king jammy – lethal dub
earl zero – please officer
clive field marshal – jennifer charm
dub channel one – strictly rockers from channel one
pat kelly – it’s a good day
the royals – pick up the pieces
bad brains – leaving babylon
junior murvin – police & thieves (vocal + dub)
love joys – stranger
wailing souls – kingdom rise kingdom fall
george nooks – tribal war
dillinger – war is over
karl bryan – red ash
errol dunkley – please stop your lying
delroy wilson & dennis alcapone – run run
sound dimension – soulful strut
mr vegas – lean with it
supercat – dance inna new york (chief rockas remix)
super chick – roach killer
toyan – strictly the dread
dennis brown – how can i leave you
prince mohammed – bubbling love
bunny clarke – be thankful (for what you’ve got)
mad professor – northeast tradewinds
natural tribulation feat black omolo – cutting thru steam (dub)
lloyd charmers & the hippy boys – look a py py
junior reid – bubblers
ninjaman – test the high power
shabba ranks – wicked in bed
red fox – brooklyn swing
supercat – learn fi ride
delroy wilson – movie star
alton ellis – can i change my mind
gregory isaacs – one more time
jamajski spekulant – dub plan



One last rockers mix to round out the year! I fear I’m approaching a bit of a saturation point with my reggae mixes. Since I often draw from a fairly narrow scope of early dancehall and rock steady, by now, I’ve already written about most of these singers and deejays in the notes of previous mixes. So to avoid repeating myself, I will attempt to make this write up slightly shorter, grouping the comments according to the riddim whenever possible.

Lethal Dub / Please Officer – We kick this mix of with a re-dub of Earl Zero’s 1979 hit “Please Officer”. Greensleeves got Lloyd ‘King Jammy‘ James back on the controls in 2017 to remix a bunch of his old classics, and this one with Augustus Pablo really stood out to me. Earl Zero began singing with Earl “Chinna” Smith in the group Rush It, but didn’t really get any traction until his solo records started coming out in the mid 70s. He may be best known as the guy that got writing credits on Johnathan Richman & The Modern Lovers’ 1977 photo punk hit, “Egyptian Reggae”, which was a straight lift from Earl’s “None Shall Escape Judgement”. Punk was extremely introducing reggae to a great many white folks back then, myself included.

Jennifer Charm – As far back as I know, Jamaican singers and deejays have shown a clear fondness for choosing military ranks as part of their stage names. Admiral Bailey. Captain Barkey. General Degree. General Levy. Colonel Mitie. Major Cat. The list goes on. Most obscure among these might be the rank of “Field Marshal”, traditionally the highest rank possible, that originated with Germanic tribes in the Middle Ages. In Reggae, there is a Field Marshal Haye, a Field Marshal Kenterus, and this dude, Clive Field Marshal – who chose to put his first name in the front of the military rank for some weird reason. This track appears on his 1981 album Poor House Rockers, which he recorded in NYC for the Wackies label. There’s been a lot of Wackies digital reissues as of late, which is great for me, because I missed buying almost all of this stuff in the 80s.

Strictly Rockers from Channel One / It’s a Good Day / Pick Up The Pieces / Leaving Babylon – This is a 4-song stretch on the Pick Up The Pieces riddim. It begins with The 1976 Dub Channel One version, then goes into Pat Kelly’s “It’s A Good Day”. Then we hear the original “Pick Up The Pieces” by The Royals – a sublime piece of Roots reggae. All three of these were recorded at Ernest Hoo Kim’s Channel One studio (probably in the same week!). Royal’s lead singer Roy Cousins has a beautiful voice reminiscent of early Burning Spear. I follow these three up with DC Hardcore legends The Bad Brains – their “Leaving Babylon” being my introduction to this riddim in 1982.

Police & Thieves (vocal + dub) – Speaking of punk meets reggae, The Clash’s 1977 cover of this song made go looking for the original, by Junior Murvin. It was recored in 1976 at Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark Studios. This melodica-heavy dub version by Augustus Pablo & The Upsetters was only released later on a rarities compilation. For some reason, this was a bigger hit in the UK and the US than it ever was in JA.

