johnny osbourne – truths and rights
freddie mcgregor – bobby babylon
louie lepkie – late night movie
barrington levy – mind yuh mouth
ranking trevor – seven the hard way
cornell campbell – stars
prince jazzbo – gal boy I roy
I-roy – roots man time
cedric brooks – ethiopia
shinehead – lady in my life / reprimand
desmond dekker – beautiful and dangerous
vin gordon & the upsetters – mek it soon
little harry – harry on the go
big youth – cool breeze
scotty – draw your brakes
alton ellis – rocksteady
bitty mcclean – walk away from love
sugar minott – this old man
richie phoe – bumpy’s lament
dean frasier – dean in chinatown
colin roach – champion sound
little twitch – respect due
admiral bailey – no where no better than yard
shabba ranks – get up stand up and rock
the wailers – one love
justin hinds & the dominoes – carry go bring come
roland alphonso – ska-ra-van (take 2)
amy winehouse – you’re wondering now
groove galaxy – back in the ussr
niney the observer – rasta no pickpocket
horace andy – don’t try to use me
dub size – smoke screen
numa crew vs linton kwesi johnson – inglan is a bitch (blend)
chris innasound – step fourth
soul agents – popcorn
dillinger – nebuchadnezzar
charlie chaplin – one of a kind
junior reid – oh happy day
prince far I – rudy boy
shabba ranks – must love reggae
pampidoo – synthesizer voice
pinchers – agony
beenie man & admiral bailey – jump up
sizzla – poor people a suffer
leroy gibbons – this magic moment
marcia griffiths – feel like jumping
toots & the maytals – 54-46 was my number
the ethiopians – train to skaville
the gladiators – sweet soul music
susan cadogan – nice and easy



Truths and Rights – The title track to Johnny Osbourne’s 1979 LP, produced by Coxsone Dodd for Studio 1, and catapulting him to dancehall fame. This track sounds so old school because it is simply Johnny singing brand new vocals over the original recording of Al Campbell’s “Take a Ride”, from 1968 – a song that was apparently tragically mislabeled, and actually recorded by a singer named Cal Campbell. Can you imagine finally scoring a hit record and having your name spelled wrong for all eternity?  Johnny’s version became so popular that most people would now call this the Truths & Rights riddim, instead of Take a Ride.

Bobby Babylon – Another CS Dodd production from the same year, from another legend, Freddie McGregor. And another case where the later 1980 tune took control of the riddim, renaming it from Jackie Mittoo & The Soul Vendor’s original “One Step Beyond” instrumental from 1968. Coxsone Dodd clearly had an amazing ear for realizing which old tunes from his vaults he could resurrect at precisely the right moment.

Late Night Movie / Mind Yuh Mouth – Joe Gibbs gets in on the same riddim in 1982 with Louie Lepkie and Barrington Levy. Louie only recorded a handful of singles, and was known for getting on the mic at dances with both Gemini and Volcano Sound Systems. He took his name from infamous Jewish gangster Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, who dispatched hitmen all over the place while running the NYC garment district Unions for the Syndicate in the 1930s. I remember Louie most as the guy who got murdered outside of my favorite dancehall club in 1987, The Reggae Lounge in Chinatown. He had moved to NYC a few years earlier to see if he could get his DJ career in motion, but fate had another plan. There’s a great compilation from Joe Gibbs and partner “Errol Thompson, called “Scorchers from The Mighty Two” that digs way back and is wall to wall FIRE. Peep the tracklist HERE.

Seven the Hard Way – Maxwell Grant aka Ranking Trevor grew up in the Waterhouse area of St Andrew’s Parish. He started chatting over tracks for Gold Soul Sound before recording for Channel One when he was 15 years old. He later ran with Tony Welch’s King Attorney Sound (what a great name LOL) which became Socialist Roots Sound – thus named for their association with JA’s Peoples National Party, alongside Nicodemus and U Brown. He modeled his vocal style pretty directly after U-Roy, and sometimes sounded damn near identical IMO.

Stars – Rewinding back to about 1968 with the Don Gorgon, Cornell Campbell & The Eternals on the riddim later named for this track, produced by Coxsone Dodd. Cornell later jumped ship from Studio 1 to re-record it with Bunny Striker Lee in the early 70s, who made the next two tracks on this mix.

