Genre: Reggae / Roots & Culture / Hard-Hitting Rhythms / Deep Roots / Channel One Recordings / King Tubby Recordings / Sly & Robbie

'Classic Channel One DJ LP. We recommend pretty much anything with Ranking Dread's name on it. Some heavyweight tunes! Some massive, dread tunes on side B by Massive Dread.'

'Errol Codling or Ranking Dread was a Jamaican reggae deejay who grew up in the Kingston ghettos of Rema and Tivoli. He became famous for his work with the Ray Symbolic sound system in the 1970s. His later years in the UK and North America were dogged by legal issues.'

'Massive Dread was a singer, a community leader and a true soldier who was very respected in Trench town. In January 1995  his voice was tragically silenced for good when gunman shot him 9 times as he stood in his doorway. He was a huge figure in the community and his funeral a big event that was attended by hundreds of people from the area.'

'b. Dennis James, c.1960, Trenchtown, Jamaica, West Indies. James began his career in 1982 touring with Byron Lee And The Dragonaires, which led to an appearance at the Jamaican Reggae Sunsplash show. His live appearances culminated in the Crazy Jim show, where he introduced the new DJ style that became known as ‘bubbling’ to an ecstatic audience. A adherent of the concept of leaving the audience ‘wanting more’, he withdrew from appearing on the live circuit. His reputation grew and he was soon recording for a number of Jamaican producers, including Tommy Cowan’s first wife, Valerie, at Music Mountain. He enjoyed his greatest achievements as a recording artist with Winston ‘Pipe’ Matthews and Lloyd ‘Bread’ McDonald of the Wailing Souls. The vocal group, like so many other reggae performers, focused their aims towards both artistic and financial independence by establishing their own record label. The Upfront Organisation released his version of the Wailing Souls’ ‘Things And Time’ as ‘Nice Dem Up’ as well as ‘One Way’, ‘Just Cool Melba’ and the Jamaican chart-topping ‘This Is Massive’. The Wailing Souls were asked to perform ‘Things And Time’, for UK’s Tyne Tees Television, which was included in a documentary of Jamaican music for The Tube. The programme also featured a rare performance from Massive Dread in his riding hat, worn in recognition of the then current craze of the jockey-ride dance. He performed at the Valentines dance alongside Yellowman, Eek A Mouse, Buro Banton and Billy Boyo at Aces. The DJs appeared as a showcase of the Volcano sound system’s top performers under the guiding light of Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes. In 1984, the hits continued with ‘Young Gal No Sell Your Body’ and ‘Justice Love And Harmony’ lifted from his second album. Following his association with Volcano, Massive Dread joined the Metro Media sound where he performed alongside Peter Metro and Zu Zu. He also recorded for the Canadian produced King Culture with the 12" disco »Soca Massive« on the Rose Bud label. In November 1993 Massive Dread among others started working on the Trenchtown Reading Centre - a community project designed to improve literacy and learning for the children of Trenchtown. The reading centre was completed in December and Massive Dread entertained at the opening as a deejay and selector. In 1994 Massive Dread was shot. He was supposedly murdered for publicly speaking out against the political authorities.

In 2006 the label Silver Kamel (formerly known as Silver Camel) released a split album with Ranking Dread and Massive Dread featuring mostly unreleased material produced by Tapper Zukie.' -Biography by AllMusic

'SILVER KAMEL is pleased to announce the release of several previously unreleased trax from two of reggaes enigmatic performers: Ranking Dread and Massive Dread. While very little is known of these two artists it is known that whenever and wherever they performed it was to ecstatic crowds. 2 Rudebwoys growing up in the tough and often dangerous ghetto of Trenchtown, Jamaica, both growing up in the same area and both knowing Bob Marley and probably knew most of the other stars of reggae when reggae was in it's infancy back in the '60s. Very little is known of RD and MD and there are very few recordings from either artist available to the public. Yet if you talk to people who knew and have seen them perform they will tell you they were great and were popular with the dancehall crowd. RD got himself into more than a few brushes with the authorities and ended up on the run, eventually being extradited from Canada and imprisoned in Jamaica where he was killed. MD and a group of men got together and organized and setup a not for profit school called "The Trenchtown Reading Centre" to address the needs of the community - it provided basic schooling and vocational programs, a youth club, and a library. The centre opened December 1993 and has thrived over the years and expanded but sadly MD has not seen the success of his work as he was also killed, probably due to political violence which was rampant in Jamaica. The music and lyrics herein give some insight into the lives of these two men, these two talented artists who left so little yet so much behind....'

