Joe Higgs – Unity Is Power – Pressure Sounds Release
Joe Higgs is an unsung genius of Jamaican music. Haunting, slightly off the beaten track, inventive, controlled, emotional, intimate and the real deal in only the way a true artist can be.
Many, even the Reggae elite pass him by as the man who taught the Wailers how to Wail; but all it takes is a moment, a moment where you engage with him personally, to convince you once and for all the you have discovered something extremely special. Something to cherish.
Tunes like ‘World is Spinning Around’, or the acapella ‘There’s a Reward’ (on the film Rockers I think it is) will turn you on forever to him and his music.
Pressure Sounds record label are bringing out for the first time the Unity Is Power Lp on the Cd format. Record Labels send me their stuff all the time, for review here and publicity on my online Radio Show and it’s rare I have the time, or have the inclination to spread the word, but when the word is that there’s a new Joe Higgs release due out, be sure that I’ll let you know.
Get it, ….. simple …… as its fabulous. And after you get it, go looking for his Lp ‘Life of Contradiction’, which Pressure Sounds also put out some time ago. Then go and get all the Ska (as Higgs and Wilson) Rocksteady, Early Reggae and Roots tunes you can, you won’t ever be disappointed.
Released – 27/08/2013
p.s. it’s also released on heavyweight vinyl for all you turtablists out there!
One man kutchie
Unity is power
Gold or silver
Love can’t be wrong
Think of the moment
Sadness is a part of my heart
Sons of Garvey
Invitation to Jamaica (bonus track)
Version (bonus track)
New Dennis Bovell Dub set,… freshly, from Pressure Sounds, Check it…
Just sent the promo for the latest upcoming Pressure Sounds release, and lovin’ it, lovin’ it, lovin’ it.. Dennis Bovell is a Dubster almighty, ignore at your aural peril… simple as.. currently rinsing my ears out on the way to work and the way back home..
An excerpt from the upcoming releases liner notes…
Following recent neck surgery Dennis Bovell was under heavy medical discipline, amongstother restrictions there was to be strictly no playing of the bass. Now, more than any musician,the bass player has an almost physical connection to his chosen instrument, umbilical even,so the prospect of no vibration sensation was going to be difficult to deal with for therecovering Dennis. Not one to let such news impede his onward path Dennis came up with theidea of returning to unfinished work in an attempt to distract attention from his enforced low-end bass cold turkey.
Down in his musical lock-up lay a stack of boxes containing old 2 inch multi-track analogue master tapes, some dating back to the late seventies; Dennis selected some likely looking titles that never had dub treatment and arranged some time in Neil Fraser’s(the Mad Professor)studio as he knew the Prof had every gadget under the sun, there he”baked”tapes ready for digital conversion via an Alesis HD24 a 24 track, 48kHz hard diskrecorder rescuing the sounds from an inevitable oxidisation process that comes with age. At the mixing end Dennis utilises a whole range of outboard gear from old analogue to the latestdigital sets, explaining the unique and separate end sounds of the dubs presented on thealbum.
Of the twenty odd tunes recovered, sixteen are featured on this set, like dubbing on a digiOuija-board they date from the late seventies through the mid eighties. It was at this time thatdeejay of the day I Roy had first come to the UK to tour, and like all visiting Jamaican stars hepicked up a local band, it just happened to be Matumbi led by the young Dennis Bovell whospent most of his time between the ages of 19 and 25 working with that most intelligent andprolific of toasters. He even recalls I Roy’s first UK appearance being double booked sold outdates at both Battersea and Action Town Halls! Of course, the pair went on to record the albumWhap’n Bap’n together for Virgin, an early reggae rap set that the deejay insisted appear underhis real name Roy Reid, lest his roots credentials were impaired.
In my opinion Pressure Sounds is the top re-issuer of Jamaican music and has been for some time, rivalled all too briefly by Blood and Fire and only given a run for their money by Rock A Shaka and Dub Store of Japan. Here’s their latest release ready to hit your listening ears.. I got my review copy today and I’m not even going to listen to it before I tell you to go get it.
I have their Safe Travel release and it’s essential. Considering all Caltone is essential listening and highly difficult to find and to afford, this release comes as a relief to those of us unable to pay £100 a 7″, whenever anything but the most average Caltone tune comes on the market.