Gal Boy I Roy – I messed up by playing this Prince Jazzbo track before the next one, since it is essentially an I – Roy diss track. This was part of an on-going musical war between the two in the mid-70s, that was reportedly Bunny Lee’s idea, and all in relatively good fun – never resulting in things escalating. Jamaica is, of course, the birthplace of the diss record, later embraced by Hip Hop artists around the world.

Roots Man Time – The aforementioned I-Roy on the Stars riddim. If you want to hear his retort to Jazzbo, check THIS TRACK, where he tries to encourages Jazzbo to take a seat, tries to wake a sleeping Princess, and claims “Jazzbo when you sneeze you remind me of a Japanese ya teeth full a cheese”  There’s a dope compilation documenting the entire battle called “Once Upon a Time at King Tubby’s

Ethiopia – A lovely instrumental from 1973 on the Java riddim from Cedric “Im” Brooks. A saxophone virtuoso, Cedric started playing nightclubs and making records with The Vagabonds in the early 60s. He moved to Philadelphia in the late 60s, where he attended music school and rubbed shoulders with cats like Sonny Rollins and Sun Ra. He came back to JA in the early 70s a spiritually changed man. He soon found Rasta and started calling himself “Im” – a reference to His Imperial Majesty Hailee Selassie, forming The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari with Count Ossie. Sidenote: let it be known that my new laptop hilariously auto-corrects “Rasta” to “pasta” every chance it gets, so if you see any references to Pastafarians… like Shaggy says, it wasn’t me.

Lady In My Life / Reprimand – I’ve always had a soft spot for Shinehead. He’s always been a bit goofy, and he does the whistling thing, but most of all, he just stands out in some slightly indescribable way. His big tune on the Get A Lick riddim is his cover of MJ’s “Billie Jean”, but I’ve played that version to death, and definitely put it on a mix or two over the years, so I figured I’d run this instead. The follow up, he did in 1994. If it ain’t broke…

Beautiful & Dangerous – Pure niceness from 1968. Desmond Dekker recording for Beverley’s, Leslie Kong’s ska label born out of the family ice cream shop in Kingston. This was just two years after his breakout hits, “Israelites” and “007”. The label was home to many other monster tunes, like Bob Marley’s “Soul Shakedown Party”, The Pioneers’ “Long Shot Kick De Buckets”, and the Toots & The Maytals’ “Monkey Man”, to name but a few.

Mek It Soon – A simple message about meeting your maker, from trombonist Vin Gordon and mad wizard Lee Scratch Perry. Vin got his start with The Skatalites, then settled into a gig as main trombonist for Studio 1. He went on the record with just about everybody, including playing on Bob’s “Exodus” and “Kaya” LPs, as well as the EPIC Aswad tune, “Warrior Charge” (which you can hear on THIS MIX.  ) alongside Michael “Bammie” Rose, who was in Cymande.

Harry On The Go – I’ve always been a fan of the dancehall kids, whether Musical Youth, Billy Boyo, or this kid: Little Harry. He started deejaying with Black Lion Sound around age 11, before getting down with Aces Disco – where he was introduced to Yellowman. Yellowman took him under his wing and got him a deal with Henry “Junjo” Lawes, whom he recorded several hits for in the 80s, like this joint on the Stop That Train riddim.

Cool Breeze – Hearing Junjo’s slower, more stripped down version above, I had to dig out two more tunes on the riddim, beginning with this classic toasting dub by Big Youth, which is cut over the Scotty version that follows. Peep producer Derrick Harriot doing a likkle DJ transform effect on the original backing vocals while Big Youth chats.

Draw Your Brakes – Until just now, I always assumed this Scotty tune was the original. But I should know better, as so many great songs can be traced back to the early 60s. Indeed, it began with The Spanishtonians “Stop That Train” in 1965, which is much faster and more raucous.

Rock Steady – The 1967 track from Alton Ellis that first declared the name of the genre that had shifted from Ska into Rock Steady towards the latter half of the 60s. This was released on Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label. I try to resist overusing the Mikey Dread “Strictly Rockers” sample, but hey, when the cap fits…

Walk Away From Love – A more modern take on the same riddim from Bitty McLean in 2004. I was never a fan of his mid-90s UK hits, but this song has a classic vibe I can get down with. This is a cover of an old David Ruffin tune from 1976 that you have probably heard many many times.