1. Ranking Dread - Satta 3:51
2. Ranking Dread - Woman Lover [Featuring – Horace Andy] 3:53
3. Ranking Dread - Dread In Loving 3:29
4. Ranking Dread - Dread Inna Captivity [Featuring – Cornell Campbell] 2:43
5. Ranking Dread - First Love [Featuring – Hortense Ellis] 5:05
6. Ranking Dread - Something On His Mind [Featuring – Horace Andy] 2:38
7. Massive Dread - Tappa Roots 3:00
8. Massive Dread - No More To Row 4:13
9. Massive Dread - Brutality [Featuring Horace Andy] 7:13
10. Massive Dread - Morgan The Pirate 3:07
11. Massive Dread - Understand 3:49
12. Massive Dread - Melody Of Love 3:47

Companies, etc.
Label – Silver Kamel   
Recorded At – Channel One Recording Studio 1979-1980
Recorded At – King Tubby's Studio
Mixed At – King Tubby's Studio

Backed By: Revolutionaries, Aggrovators
Bass – Robbie Shakespeare
Drums – Carlton Davis, Sly Dunbar
Guitar – Chinna Smith
Horns – Bobby Ellis, Tommy McCook
Keyboards – Keith Sterling
Percussion – Scully
Producer – Tappa Zukie


ranking dread kunta kinte roots rare reggae lp

'Ranking Dread is a mythological character in the reggae industry and his story is a real wild one. He was probably born in 1955 and in his late teens he was involved in political activism for Jamaican Labour Party (JLP). He was soon involved in several incidents with the law and escaped from Kingston to London where he started a musical career.

Unfortunately a life of crime seemed more lucrative for Ranking Dread and his musical output evaporated in the early 80s. He is rumoured to have run a criminal empire in the 80s and he lived in the U.S. and Canada for a while. He probably died in a Jamaican prison in 1996, but this is not confirmed.

Ranking Dread lived the life of a bonafide gangster and has been charged with murder, possession of illegal firearms, armed robbery and possession of drugs. A shame. Because he was a real talent in the studio and his relaxed, yet lively, style of deejaying has made him a musical giant.'

Ranking Dread (b. either Winston Brown or Robert Blackwood) grew up in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica. He became famous for his work as a deejay with the sound Ray Symbolic in the 70's. By the mid 80's he had released three critically acclaimed deejay albums (the first two being produced by Linval Thompson, a dub record and a whole heap of discos and singles for various producers such as Sugar Minott, Dennis Brown, Junior Delgado, Errol Dunkley and of course himself. His biggest hit, Fattie Boom Boom, topped the charts in 1981 with its humorous lyrics about over sized women. After that he seemingly disappeared and sought a criminal career. Ranking Dread was, under the name of Bowyark, known to be one of Englands most dangerous yardies. He was presumably murdered by poison in prison 1996.

Label: Burning Rockers ‎– BS 1037, Burning Rockers ‎– BS1037
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: UK
Released: 1979
Genre: Reggae
Style: Roots Reggae

a  mellow rip (new improved rip)

A1 Kunta Kinte Roots 3:59
A2 Leaving Out Of Babylon 3:49
A3 Black Starlina 3:39
A4 Poor Glory 3:27
A5 Run Them Jaha 3:48
B1 Nursery Rhyme 3:02
B2 Rainy Night In London 3:17
B3 Natty Way Of Living 3:13
B4 Melting Pot 3:32
B5 Give Praise First 3:28


A nice little compilation in the showcase style with awesome deejaying and heavy dubs.

'He was a bad, bad boy, but he was good to his Nanny and his Mammy.'

'shall we then set aside his murderous criminal activities and his inglorious demise in prison, and allude to what he gave to the dancehall? good, because this is a very impressive compilation of six 12" singles, a-sides and b's, and generally an excellent slice of some of the greatest dancehall material. these 'most wanted' albums from greensleeves rarely disappoint, and tend to lean on 12"/extended mixes for content. this is a great variant on purely album or 7" versions, and an accurate demonstrator of the times covered.
many and varied are the backing musicians and the producers on these recordings, but the unifying factor of the opening 6 tracks is the relentless flow of classic track followed by heavyweight dub x 3. quality. this leads us to the weakest track, 'if nanny was here', which is a bit too 'coward of the county' for my taste, but the accompanying dub is superb, a real loungey soul dub. things pick up with the earnest 'my mammy'. he couldn't quite do sentiment or 'maudling' like eek-a mouse can (but indeed, who can?), but this is sincere enough, the album veering to it's end via 'jean green' and dub which are more in line with the collection's first few tracks, ie cracking stuff.' -Tech XXIII

'Fattie Boom Boom', the latest release in Greensleeves 'Most Wanted' series, is dedicated to the limited oeuvre of rub-a-dub deejay, rudeboy and notorious gangster Ranking Dread. Although 'Fattie Boom Boom' counts just six tracks and an equal number of dub versions, this is one of the most interesting releases the Greensleeves label has offered us this year. Ranking Dread was without any doubt one of the most talented deejays of his generation and with this compilation the evidence is there for all to discover. Ranking Dread aka Errol Codling aka Robert Blackwood was deported from the United Kingdom in 1988 and was never again involved in the music business after that. Most wanted indeed!