Stranger – While we’re down here at this slow rootical tempo, why not run a tune from Sonia Abel and Claudette Brown, aka The Love Joys, two cousins from Brixton who relocated to The Bronx in the early ’80s. They hooked up with Lloyd “Bullwackie” Barnes to record their 1982 debut, Lovers Rock. This song has a spooky, moody vibe and that signature Wackies production which was sort of intentionally lo-fi, before being intentionally lo-fi was cool.

Kingdom Rise Kingdom FallThe Wailing Souls went by many names since they began in the 1960s, recording with Coxsone Dodd, Lloyd Daley, and Jospeh Hoo Kim to name a few. This was recorded in 1981 with Henry “Junjo” Lawes and the Roots Radics band. Despite the almost-embarrassing Bob Marley vocal mimicking going on, this remains one of my favorites of theirs. I think I had it on a compilation in the late 80s and it just stuck in my brain.

Tribal War / War Is OverGeorge Nooks covers Little Roy’s 1974 classic of the same name, and Dillinger chats over it. Joe Gibbs at the controls. I tend to prefer George’s version because he sings a bit more on beat than the original.

Red Ash – OK, enough of this slow roots, let’s pick things up with a rare solo tune by Saxophonist Karl Cannonball Bryan, released on the Treasure Isle label in 1968. Karl was a session regular in those days but rarely got top billing and only released a small handful of instrumentals. He still plays these days, based in Toronto, and touring with the Skatellites and other groups.

Please Stop Your LyingErrol Dunkley, at around age 16, with Joe Gibbs, laying down a simple plea to these triflin’ hoes in 1968, around the time Rocksteady was peaking, give or take. For more niceness from this dude, check out his classic, “Black Cinderella”, on THIS MIX

Run Run – This is one of those stomping Rocksteady riddims that is so dope, I can’t understand why it never blew up. This Coxsone Dodd arrangement with Delroy Wilson & Dennis Alcapone came out on Studio One in 1972. Delroy got his start making Prince Buster records inna Ska style with Lee Perry, with tunes like “spit In The Sky” and “Prince Pharoah”. There is another really interesting version of this I came across on Youtube that Kieth Hudson produced, that claims to be 1969 but I’m pretty sure it came out closer to 73, as it sounds very different. PEEP IT

Soulful Strut – While we’re kicking around on the Studio One side of town, why not include this great Sound Dimension cover of Young Holt Unlimited. Sound Dimensions were the house band at Studio One and featured an epic lineup that included Ernest Ranglin, Boris Gardiner, Cedric Brooks, Karl Bryan and Vin Gordon, to name a few. The original instrumental was a cover all it’s own, of Barbara Acklin’s “Am I The Same Girl”, but many people these days have never even heard the vocal version.

Lean With It – Leave it to Sly & Robbie to figure out a way to mix Atlanta snap music with Studio One. This Mr Vegas tune came out in 2007 and strikes a great balance between the two. Also, pretty cool how much Vegas can sound like Tenor Saw when he’s on the right type of track.

Dance Inna New York (Chief Rockas remix) – Glasgow label Scotch Bonnet is all about taking throwback reggae sounds and reinvigorating them with fresh production. This is a perfect example of this, where they took one entire Super Cat song and just boosted everything, with new drums laid on top and plenty of SFX. It keeps the original intact but sounds dope in my headphones. Respek.

Roach Killer – A nice tune on the Stalag riddim. From what I can tell, Super Chick only released only a handful of 7”s around 1980-82, and then poof! She was gone forever.