It also comes as a welcome relief to having to listen to the ropey (as in poor sound quality and possible bandulu bizness) double vinyl release that came out a few years ago… Though it has to be saids the sound quality on the review copy of this up-coming release I was sent isn’t the best I think it could have been. Then again, some of the tunes are rare as the proverbial ‘urine of Zeus’.
‘Listen to the music’ is the second Pressure Sounds album of Caltone productions. Following on from the successful Pressure Sounds album ‘Safe Travel’ PSCD/LP47.
Its a 21 track set of tunes that cover the years from 1966 to 1969. From the late period ska years through to early reggae. For the most part the album is full of rare rocksteady gems.
Ken Lack who founded the Caltone label was a businessman with a passion for music. His connections with Jamaica’s top session players resulted in a series of 45s that were both tasteful and well produced. Included in this 21 track album are tracks by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. ‘Smooth Sailing’ and ‘Killer Joe’ are both superb horn driven instrumentals. There are three tracks by The Clarendonians led by the vocal talents of Peter Austin. ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Lonely Heartaches’ are top draw rocksteady songs. Rare 45s that have never been re-issued since the original Jamaican pressings.
It was Bunny Lee and Phil Pratt who handled most of the hands-on production for Ken Lack although there was undoubtedly much input from Lynn Tait, Tommy McCook and Johnny Moore.
The music, recorded at WIRL, Federal and Treasure Isle studios, is filled with the kind of creativity and attention to detail that has made Caltone records so collectable to this day. When Ken Lack died in 2001 in Miami, Florida of a heart condition he left behind a unique set of recordings and should be remembered for bringing a more collaborative and cooperative spirit to Jamaican music.
There is an extra special booklet with many original graphics and photographs.
The mastering is all produced to a high standard and we are very pleased to add this fantastic album to our catalogue.
01. Peter Austin &The Clarendonians with The Ernie Ranglin All Stars – I’m Sorry
02. Lloyd & the Groovers With Tommy McCook and the Supersonics – Listen To The Music
03. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics- Killer Joe
04. Devon and The Tartans – Making Love
05. Alva Lewis with Lynn Taitt and his Band – Return Home
06. Chuck Jaques & with Lynn Taitt and the Comets – Dial 609
07. The Uniques with Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – The Journey
08. The Kingstonians – Why Wipe The Smile From Your Face
09. The Clarendonians – I’ll Never Try
10. Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Smooth Sailing
11. The Kingstonians – Love Is The Greatest Science
12. The Clarendonians with The Aubrey Adams All Stars – Lonely Heartaches
13. The Cool Cats – Hold Your Love
14. The Uniques With The Caltone Studio Orchestra – Do Me Good
15. The Diplomats With Tommy McCook & The Supersonics – Going Along
16. Lloyd and the Groovers with Lynn Taitt & his Band- My Heart And Soul
17. Chuck Jaques & The Supersonics – Now That You’ve Gone
18. Eric ‘Monty’ Morris – Hear Them Say
19. Honey Boy Martin & The Voices with Tommy McCook and the Supersonics – Dreader Than Dread
20. King Rocky & The Willows with the Super Sonics – You Are The One
21. The Emotions with The Lynn Taitt Band – Gypsy
Why oh why is the track listing in this order, a weak track and the dub as tracks one and two don’t help this get off to a very good start, and then….. Pablo entering the digikal age…. nice, but not earth shaking overall.
There are some tuf tuff tunes here, none of which I’d ever heard and more than a handful got me rocking to and fro in the shed from which I listen and write, it’s stricly a taste thing though, not a quality thing, so I urge you to check out some sound samples and consider a trip to your friendly online Reggae vendor (Hell all the high street ones are all but gone!). Strictly speaking it’s ‘a make your own mind up deal’, personally it’s a hit and sometimes miss affair, but don’t let me put you off… hell what do I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, unless you’re Jordan of course and then beauty is a long forgotten memory doused by a tidal wave of silicon and the faint whiff of desperation….
Due release on 11/7/2011
Here follow the notes from Pressure Sounds for the release thussly sent as promo to the house of Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio and herwithineth shared with thee…. make up your own mind, but I’m listening to it now and if you loikes yer dub, then this one be for you…
In the 70s Augustus Pablo seemed to appear, like a vision from another world. His music was ethereal, evocative, and unique. There has not really been anyone like him, before or since. His music was deeply meditative, conjuring up all sorts of mystical and exotic images, but imbued with the dignity inherent in his Rastafarian faith. He now stands recognized as Jamaican music’s best-known lead instrumentalist.
