Happy 2016! It’s the start of the New Year and the Rock-A-Shacka crew are proud to announce the release of three stunning 7” 45 reissues of classic Prince Buster productions, replete with original label designs.
[ Holding Out / Dark End Of The Street ] Winston Samuels / Prince Buster Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Rock Steady) (DBPB-24)
The first is ‘Holding Out’ (aka ‘You Just Can’t Hide’), a rock-solid piece of rocksteady from Winston Samuels, with the unmistakable Lyn Tait and his band providing the rhythm, as they do on the flip side, where Buster stretches out his vocal chords with his rendition of James Carr’s soul classic ‘The Dark End Of The Street’. By the way, if you’re looking for another version or the chord changes sound familiar, Buster used a different take of the rhythm – without horns – for his groundbreaking ‘Rock & Shake’.
[ Try A Little Tenderness / Change Is Gonna Come ] Prince Buster All Stars Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Rock Steady) (DBPB-23)
Lyn Tait remains in the arranger’s chair for another fine rocksteady double-sider which features the Prince himself tackling a medley of ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ followed by ‘You Send Me’ and ‘Sentimental Reasons’ …. I think he was definitely a big fan of Sam Cooke’s ‘Live At The Copa’ album from a couple of years previously! Turn the record over for a very personal take on Sam Cooke’s civil rights anthem ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’.
[ Come Home Back/Linger On ] Prince The Movers / Buster All Stars Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBPB-22)
For the third 7” disc in the series we move back in time for some seriously hardcore ska, with two tunes that were begging to be made available again…. ‘Come Back Home’ is a heartful cry to a lost love by the Movers, who are perhaps better known for ‘Sercy Tea’ which they also recorded for Buster. They were led by one Winston Dias who emigrated to Toronto at the age of nineteen and who now sings with The Melodians. This is paired with an absolutely scorching floor filler, Buster’s tribute to Muhammad Ali’s secret weapon, the ‘linger on punch’ which he talked about in the run up to his big fight with Floyd Patterson in 1965 (although it looks like he never really used it!). Aficionados will note that the vocals and percussion have been surgically removed, leaving this classic ska track in all its unadorned instrumental glory,
[ WIDE WORLD/ DEDICATION ] Alton Ellis Rock A Shacka, 7inch (DB010)
With the launch of Alton Ellis “ Soul Train Is Coming “ on LP this year, we’ve decided to re-issue two 7” singles for the first time from the album. Alton’s soulful “ Wide World / Dedication ” are both recorded at Coxsone Dodd's Studio 1 and originally issued on Alton’s own imprint circa ’72.
[ MY TIME IS RIGHT TIME / IF I HAD THE RIGHT ] Alton Ellis Rock A Shacka, 7inch (DB011)
“ My Time Is The Right Time / If I had The Right (aka IF) “ are classic late 60’s tracks. Alton’s ‘IF’ was later recorded in the 70s at Coxsone Dodd's Studio 1 by his long time friend Skully Simms aka Zooty. We hope you enjoy our new releases from our great friend and sadly missed Mr Soul Of Jamaica.
[ MILTE HI ANKHEN aka Bird In Hand / HAPPY ROOTS- / UPSETTING RHYTHM #2] Sam Carty / Lee Perry & The Upsetters aka Black Ark Players Rock A Shacka, 10inch (DBUP-003)
Sticking with the Black Ark stable, We are proud to announce two new re-issue tracks for the first time on 10" vinyl. Sam Carty’s ‘Bird In The Hand’ with (dub) is a cover of a Hindi love song "Milte Hi Ankhen Dil Hua Diana” translated "As Soon As Our Eyes Met, Somebody's Heart Went Mad”. Featured in the classic movie ‘Babul’ from 1950 and produced/composed by the musical talents of Naushad Ali. The song is sung by the legendary Indian duet Shamshad Begum and Talat Mahmood and tells a tale of love between a couple. Here Sam Carty delivers his Hindi style in mystical Black Ark style as you would expect from The Upsetter.
The flip side “Upsetting Rhythm 2” is another raw Ark rhythm workout and follows the steps of our previous 10” release “Upsetting Rhythm 1”. Another essential release for Upsetter fans !
[ Soul Train IS Coming ] Alton Ellis Rock A Shacka, LP (DBLP-021)
*Includes a detailed commentary by Mandingo.