'The Greensleeves ''Most Wanted'' series continues with a fantastic collection of tracks from Ranking Dread who released five 12" singles on Greensleeves from 1981-1982. All are compiled here for the first time alongside five heavyweight dub versions that appeared on the B-sides of the original 12'' pressings.

Ranking Dread grew up in the Jamaican ghettos of Rema and Tivoli and started his career on the Ray Symbolic sound system in the 70s before making his name as a top ranking DJ and producer with recordings alongside Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Tappa Zukie, Errol Dunkley, Cornel Campbell and Junior Delgado.

Ranking Dread had a huge hit with "Love a Dub" and later hit the UK Top 25 in 1981 with the huge hit "Fattie Boom Boom" which sold 13,000 copies.

All the tracks featured on this compilation were produced by Ranking Dread, with the exception of "Jean Green" which was produced by Henry ''Junjo'' Lawes and feature the talents of Sly & Robbie, Roots Radics, Jackie Mittoo and Scientist.'

1.  Ranking Dread - Fattie Boom Boom 5:21
2.  Sly - Dub Boom 5:23
3.  Ranking Dread - Love A Dub 4:58
4.  Jackie Mittoo/Roots Radics Band - Dub A Dub 5:08
5.  Ranking Dread - Shut Me Mouth 7:37
6.  Ranking Dread - Shut Up Shut Up 3:58
7.  Ranking Dread - If Nanny Was Here 6:38
8.  Horsemouth - Nanny Was Here 5:11
9.  Ranking Dread - My Mammy 6:46
10.  Ranking Dread All Stars - Mammy Mammy 6:25
11.  Ranking Dread - Jean Green 3:44
12.  Roots Radics - Jean Green Dub 4:00

Originally released in 1981-1982.

Track 1 and 2 taken from Fattie Boom Boom. Mixed at King Tubby's.
Track 3 and 4 taken from the original of Love A Dub.
Track 5 and 6 taken from Shut Me Mouth. Recorded at Tuff Gong.
Track 7 and 8 taken from If Nanny Was Here / Nanny Was Here.
Track 9 and 10 taken from My Mammy. Rhythm laid at Channel One. Mixed at Easy Street, London.
Track 11 and 12 taken from Jean Green. Mixed at Channel One.


Pure gold from the vaults!

"20 rare 12" cuts from the Burning Sounds reggae vault, released on a double-CD package for the first time. Includes singles and their dub versions from Barrington Levi, Dawn and Christine, The Heptones, Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson and more."

The disco music craze in New York of the mid-1970s gave more or less birth to the 12inch single format. Tom Moulton (in reggae communities ‘cursed’ for his remixes of The Wailers’ Studio One songs) is usually credited for introducing the 12inch. The superior sound quality -improved dynamics, better bass, and treble frequencies, increased playing time- made it the standard format for the clubs. The first commercial 12inch was Double Exposure’s Ten Percent released in 1976 on Salsoul Records.

In Jamaica, the 7inch was the leading format in the record industry, while most LP’s usually were compilations of proven hits. In 1976 owners of the Channel One studio, the Hookim brothers Jo Jo and Ernest, were the first to release a 12inch. It was The Jayes with Truly, an updated take of Marcia Griffiths’ Studio One Hit. The increased sound quality and length of the 12inch proved to be perfect for the deep bass sounds of reggae music. It also gave space for adding deejay version as well as dub workouts or more vocal cuts of one riddim. Due to the vinyl shortage and high prices of the 12inch, the format didn’t become as popular as outside Jamaica. For the next 10 years, the ‘disco 45’ would stay the leading format on the UK and US reggae/dancehall scene.

In the 1970s Burning Sounds was situated in Harrow Road, in the center of West London’s vibrant West Indian community. The company had started as a retail outlet and licensing firm. When they also became a distribution center they started manufacturing their own 12inches. Eventually, they moved to Ireland where they began trading as FORM, Federation Of Reggae Music. More than 40 years later Secret Records presents this awesome collection of ten disco 45’s in digital clarity.

The ‘mellow canary’ Barrington Levy is present with no less than three 12inches here. He’s captured at the beginning of his career in combination with one of Jamaica’s most successful and influential producers, Junjo Lawes. Shine Eye Gal opens the first cd. The song is based on Get In The Groove from The Heptones, but what a scorcher this tune is! It comes complete with the deejay version from Jah Thomas. The flipside features Scientist who takes the dub version to higher heights! Jah Thomas is also the deejay on Hunting Man aka Bounty Hunter with Scientist at the controls and Lawes Rockers aka Roots Radics as musicians. The 3rd tune is Moonlight Lover, a decent remake of the Joya Landis’ hit at Treasure Isle.

