Yabby U ~ Jesus Dread ~ R.I.P.


Yabby U ~ Vivian Jackson has passed away.

News just breaking as of today’s date – 13th January 2010 that Yabby U has passed away. Un-confirmed as of yet, but the rumours via the world wide web are filtering through and seem solid enough. I’ll edit this post with more information as it comes in.

Yabby You
Yabby U

The work he undertook both as a performer and producer came out of a deep religious conviction. After a dream in which he was supposedly told that he should use his songs and productions to forward the message of Jesus Christ (as distinct from the Rastafarian beliefs more normally associated with Reggae artists) he endeavoured to do just that.

However, initially he had very little money and no financial backing and had to scrape for free studio time and for friendly musicians to wave their fees in order to get his message onto record. Often pressed in small numbers some of his early recordings are now very rare indeed. Musicians have spoken of their love of the man and their dedication to his cause, . . .’because his message was what it was all about’. It seems that even in the pressurised atmosphere of 70s Jamaica musicians were happy to give what they could to Yabby’s cause, such was his charisma. Subsequently he became an important figure in Roots Reggae music and gave many ‘youthman’ singers a chance to shine on their way up.

Deliver Me Lp

In a recent podcast interview with Steve Barrow, we spoke of his productions. You can listen to that here – bigmikeydread reggae radio.

Further – 14th Jan – Reggae Vibes.com further info here.

Still no absolute confirmation or news on any of the online Jamaican newspapers like the Gleaner or Observer. At the minute it’s still just a solid rumour, more to come no doubt.

18th January 2010 – Finally, but I guess also sadly there is news from Jamaica, confirmed that Yabby You has passed away.

here is a link to the Jamaica Observer article about Yabby – http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/YABBY–U-17-10

and here is the article from the Gleaner in it’s entirity as found online –

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Vivian ‘Yabby You’ Jackson passes away

Published: Tuesday | January 19, 2010


Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer


Yabby You’s album cover ‘Deliver Me From My Enemies’

Vivian ‘Yabby You’ Jackson, the visionary producer/singer, has died. His close friend and musician, Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace said Yabby You passed away last Tuesday in May Pen, Clarendon, from an aneurism. He was 63 years old.

Musicologists rate Yabby You among the great dub artistes of the 1970s, alongside Osbourne ‘King Tubby’ Ruddock and Augustus Pablo. His 1975 debut album, Conquering Lion, has been described as a ‘true cornerstone of Jamaican roots music’ by British reggae historian, Steve Barrow.

Yabby You was born in the Waterhouse community of Kingston and began recording in the early 1970s when roots-reggae was taking off internationally. One of his first songs was Conquering Lion which was recorded at Dynamic Sounds with Wailers bassist Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett, guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and Wallace on drums.

The song was a hit with hardcore roots fans, and set the tone for Yabby You’s reputation, locally and overseas, as an underground act.

Although he wore locks and regarded himself as a Rastafarian, Yabby You considered Jesus Christ as God, hence his other moniker, Jesus Dread. Most Rastafarians recognise the former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I as the Supreme Being.

Wallace, who worked on many Yabby You productions, said he was “a great thinker”.

“He was controversial to some, but popular with many. Yabby had a lot of fans in California and all over Europe,” Wallace said.

Early in his life, Yabby You was hospitalised and treated for malnutrition and also suffered from arthritis. The latter resulted in him using crutches for most of his life.

Physical impediment

Despite his physical impediment, Yabby You recorded profusely. He worked with established musicians, including King Tubby, Sly and Robbie and saxophonist Tommy McCook, a founding member of the legendary Skatalites band.

His King Tubby’s Prophesy of Dub and Blazing Horns featuring McCook and trumpeter Bobby Ellis, are considered Yabby You’s best work.

He also produced songs by singers Wayne Wade and Michael Prophet, as well as deejays Big Youth, Dillinger, Tappa Zukie and Trinity.

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