A tune a day keep Obeah away. << This is an occasional series of tunes that I think you need to have and to hold, and today I want to let you all know about a tune I keep returning to. A fine roots tune, with a strong version side, in the classic late 70s Roots style.
This record was given to me a long time ago, when I was first setting off on my Jamaican music record collecting, by a dear friend, now gone, Charlie Reggae. It had no title, only a generic label, for the Record City Record label. A label which had very few releases. The first one on that label at that point I had seen. Discogs didn’t exist then and records were bought from mail-order homemade catalogues mailed to you each quarter year and not on eBay or online shops.
For a number of years I had no idea who was singing on it or what the title might be. I always called it, ‘Too Much Youth Inna Jailhouse’ as that is the striking refrain of the song. Because it was strong, and because even though I tried, I couldn’t find any info on it, it held a certain mystique that only an un-identified but quality record can.
Just recently someone identified the singer for me as Nigger Butler, otherwise and perhaps more politically correctly properly known as Rector Butler, who by the sparse information on the label sang on and produced and distributed the tune. A one man stop shop of Reggae production. I’d love to know who the backing band are, as the rhythm is strong and assured, but there is virtually no information about the singer/producer or his cohorts online, or I’d be copying and pasting it here for you to see.
As with a lot of great Jamaican music the only way to know the artist is to own and listen to their tunes, so much of Jamaica’s music was produced in virtual anonymity, particularly in the Golden era of the late 70s. However that’s what makes it ROOTS, music of the people, by the people, and why it has such inherent strength sonically.
Look, it’s not the greatest Reggae tune in the world, but it is a damn fine one, and you should be able to check it out on my next bigmikeydread reggae radio podcast soon. Check the section here on Musical Traces for track-listings. I’d like to share the tune with you here, but no recording of it exists online, yet.
© Murphy (mid Feb) 2019 ⎔