The other two 12inches explore conscious themes. Linval Thompson produced the female duo Dawn and Christine’s Holy Mount Zion. It’s a solid roots rocker with firm backing by The Revolutionaries. Next comes Delroy Washington with Memories. He hails from Westmoreland, Jamaica and moved with his family to London in the early 1960s. He became a valued singer in the UK reggae scene. His love song Memories is a decent uptempo tune, but the flipside Rasta Roots is a sure shot winner! Check the combination of the fragile vocal delivery by Everard Thompson and the deejay Superstar! Instant rewind!

CD 2 kicks off with two Delroy Wilson tunes. We’re pretty sure that Love Got Me Doing Things is the 1974 version he did for Phil Pratt. The tune has a funky vibe, not much heard in the late 1970s. Go Away Little Girl is his rendition of the US pop hit from the 1960s. A firm rockers riddim sets the stage for Eddie Scorcher’s roots tune Equality And Justice, produced by Linval Thompson. Great remake of a tune by The Paragons! It’s followed by the deejay version from Ranking Dread. On the flipside is an appropriate dub version. One of the many standout tracks is Errol Dunkley/Ranking Dread – Holding On. Awesome dubbed roots tune! Check Ken Boothe’s You’re No Good for the same riddim.

Fungai Malianga’s efforts are funk/soul/disco flavored pieces, not really our cup of tea. The last 12inch, also a Phil Pratt production, features the Crown Prince of Reggae in formidable shape. His early 1970s song Let Love In is a classic from a very young Dennis Brown. The extended version is a true killer! The masters of harmony, The Heptones, revisit Smokey Robinson’s Swept For You Baby with verve and conviction. Seems they misspelled the title, the original is called Sweat For You Baby. -by Teacher at Reggae Vibes

Disc 1
1. Barrington Levi - Shine Eye Gal 6:59
2. Barrington Levi - Shine Eye Gal (Dub Version) 4:28
3. Barrington Levi And Jah Thomas - Hunting Man 8:03
4. Lawes Rockers - Hunting Man (Dub Version) 3:49
5. Barrington Levi And Jah Thomas - Moonlight Lover 8:26
6. Lawes Rockers - Moonlight Lover (Dub Version) 6:40
7. Dawn and Christine - Holy Mount Zion 6:44
8. Dawn and Christine - Holy Mount Zion (Dub Version) 6:45
9. Delroy Washington And Jah Son - Memories 6:52
10. Everard Thompson and Superstar - Rasta Roots 6:50

Disc 2
1. Delroy Wilson - Love Got Me Doing Things 3:51
2. Delroy Wilson - Go Away Little Girl 4:45
3. Eddie Scorcher - Equality and Justice 5:46
4. Eddie Scorcher - Equality and Justice (Dub Version) 5:46
5. Errol Dunkley And Ranking Dread - Holding On 7:19
6. Errol Dunkley And Ranking Dread - Ranking Dub 4:10
7. Fungai Malianga - Finsbury Park Party 6:01
8. Fungai Malianga - Things We Said Today 6:09
9. The Heptones - Swept for You Baby 5:27
10. Dennis Brown - Let Love In 4:08


Early 80's roots and dub. Heavier than heavy. Several rare tunes.

'granted, i’m not the swiftest when using the “search” function, but did try and see if anyone (most likely jah bill) had posted a heads up on this cd, but couldn’t see anything said about it, even though it looks like it’s been available for a few years. sorry if i’m repeating a recommendation, but this music is crucially crucial.

this silver kamel release is upper deck, musically, which is really the heart of the matter. it could use some respectable bio/liner notes, and the cover as well as the title could definitely use improvement, but nonetheless, i recommend this one for sure. currently i'm grooving on the mighty threes cuts; i'd never noticed just how much they can sound like the wailing souls, but they sure do.

i also love that all the cuts are discomix style, with vocals, dj versions and even dubs all mixed nicely into one track.' -mosquito killer

'Despite the extremely kitchy artwork, this is one of the most exciting reissued compilations over the past years. In fact, the dull title and the ugly cover kept my interest away from this one until I read an enthusiastic review about it, and since then I play those tracks at least once a week. These are quite some gems of the rockers/steppers era, presented in crisp audio quality and with exciting ultra-extended versions - in most cases vocal version, deejay version and dub version all lined up in a long spaced-out extravaganza.