Strictly The Dread – Byron Letts aka Toyan or Ranking Toyan was a great deejay in the early days of Dancehall whose name pops up in a lot of tribute shout out cuts later on. He got his start with Socialist Roots and Romantic HiFi and eventually joined up with Henry “Junjo” Lawes’ Volcano Hi-Power Sound System. He recorded with a ton of producers but his fame started to fade in the mid-80s. Junjo moving to Brooklyn didn’t help things either, especially as he got locked up for a stretch for his association with some Brooklyn drug gangs back in the day when we still called them “posses” (!). Toyan was murdered in JA in 1991, joining a shockingly long list of reggae deejays and producers who have died by gun violence, including Junjo himself in London in 1999.

How Can I Leave You / Bubbling Love – This Joe Gibbs production was a big hit for Dennis Brown in 1977, and sparked a few more tunes on this ridden, including the Prince Mohammed tune that follows. Prince Mohammed was the stage name of George Nooks before he decided to focus more on his singing and returned to his given name. George has had a long career as a singer, releasing mostly Gospel reggae these days.

Be Thankful For What You’ve GotAnthony “Bunny Rugs” Clarke is best known as the lead singer of Third World, though he got his start as the singer for Inner Circle in the late 60s. He also made solo records from time to time, including this groovy cover of William De Vaughn that Lee Scratch Perry produced in 1975.

Northeast Tradewinds / Cutting Thru Steam (rootical dub) – a pair of modern dub recordings. The first is from Mad Professor, from his 2014 LP “Dubbing with Anansi”. The second is from French group Natural Tribulation featuring a Kenyan singer, Empress Black Omolo, who is based in The Netherlands. This came out in April of this year.

Look A Py Py – a great cover from Lloyd Charmers and The Hippy Boys, an Upsetters off-shoot backing band, who released this in 1970, the same year as The Meters original.

Bubblers – My man Max Glazer from Brooklyn’s Federation Sound recently had NY legend Bobby Konders on his Red Bull radio show to talk about his new release Bobby Konders Presents: Massive B Legacy, Vol. 1. Bobby released SO MANY hits in my days as an active club DJ, including this joint on the Taxi riddim from Junior Reid. It was clear from Max’s interview that Bobby was holding back a lot of his hits for future editions of this legacy series. Bobby was a huge influence on me as a kid, and I learned a lot about reggae from hearing him spin on NY radio and in clubs, where he was equally adept at wrecking shop with Dancehall, House, or Hip Hop – depending on his mood. He lived in my hood and was even kind enough to bring me up to his apartment once to bless me with some vinyl, which was a serious thrill for me.  You can Max’s thoroughly entertaining interview with Bobby  HERE

Test The High Power / Wicked In Bed – Two classics from around 1990, when I was earning my stripes playing dancehall in Brooklyn. This riddim originated as the Rocksteady tune “Love Is not a Gamble” in 1967, but was renamed the General riddim after Dillinger’s 1976 recording. It’s arguably Ninjaman’s best record ever IMO. When Jules Gayton and I were doing our Soul Sunday Lounge party at Don Hills around 1995 or so, Jules would always play it before I could even remember I had brought it, which would frustrate me to no end LOL. Shabba’s tune was, of course, absolutely massive, establishing his reign for almost a decade.

Learn Fi Ride / Brooklyn Swing – Two tracks from two different eras on the Darker Shade of Black riiddim. Super Cat from 1985 and old veteran Red Fox from 2017. Yeah, I know I already put a Super Cat song on this mix, but as you may already know, I could listen to him all damn day.

Movie Star (Don’t Know Why) – The original 1969 version from Delroy Wilson, later covered by Wayne Wonder and mixed into Buju’s massive “Bonafide Love” tune in 1992.

Can I Change My Mind – a nice cover of Tyrone Davis’s hit from 1969 by The Godfather of Rocksteady, Alton Ellis. Ellis began his career as an R&B balladeer with early tunes like “Muriel” (1960), before he got on board with the growing ska wave in JA. And the rest is, you know, history…

One More Time – One last vocal from Gregory Isaacs, from his 1978 “Cool Ruler” album. The Channel One band is in full swing here, with Sly & Robbie laying down the foundation and Ansell Collins killing it on keyboards. Big up yourself for reading all this! And thanks for listening.


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