By the mid 1980s Pablo had become a lot more ‘visible’, a lot less fashionable and a little of his ‘mystique’ had rubbed off. In the 1970s his own music sold in vast quantities for reggae product and he became a mainstay as an instrumentalist session player on many Jamaican recordings. In tandem with this session work he built a unique catalogue of music for a variety of his own labels such as Rockers, Rockers International, Message and Yard. ‘Message Music’ deals with Pablo’s instrumentals and dubs from around the mid-80s to the 90s as we think it is time to present a re-examination of this slightly overlooked period of his musical output.
As a creator of instrumental music he was often at odds with the spirit of the times, which was for the most part dominated by the sound and agenda of the Jamaican dancehall. That scene did not really suit ethereal instrumentals. Pablo, ever the individual, kept his own productions alive by producing roots vocalists and getting to grips with the new sounds at his disposal. He still played melodica when he felt the inspiration and on tracks such as ‘Missing Link’ and ‘Credential’ are superb ‘digital’ instrumentals. His dubs and and versions where stripped down mixes of his work with vocalists such as Yami Bolo, Junior Delgado and Willie Williams.
Dubs on this set such as ‘Revolution Dub’ the version of Delgado’s song ‘Forward Revolution’ deliver all the sonic force of Pablo’s classic 70s output. The Willie Williams song ‘Credential’ has one of Pablo’s great late period melodica instrumentals on the same rhythm. ‘Credential Instrumental’ is full of feeling and laid back blowing in that classic Pablo style so associated with his best music. Other dubs such as ‘A Java’ and ‘Butter Pon Dem Mouth’ are both re-workings of Pablo’s classic ‘Java’ instrumental. Digital in the best sense of the word. Both versions now back in demand with a younger audience possibly to young to remember the original!!
In essence this album is about an artist coming to terms with the digital or electronic age and still managing to maintain the main ingredient of what his music was all about. With the passing of time it’s time to recheck Pablo’s digital output and learn how he kept alive the inherent ‘message’ in his music. His musical spirit was second to none. A mighty artist and one of the few genuinely original instrumentalists to have emerged since the last golden age of jazz; he kept his musical legacy intact without resorting to gimmicks or becoming lost in what was undoubtedly a difficult time for him as an artist.
We have some rare Pablo photographs from David Corio as well as photographs from the Rockers International archive. Sleevenotes by Pete Holdsworth with 16 tracks spread over a superbly packaged cd or a double vinyl make this an essential album. There will also be 3 beautifully presented 45s taken from the album all especially re-mastered in custom made sleeves. The b sides from the 45s will not be on the album.
Classic music from one of the true greats of Jamaican Instrumental music.
No one who ever met this humble yet diffident character could ever doubt he was the ‘real thing’. He passed in May of 1999 but his music lives on.
A Java Instrumental (Version) – Augustus Pablo
Butter Pon Dem Mouth Version – Augustus Pablo
Ammagiddeon Dub – Augustus Pablo
Missing Link – Augustus Pablo
Missing Link Dub – Augustus Pablo
Credential Instrumental – Augustus Pablo
Culture Rule Dub – Rockers International Band
War Dub – Pablo All Stars
Run Come Yah Version – Augustus Pablo
Kidd Lane Specially – Augustus Pablo & Benbow
Anzania – Blacka Black – Augustus Pablo
Blacka Black Dub – Pablo All Stars
Revolution Dub – Pablo All Stars
Seven Winds From Zion – Augustus Pablo Isis
Addis Rock Dub – Rockers All Stars
Poor Mans Cry Dub – Rockers All Stars
Just received details of this release in my e-mail inbox for those of you that take an interest, this is the next Lp release from Pressure Sounds. I’ll post a review later, once I’ve had a chance to listen to it!
Born 1947 in Kingston, Jamaica Lloyd ‘King Jammy’ James is rightly revered for his dance hall domination during the second half of the eighties as record producer and sound system controller. But prior to his coronation Prince Jammy, as King Tubby’s right hand man, was famed for his crucial dub mixes at Tubby’s studio and for his infrequent forays into record production. This essential Pressure Sounds release originated as an obscure dub album that briefly surfaced in New York in the early eighties on the ‘Jammys Records’ label. It has since come to be rightly regarded by students and scholars of the dub school not only as a minor masterpiece of Jammy’s mixing style but also as an early demonstration of his masterful production techniques.