This compilation makes you realize a lot of peculiar yet crucial aspects of reggae music. So the relation between vocal and deejay versions as between church service and sermon - between abstract thought/dogma and concrete conclusion. This point gets illustrated, for example, by track 2 - first Philip Fraser makes a straight reasoning about "bad boys" a.k.a. gangsters and how their "days have been numbered", and then Peter Ranking and General Lucky conclude their patented recipe to avoid troublemakers - to put trust in Jah guidance, and this while also taking time to put up some funny metaphors and boast with their new Clark's boots. The dub version then gives, so to say, room for thought.

Musically, the compilation shows the amazingly ahead-of-its time sound approach of end-70s reggae productions. Just skip into track 1 after 4 minutes and you'll land up in moody 4/4 beat-ridden house-esque soundscapes, and all this produced without any digital equipment whatsoever; the drums aren't even loops. I've played this tracks to several electronic music heads and they were amazed that reggae can do such a sound-effort.

Every track here is a gem and a must-hear not only for people who think they know everything about reggae, but basically everyone with interest in music whatsoever. There was hardly any other record recently that made such an impact on me as a reggae lover.' -killaswitch

'In the sound systems and clubs both in Jamaica and abroad, the arrival of the 12" "disco mix" in the mid-'70s was met with delight, as songs now seamlessly spun from vocal numbers into instrumental dubs and/or DJ versions. Modern compilations have made many of these extended mixes available again today, but rarities still abound, with Silver Kamel bringing together eight excellent, exceedingly hard to find classics. The set is all pure culture, but bounces around between time, producer, and artists, with the party kicking off with earliest of the batch. Cornel Campbell's "I Heart Is Clean" was released in 1976, with the backing Aggrovators strutting their stuff across the instrumental "Zinc Fence." There's a forceful rockers revelation from producer Niney Holness. The Soul Syndicate band back Phillip Fraser across two powerful numbers from the turn of the next decade, with the production shared by Fraser, Earl "Chinna" Smith, and T. Hailey. The singer may remain the same, but the DJs showcase the shifts in toasting with Prince Alla's pleas to the "Boss Man" far removed from the Clint Eastwood & General Saint styling of Peter Ranking & General Lucky. A pair of Jah Thomas productions also date from this era, although so dread is the roots supporting Barry Brown and Ranking Toyan's "Peace & Love"/"Judgement Time" that it feels like it was cut several years earlier. In contrast, there's no doubting Linval Thompson and King Rolex's "Guntalk"/"Everyday a Shot Dem Bus" date, backed by the Roots Radics, it's a prime slab of the early dancehall stylee. Incidentally, the little known Rolex delivers one of the most ferocious toasts on this disc. The Mighty Threes also offer up two excellent two numbers, both produced by member Carlton Gregory, with the potent toasts coming courtesy of Ranking Trevor. As with a number of the tracks within, the singles are so extended -- "Sit Down & Reason"/"Tribute to the King" clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, that it expands from the usual paired vocal and DJ version to encompass a dub instrumental as well. Careful sequencing helps the disc drift from rockers to roots reggae, into early-'80s dancehall, onto dread, and back again, finishing with a flourish with the Augustus Pablo dubby production of "Earth Wind & Fire"/"Ras Menlik Congo." A stunning set.' -Allmusic review by Jo-Ann Greene

1. Cornell Campbell - I Heart Is Clean / Zinc Fence Dub 6:23
2. Phillip Fraser / Peter Ranking & General Lucky - Bad Boys / Jah Standing Over Me 8:44
3. Mighty Threes / Ranking Trevor - Sit Down And Reason / Tribute To The King 9:18
4. Linval Thompson / King Rolex - Guntalk / Everyday A Shot Dem Bus 5:37
5. Barry Brown / Toyan - Peace And Love / Judgement Time 7:58
6. Phillip Fraser / Prince Alla - Blood Of The Saint / Boss Man 8:41
7. Mighty Threes / Ranking Trevor - In The Sun / Let Jah Sun Shine 9:15
8. Paul Blackman / Augustus Pablo - Earth Wind And Fire / Ras Menlik Congo 6:08

All tracks are extended versions, consisting of a vocal track, another vocal or deejay track (except tracks 1 and 8) and a dub.


Despite the Ranking Dread title, this is primarily a dub album and not a DJ album.

'This is a classic reggae album sleeve. This is the cover for the Ranking Dread “In Dub” album and it is one of those rare reggae covers where the artwork is as good as the music – in this case, stunning. It was orginally released in 1982 on Silver Camel Records and the album art is credited to Rod Vass and features a heavily stylised dreadlocked head in black and white and positioned on a red background. The original vinyl was only pressed in very limited numbers and is either next to impossible to find, or very expensive to buy from a record collector. In recent years it has been made available on CD, and if you don’t have it then we strongly suggest that you pick a copy up.'

