Rebel Rockers – Live 1983

Posted by joly on Dec 23, 2009 in old tape, stage show

When I arrived on the West Coast in mid-1983 I knew practically nobody except Zed Records and Roger Steffens. Steffens introduced me to Blue Riddim, who were on tour, and they in turn introduced me to the Rebel Rockers of Laguna Beach, who kindly took me in as a guest. Also staying in their house at the time happened to be Darryl and Doc from the Bad Brains, which started a long and fruitful friendship..

The Rebel Rockers themselves, in a marked contrast to the ‘cool and deadly’ style to which I was accustomed in the UK, played high energy SoCal skanking music, predating illustrious followers like Sublime and No Doubt. Powered by Redz on bass, they were fronted by the lively, and lovely, Princess on vocals. The guitarist, who’s name I forget, brought a distinct latin tinge to the proceedings, and when, on one notable occasion I accompanied them to a show with the Circle Jerks in Tijuana, they raised the roof! The band is still going and can be found on myspace.

Somehow I have retained a cassette of a set I recorded at one of their shows and here, for your delectation, and posterity, it is:

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Pre-release 1979

Posted by joly on Dec 3, 2009 in Jah Shaka, old tape

Here we have one of the oldest tapes I have around – dates back to the good days at Better Badges when we’d just got our Alpha hi-speed cassette duplicator. The great thing about this was that it was a magnet for rare and unreleased material, such as this, brought in by Steve Jameson – who long worked the counter at Rough Trade. I don’t recall details but he arrived from some studio (Street Level?) in a high state of excitement with this one containing brand new mixes of the Twinkle Brothers, Undivided Truth, Prince Hammer, and more importantly, Jah Shaka’s masterpiece ‘Kunte Kinte’. When I played it on Streamola even Ras Kush, who has got every single thing that Shaka has done, asked for a copy. Enjoy!

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Lee Scratch Perry On The Wire 1987

Posted by joly on Oct 24, 2009 in old tape, recast

I have former Better Badges designer Derek Harris to thank for this one. He later got involved in making t-shirts for On-U Sound and forwarded me this tape back in 1987. Lee Perry, after 40 days and nights in the wilderness, had finally returned to the fold by hooking up with Adrian Sherwood and recording an album ‘Time Boom X The Devil Dead’. The both of them then duly traveled up North to join Steve Barker on his BBC Radio Lancashire radio program On The Wire (which recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary – Congrats Steve!) to premiere the new tracks. This tape is an edited version of this historic show – originally broadcast March 1 1987.


Sturgraph 1982

Posted by joly on Oct 6, 2009 in old tape, sound system

Unlike the other Sound System session tapes featured thus far this one is not common. I’ve no idea where it came from. Sturgraph aka King Sturgav was a, if not the, top sound in Jamaica in the early 80’s, and even toured internationally. Listening to this it’s quite possibly from a UK visit, since it features Daddy Colonel and Josey Wales who both became big names in the UK. Another indicator is the content – which appears to come from the early ease’n’seckle portion of a dance – where serious social topics like unemployment are addressed.


King Jammy’s SuperPower 1987

Posted by joly on Sep 28, 2009 in old tape, reggae vibes, sound system

Here’s another of those classic sound system tapes – this time it’s King Jammy’s system playing out at Walkerman Lawn in 1987. MC’s/singers in the area like Major Worries, Frankie Paul, Tulloch T, Little Twitch.

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Stereophonic – Skateland – 1980

Posted by joly on Sep 25, 2009 in old tape, sound system

Kush brought in this sound system tape, a classic of the genre and widely circulated, of Stereophonic playing Skateland. It is credited as a ‘V.Black Production’. Recorded in 1980 in the early days of the slackness boom certain sections – particularly the famous General Echo automobile metaphor – are definitely NSFW. Other MC’s/singers representing are Brigadier Jerry, Sister Nancy, Django, Madoo, and Barry Brown.

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Battle of the Selecters – Dub Club NYC 1989

Posted by joly on Sep 6, 2009 in dance, old tape

It’s not well known that, before all the current more famous incarnations of the name Jack Balchin and I ran a Dub Club in the Talbot Tabernacle in London around 1981. In the late 80s I revived the name to do some nights in NYC with DJ Woody Dee and his Dreadbeat Massive Sound. This tape survives from one of our more notable shows, occasioned by a visit from the UK by Lepke (aka the Dread Outta Control) from original reggae pirate radio Dread Broadcast Corp, plus the imminent closing of the East Village’s favorite roots record store Irie Ites, for which it served as a send off party.  A line-up of selecters was duly arranged along with Richie from Underdog as MC.

What you hear here first is some sistren acappella as John (The Italian) takes the decks playing raggamuffin – John was representing a new store Ujima that had opened on the Bowery.  My set follows, somewhat beset with tech difficulties, then Cathy Tobias of Irie Ites, and then Lepke who scores mightily with the just-released ‘One Blood’ by Junior Reid.  I believe that is in fact John The Italian doing most of the MCing. Later in the night Keith Morris (of the Circle Jerks) took over and did a very credible job.

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