Produced, arranged, mixed and remixed by Prince Jammy, with the cream of Kingston’s session players, the set proved to be an early indication of the beginning of a new musical era created, paradoxically, by referring back to the classic rhythms of the sixties and seventies. The album is powered by the legendary drum and bass combination of Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare with the trumpet of Bobby Ellis and the alto saxophone of ‘Deadly’ Hedley Bennett coming to the fore on tracks such as ‘Old Country Dub’ and ‘271 Utica Dub’. Featuring updates of many classic rock steady and reggae rhythms including ‘Baba Boom’ and ‘Ali Baba’ from Treasure Isle, ‘Always Together’ from Studio One and the Baba Brooks ska classic ‘Shank I Sheck’ for King Edwards interspersed with a selection of original rhythms including one of Jammy’s early roots masterpieces: the apocalyptic ‘Jah Fire Will Be Burning’ from Hugh Mundell. The bonus CD only tracks, spare, lean recuts of two more Studio One classics: Jackie Mittoo’s ‘Hot Milk’ and Lester Sterling’s interpretation of Bert Kaempfert’s ‘Afrikaan Beat’, both date from a slightly later period.
Although the track titles, such as ‘Brooklyn Dub’ and ‘Bronx Fashion Dub’, reflect the fact that that the album was first released in New York the original cover artwork (showcased again on this Pressure Sounds release) shows Prince Jammy at the controls of the mixing desk in King Tubby’s Dromilly Avenue studio in the heart of Kingston’s Waterhouse ghetto… the spiritual home of dub music.
Bass: Robert ‘Robbie’ Shakespeare Drums: Lowell ‘Sly’ Dunbar
Guitar: Winston ‘Bo Peep’ Bowen & Radcliffe ‘Duggie’ Bryan
Organ: Ansel ‘Pinkie’ Collins & Winston ‘Brubeck’ Wright
Piano: Gladstone ‘Gladdy’ Anderson
Alto Saxophone: ‘Deadly’ Hedley Bennett
Trumpet: Bobby Ellis
Percussion: Uziah ‘Sticky’ Thompson & Noel ‘Scully’ Simms
Produced & Arranged by: Prince Jammy Remixed at: King Tubby’s Recording Studio, 18 Dromilly Avenue, Kingston 11, Jamaica
Engineer: Prince Jammy
1. Old Country Dub
2. 42nd Street Dub
3. 271 Utica Dub
4. Bronx Fashion Dub
5. Strictly Dub
Bonus CD only tracks
1. Mother Dub
2. Dis Dub Rule
To coincide with this re-release we will be issuing a superb Jammy’s seven inch single on heavyweight vinyl on the Jammy’s label in a specially designed card sleeve:
Catalogue number: PSS032 Release Date: Early April 2010
Title: Time Is A Moment In Space
Artist: Wayne Smith
Label: Pressure Sounds
Format: 45rpm 7inch heavyweight vinyl
with cardboard custom printed sleeve
Price: Standard heavyweight vinyl price
There was a time when Jammy was just a Prince and his coronation as King Jammy in the early eighties was largely due to records like this! Jammy and Wayne Smith would go on to change reggae music forever with ‘Under Me Sleng Teng’ but, when they voiced this melancholy masterpiece, there was very little hint of the forthcoming digital revolution…
Showcasing the more mellow side of Jammy’s production techniques with its haunting keyboard counter melody and the chilled out dub side entitled ‘Life Is A Moment In Space’ it was a moderate seller first time around but demand for the tune has grown ever since. Re-mastered on heavyweight vinyl and packaged in a cardboard custom printed sleeve it’s another essential Pressure Sounds seven inch release.
Seven inch superbness…
And in our ongoing heavyweight seven inch vinyl release programme we are proud to present two new releases on 21st March 2010:
Catalogue number: PSS 030 Release date: 21st March 2010
Title: Brimstone And Fire c/w Cool Fire Version
Label: Pressure Sounds
Format: 45rpm 7inch heavyweight vinyl
with cardboard custom printed sleeve
Price: Standard heavyweight vinyl price
Produced by Joe Higgs and featuring Attaras, with members of the Wailing Souls and Joe Higgs (who need no introduction) in harmony, you have to know that this will be a top class vocal release. It is also very, very rare. The 45, on Joe’s own ‘Elevation’ label, comes in a picture sleeve and is backed by a restrained old style instrumental version. Licensed exclusively to Pressure Sounds from the Estate of Joe Higgs we are delighted to be able to add another gem from the catalogue of ‘The Master’ to the label.