[ MUSIC POLICE /DOCTOR COCAINE ] NINEY & THE DESTORYERS Rock A Shacka, 7" (Inst) (DBNI-001)
** ANNOUNCING NEW 7" SINGLES FROM The OBSERVER ARCHIVES !!!! **
“It’s a mystery and a musical history, your musical producer, Sir Niney The Conqueror…”
As the new year of 2015 begins to unfold, we are very proud to start the year in fine style with our first release from the mighty Niney The Observer, aka Sir Niney The Conqueror. Sir Niney’s ‘Music Police’ is a cool and deadly instrumental, highly sought after by Studio 1 collectors and other roots reggae aficionados. Recorded at Coxsone Dodd’s Studio 1 circa 1971 and released on Niney’s own Destroyer label in very limited quantities on pre-release, with ‘Cocaine Doctor’ on the flip, both tracks are accompanied by the core of The Upsetters Band (comprised of Family Man and Carlton Barrett, and Alva ‘Reggie’ Lewis), along with Jackie Mittoo on keyboards. Both tracks were engineered by Sylvan Morris, who licks the spring reverb on ‘Music Police’ to full effect ! The B-side features Niney plucking a feather out of Luke Jordan’s blues cap, hailing the ‘Cocaine Doctor for relief of pain…’ " Remember, Cocaine Doctor is the black soul doctor…
[ History, History (alternate Dub version)/ Upsetting Rhythm Pt1 ] Carlton Jackson, Lee Perry & The Upsetters / The Upsetters Rock A Shacka, 10" (Roots Rock) (DBUP-02)
We are proud to announce the release of three more discs in the massively popular Prince Buster reissue series!
[ Stop That Train / Dark Destroyer ] Spanish Town Skabeats / Prince Buster All Stars Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBPB-19)
First up is ‘Stop That Train’ by the enigmatic Spanish Town Skabeats, widely acknowledged as the blueprint for the song that was elevated to legendary status a few years later by rocksteady masters Keith & Tex. Great vocal performance, a driving beat and blazing horns all add up to a ska classic that’s been on the wants lists of collectors all over the world! The other side features ‘Dark Destroyer’ (aka ‘The Tickler’), a mellow horns instrumental from Buster’s musical cohorts – the perfect soundtrack for a sunny afternoon!
[ Skahara / Ling Tong Tong ] Prince Buster All Stars / Prince Buster Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBPB-20)
‘Skahara’ is another legendary classic from the Prince Buster vaults, a wild horns workout with even wilder drumming, sound effects and vocal interjections from the Prince himself, referencing notorious American gangsters who featured in the popular movies of the time. Another essential item, especially as it’s coupled with Buster’s own upbeat ‘Jamaicanised’ version of the Five Keys’ R&B smash ‘Ling Ting Tong’, replete with some stunning sax and guitar solos …… pass the herb this way!!!
[ Lion Of Judah / Bore Nose Coolie ] Prince Buster Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBPB-21)
The third release is another instrumental masterpiece - ‘Lion Of Judah’, again by a collection of Buster’s favourite sessioneers under the guise of Prince Buster’s All Stars… this really is top quality ska and a must for every deejay’s playout box …… the flip side is the heavily sought after ‘Bore Nose Coolie’, with Buster’s vocals complimented by two outstanding trombone solos from the late, great Don Drummond.
