This is part one of this session in which Ras Kush, of Black Redemption Sounds of Praises, dug into his extensive vinyl collection for rarely played tunes. He began by showcasing the dubwise style including selections from producers Coxsone Dodd, Lloyd Barnes, Adrian Sherwood and Tapper Zukie. Then comes ‘blessed’ selection of rastafari tunes including Earl Sixteen’s take on Niney’s “Jah Love is Sweeter” riddim before he flings some of classic instrumentals – particularly notable is the work of Douglas Guthrie, a much undersung sax player whose work must have influenced Dean Frazier.
AK’s story is that as a youth he was a promising sound boy in the UK when suddenly he was hoiked off to the musically remote outlands of the USA by his family. AK thus stayed true to roots of classic sound system while the peers he left behind might have had other distractions. However he was not totally out of touch – a network of cousins and pals, plus occasional visits, kept him up-to-date with the latest hot lovers rub-a-dub tunes from UK dances. His contemporary selections continually amazed Streamola’s globally dispersed audience who had little opportunity to hear much beyond mainstream dancehall and roots artists. Here he is warming up the crowd on the Reggae Vibes stream with some of the latest smooth steppers before he goes for the old stuff we all know he is going to eventually pull out. Pay special attention to Easy B’s cover of “Number One” around 50 mins in.
AK The Conqueror was a stalwart member of the Yahoo Club Rasta and a very popular DJ on Streamola, particularly with the ladies, specializing as he did in Lover’s Rock, both classic and modern. The Reggae Vibes stream was founded just to cater to his sessions. Making them all the more rare and desirable was the fact that at his remote Pennsylvania location his Internet connection was less than reliable, thus a good session was always a matter of chance if not divine providence. In this one we hear him, in lo-fi recorded directly off the original 24k stream on 9-23-00, digging into his vault of old time classics.
As we all know the ecstasy and agony of romance drives much of creation, and so it was with this, a mixtape from the late 80s, and the oft-repeated soundtrack to many pinmaking sessions in the early 90s. It starts off warm and easy, becomes enraptured, and then helplessly unrequited..
Here’s another of those short fragments off an old mix tape of mine – includes fav tunes from the likes of Dillinger, Hugh Mundell, Jackie Mittoo, U Roy, Roland Alphonso, and The Skatalites.
This is a very brief fragment from 1988 or so, some NYC radio plus a bit of Dominic – a young Ladbroke Grove skallywag who had turned up after making a name for himself in Jamaica – testing his chops on hip-hop played by Dreadbeat Massive’s Woody Dee. One feature of NYC is a large Caribbean Desi population, and the tune near the start is as sublime a combination of the two cultures as you are ever likely to hear!
I have to make a few guesses about this one – 1) that it is from 1987, and 2) that it is from a London station called Time Radio. 3) that the host is DJ Eddie Edwards as it says on the tape which is actually marked with the date 17-3-84.
Lee Scratch Perry, in one of his first broadcasts after going awol some years earlier, is a guest giving previews of the soon-to-be-released collaboration with Adrian Sherwood and On-U crew – Time Boom X De Devil Dead.
Yet more DBC. As mentioned early broadcasts, out of necessity, utilized the “plant the cassette player and transmitter on the tower block and retire to a safe distance” method. By 1984 the station’s technology had advanced to the point of being able to, via relays, do live broadcasts. Even to the extent, in the safety of the Notting Hill Carnival celebrating crowd, of coming live from the street. This snippet, hosted by Ranking Miss P, kicks off with the talents of the young MC prodigy Mekka Stephenson, hoarse no doubt due to toasting night and day, and then goes to station manager Lepke chatting up Portobello Road revelers.
A month later than the last posting here we have Traffic Jam in full effect – this time the only thing that’s sped up is the chat, as was the craze of the day. A well-oiled Arrows International crew take turns to show off their freestyle lyrical prowess and vocal skill over a Federal selection. In the area: Snarky, Professor Nuts, Shakademus, Cutty Ranks.
The fact my beloved DBC Rebel Radio had been shut down, and Lepke the station manager arrested, was definitely a contributory factor to my decision to move to the USA in 1983. The door having been opened, however, a flood of new stations, mostly based in South London, sprang up. Someone gave me this tape, a wander around the dial from 1987, which includes KISS and Traffic Jam. You’ll observe parts of the latter are massively sped up, the likely explanation for this is that they, like DBC before them, employed the “plant the cassette player and transmitter on the tower block and retire to a safe distance” method, and those cheap cassette players were notoriously erratic.