Catalogue number: PSS031 Release Date: 21st March 2010
Title: Rock A Bye Woman c/w Rock A Bye Version
Artist: Freddie McKay
Label: Pressure Sounds
Format: 45rpm 7inch heavyweight vinyl
with cardboard custom printed sleeve
Price: Standard heavyweight vinyl price
One of the best exponents of the more soulful side of Jamaican roots music Freddie McKay recorded for Studio One and Treasure Isle before working with various producers in the seventies. ‘Rock A Bye Woman’ is a rare self production with an uptempo feel and punchy horns. Seriously in demand on the revival circuit for a number of years the passionate vocal side is backed here with a riveting ‘high pass filter’ style version. Top quality music from one of reggae’s great unsung heroes.
Thanks to Pete Holdworth for the promo copy, here are details of the forthcoming re-release of Pressure Sounds, Harder Shade Of Black
Harder Shade Of Black
Pressure Sounds PSCD 66
“Today the type of sound which the younger generation digs is the rebel rock music which is here now…” ‘This Is Augustus Pablo’
“This album is produced by one of Jamaica’s youngest producers on the musical reggae scene today. A young man who undoubtedly has the ambition to produce some of the best style of reggae in the near future. As you may know his name is Leonard Chin better known by many others only as Santic. This I must say is this young man’s first album. We must also agree with him for giving the album the title Harder Shade Of Black.” ‘Harder Shade Of Black’
I was always a humble youth… just a youth who did his own thing. My first recording in Jamaica I sung it, I wrote it but… I’m really very nervous and, because I love it, I want to be there. Deep inside I’m very nervous. You might not believe me but I know that I am and I don’t really like being up front too much… even though I think it’s nice if you’re doing something and you achieve something. When I let go the singing and became a producer people don’t really have to know me or see me… it’s just what people hear. Let them think “Who is this person?” That’s what I always used to think in those times and my part was just putting out tunes.
When I came in the business men like Bunny Lee and them were much older people than me, that’s what I thought, he was a bigger man in the business. I was just a youth getting in there. It’s not really about everybody liking you but, with most of them, I was alright… they’d let me feel like I belonged. Maybe, as a youth, I was likeable. At the time I was the youngest producer coming out of Jamaica after Gussie Clarke. The other day Bunny was saying to me “Santic you’re a legend, you know!” and I said “Come on Bunny! What are you talking about?” He said “Within that short space of time you were producing records in Jamaica you produced more hits than most of us! And you never had no big company like Dynamics behind you to help you either. One youth man making hit after hit! ‘Pablo In Dub’, ‘Children Of Israel’, ‘Lovers Mood’, ‘Problems’ ‘Late Hour’ with I Roy, ‘I’m A Free Man’ with Freddie McKay…”
Before even ‘Pablo In Dub’ I was recording a deejay named Jah Mojo. The first track I did with him was a tune named ‘Nitty Gritty’ and Bongo Herman was playing the drums. After that one I did a next tune with him named ‘Yankee Conkee’ and then I made this rhythm that I later used for ‘Pablo In Dub’, ‘Children Of Israel’ and ‘Down Santic Way’. Jah Mojo did a thing on it called ‘Jacamma Rock’ and it sold about a thousand and fifty copies. The rhythm was good… ‘Family Man’ played the bass on it and his brother Carlton played the drums and there was a guy named ‘Snapping’ who played the piano…
Theophilus Beckford was named ‘Snapping’ after his massive early sixties r&b into ska breakthrough record ‘Easy Snapping’ released on Worldisc in Jamaica and Blue Beat in England.
Like I said when I went in the studio how old was I? Sixteen? So I was just working with those guys but I didn’t know their history… as the years went by I got to understand more and, being in the business, I learnt more and more. A lot of people my age in Jamaica wouldn’t know those things so that’s how I get to know. Anyway, he played the piano. The organ player was Ossie Hibbert. I did a mix for the Jah Mojo record and everybody loved the rhythm. One time Leroy Sibbles and some other people were standing up in Randy’s and Leroy said “This rhythm a bad! It’s like the bass carry the melody by itself” and then I decided to do a next mix of it.