[ Play On Mr Music / Dread Lion ] Upsetter Review / King Scratch Rock A Shacka, 10" (Roots Rock) (DBUP-01)
22nd Feb ON SALE
** ANNOUNCING NEW 10" SINGLES FROM THE UPSETTER ARCHIVES !!!! **
Release on 22 Feb 2014
News flash ! From your Upsetting Station, we bring forth a brand new musical vibration, shocking the nation with incredible anticipation: we are we are extremely proud to announce our first re-issue from the vaults of the mighty Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, this time taken from the heyday of the Black Ark Studio, two deep and heavy tracks displaying the most noteworthy elements of Upsetter wizardry. ‘Play On Mr Music,’ by the Upsetter Revue featuring the Heptones, the Congos and Junior Murvin, has long been the Holy Grail for roots reggae connoisseurs\a song often dreamt of, but never gaining an official release, until now. The result of an impromptu studio jam, captured on celluloid for Jeremy Marre’s Roots Rock Reggae documentary in May 1977, the track celebrates the undeniable pull of Perry’s musical artistry, with both musicians and onlookers enhanced by the uplifting qualities of a spliff. With the Heptones’ rousing harmony given extra depth by backing from the Congos, the rhythm is given its melodic anchor by bassist and bandleader Boris Gardiner, rhythmically tied to the pounding of foundation drummer Mikey Boo. And we’ve got Robbie Lyn on the keyboards and Junior Murvin picking out some intricate guitar licks, seated on the studio floor, to counter-balance the treble spectrum. Roping everything together with heavy swathes of trademark phaser and delay is the mastermind himself, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, with one of his magnetic mirror master mixes, dubbing the track to oblivion, and back again. The flipside is a rare alternate mix of the Upsetters’ ‘Dread Lion,’ a song that had an unusual genesis: saxophonist Dean Fraser came to the Ark in 1975 to record ‘Concrete Castle King,’ which he sang as vocalist, for the song’s composer, guitarist Lloyd ‘Gitsy’ Willis, who had been a member of the Wailers backing band during their formative period with Perry. The song was recorded at the Ark with bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, drummer Robert Stevenson, who had been playing with Fraser and Willis in Sonny Bradshaw’s band, along with Willis on guitar, Fraser on tenor sax, and Calvin ‘Bubbles’ Cameron on trombone. The resulting track was influential on the Jamaican underground, leading to popular cover tunes by Dennis Brown and Junior Reid, but its minute issue on Willis’ Black Explosion label meant the original never achieved much in the way of sales. Nevertheless, the following year, Perry resurrected the original rhythm for the stunning ‘Dread Lion,’ featuring the Heptones on choral voices, augmented by vocal and percussive interjections from Perry himself, and a new flute melody by Egbert Evans. The rare alternate Jamaican mix presented here allows us to hear the tune in a whole different light, giving another glimpse into the Upsetter’s ceaseless creativity.
Dave Katz - Feb 2014 (Lee Perry Biographer)
[ Work Song / Veracruz ] Buster All Stars Rock A Shacka, 7" (Ska) (DBPB-17)
[ Hey Train / Ali Shuffle ] Buster All Stars Rock A Shacka, 7" (Ska) (DBPB-18)
Continuing with our series of re-issues from the vaults of the mighty Prince Buster, we are proud to announce the release of four new tracks, this time in a 7" dub-plate format.
All four tunes are instrumentals featuring the cream of Jamaica's session musicians under the nom de guerre of The Buster All Stars.
Two if the titles are already well known amongst ska afficianados...... Ali Shuffle (aka Rock Steady) was Buster's homage to Muhammad Ali, and Vera Cruz (named after the film) were both released on the Bluebeat label in the UK and are revered as ska classics, while the other two side are previously unreleased and were apparently only ever cut on acetates for sound system use.
Both are based on jazz standards, and give Kingston's hippest studio cats a chance to work out on a couple of well loved themes.... a ska version Nat Adderley's immortal Work Song and Hey Train (which is not a cut of Duke Ellington's Take The A-train, but actually a ska makeover of Bobby Timmons' Moanin') are two recently unearthed gems from Jamaica's finest ska producer and will be filling floors at revive dances for years to come!
[ Sugar & Spice -14 Studio1 Rock Steady Sure Shots- ] V.A. Rock A Shacka, LP (Ska) (DBLP-020) (DBCD-020)
1. Soulful Music / The Invadors
2. Sugar & Spice / The Viceroys
3. Mojo Girl / Nora Dean
4. Happy Organ / Soul Vendors
5. Put It On / Jackie Mittoo
6. Rave All Night / The Termites
7. You're Gonna Lose / The Octaves
1. Mama Didn't Know / The Termites
2. I Make A Woman / Kingstonians
3. Mother Miserable / Kingstonians
4. Get A Lick / Bumps Oakley
5. Reel Up / The Wrigglers
6. Try A Little Tenderness / Joe White
7. Sure Shots / Jackie Mittoo
this is a compilation of some of the finest Soul Vendor-backed Rock Steady 45's from the blue Coxsone label era,featuring tracks which till now have only been available on extremely rare and hard to find original pressings.
Staring with Soulful Music,which provided the original rhythm for Freddie Mcregor's Bandulo,the collection also includes such London Collector session classics as Rave Allnight and I Make A Woman,as well as Jackie Mitto's cool instrumental Sure Shots,making this a compilation of some of the highest quality tracks Coxsone ever recorded.
Chris Lane from London's Fashion label provides the sleeve notes(Japanese translation by Kenichiro Takeda).
