STRAIGHT OUTTA TRENCHTOWN
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1975-1980 - Makasound - studio - discs:1
"Knowledge" are Anthony "Tum Knowledge" Doyley (1955), Michael "Mikey Beard Knowledge" Smith (1956), Earl "Rockman" McFarlane (1950 - 1981), Michael "I Lux" Samuels (1955 - 1987) and Delroy "Bronco" Fawlin (1956). Harmony group and at the same time hightly independent voices, Knowledge knew very well what is Roots music. Their story begins in 1974 in Trench Town's First Street. Michael Smith and Anthony Doyley decided to form a group. With Smith on guitar and Doyley writing most of their songs, they were soon joyned by McFarlane, Samuels and Fawlin (all friends from Trench Town). Four years later (1978) Tapper Zukie produced their first set called "Hail Dread" (tracks recorded in 1977), partially reissued in 1990 as "Word Sound & Power". Zukie stated that he wanted to do something for the community that somehow adopted him, and Knowledge seemed the right group to help emerge. In 1978 they recorded their second album called "Judgement", which was released in 1980. "Strive For The Highest", their third set, was released in 1987 in a limited edition. Sadly in the meanwhile McFarlane and Samuels were murdered in their own community. Soon after Magnus Skeen and William McLaren joyned Knowledge, but the latter was also killed in Trenchtown in 1999. After these events Anthony Doyley released a solo album in 1995 called "Stumbling Block". This is in a few lines Knowledge' story. The present unmissable "Straight Outta Trenchtown" set is actually a compilation from the French Makasound label. The first five tracks ("Whats Yours", "Sentry", "Population" - extended version, "Hail Dread" - extended version and "Fools And Their Money") come from the "Hail Dread" set. The first song was recorded at the legendary Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark and later voiced and mixed at King Tubby's, with Zukie featured. The other four were recorded at Channel One and voiced and mixed at King Tubby's by the great Scientist and Prince Jammy. The players were: Max Edwards (drums), Fully Fullwood (bass), Earl "Chinna" Smith (guitar) and Vin Gordon (trombone). The following five songs ("Let Us All" - extended version, "Those Who Pretend", "Judgment", "Dreadlocks Time" and "Camouflage") come from the "Judgement" set. These tracks were recorded at Channel One and voiced and mixed at Harry J's Studio by Sylvan Morris. The players were: Santa Davis and Sly Dunbar (drums), Fully Fullwood (bass), Earl "Chinna" Smith (lead guitar), Michael "Pep" Chin (rhythm guitar), Ansel Collins (organ), Dean Fraser (horns) and Scully Simms & Sky Juice (percussions). The final track of the compilation is "Give I And I Some Work" - extended version. This track with a highly submerged Nyahbingi base, features an incredible cello played by Robbie Shakespeare. Recorded at Channel One Studio in 1980, this is some kind of a mistery track (see the Note below). Yardie-Reggae.com secret policy asks for being very careful when the time comes to rate a compilation: it is easy to put together the best tracks from different albums. Let us say that "it should be easy", but there are so many useless compilations around to prove that the compilers were not able to reach the task. At the end "Straight Outta Trenchtown" is with no doubts a heavy Roots fuelled compilation: five stars indeed. Its name was perfecly concieved by the compilers, Nicolas Maslowski and Romain Germa (Makasound label). "Straight Outta Trenchtown" delivers some strong music by which I hope you will feel the right vibes, as I did. Bless Knowledge for the Roots!
Note: The the final track "Give I And I Some Work" is an extended version. The CD's sleeve states a 8:19 length. Playing it on my device it actually ends there but after almost one minute (to be more precise when the player shows 9:28) the music starts again. "Whats Yours" starts again (it seems the same opening track of the disc but is not), but things does not end here. Straight after, with no interruption at 12:42 (exactly 9:28 plus the 3:14 of the original track), in a showcase style "Whats Yours" follows in its Dub version. Mistake or Easter egg? This hidden gift is a masterpiece!
1. Whats Yours
3. Population (Extended Version)
4. Hail Dread (Extended Version)
5. Fools And Their Money
6. Let Us All (Extended Version)
7. Those Who Pretend
9. Dreadlocks Time
11. Give I And I Some Work (Extended Version) - Please read the note above