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Marvin Prophet, The 9 Feat. The studio bosses began to take notice. In the mid 70s, Channel One Studio did very well with a young and upcoming deejay with a piercing wit and an original style. When Dillinger came along, U Roy and I Roy were already well established and at the top of their field.
But Dillinger didnt pick either one as his teacher. Instead, he studied under Dennis Alcapone and came to sound a lot like him- at least in the beginning.
Born inLester Bullocks began hanging around the dancehall until, as a teenager, he got a break and started performing with El Brasso sound from McKoy Lane. The youth hung around El Paso sound doing anything that needed to be done. At times I had to lift the box because the boxman is not there and I just want to hear the sound play. It was the love of the music and [we wanted] the music start play. So, we do anything to let the sound play quick as possible.
Alcapone took the young deejay under his wing and began giving Dillinger a chance to be heard. I used to follow that sound. So, any time he take a break, went to smoke or get a drink, I would take the mic. Alcapone didnt offer direct instruction, and Dillinger, a natural at the microphone, didnt seem to need any. But he was the first guy who put a mic in my hand. He gave me the opportunity to build up my own craft, to expose myself. On some of his early recordings, Dillinger sounds uncannily like his elder.
But the young deejay didnt waste time in finding his own unique style. When I come in the business, they [deejays] were talking like Yea! Cause it was toasting when I come in the business. Man like U Roy, Dennis Alcapone, they used to toast. I come LP) like a sing-jay. The first number one, Woman then a locks and the man them a platrest a lickle while and make me show you me style Woman them a locks and he man them a plat.
Cha man! Little vignettes found within his songs offered a subtle but humorous slant on the society of the day. While most of the deejays in the 70s took Rastafarianism very seriously, and expressed these sentiments in their songs, Dillinger took a humorous, although always sympathetic, perspective. Natty swim ina the ital bath, Him dont go a sea cause the sea so salt, Natty dread find fault, say the sea too salt In The General Channel One Dillinger draws a lyrical picture of the Rastaman who doesnt eat meat or believe in death.
Natty Dread a the general Thats what him dont go a funeral Natty dally out a mineral fe wha? Fe go swim ina the river But Natty Dread dont shiver Cause him dont eat liver, Him a go swim ina the river, Simply because him live ya, you know Dillinger was a keen observer of life.
One of his biggest hits, CB Well Charged 7 inch,looked at the motorcycle craze that had taken over Kingston. It was a fashion in those times. In Jamaica, if you are going in the dance, you had a lot of bikes.
Sometimes you hardly have space to stand up because of the bikes; sometimes you lean on a bike muffler and it burn you because its hot. They would ride their bike to the dance, the girls in their shorts was on the back of the bike. They start with Honda 50, then they come with the S 90, thethe and they come down to the CB There was a lot of dread in the 70syou used to see riding. Thats where the inspiration come.
Although he would shout and wail like the best, Dillingers tone was often much calmer than his predecessors, at time, almost conversational. In Eastman Skank Channel Onewhen faced with a tense situation, he remains unruffled. Traveling from the west to the east, To go check Harry Geese To have a musical feast with my brand new release.
Yet, for all his restraint, Dillinger recorded some of the most intense deejay records of all time. Behind his calm reserve, he held a laser-likeability to focus pure energy in single word or phrase. With the quiver in his voice, Dillingers chant, Ethi-Ethi-opia, AddidsAddis-Ababa, brings the righteous wrath of Jah down on all evil doers. Deejay Trinity recalls, I was inspired by Big Youth.
Cause in those days, Big Youth usually chant, and I love chanting, cause chanting have a message. U Roy only have a sweet tone, and him have some nursery rhymes, some nice likkle [little] lyrics, but Big Youth usually have the revolution kind of style.
That was the style people wanted in the 70s as political changes moved the country closer to discord and disorder. The chanting style became the mark of the 70s deejay. Jah Stitch, another popular deejay from Big Youths area, would use a similar technique.
Stitchs hallmark was the quivering voice, the bible verses, the rhythmic monotone delivery. The effect of the slow, droning vocals over the dense, thickly layered rhythm tracks, was hypnotizing. Big Youth [used it] before U Roy. U Roy used to record for Treasure Isle. Nobody couldnt do no Rasta tune there. Treasure Isle [Duke Reid] was a police. So, nobody could do no Jah tune there. Everybody smoke weed down there. Reggae music really come with weed. Weed smoking and the Rastafarian consciousness were penetrating deep into the music.
The romantic rock steady period was over. Artists were taking up questions of black identity and looking toward Africa for solutions.
