yardie's reggae collection - artist page



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1978-1979 - Blood and Fire - studio - discs:1

Willi Williams' "Messenger Man" is his self produced debut album. But he started to sing many years before. In the late 60's the recorded "Calling" for Coxsone Dodd and in 1969 he established his "Soul Sounds" label. Under this label he started to produce artists as Delroy Wilson, The Versatiles (when Junior Byles had already left the group) and some early material from what will become The Wailers, Rhythm Force. By the mid 70's Williams began residing in Toronto, Canada, without breaking his contacts with Kingston. The main link was the piano player Jackie Mittoo. During the 70's they shared a lot of recording sessions together. The main track here was written by both. Later the same will be re-recorded together as "Rocking Universally" (this song appears here too). This set is very meditative. Williams himself states that the wanted "a rootical angle" as approach. And with no doubts he reached his target all along this whole album. The original set presents nine tracks. The tracks are: "I Man", "No Hiding Place", "Valley Of Jeshosephat", "Rocking Universally - Armagideon Style", "Messenger Man", "Slave", "Give Jah Praise", "Dungeon" and "Zion Town". All of them deliver a special deep and thoughtful Roots vibe. "Dungeon" is about herb and Babylon, "Zion Town" wants to assure the bredren and sistren about Rastafari, "Valley of Jehosephat" speaks about the hard times in Jamaica in the mid 70's. This is really Conscious Reggae twenty years before the message from the young generation came up. This album was recorded at Channel One (Kingston), Joe Gibbs (Kingston) and Summer Sound (Toronto, Canada). The list of the players includes: Carlton "Santa" Davis, Anthony Benbow Creary and Derrick Stewart (drums), Lloyd Parks, Jah Les and Astley George "Fully" Fullwood (bass), Carl Harvey and Eric "Bingy Bunny" Lamont (lead guitar), Tony Chin and Tony Dread (rhythm guitar), Tony White, Bobby Kalphat and Jackie Mittoo (piano), Bobby Kalphat and Tony White (organ), Fitty and Demo Cates (horns), Herman "Bongo Herman" Davis, Bongo Gene and Willie Williams (percussions). The album was engineered by Errol Thompson, Crucial Bunny (also known as Anthony Graham, Bunny Graham, Bunny Tom Tom), Maxie (also known as Lancelot 'Les' McKenzie, Maximillian), Jerry Lion and Ruddy Thomas. Blood and Fire label presents the set with some seven bonus tracks as Dub versions. If I should play this album for an audience I would start with the Dubs. Not because they are better than the originals, but because they are a perfect introduction to them. Enjoy bredren an sisters.

1. Messenger Man
2. Slave
3. Give Jah Praise
4. Dungeon
5. Zion Town
6. I Man
7. No Hiding Place
8. Valley Of Jehosephat (Extended Version)
9. Rocking Universally (Armagideon Style)
10. Messenger Man Version
11. Slave Dub
12. Give Jah Praise Version
13. Dungeon Dub
14. Zion Town Dub
15. I Man Version
16. No Hiding Place Version
17. Universal Dub



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1978 (?)-1984 (?) - Smugg - studio - discs:1

This set is a compilation of material taken from different sources. I tried hard to get all the informations available, as the name of the original record and year of recording, but some songs are still obsure. At least for me. I suppose that those songs are singles or previously unreleased tracks. Five songs are taken from the "Roots & Culture" set (1984?) which contains material from Williams and Barry Brown. One song comes from "Armagideon Time" (1982). One song comes from "Messenger Man" (1980). One song ("Don't Let I Down") is an alternate version of "Zion Town". One song is taken from the "From Studio One To Drum Street Vol 2" compilation. About the remaining seven songs I was not able to get any informations. Even if the booklet lacks any useful notice, this is a quite interesting compilation. Some songs lack of sound quality. As expected the music is pure Roots, with that misty atmosphere tipical of Williams. The best songs is "Rock On". But the gem is for sure "Solid", a mesmeric slow and jazzy song that musically is near to Delroy Washington' mood.


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yardie-reggae.com - 2007