Eventually… things just happen sometimes when they’re supposed to happen. I went up to Randy’s and mixed the tune… and for some reason Pablo just walked into the studio that evening and said “That rhythm there sound good!” So I said “Blow a thing on it now then, man!” I was into Pablo from ‘Java’ and was always asking him to do a tune for me and he used to smile and say I couldn’t afford to pay him and all those things there. He said “You’ll have to ask my manager Paul” and his manager said “Alright… do you have any weed?” My brethren, Carl Prehay, was there and he said “Yeah man… we have the boom!” And we bought a few Red Stripe beers, took the next two hours in the studio, set up the tape and he just blew through the tune a couple of times. The next one was a take and I said “This is ‘Pablo In Dub’”.
After ‘Pablo In Dub’ got on the Top Five it went to Number One for a week and then dropped back to Number Two and I asked Horace Andy if he could sing a tune on it for me. He loved the rhythm from time too… the Pablo version was so popular! Horace just came in the studio… it was a Friday morning. The day before I’d got Leroy Sibbles to put in the rhythm guitar because ‘Pablo In Dub’ never had a rhythm guitar in it. So it was Leroy Sibbles who actually chopped the rhythm guitar in it and then, the following day, I got Horace to sing on the rhythm. We played the rhythm track and Horace ad libbed and said “Errol!’ Rewind back the tape there” and he sang ‘Children of Israel…’ and went through it once, wrote some more lyrics, went through it again and half way through he said “Now run the tape Errol. And take it too!” We did ‘Children Of Israel’ and ‘Problems’ both at the same time. We didn’t spend two hours to do all that! The lyrics were written and voiced at that moment. There and then.
Looking back now I’m thinking, in the eighties and nineties, people would spend these relentless hours voicing, dropping in, voicing, dropping in. And nobody’s happy! Doing that you have no soul! You’re just like a mechanical thing. When you hear sweet things and think it can be sweeter… but it’s sweet enough already! You become over technical and everybody wants to be greater than they really can be. It doesn’t really happen like that. You can only be the best you can be…
The melody of ‘Children Of Israel’ was based around ‘Sleepy Ludy’ by Lynn Taitt & The Jets a steel pan rocksteady record produced by Joe Gibbs in 1968. There were no copyright problems but Leonard nearly ran into trouble with Augustus Pablo’s Santic release that he had entitled ‘Harder Shade Of Black’. It was a version to The Soul Vendors’ ‘Darker Shade Of Black’ an instrumental variation of Lennon & McCartney’s ‘Norwegian Wood’ (‘This Bird Has Flown’) from The Beatles’ 1965 ‘Rubber Soul’ album. The tune had been versioned at Brentford Road three years later and credited to ‘Scorcher’ when released on the Studio One label but it was not Brian Epstein who came looking for Leonard…
After ‘Harder Shade Of Black’ Mr Dodd come look for me! He wanted to thump me in the head because I’d done over his tune so I had to hold off out of Randy’s for a few days! I didn’t know it was a Beatles tune then because his name was on the label as the writer! It was Leroy Sibbles that played the bass on it (Leroy had also played bass on the Soul Vendors cut) and ‘Peace In The Valley’ and the Gregory Isaacs ‘I’ll Be Around’ with ‘Tin Leg’, Lloyd Adams, on drums. But after all that when I saw Mr Dodd he was alright. I think he was surprised to see me being so young: “That youth doesn’t carry on like the rest of them rude boys! So just ‘low him…”
At those times there were very few people making instrumentals. It was always vocals or deejays but for me, even Pablo, people would just put Pablo blowing but I loved the clavinet sound. The sound had a little coarseness but it had a little sweetness about it at the same time. That’s how ‘Peace In The Valley’, ‘Columbo’, ‘Hap Ki Do’, ‘One Thousand Swords’ the version of the Gregory Isaacs tune, the ‘Darker Shade Of Black’ version or whatsoever came about. ‘Cause to me whether Pablo was blowing or playing the clavinet he just had that in his bones: if he liked it he’d play on it but he’s not going to play on any rhythm he doesn’t like. To me it was always new things.