This Old Man – Veteran dancehall singer Sugar Minott weighing in with his own 1976 version on the same Rock Steady track. Lincoln Barrington Minott began with the Sound of Silence Keystone Sound in the late 60s. He released a few singles with The African Brothers (with Tony Tuff) in the early 70s before getting a job at Studio 1 as backup singer and multi-instrumentalist in 1974. It was during this period at Studio 1 that Sugar and Coxsone really laid the foundation for dancehall, putting new vocals over the original instrumentals of reggae classics.

Bumpy’s Lament – Brighton’s Richie Phoe brought a nice dubby feel to this classic Isaac Hayes track, borrowing heavily from the vibe of the Soul Man & The Brothers cover, as well as the chimes that Dr Dre added on top, for “Xxplosive.”

Dean In Chinatown – Coming out of the Bumpy dub, we segway into late 80s dancehall vibes with Dean Frasier’s version of the Chinatown Riddim, also often referred to as The Bye Bye Love Riddim. Both were King Jammy productions and I’m not sure why there are two different names. Dean Frasier sax instrumentals were a regular thing on Riddim LPs when I first started buying dancehall records around this time.

Champion Sound / Respect Due / No Where No Better than Yard / Get Up Stand Up and Rock – a quick run thru of some of favorites on this riddim, including Colin Roach, Little Twitch, Admiral Bailey, and Shabba Ranks. Wine up!

One Love – Switching gears into some real deal Ska with Bob Marley & The Wailers from their 1965 debut LP. Fun Fact, the logo for British ska label 2-Tone took their inspiration from Peter Tosh’s black suit/white sox/black bowtie look on the cover of this album .

Carry Go Bring Come – Another classic ska hit. Justin Hinds & The Dominoes condemning the actions of a local gossip. This was their first record for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label, and was recorded in one fucking take. I am always in awe of records made in one take. To capture all of that energy, musicianship and loose perfection in one single moment – preserving it for all eternity. What gift to planet earth, and every future generation that gets to listen to it.

Ska-Ra-Van (take 2) – I’m a sucker for almost any version of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” (1936) – like this acapella version by The Mills Brothers.  Tenor saxophonist Roland Alphonso was a founding member of The Skatalites and The Soul Vendors. This came out in 1965 on Justin Yap’s Top Deck label.

You’re Wondering Now – In 2008 Amy Winehouse released 200 copies of a 7” full of ska covers, including this joint, made famous by both The Specials and The Skatalites, but originally recorded by Andy & Joey in 1966.

Back In The U.S.S.R. – Funky little instrumental dub of The Beatles by Groove Galaxy.  This came out around 2010 on a compilation released by the German label Batterie – the imprint of drummer Sönke Düwer. These guys are part of the music scene surrounding the Mojo Club in Hamburg, which opened in 1989 and became a home for progressive Jazz, Funk and Electronica throughout the 90s and beyond.

Rasta No Pickpocket – This is originally a Junior Byles track from 1986 produced by Niney the Observer aka Winst9on Holness. He released this version on his 1990 LP, “Observation Station”. Niney got his start as a studio engineer for Bunny Lee and Joe Gibbs in the late 60s, taking the inspiration for his name from Lee Scratch Perry’s “The Upsetter”

Don’t Try To Use Me – A beautiful Horace Andy track from 1973, produced by Bunny Lee. This song sometimes also appears on wax as “Greedy Girl”. It was the basis of the Raggamuffin riddim, that Barrington Levy slayed in 1986 on Hyman Wright’s Brooklyn label, Jah Life.

Smoke Screen – A touch of modern dub from the Glasgow Label Squinty Bass. Dub Size aka Sid3 Fx hails from the Basque region of souther France, and plays dub and drum n bass parties all over France.

Inglan Is a Bitch – Dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson was one of those dudes whose LPs I saw in record stores for years before ever actually giving him a listen. I’m still more in the Mutabaruka camp, I suppose, but his album covers always caught my eye – due to the stellar work of British shop Zebulon Design. I ran an acapella version of this (ripped from a Youtube live performance) of this over the track “Everytime” by Firenze dubsters Numa Crew. Turn up your sub : )

Step Fourth – One last slice of new(ish) dub (2014) from Chris Innasound, one of those dudes from Sheffield UK making this kind of deep, post-dubstep type dub – or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I just like the bass, seen?

