JOHNNY CLARKE (b. 1955 - )
DREADER DREAD 1976 - 1978
* * * * /1976 - 1978 - Blood and Fire - studio - discs: 1
The producer Bunny "Striker" Lee was a major force in the mid 70's when it was time to "version" old material and make it shine again. Lee's drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis developed an unique way to play his instrument. What emerged was called the "Flying cymbals" sound. The "hi-hat" cymbal of the drums was put in evidence with great pleasure from the dancers in the venues. Johnny Clarke (1955 - Whitfield Town, Kingston) was Lee most succesful vocalist. Under his supervision, Clarke updated Studio One and Tresure Isle Rocksteady tracks in a beautiful and often new way. More than this, it must be said that Clarke can be considered the first Dancehall singer. This collection of works with Bunny Lee as producer (with the exception of "African Roots" produced by Clarke), presents his most important hits for Lee when the sound was changeing from Rockers to the Steppers phase. The compilation opens with "Top Ranking (I'm Thetoughest)", written by Peter Tosh and recorded, voiced and mixed at Randy's by Clive Chin. Follows "In The Roots Of The Ghetto", recorded at Dynamic and voiced and mixed at King Tubby's. The third track is "Live Up Jah Man", recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. The following track is called "Love Up Your Brothers And Sisters" (extended version), again a song recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. Follows "African People" recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. The sixth track is the deep strong Roots "Dread A Dread", again recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. The following song is the best collected here. "Fire & Brimstone A Go Burn The Wicked", with its deep and slow engaging Roots, is a great gem from Clarke. The song was recorded at Joe Gibbs and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. The eighth track is "African Roots" (extended version), another strong song recorded and voiced at Channel One and mixed at Tubby's. The nineth song is "Roots Natty", recorded, voiced and mixed at Channel One. Follows the five stars quite fast "Every Knee Shall Bow" (extended version), recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. The eleventh track is called "Play Fool Fe Get Wise", again a song recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. Follows "Age Is Growing", again a track recorded at Dynamic and voiced and mixed at King Tubby's by Prince Jammy. The compilation closes with "Time Will Tell" (that gem from Bob Marley) again a song recorded at Harry J's and voiced and mixed at Tubby's. With the Roots gems presented here, the "Dreader Dread 1976-1978" compilation in somehow unmissable to understand what Johnny Clarke's style represented during the second half of the 70's.
A RUFFER VERSION - AT KING TUBBYS 1974-1978
* * * *1974 - 1978 - Trojan - studio - discs: 1
This strong twentythree tracks compilation contains some interesting material from Mr. Johnny Clarke mixed at King Tubby's Studio and it covers the period from 1974 to 1978. The tracks presented here were recorded at: Channel One, Dynamics, Harry J, Randy's and Treasure Isle Studios. As previously stated all the tracks were mixed at King Tubby's place and the engineers were: Lloyd "Prince Jammy" James, Pat Kelly, Osbourne "King Tubby" Ruddock and Phillip Smart. Needless to say all these people were first class studio experts. The first time Johnny recorded at King Tubby's was after Rupie Edwards produced his 1972 hit "Everyday Wondering", which is not present here. The great Bunny "Striker" Lee was just back from London when he decided to re-record a track sung by Earl Johson: "None Shall Escape The Judgement". He choosed that Clarke had the right melodic voice to version that song and quickly brought him at Treasure Isle to record it with his classic "flying cymbals" touch. There is a very interesting story about this special sound. It seems that it all started with this session. Before the recording there was some warm up and the drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis started to play the beat off with his cymbals. Bunny Lee stopped the player and asked him to keep playing that way for the whole session. That's it: a pure off beat became a trademark! That song was released in spring 1974 and Johnny started his career greately and properly. The following years were permeated by Lee's tracks sung by Clarke, Cornell Campbell, Delroy Wilson and Linval Thompson. Johnny Clarke kept recording for the following years gaining huge success both on love songs and Roots based ones. All that material was mixed at the Dromilly Avenue studio of King Tubby. This compilation covers the most interesting material managed by Tubby and they attempt to picture out the golden era of Clarke career. More than that most of the songs presented here have the alternate version. A lot of classics and some very strong gems!