Rhythm without vocals is a different feeling… that’s how ‘Up Wareika Hill’ came about….just like ‘Pablo In Dub’. It was instant and ‘Lovers Mood’ was the same thing. I named all those tunes. Me and Pablo were talking and he’d just played some tunes in Randy’s and I said “What’s that one named?” and then said “Yeah man! This tune is named ‘Up Wareika Hill’” and I named the tune! It was just that sound and what was going on up Wareika Hill. A bad boy kind of tune but sweet within overall… like a militant tune. The feeling that I got from it and the environment… just like the other tunes I named from watching movies like ‘One Thousand Swords’ and ‘Columbo’. When the name comes you know it’s the right name for it.
But I made a lot of mistakes as well. I’ve lost certain things because I didn’t know anything about mechanical rights and those things. That wasn’t part of what we were doing. I didn’t think “I need to do this because later on something might happen”. You never thought money might be there later on… that many years from now these tunes would still be circulating. So mainly in those times I never was a business man! I just wanted to be in the studio making music; everything else was pressing, getting artists their money at a certain time but my head wasn’t really in that… I felt I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s not really what I’m in it for. I needed to be in it for that as well but I paid the price. You know what I mean?
When I first came to London (10th February 1974) I had a jacket with short sleeves and a jumper… bell foot pants… I thought I was criss! I didn’t feel the cold so much at first. I was told it was cold but maybe it’s the shock of it! I wasn’t thinking of it. I spent three months here. London was strange but it was nice… I was staying with Bert from Ital Records. I’d met Bert in Jamaica. At the time he’d asked me for some tunes to release in England… he used to have a sound named Sir Nation that played at a place called St Andrews Hall and the first night I came, it was a Sunday, we all went to The Swan in Stockwell. I think Lord David was playing there.
When you went to a club or a dance to me it was quite peaceful. You’d go to a club, wherever the venue was, and it would be packed and maybe you would brush against someone and say ‘Sorry!’ and that was it. God help you if it had happened at home in Kingston! So to me it was really peaceful… me and my girl could be walking on the street maybe three or four o’clock in the morning. The only thing that crossed my mind was I used to hear them talking about these Teddy Boys… but they had well faded out by then. It was a nice place to be apart from the cold. By then I’d started to realise that it was cold! And I thought to myself I would like to live somewhere like this.
London was more forward as well because music that was recorded back home… some of them were reaching here long before they were released in Kingston. I put together the ‘Harder Shade Of Black’ album in London from the singles and put it out with Bert… I never knew I was going to release an album! The lady on the cover is my first wife. She’s the mother of three of my kids. I actually took the photograph myself. It’s Downs Park in East London…
Leonard then returned to Jamaica to do more recording and to promote Santic Records from his office in downtown Kingston.
At the time I had a little office upstairs on the corner of Beeston Street… you have King Street then Chancery Lane. Keith Hudson had an office up there, Wailers had their Tuff Gong Record Shop and Bill Hutchinson had an office. On Wednesdays all of us would meet up after the movies, Gussie Clarke, Pablo, Jacob Miller and we’d go wherever the best movie was playing whether it was Regal or Carib Theatre. The Kung Fu movies were strong at the time.
In Jamaica if I was using four men. Drums, bass, rhythm and keyboards and one hundred and twenty dollars could have given you three good rhythms with the best musicians! It was ten dollars a track… ten dollars for each man. At the time even making the rhythms would be good enough ‘cause when you had the rhythms then you could look for artists to put some lyrics on things. Most of the artists were around and if I had the finances… Winston Rodney, the Burning Spear, actually came and checked me but I said “I have to go to England again” and when I came back… There were quite a few people I would have liked to work with and there were people I had the chance to work with. So I could have worked with Winston Rodney… and Dennis Brown. Dennis said he’d do a tune for me “One of these days” but we never got round to it.
I didn’t know anything about abroad but one day I’d be out of Jamaica and shown somewhere else and then you’ll learn things somewhere. That’s the way it goes. But when you’re not foreseeing… we can always look back on things but we can’t change the past.
“This album contains various artists and I would like you to spend thirty relaxing minutes and listen to it and you will know what I say is true. This album contains the sounds of Santic All Stars, also some of Jamaica’s best reggae singers: cooler than ever Gregory Isaacs, one of the youngest members on the scene, Mr Roman Stewart and Horace Andy. Let’s not forget the music man in fine style Mr Augustus Pablo. I am sure this one will be among your selections. Let’s not forget the name Santic.”