The music reflected the new, post independence, reality. People had seen their dreams evaporate and they were angry, frustrated and searching for solutions. All of which lead reggae to undergo seismic changes which affected the very core of the dancehall. The roots era had dawned and music was increasingly being used to impart a social, political or spiritual agenda.
In Jamaica, times were getting dread. In the 60s, when we celebrated our independence, when we came out of the colonial era, it was really nice, explains producer Clive Chin.
Its just that, after that 10 year stretch that just went past unnoticed, like the turn of a page - everything just started changing. People became more self conscious of who they are, what they were defending. The music started to change as well. There was a big change. The rock steady, which had that sweet melody, went by and the more political and social material came into effect.
In the 70s, life proved so difficult that many Jamaicans, including Clive and his family, moved to the U. Politics began to creep into every aspect of life in Jamaica, including music.
Deejay Dennis Alcapone was one of the many who, like the Chins, abandoned the country. At the time, Jamaica was just turning violent [due to] the political situation.
You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Better to be safe than sorry. So, when I came to England and see the situation here, and go to the dances and see that there was no shot firing and people would stay in the dance until six, seven in the morning.
It was a completely different situation, Tpying Youthman - Barry Brown - Step It Up Youthman (Vinyl know. Appealing to the downtrodden and disenfranchised, Manley had sought out the help of musicians in his campaign. Inner Circle, Jacob Millers band, supplied the music.
The charismatic Manley toured the countryside, and ventured deep into the inner city ghettos to spread the message of his party. Manley portrayed himself as the Biblical Joshua and carried a stick he referred to as the rod of correction. Claiming the rod has been given to him by the Emperor Haile Selassie, Manley courted the Rastafarian vote with considerable success. But the euphoria of the election victory quickly dampened as Jamaica began to confront some of its greatest challenges.
Manley was a strong supporter of Third World solidarity and aligned himself with Cuba and other revolutionary governments, something that set off alarms in Washington, still shaking from the Cuban Missile crisis. Jamaicas close proximity to Cuba was a concern, and the U. As Mark Wignall expressed it in The Jamaican Observer, In the mid to late s, at a time when Cold War tensions were being played out right across the globe between the U.
Guns began coming into the country. In the period leading up to the general elections, violence took off in earnest. It was LP) no secret that new guns had come upon the Jamaican landscape, and it was argued that the firepower of the JCF [Jamaica Defense Force] was inferior to those of the gunmen aligned to the political parties.
During the 70s, life in Jamaica was exactly the way it was described in so many songs from the period. People were suffering. Jobs were scarce, wages were low and essential goods were in short supply. Ininflation was running at The economy was unstable and factories were closing because the lack of foreign exchange made it impossible to buy parts and raw materials from abroad.
The middle class was leaving as quickly as they could find a way around the restrictions on taking money put of the country. Coxsone Dodd had to stop repressing his material in Jamaica and Jojo Hookim of Channel One had his import license reduced making it hard to get parts for his jukeboxes and gaming machines.
But when they arrived, they soon discovered that the infrastructure wasnt there. The farmers arriving daily in Kingston found that there was neither affordable housing nor land on which to build for themselves.
So, many made their homes squatting on what came to be known as capture lands, or in shantytowns where the dwellings were mere shacks, constructed with cardboard and zinc. These lawless lands appealed to the politicians who would go in with favors and easily buy control of the area. Or they could take down the whole thing and build up their own community to replace it. Between andEdward Seaga built Kingston West into a fortress, with a centerpiece in Tivoli Gardens, Jamaicas first government housing scheme, which he built on the bulldozed site of the then Kingston dumps and a dreadful area named Back o Wall.
The project supplied first jobs and then dwellings for supporters of JLP leader, Edward Seaga, who was running against Michael Manley in the elections. Public housing schemes became a powerful tool to manipulate the people.
Once built and filled with party supporters, that area could be counted on as a loyal constituency. These neighborhoods, once connected to politicians or a particular party, became known as Garrison Communities.
As singer Wayne Smith put it, In Jamaica, in those times, you know seh, if this side is PNP and this side is Laborite, most of the politicians would pay some guys over there right now to intimidate those people to vote for us. Kill them! Do anything! But make them vote for us. It was in these overcrowded ghettos that the trouble started. Often communities were only a few blocks wide making it hard for opponents to avoid each other.
Fear and hopelessness began to seep into the national psyche turning what was once a dream into a nightmare. In the early 70s, many people had climbed aboard the Manley bandwagon, believing that change was possible. But, when faced with continual interference by the U. Published: November 27, In 75, 76 the politics down there was getting a little bit out of hand. And that is one of the reasons we decided to set up a branch in New York in Clive Chin explains.