"I nah wanna watch TV, I wanna listen to I dub LP..."

"Ranking Dread In Dub" is one of the last truly-great dub reggae albums; a veritable soundclash which pits King Tubby's mixing skills against that of his young mentor, Scientist. Despite being released in 1982 these tracks are incongruous with the times, and are fast-paced 'rockers' and 'steppers' style reggae; rather than the slow, minimal groove of dancehall which was then de rigueur.

Five King Tubby mixes of Sly & Robbie rhythms open the set and rank as some of the mixmaster's best work ever. The most iconic feature of these mixes is the remarkable effect on the tracks "BOM DUB", "JUMP UP DUB" and "JAH DUB", a unique mutation of the keyboard and guitar lines that creates an incendiary, industrial atmosphere. The effect creates an amazing growling, grinding-metal sound that seems to chime like some demented ice-cream van jingle! But what's even more mind-boggling is trying to comprehend how Tubby achieved it; as an engineer who liked to rewire and reconfigure his own devices, Tubby achieved mixes entirely unique and personal to him, more true here than on any other album as I've never heard this amazing sound since!
The other tracks here may lack this startling effect, but are just as great. "NO MORE WAITING" is a fast-paced version of Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" rhythm, which has a nearly-distorted organ refrain; and "DUB LAND", a heavyweight reworking of the "Ten To One" rhythm which has sawing drum cymbals fed through a high-pass filter that creates a wonderful throbbing, 'fizzing' sound.

Scientist's half of the album is almost a complete contrast to Tubby's: a warm, full-sounding set of reggae vibes that complements the intensity of the earlier tracks perfectly. Working with rhythms recorded by the Roots Radics band, Scientist applies a seemingly endless plethora of sonic nuances; favouring ethereal, spectral melodic fragments and rippling cascades of staggered echo (the drum intro to "GIVE THEM DUB" is a fine example). Scientist also gets his hands on the greatest, most definitive version of Dawn Penn's "No No No" ("YES YES YES DUB"), a killer, thudding stepper of a groove. Very ital...

As for the album's namesake; besides being the protagonist who produced the musical rhythms and whose portrait graces the stunning front cover; Ranking Dread's input in the album is minimal and kept to a few vocal deejay interjections - "This happens to be a mur-mur-mur-murderer style", and other choice phrases of the day. No, the main stars of the show are the stunning dub mixes, which simply have to be heard to be believed. -L. Kelly

'I man don't want to watch no TV, I man wanna listen to a Dub LP! So says Ranking Dread on his debut dub album. Originally released in 1982 this Dub LP has gained cult status due in part to the fantastic cover art of Rod Vass. To some this is THE DUB album by which all others should be measured. It's hard for us to be objective about that statement but when you hear the incredible mixes from King Tubby I am sure that you will have to think about it too. King Tubby takes ridims laid by Sly and Robbie and injects them with a power that screams "this is a Tubbys mix". The masterful use of echo and reverb that goes to the outer edge of dub yet never loses control. Check out the stellar mix of Bob Marleys "I Don't Want To Wait In Vain". There were five tracks to a side on the original LP and the reissue LP is an exact copy of the original with King Tubby and Sly & Robbie on the A side with apprentice Scientist and Roots Radics doing the honors on side B. Scientist flexes his muscles on Side B (LP) track 6 on the CD with an absolutely incredible show of echo control on the opening drum sequence, this track I play over and over. Each track showing that the Master had passed on his skills to his protégé and apprentice, then you get to one of the gems, a crucial rendition of "No No No". Not to be missed. 

There were only 1,000 pressed in 1982 and very rarely do they surface to the buying public. This release will give everyone the opportunity to have their own copy and play it till it's worn out. Available on CD and LP, get one for the car and one for the HIFI. I've had the pleasure of enjoying this album for many years, now it's your turn.

Jah Bless.. Kamel

Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare mixed by King Tubby (Trax 1-5) The Roots Radics mixed by Scientist (Trax 6-10)

1. Bom Dub 5:14
2. No More Waiting 3:49
3. Dub land 2:18
4. Jump Up Dub 3:30
5. JAH Dub 3:20
6. Give Them Dub 3:23
7. Dub it Star 3:04
8. 19000 Dub 2:28
9. Yes Yes Yes Dub 5:14
10. Dub it on Yah 3:42

Artwork By [Sleeve] – Rod Vass
Backing Band – Sly & Robbie (tracks: 1 to 5), The Roots Radics (tracks: 6 to10)
Mixed By – King Tubby (tracks: 1 to 5), Scientist (tracks: 6 to10)
Producer, Arranged By – Ranking Dread


Good old Ghana highlife music.

