À bientôt j'espère

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tappa Zukie - From The Archives

Of all the Jamaican DJs tearing up the sound systems during the mid-'70s, Tappa Zukie seemed the least likely contender for international stardom. Although he released a stream of singles, only a handful caught on across the island, and his hit quotient was much lower than most of his contemporaries. But in Britain, it was another story entirely. There his debut album, Man Ah Warrior, was selling up a storm; it wasn't even released in Jamaica. Zukie cut a string of singles during 1975, then began work the following year on his self-produced sophomore album, MPLA. If Warrior had blown though through the U.K.'s underground like a hurricane, MPLA was the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, exploding across sound systems and punk clubs throughout the land. And that set forms the backbone of From the Archives, bundling up eight of MPLA's tracks, tossing in Zukie's biggest Jamaican hit, "Oh Lord," and rounding up a few other period numbers as well. Much of the DJ's success came down to the phenomenal rhythms he was toasting over. They weren't his own; he had sweet-talked a number of the island's top producers -- Bunny Lee, JoJo Hookim, Yabby You, and Ossie Hibbert, into parting with a clutch of rhythms, and with those he built his album and his reputation. With the Revolutionaries laying down the sizzling rockers accompaniment, Horace Andy, Johnny Clarke, the Melodians' Tony Brevitt, and Junior Ross providing vocal assistance, and his own stellar production skills, Zukie recorded some of the most militant-sounding music around. As for his toasting -- well, by 1976 people were demanding more from the DJs than he was capable of, at least in Jamaica. Abroad, his animated delivery, obvious enthusiasm, and anthemic toasts turned him into an icon. Britons cared little about his cultural credentials and couldn't care less that "MPLA" isn't actually a tribute to freedom fighters, "Marcus" has more to do with rice and peas than the great prophet Garvey, "Chalis to Chalis" is lifted wholesale from U-Roy, and "Oh Lord" is not a devotional prayer but an ode to girls in shorts. They were too busy lapping up the rhythms and skanking away to the DJ's breezy toasts. This is where it all began, and even if Zukie's toasting fails to thrill, this collection is still hot enough to melt the most discerning listener.

Pick Up The Rocker
Peace And Love
Don't Get Crazy
Go Deh Natty, Go Deh
Ital Pot
Chalis To Chalis
Tappa Roots
Oh Lord
The Bum


Dr. Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken In Town

Alimantado was born James Winston Thompson in Kingston, 1952. His talent was in deejaying and he listened and learnt from the master and originator of the art, the great U Roy.

While working for many different producers at the beginning of his career, he constantly changed his alias, including the names Winston Prince, Winston Cool and Ital Winston. Despite the fact that none of these records had sold very well, he decided to start his own label and produce by himself. He founded his label Vital Food in 1973, and Dr. Alimantado was born the same year with the release of "Just The Other Day".

"Best Dressed Chicken In Town" is a compilation of the best of the Doc's music from 1973-76, and the title track is the most outstanding track of all on this album. It was recorded by Lee Perry in 1974 in the then new Black Ark Studio. Perry and the Doc used the rhythm track of Horace Andy's "Ain't No Sunshine" and created three minutes of musical madness. The song was put in the meat chopper, echoes and heavy basses were added, and tapes were speeded up and down until the whole thing became a whirlpool of sound.

All of the songs on this album are dub-inflected tracks and prove a potent combination, but this still is an underrated roots masterpiece. The highlights, beside the title track, are "I Killed The Barber", "Poison Flour" and "Gimme Mi Gun". "Best Dressed Chicken In Town" is must for reggae enthusiasts.

1.Best Dressed Chicken In Town
2.Just The Other Day
3.Poison Flour
4.Gimmie Mi Gun
5.I Killed The Barber
6.Ital Galore
7.I Am The Greatest Says Muhammed Ali
8.Johnny Was A Baker
9.Tribute To The Duke
10.Unitone Skank
11.Can't Conquer Natty Dreadlocks
12.Ride On
13.Plead I Cause
14.I Shall Fear No Evil