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Soundclash 9.26

Johnny Osbourne
“Time A Run Out” (12")
Studio One 12" (1980)

The brother known as Bumpy is a firm hero of Jamaican music. There are too many hits to name check, but for me this track here is right near the pinnacle. What can be better than a wicked dancehall vocal attack over a refreshed mix of the legendary Hot Milk riddim (blessedly devoid of horrible 80’s synth interjections), with the Jackie Mittoo instrumental cut allowed to run the last few minutes? Seriously hot stuff, and this rams the dance every time. Mr. Osbourne still has it, as well. The years have treated his voice quite well, as he’s still able to belt it out at shows to this day. To health and strength, bredda Johnny.

-Rice & Peas

Joe White & the Maytals
ND Records 7" (1964)

Here at Soundclash headquarters, the selection process for what tunes to showcase invariably joins the less trodden path. The singers and players on that path tend to be ones that are harder to compile onto reissues, and thus we're continually presented with the unheralded never-to-be classics. Joe White's choicest selections feature heavily on any ska and rocksteady samplings (and we'll skip over his melodica playing in the '70s for now), and here we have a rare track featuring the Maytals backing White up on an early Studio One recording. Jackie Mittoo's piano is unusually high in the mix, which reflects a more mid-tempo ska rhythm laid down by the Skatalites.

-The Kaiser

Charley Ace
“Super Champ”
Scorpion 7" (1974)

If you saw the Deep Roots documentary series, Charley Ace and his famous "Swing A Ling" mobile disco/record shack received suitable billing. I've yet to see a better repurposing of a VW Bug. Ace also had a very recordable voice, and a hatful of distinctive 45s reveal themselves to the avid crate digger. A personal favorite is "Cow Thief Skank" with Lee Perry, but his self-productions on his Scorpio label shine brightly as well. The recent fortunes of George Forman in the ring (at Joe Frazier's expense) provided ample material for yet more boxing-themed tunes. Good gosh is right.

-The Kaiser

Tommy McCook
"Reggae Meringue"
Beverley's pre-7" (1966)

The man Tommy McCook needs no introduction, such was his pedigree and longevity. His endless work at Treasure Isle studio for legendary sound man and producer Duke Reid rivals that of any bandleader in Jamaican history. This tune, however, is a little different from the rest. The way McCook included elements of jazz and Cuban band music is well acknowledged already, but this slice of pan-Caribbean sounds is fresh and fun and quite a bit different from what other major studios of the day were putting to tape. UK pop singer Lily Allen successfully sampled this a few years ago, and I gotta say, she did it justice.  It's worth checking out if you want to connect the dots.

-Rice & Peas

The Gaytones
“Let It Happen Now"
WIRL pre 7" (1967)

Rocksteady rarities are what it's all about, let's be honest. A repeat offender in that era was Ewan "The Big Cat" McDermott, of whom little has been learned to this day. Like Joe White, his beginnings were in the ska era (if not earlier) and his singing voice carried an unusual '50s-style doo wop tone into the new Jamaican genres with surprising aplomb. One gets the sense that he was esteemed by his peers, with duets abounding. One such duet is this lost gem featuring McDermott and one Clinton Wilks, who has song-writing credits here. Special mention must go to the toy-like keyboards here.

-The Kaiser

King Tubby
“12 Tribe Blues"
Bomb Shell 7" (1975)

It was rare that King Tubby got billing credits on a single, but here's such a delight. Tubby's mixing style is present throughout, and if your speakers can handle it, keep pushing down on that throttle. Augustus Pablo's melodica contribution adds a typically inspired embellishment on this reworking of Marley's "Talking Blues" melody and rhythm. A signature tune.

-The Kaiser

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