Adu Kwasi's Band Of Ghana ‎– Adu Kwasi's Band Of Ghana

Label: Anodisc Records ‎– ALPS 1053
Format: Digital, Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Nigeria
Released: 1979
Style: Highlife

Tracklist: only total time per side

1. Ofie Nnipa Medley 15:02
2. Wo Ye Aworabo Medley 14:34

Leader – Adu Kwasi

Noble Adu Kwasi & his Sweet Sound International Band of Ghana, Star / Shakara Music
Moos: ''When listening, don’t know about you but I couldn’t keep still..''


Clifford Thornton and The Jazz Composer's Orchestra's afrocentric masterpiece

Deep 1974 afro-centered spiritual jazz LP. Check the dope 'Blues City'!

'Another figure whose thin discography distorts his real significance, Thornton was invited to lead the JCOA in his major suite delving into African and black Latin musics. Gorgeous, majestic, intricate, with cameos by Dewey Redman, Carla Bley, Wadada Leo Smith, and Pat Patrick.' -John Corbett

CLIFFORD THORNTON: Vanguard Revolutionary Black Musician and Composer

Clifford Thornton was a cornetist, valve trombonist, composer and band leader whose work made a mark on the free-jazz genre in the 1960s. Born in Philadelphia on September 6, 1936, Thornton's work embodies multi-instrumental virtuosity and a combination of bebop and free improvisation. He was a minister for the arts of the Black Panther Party.

Thornton attended Temple University from 1954-1956, and studied with Donald Byrd in 1957. His first professional experience was to play with tubist Ray Draper, after which he toured Korea and Japan with the Army Band, recorded with Sun Ra, and played with Pharoah Sanders. In 1967 he formed the free jazz group New Arts Ensemble; its first recording, Freedom and Unity, was recorded the day after the funeral of John Coltrane. Thornton incorporated big band concepts in his free-jazz work, drawing upon the musical influence of Charles Mingus.

In 1969, Thornton began playing with Archie Shepp. He performed with Shepp's free jazz band at the Pan-African Festival in 1969. In 1970, he played with Shepp at the Antibes Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival, during which he was banned from France for making a political speech regarding his separatist dispositions that shocked even his fellow Black Panthers. This ban, which was later lifted in 1971, was placed for Thornton's Black Panther politics and socialist extremism. Thornton's compositions, such as The Gardens of Harlem and The Panther and the Lash, explicitly expressed his political inclinations through themes of Black Nationalism and the influences of gospel, West African, Tunisian, and French musical styles.

The Gardens of Harlem (1974) draws its influence from Caribbean, West and North African, blues and gospel music traditions, as well as a piece based upon the cry of a South Carolina fruit vendor (Sweet Oranges). It was recorded by the Jazz Composers' Orchestra of America and paid homage to the outgrowth of the black liberation and black arts movements in Harlem in the 1960s. The garden in Thornton's piece represents a metaphor for growth and change, as black musics (i.e- blues, gospel, sorrow songs, ring shouts) traditionally expressed themes of change, transcendence, justice and personal worth.

This work has been significant in the jazz tradition because of its use of black music traditions and improvisation to express the cultural richness of the black liberation and black arts movements that occurred in Harlem during Thornton's lifetime.

The Scientific Soul Revolutionary Gardens of Harlem by Fred Ho and Marie Incontrera pays homage to Clifford Thornton in that it captures the spirit of his resistance tradition and flowers a new creative endeavor. The work honors revolutionary concepts, people and movements that influenced Thornton and his fellow activists. Movement I is titled The Life and Redemption of our Shining Black Prince and pays homage to Malcolm X, as he was called “our shining black prince” during his eulogy, given by Ossie Davis. Movement II, a ballad titled Mother Earth and the Green Destiny Weapon, pays respect to the practice of revolutionary matriarchy, including the first matriarch: planet earth. Movement III, The Grace of the Guerilla, My Love, is a tribute to the graceful, dedicated lifestyle of the guerilla revolutionary. -Posted by Ecosocialist Horizons

1 comment: Prince | April 15, 2016
''I first met Cliff when he played with Sun Ra at a concert at Wesleyan University where I was a student in the late 1960's. About a year of so after our meeting, our paths crossed again in NYC when we both were employed by an anti-poverty agency for a young people's summer education program that included musical components. I was a young idealistic college student and he was the seasoned NYC jazz musician hipster soon to become revolutionary freedom fighter. He took me under his wing as big brother looking out for younger brother. We spent time together like 24/7. He introduced me to so many and so much. He was impressed that I knew how to read music and had been trained in playing reed instruments. But it disappointed him that I didn't have a real ear for free playing without sheet music notes and was painfully slow in being able to identify players by their style. Cliff and Rashid Ali, Coltrane's drummer, were neighbors in a loft building in Williamsburg in Brooklyn decades before it became the place to be in NYC. Cliff was light years ahead of the world in so many ways. He did things his way because that is the way it should have been done. What others thought was of no concern to him in the least. One day I know he will receive his full measure that is his due.''