It was very tense. When you come down to Randys, North Parade, before you actually enter into the store, itself, from the sidewalk, you would see a long pole in the middle of the walkway. That pole never used to be there back in the 60s and early 70s. That pole was to guide the shutters. There were two shutters that came down in the evening to lock up the store. But the reason why we had to leave that pole in the middle was that, sporadically, there would be gunfire firing out from Hayward Street, Orange Street area, coming into Parade and in order for us to secure ourselves, we had to draw the shutters down quick.
In order to make sure that the shutters come down in time, we had to leave that pole in, to guide the shutters down. We saved a lot of lives inside that record store. The reach of politics extended even into the daily lives of even those who never gave political parties a second thought. They used to label you in them time there, recalls deejay Ranking Trevor. Cause the second owner [of the sound] was a politician from Jungle, one of the top guy, Tony Welch.
But because I was sparring with them, they start label the sound and label me, say me is a PNP. You have to be careful, cause in those days, those guys want to kill anybody. In that time it doesnt matter what, Selector and producer Jah Screw agreed. If they think that you are leaning. Because it takes nothing to think you are leaning to the next side. You have be careful if youre wearing green [the JLP color].
You have fe be careful if you wearing orange [the PNP color]. It was easy to get branded. Clive Chin remembers a close call he had. I walk up to the [counter] to take my order, two guy back me up. I dont know if they have guns or knife on them or whatever but I could see that they were politicians [people involved in politics].
So, them say Mr. Chin, what party the I defend? So I say, What? Me say, Party? Me nah defend no party. Me defend music. I am a producer. I am a musician. I produce music. So, him look pon me good to rahtid and he hear how me talk to him and him say to me, What happen? Me a beg you a money, ya know. So me say, Whatever money done left after I buy the chicken, you are welcome to it.
But this is how tense Kingston became. It became so tense that, bwoy, you just haf fe know where and where you walk. Sometimes, choosing a side was the only way to stay safe. So, you have the PNP people in the area used to drive round in the cars with the [megaphone] and say Wayne, Junior Leave out of Waterhouse! And then the JLP would come and say we must leave too [that] me and my brother Junior and my brother Christoph fe leave.
So, one of my brothers have to come out and turn a bad man for PNP. The vast majority of sounds were apolitical and carried entertainers of every social, political and religious group on the island, all together, united under music.
However, no matter what an individual deejays personal opinions may have been, sometimes circumstance called for him to bring the thorny topic of politics into his lyrics. Like when the sound was performing in an area with a distinct affiliation with one of the two major parties. How it would work, Jah Screw explains, when you was in an area, sometimes you have to take the chance and big up somebody in that area, because you have to do it.
For the time that you are there, you have to do something. You have to send out requests to everybody. You have to send out to Jim Brown. If youre in his area you have to say something. When you reach up a Jungle, you have to say, Yes, Mr. You have to. It was expected and it worked. Political lyrics were well received because they were so specifically local and aimed at the particular community.
Zaggaloo recalls, We keep a couple of dance out in Ashanti Junction and it was like that political. I was even talking to Sluggy Ranks and I tell him, When you singing, try sing anything thats talking about whats going on in the community and you will see how your song really reach out to more people than anything else. More people would more listen to songs like that, in those days. I dont know about now, because now is a different trend. But, in those days, it was more like, what is going on in your area you would deejay about.
They get a better response more that anything else. Whatever the sentiments of the sound owners or personnel, they had to go with the leanings of the particular area they were playing in, and that meant coming up with some pretty incendiary lyrics which could be seen as provocative.
Ranking Trevor recalls, I dont know how I do it all those years, cause so much guys did wan kill me. We had so much politician song, like you say, Two sheet of Gleaner fe go bun down Rema. LP) a cup fe go clap Up Massop. That way the other side wan kill you! Thats what we used to deejay. You have certain rhythms that you put lyrics on. But the guys them used to stay down a Rema love it. They used to say, Uuuuuhhhhh!
If I get a hold of Ranking Trevor, gonna blow off him head! But hes one of the greatest deejay. Him bad. Political lyrics were actually very common in the dance, despite the apparent dangers. He explained, You know, at the time, I was living in a PNP area, a PNP constituency, whatever time the PNP rally would be keeping, PNP meeting, they would call upon me, because I live in the community, to come and entertain the crowd that was there - either before or after the Minister make him speech.