Popcorn – James Brown’s influence was as prominent in Jamaica in 1968 as anywhere else on planet earth, as evidenced on this tune from the Soul Defenders aka The Soul Agents. They were an early Studio 1 band made up of lots of heavy hitters, including Freddy McKay (the father of Brushy One String!) who went on to a big solo career, and Vincent Morgan, who played in the Brentford All Stars, who sound very much like the JB’s on THIS TRACK.

Nebuchadnezzar – You know I always try to sneak in some Dillinger somewhere in my reggae mixes. I copped this on Niney’s “Blood & Fire” compilation (2005), a collection of some choice cuts from his 1970s catalogue. Nebuchadnezzar, you might recall, was there Babylonian King featured prominently in the book of Daniel. He takes Daniel and other Hebrews to Babylon for training in magic, which Daniel soon masters to bring down the King, ungrateful wretch that he was.

One of a Kind – 1981 Sounds from Richard Patrick Bennett aka Charlie Chaplin, on the You Know A Rude Boy riddim. This was produced by Roy Cousins, who began his career as a singer with The Tempests aka The Royals in the mid 60s. By 1980 he hung up his microphone and concentrated on strictly producing cats like Charlie Chaplin, Prince Far I, and Cornell Campbell.

Oh Happy Day – Black Uhuru vocalist Junior Reid borrows a gospel theme for this appeal to getting ready for judgement day – on the same Roy Cousins riddim as above.

Rudy Boy – One last chat from Prince Far I, who was tragically shot and killed during a robbery in his home the same year this came out. I first got hip to Prince Far I via their mention in the Clash’s “Clash City Rockers”. I have Wikipedia to thank for explaining to me the that “No one but you and I, say the bells of Prince Far-I” is a reference to the grisly British nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons

Must Love Reggae / Synthesizer Voice / Agony – A quick juggle of three selections on King Jammy’s “Agony” riddim. Shabba Ranks at the beginning of his career, as he was still developing the deejay swagger he soon mastered. Pampidoo, from the legendary Kilimanjaro Sound, with his signature “rockstone” gravely voice. And the original hit, by Pinchers – on which I may have taken some SFX liberties, respectfully, of course…

Jump Up / Poor People A Suffer / This Magic Moment - A few more King Jammy tunes on the Magic Moment riddim aka the Kuff riddim. Beenie Man and Sizzla from 2015, and Leroy Gibbons from 1987. Always loved the way this one bumped in a club.

Feel Like Jumping – Rewinding back to 1968 with Marcia Griffiths. This was her first solo hit, and gave the Ethiopians riddim a new name, albeit temporarily.

54-46 (Was My Number) – Arguably the greatest song on this groove, from the Otis Redding of Reggae, Toots Hibbert & The Maytals. This isn’t the original recording, with the James Brown stops-n-starts, but I’ve always liked his ad-libs on this version, later mimicked by Yellowman on his classic “Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt”. Once this came out, they started calling this riddim 54-46, until Supercat’s Boops came along in 1986.

Train To Skaville – This is the actual foundation of the Boops / 54-46 / Feel Like Jumping riddim – a 1967 scorcher from The Ethiopians, who got together towards the end of the Ska period in JA. It was an international hit, charting in the UK and bringing them across the Atlantic for several weeks of gigs in 1968.

Sweet Soul Music – More late 60s niceness, this time from The Gladiators, recording with Coxsone Dodd. These guys got together after lead vocalist Albert Griffiths had a solo hit with the B-side to “Train To Skaville”, called “You Are the Girl”.

Nice and Easy – Finishing up this mix with some groovy reggae from 1975 – Susan Cadogan‘s cover of The MiraclesDo It Baby”.  You may know this groove from The Redd Holt Unlimited version, which was sampled/replayed by Chubb Rock, Jermaine Dupri, and Curren$y, and most notably on BDP’s “Why Is That?” The government you have elected is invalid…

That’s it, people. Be Easy.

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