Posts Tagged ‘Reggae’

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.


Monday, May 25th, 2009

Ain't That Saying A Lot / Prince Buster

Listen: Ain't That Saying A Lot / Prince Buster AintThatSaying.mp3

There is more to say about Cecil Bustamente Campbell, aka Prince Buster, than there is time to write about him. His influence on the history of Jamaican pop music is undeniable. He was the first to bring a Nyabinghi Rasta drum troop (Count Ossie & The Wariekas) down from the hills & into the studio to provide African percussion on his debut single production, ‘Oh Carolina’ / ‘Chubby’ for the Folkes Brothers in 1960. He went on to be at the forefront of the music scene when Jamaica gained her independence in 1962, and the country took as its musical signature, a shuffle rhythm & blues beat heard on the radio from New Orleans. They sped it up & created ska. His biggest hit was ‘Ten Commandments From Man To Woman’ in ’67, which was even a minor hit here in the USA. He continued making & releasing music into the ’70s, and still plays the odd one off gig today. (‘tho he stiffed the sold-out NYC crowd I was part of in the late ’90s, by coming into town but then not showing up at the club).

While I think I recall hearing the ‘Ten Commandments’ on Top 40 radio in the 60′s, and heard him memorialized by The Specials & Madness in the late ’70s ska revival days, I didn’t really get turned on to Prince Buster until the early ’90s. I was junk shopping on Canal St in NYC. An old Jamaican junk dealer had a little cassette player on his table & was playing a home made tape of his fave Prince Buster songs. My ear kept getting drawn to the tape player as I poked around his stuff, & so I asked him who it was. Minutes later, I’d talked him into selling me the tape. No song credits, nothing written on it but “Prince Buster Mix” in ballpoint blue. One song stood out for its smooth vocals, fantastic drum sound, and the uncommon addition of a violin. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a violin in reggae since. I went on a mission to find out what that song was. Only about half of it was on the tape.

Some years later I was on a video shoot in Tennessee, where a hurricane had turned our location into a rainy swamp. As a result we had the day off, so we went into the little town to poke around. I found a mint copy of Prince Buster’s TEN COMMANDMENTS LP for $6.00 in a little thrift store. When I got back to Brooklyn & played it, there was my unnamed song – ‘Aint That Saying a Lot’. A few years later I was in a garage sale with Kevin when I found a white label 7″ of his followup single, ‘Ten Commandments From Woman To Man’. Flipping it over I was delighted to find that my fave track had made it to a B side.


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.