LP Comes with B-3 sized poster)
[ Cast Your Faith To The Wind / I'm The Greatest ] Tommy MCccook / Frank Cosmo Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBPB-14)
Kicking off with a beautiful and striking piano intro by Gladdy Anderson, this is a scorching Ska version of an instrumental jazz tune, featuring the Buster All Stars in full flow, led by bandmaster Tommy McCook and backed by Drumbago’s simple but driving drumbeat. The evening I first heard this tune, I couldn’t get the intro out of my head all night.
On the UK Blue Beat pressing, Monty Morris is incorrectly credited as the artist on I am the Greatest. But it is actually Frank Cosmo who features on this up-tempo Ska number with its impressive opening trumpet fanfare and Buster’s proclamation that, “I am the Greatest!” Frank Cosmo was active during the Ska era and recorded numerous tracks for Buster and Beverley’s, but I don’t know of any Rock Steady recordings by him.
[ Little Boy Blue / Come Get With Me ] Larry Marshall / Earnest Ranglin Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Rock Steady) (DBCS-15)
Along with Suspicion and Wooden Heart, this is one of Larry Marshall’s earliest recordings during the Rock Steady era. The evocative vocal harmonizing and heartbreaking melody make it perhaps the most beautiful and precious recording of all
[ Funky Jamaica / Closer Together ] Prince Buster Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Reggae) (DBPB-16)
Most likely released around 1971, this cover of Beginning of the End is a rare and wonderful excursion by Buster into funk, complete with funky-ass bassline. This is a boss tune guaranteed to have the floor jumping from the moment the needle drops.
The b-side features a tune covered by numerous singers, including Delroy Wilson, but this is possibly the first recording of it by a Jamaican artist. Buster’s sweet, gentle vocals are complimented beautifully by the harmony of the backing singers, which include Slim Smith (who would of course go on to make his own cut of this tune for Bunny Lee). Buster’s version is a superb cover of the Impressions’ classic track, recorded during the period when Rock Steady was evolving into Reggae.
[ Perhaps / Feel Like Jumping ] Roland Alphonso / Lee King Perry Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBPB-007)
[ Soulful Music / Last Waltz ]
The Invaders / Soul Vendors Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Rock Steady) (DBCS-006)
[ From RUssia With Love / Cleopatra ] R. Alphonso & Studio 1 Orch Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBCS-005)
Roland Alphonso’s Ska instrumental arrangement became a classic tune in its own right, exemplifying Jamaican music’s unparalleled ability to mould and successfully rework source material from almost any musical genre.
From the high-tension cymbal intro to the Eastern-infused flute and horn melody, Cleopatra on the b-side is an urgent, uncompromising Ska instrumental scorcher. Original coupling.
[ People Get Ready / Tropic Island ] The Minstrells / Jacie Mittoo Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Rock Steady) (DBCS-004)
Numerous Jamaican artists have covered this massive hit by the Impressions, but this cut must surely rank as one of the best. The Minstrels’ sweet vocal inducements to ride the Rock Steady train leave the listener with the distinct feeling that it really will take them to a land of happiness. Tropic Island on the b-side sees Jackie Mittoo’s tropical organ themes blend perfectly with the guitar riff to create a tuff Studio One-style Rock Steady rhythm. Listen out for the superb cameo by Vinnie’s trombone.
For this second in Rock A Shacka’s series of Studio One 7 inch releases, we decided to go with the theme of Rude Boys and hit cover songs.
[ Chain Gang / Rude Boy Charlie ] Jamaicans / Charley Organaire Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Ska) (DBCS-003)
The title of the tough Ska instrumental by Charley Organaire on the b-side of this release features the theme of rude boys (a concept that will be familiar to all lovers of 60s Jamaican music), while the a-side is a superb 1966 cover of Sam Cooke’s hit song Chain Gang performed for the benefit of rudies by the Jamaicans – an upcoming vocal group who had yet to make it big with their later hit Baba Boom. Best known for tracks such as In the Village and Little Holiday, Charley Organaire delivers a menacing harmonica solo on the b-side, which seems to embody all the danger and deprivation of the ghetto.
[ Give Me Little Sign / Summer Time ] Owen Gray / Roy Richards Rock A Shacka, LTD 7" (Rock Steady) (DBCS-002)
This Studio One release is a covers special, with Owen Gray’s killer vocal Rock Steady cut to Brenton Wood’s hit song on the a-side, and Gershwin’s classic Summer Time on the b-side. Summer Time is a standard number that has been covered by countless artists in the past, including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin. The version on this release is a heavy Rock Steady instrumental backed by the Soul Vendors with Roy Richards providing the melody on harmonica.