehouse was dedicated to the 45′s. Maude did my version of the job up there, and she had a Kevin pile – one of everything. Well, sometimes 5 or 10, depending on varying factors. Once a one hundred count box was full, off to the tape dispenser, then on to the cart, bound for the delivery truck, it went. Oh to go back in time.

Still, I didn’t end up with a copy of this one for years.

Listen: Some Guys Have All The Luck / Junior Tucker JuniorTuckerSomeGuys.mp3

Fast forward. 1980.

Oldest trick in the book: cover classic soul songs in a reggae style. Pretty much works every time. In this case, beyond great.

I fell in love with Junior Tucker’s ‘Some Guys Have All The Luck’ upon release. I dare say it got played hundreds and hundreds of times in my record room that year, and on my radio shows.

Corinne and I were both reggae lovers, having been weened on the hard corp Lee Perry and Jack Ruby releases Howard was sending our way starting in ’76. An all time favorite series, THIS IS REGGAE MUSIC, especially Volume 3, became our crowd’s anthem anthology. And I dare say all my best friends from that period can be transported back to some of the greatest times of our lives when we spin it nowadays.

Had I known then, that about ten years after Volume 3′s release, I would one afternoon walk into Chris Blackwell’s office, and suggest reviving the series with a Volume 4 and 5 (Volume 5 exclusive to reggae style RnB covers – this was included), and that he would say “Yes”, my heart would have frozen.


Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Conscious Man / The Jolly Brothers

Conscious Man / The Jolly Brothers

Listen: Conscious Man / The Jolly Brothers 01 Conscious Man 1.mp3

There’s a story about this record, told to me many times by Duane Sherwood, who knows all there is to know reggae-wise. It forever gets cloudy in my memory, but here goes. There was a period when Lee Perry’s relationship with Island Records in London was going south as they were rejecting many of his submissions, due to the sheer volume of his output. It lead him to burn down his Black Ark studios, but not before making some of the most historic reggae recordings ever. One such rejection was The Congos album, an original Jamaican copy will set you back. It’s been beautifully reissued by Blood & Fire, but you can never replicate the sound of recycled Jamaican deep groove vinyl, hence the quest for the original.

Then there’s this, The Jolly Brothers ‘Conscious Man’. Scratch was so annoyed by Island, he apparently never even offered them The Jolly Brothers master. He just licensed it off to United Artists in England, and it became a hit. For whatever reasons, those early pressings don’t even credit his production, but it only takes one listen.

It was everywhere during an October ’78 London trip, when we’d stayed at Howard’s place in Hammersmith and did the town with him every night. I remember finding the picture sleeved copy at Harlequin Records just off Marble Arch. Never saw another.

Augustus Pablo

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown / Augustus Pablo

King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown / Augustus Pablo

Listen: King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown / Augustus Pablo King Tubby Meets The Rocker.mp3

Often credited as one of the singles to open up reggae and dub to the world outside of Jamaica, this record and Augustus Pablo have a twisted history. Duane educates me on it’s varying specifics: the vocalist here is actually Jacob Miller who achieved some notoriety with Inner Circle and Augustus Pablo somehow was able to make off with the rights to this sorta instrumental, sorta dub version and release it as his own.

Well whatever, it’s a classic. Might be the first reggae single that I actively sought out after a glowing review in one of the UK music papers, SOUNDS. Not only because it got the lead review and you could trust them in those days, but the description. Whatever it was as I don’t recall exactly but I do remember needing this record because of it. It was so worth it.