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Picture of cover for The Dreads at King Tubby's - If Deejay Was your Trade

The Dreads at King Tubby's
If Deejay Was your Trade

Check out the roots of today's rap and deejay styles with the cream of Kingston's toasters and boasters of the mid-seventies. Nine great artists including I. Roy, Tappa Zukie, Dr Alimantado and Jah Stitch talk roots and reality over boom shot dubs mixed by the legendary King Tubby and produced by the hitmaker of the seventies Bunny Lee.




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 Big Joe - 'In the Ghetto' Sample! 



1Big Joe - 'In the Ghetto'
2I Roy - 'War and Friction'
3Little Joe - 'Tradition Skank'
4Tappa Zukie - 'Jah is I Guiding Star'
5Jah Stitch - 'Set up Yourself Dreadlocks'
6Dr. Alimantado - 'Chant to Jah'
7Dr. Alimantado - 'Mash it Up'
8Dr. Alimantado & Jah Stitch - 'The Barber Feel It'
9Jah Stitch - 'Bury the Barber'
10Jah Stitch - 'Black Harmony Killer'
11Jah Stitch - 'Greedy Girl'
12Dillinger - 'Regular Girl'
13Dillinger - 'Daylight Saving Time'
14Prince Jazzbo - 'Gal Boy I Roy'
15Prince Jazzbo - 'Good Memories'
16Prince Far I - 'Shuffle and Deal'

What the press say:

"Now brother and sister down here in the ghetto where we stay, we've got a lot of hope down here in the ghetto I would tell you..." So says deejay Big Joe on the opening track on this indispensable compilation of classic mid-seventies deejay sides from the Bunny Lee stable courtesy of a new reggae label inaugurated by Dub Catcher's very own Steve Barrow. Without pretension to the intrepid weirdness of a Lee Perry, nor the deep spiritual vibe of an Augustus Pablo or Yabby U, Edward 'Bunny' Lee's name may not enjoy the mythical status afforded these contemporaries, but they didn't call him Striker Lee the Hit Man for nothing. Bunny simply gave the people what they wanted, and those records appearing on his Jackpot, Justice, Attack and Hot Stuff labels, almost always carrying a thunderous King Tubby dub on the reverse, were among the most popular of their day. Listening to this album you feel as if you are right there in Tubby's studio; Tubbs is at the board and the deejays are lined up and ready. Bunny's irrepressible spirit fills the room, he knows what he wants and if the deejay runs out of lyrics, well, Bunny will always proffer a couplet or two. Tubbs lines up the tape, Bunny shouts "Go deh now", and the Aggravators new cut of John Holts 'Ali Baba' rhythm cranks out over the headphones. Doctor Alimantado steps up to the mike exuding an irrepressible ragamuffin cool, hails up his bredrin Jah Stitch, and the pair clamber aboard a revving motorbike and literally ride the rhythm, rubber-necking the girls; well rude, pausing only briefly at the barber shop to laugh theatrically at the man's plight, now that the youth them dread up an' 'im cyaan get no wuk, before roaring off down the track in search of the likkle spliff the ital physician recalls leaving at the Black Ark-that's 'The Barber Feel It' , one of a clutch of records from the period taunting the unfortunate tonsors, in torment as dreadlocks become the fashion amongst Jamaica's youth. On 'Bury The Barber', from the morgue to the cemetery, concluding that the "baalhead, an' that woman" did for the hapless hairdresser, (Tado, on another popular version of the rhythm, not included here, claims Tom the barber's son shot the barber, everyone knows that!). Stitch then blots his right-on copy book, shocking liberal sensibilities by compounding Horace Andy's almost pathological distrust of feminine guile on 'Greedy Gal'. The mood lightens for one of the funniest toasts ever,'Gal Boy I Roy', an instalment of a famous series of on-vinyl spats between Prince Jazzbo, and had made disparaging remarks concerning Jazzbo's alleged deficit in the looks department. Rising to the bait, Jazzbo casts despicable aspersions upon I. Roy's masculinity, accusing him of cross-dressing and wearing powder on his face, Roy, you understand, being something of a dandy. Listen out for the priceless utterance "So you tell the crowd that Jazzbo is very ugly, but if I didn't ugly, you wouldn't have the opportunity to call my name in your song seeking promotion!" The previously unreleased out-take 'Good Memories' finds Jazzbo in more conciliatory mood, urging love and unity, and evoking memories by the score. This album fair brims with such wonders. Check out I. Roy himself on 'War and Friction' utilising the heaviest flying cymbal rhythm you'll ever hear (originally issued in 'Death Trap' by The Prophets on Yabby U's 'Vivien Jackson' label), mixed into phased oblivion by King Tubby. Revel in Alimantado's 'Chant to Jah' in psalms style over the original 1968 cut of Slim Smith's 'The Beatitude', Tubby ringing it through the equaliser. Witness Tappa Zukie's ire spilling over on 'Jah Is My Guiding Star' - "Don't Get Me Mad Yah!" - or the iry Little Joe (later reinvented as Ranking Joe) on 'Tradition Song'. Dillinger steps it up with 'Regular Girl' and 'Daylight Saving Time' (aka 'The Best Time'). Jah Stitch returns for 'Set Up Yourself Dreadlocks'. We even interrupt Prince Far I as he tries his hand at 'Deck Of Cards' (entitled 'Shuffle & Deal' here, and in fact a Winston Riley production), a dread take on Wink Martindale's 1959 hit. Heavier than lead, dreader than dread! Dub Catcher, July/August '94

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