‘Harder Shade Of Black’
Interviews with Leonard ‘Santic’ Chin, London, UK
29th December 2004, 29th October 2009 & 16th November 2009
Liner Notes: ‘This Is Augustus Pablo’ Kaya Records LP ST11213/ST11214 1973
Liner Notes: ‘Harder Shade Of Black’ Santic LP SAN 001 1974
Liner Notes: Steve Barker ‘An Even Harder Shade Of Black’
Pressure Sounds LP/CD PS 1 1995
Liner Notes: Harry Hawke ‘Down Santic Way’ Pressure Sounds LP/CD PS 46 2005
Produced & Arranged by: Leonard ‘Santic’ Chin
Drums: Lloyd ‘Tin Leg’ Adams, Carlton ‘Carlie’ Barrett & Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis
Bass: Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Alva ‘Reggie’ Lewis & Leroy Sibbles
Guitar: Alva ‘Reggie’ Lewis & Leroy Sibbles
Organ: Ossie Hibbert & Augustus Pablo
Piano: Theophilus ‘Easy Snapping’ Beckford & Augustus Pablo
Melodica: Augustus Pablo
Clavinet: Augustus Pablo
Harry J Recording Studio, 10 Roosevelt Avenue, Kingston 6, Jamaica
Engineer: Sid Bucknor
Joe Gibbs Recording Studio, 24 Retirement Crescent, Kingston 5, Jamaica
Engineer: Errol ‘Errol T’ Thompson
Randy’s Studio 17, 17 North Parade, Kingston, Jamaica
Engineer: Errol ‘Errol T’ Thompson
Assistant Engineer: Dennis Thompson
King Tubby’s Recording Studio, 18 Dromilly Avenue, Waterhouse, Kingston 11, Jamaica
Engineer: Osbourne ‘King Tubby’ Ruddock
Dynamic Sounds Recording Studio, 15 Bell Road, Kingston 11, Jamaica
Engineer: Carlton Lee
Federal Recording Studios, 220 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston 11, Jamaica
Engineer: Ainsley Folder
Randy’s Studio 17, 17 North Parade, Kingston, Jamaica
Engineer: Dennis Thompson
Transferred from disc at: CEDAR Audio Ltd., Cambridge, England
Engineer: Paul Alexander
Re-Mastered at: Hiltongrove Mastering, London, England
Engineer: David Blackman
Original Cover Design: F & H Campbell
Photography: Leonard ‘Santic’ Chin
Artwork & Design: Ben Bailey Bubble Design
Archive Material: Courtesy of Leonard Chin
Project Co-ordination: Pete Holdsworth
With special thanks to: Steve Barker, Paul Coote, Manny Hawks, Dave Home, Chris Lane, Ian McCann, Carl Prehay, Jim Silles & Harry Wise
Released under Licence from: Leonard ‘Santic’ Chin
NB Some original records have been used for mastering this album where the engineer has created the mixes as the master acetate was being cut and no tapes exist. Every attempt has been made to ensure the best sound reproduction but where this is less than perfect we believe the quality of the music itself shines through.
I’ll Be Around – Gregory Isaacs (3.12)
One Thousand Swords – Augustus Pablo (2.05)
Harder Shade Of Black – Augustus Pablo (3.15)
Better Shade Of Dub – Dirty Harry & Santic All Stars (2.51)
Peace In The Valley – Roman Stewart (2.43)
Columbo – Augustus Pablo (3.13)
Special Branch – Leonard Santic All Stars (3.15)
Pablo In Dub – Augustus Pablo (3.00)
Hell Boat – Santic All Stars (3.03)
Children Of Israel – Horace Andy (3.06)
Problems – Horace Andy (2.50)
Lovers Mood – Augustus Pablo (3.13)
Jah Guide – Big Joe (3.12)
Palace Of Peace – Santic All Stars (2.51)
Chalice Blaze – Jah Woosh (2.13)
One Heavy Duba – King Tubbys & Santic All Stars (2.30)
Yamaha Ride – I Roy (2.45)
Mexican Rocking – Santic All Stars (2.34)
I Don’t Want To Lose You – Paul Whiteman (3.05)
Shouldn’t Say No – Jah Woosh (3.13)
Santic Meet King Tubby – King Tubby & The Santic All Stars (2.47)
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