So, I would go there and sing. I guess a LP) of guys do this in their communities. Peters brother, Squiddley Ranks could be quite outspoken with lyrics like, Wan Michael Manley pon the fifty dollar bill. Put the boy Seaga on the one cent He readily admitted that if you talked like that, You get branded as a PNP deejay with possible severe consequences.
Cause its a life and death thing when you sing like that. But, in those days I never really stray. Just stick to the area I come from. In those days, I dont go in a laborite area go deejay. Gemini dont play in laborite area them times. Sound systems came under tremendous pressure to play out in support of one side or the other.
Guys used to come to us and put gun to our head to go and play, Arrows owner, Sonny, remembers. That was before the peace treaty. Guys would come and demand us to play- showing up brandishing guns and all like that. We just say, OK no problem, you name the dance and well be there. Jah Screw remembers having to cancel a pre-booked date in order to take the sound down into Tivoli Gardens when one of the community leaders insisted.
We supposed to play by Macarthur Avenue and we couldnt play because they demanded the sound play down there [Tivoli]. We have to play because, I mean, we wasnt really into politics, but the whole of Jamaica use any little thing you say to brand you.
Ray Symbolic [the sound owner] come by my house and say, Bwoy, Screw, you have a career. You either have to think about your career or you going to finish with the whole businesses. So, the following day I decided to play [in Tivoli]. And we went down there and it was a roadblock, down there in the Center. And at that time I play about fifteen piece of Death in the Arena!
Everybody come along and I play for them. I have fe do what I have fe do, you know what I mean. The pressure was on the individual deejays, too. Deejay Crutches, who had carried Arrows through the 70s with his talent and dedication, was forced to leave indue to political friction.
Zaggaloo, the selector for Arrows, explains, Crutches couldnt play the set no more. Because the area where the sound come from, they said it was a PNP area. They say hes not to come around no more and all of that. Sonny and Bill [Arrows owners] wasnt really [happy] with that, and after while he just pull away from the set.
Still, singers and musicians were largely considered exempt. Most of my little friends them get dead, Wayne Smith recalls.
You have Tower Hill man a come over to Waterhouse, pure shot a fire that night there. While the shot them a fire, me come out and me say, Me live around here so me have to defend around here too. So, my brother look pon me and say, No, man. You are a singer. Go on in back! So them time there, me did a try. But me breddah say, You a singer, you cool Singer Sammy Dread was once the victim of a notorious kidnapping. Those times, I used to sing but I never really used to go and hang out because of how the politics was going on.
Early one Sunday morning, three gunmen juke me down and take me to Rema and was going to kill me. Luckily, someone who recognized him as a singer arrived in Tpying Youthman - Barry Brown - Step It Up Youthman (Vinyl and they let him go.
In the 30 years since, he has never set foot in Jamaica. Singer Anthony Redrose moved from Spanishtown to Waterhouse and found that, despite the bad reputation of both areas, as an artist, he was safe.
In those days nobody na kill no singer. And nobody na shoot no singer. Them love you. From them find out a you can sing and a you sing that song there, them honor you.
From you sing songs, you can go anywhere. Safe passage. And you no need nobody to walk with you. Them nowadays people are different. Them no care. Them man a go rob you. Them want your things that you sing and work for. But back in the 70s and 80s, music was the one thing that could cross borders and unite fellow Jamaicans. Black Scorpio All Stars Vol. Freedom Of Speech LP.
Pretty Pretty 12". It May Sound Silly 12". Hot Stuff 12", Single. Sound Boy Killing 12". Drop It Cool 12". Look Into Yourself 12". Zion In A Vision 12". No Ninja No Buju 12". Cold Blooded Murderer 12". Mi Hot LP, Album. Time To Unite 12". Boy Back Off 7". Waar, Waar, Waar 7". Gal Pickney Run Things 7".
Make Up My Mine 7". I Want You 7". Nah Try 7". Na Na Moo Nus 7". Study Me 7". Blow Dem 7". Bunny Rugs Feat. Sean Paul. Now That We Found Love 7". Kill Dem 7". Come Again 7", Single. Rudie Don't Fear 7". Spread The Love 7", RE. Four Wet Rat 7". Apologise 7". Sad Situation 7".
Call Me 7". Don't Dis The Dance 7". Open Book 7". Baby Lets Talk 7". Right Blen 7". I Am So Glad 7". See Dem Coming 7". Bad Bad Gilbert 7". Bawl Fe More 7". Gal Yuh Superior 7". Love Me Baby 7". Greatest Love Of My Life 7". Tarzan 7". Let Me Love You Down 7". Romance For The Moment 7". Whip Appeal 7".
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