'The documentation of avant-garde jazz from any period becomes severely hampered by production insecurities as soon as the subject at hand is large-scale orchestral music. The Jazz Composer's Orchestra of America was founded mostly to try and deal with this ever-present problem, and had created a small but respected catalog by the time this release saw the light of day in the mid-'70s. The orchestra and their related distribution company, New Music Distribution Service, was unfortunately also wallowing in debt, innuendo, and bad vibes by the time this record came out; all the good intentions in the world can't hide the sense that the album's colorful, sturdy gatefold sleeve is hiding more than day-old baked goods, perhaps even shoved into the oven on a day when the cooks were a bit short on certain ingredients. There was something of a struggle getting this project finished and released, a fact documented for posterity quite simply by the 1972 copyright on the performances and 1975 release date on the actual album. In the gap between these two dates, Clifford Thornton remained fully engaged as a highly respected and influential voice in the new improvised music coming out of the black community, particularly if the subject was making use of influences from other world musics. His Gardens of Harlem project, perpetually in the oven or being rehearsed in dribs and drabs, was to be his masterpiece, bringing together Afro-Cuban, Jamaican, Ghanian, Algerian, American blues, and gospel influences as well as a piece based on the cry of a South Carolina fruit vendor. A massive cast was to be involved, including some hot avant-garde jazz soloists and a stage full of percussionists. Slightly more than 50 minutes was eventually released, and the good moments are truly riveting, making one long for the version of this album that might have been created had someone with deeper pockets been around. To the listener who is not used to this kind of jazz, the record may just sound really weird but attractively diverse. Seasoned listeners, on the other hand, will detect the traces of slapdash performances that haven't quite come together. The frustrating part is that the music is really so close to being better than what it is, like an encampment of travelers who have stopped short of an oasis actually within their sight. Because the suite was obviously abbreviated, players such as saxophonist Pat Patrick, who could have made the proceedings that much more interesting by contributing solos, don't get to. There is nothing wrong with the ones who do solo, however, and special attention should be paid to the opening track, featuring the interesting and overlooked trombonist Janice Robinson; the rip-snorting Wadada Leo Smith feature on "Chango Obari"; nice use of Carla Bley's piano talents on "Gospel Ballade"; and the exchanges between George Barrow, Ted Daniels, and Dewey Redman on the final section, "Blues City." Some listeners may find this latter piece to be a favorite track, as it dispenses with most of the avant-garde or world music concepts and just gets down to grooving. There are other followers of Thornton who wish his most ambitious recorded work didn't opt for such an easy ending. Both camps would no doubt agree that it is a shame Thornton was unable to create a larger body of work with this kind of vision. -AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne

Special appreciation and gratitude to my ancestors, especially my parents and grandparents. 
For my son Kevin and all the harlems everywhere.

Ogún Bára (5:47)
Soloist, Trombone – Janice Robinson

An Afro-Cuban (Lucurni) interprétation of a chant from Recife, Brazil which originates among the Yoruba of Nigeria. It represents the type of religious incantation which precedes a performance of ritual dance for Ogún, Orisha of iron and fire; protector of hunters, warriors, blacksmiths... and spirit of their tools. Ogún holds dominion over hunting andbattle; oaths are sworn on his symbols (iron tools and weapons).

O Desayo (8:06)
Soloist, Cornet – Clifford Thornton
Soloist, Tenor Saxophone – Roland Alexander

A Jamaican interpretation of a hail and farewell song with variations, sung by children: a group of boys responding to a group of girls in the lead. The melody, is of Angolan origin.

Agbadzá (9:42)
Soloist, Cornet – Clifford Thornton
Soloist, Trumpet – Marvin Peterson, Michael Ridley

Originally from Dahomey a social dance derived from the traditional after-war dance called Atrikpui, among the Ewe of Ghana. Formerly, strong restrictions limited both the time and place for performance of the Atrikpui dance. It could only be danced after war, when the warriors were reaching home; and it had to be danced at the outskirts of the town or village where people would go out to meet the returning soldiers. Atrikpui is still danced, and the songs are repositories of military folklore.
Today, the occasions for Atrikpui are still ceremonial but no longer military, although male dancers must wear knives. In the absence of tribal war, Atrikpui has evolved as Agbadzá, which is now the popular dance for social recreation. As in other dances, Agbadzá songs are in two classes: Hatsyiatsya songs and the main dance songs. More than half are in the former group. Their characteristic feature is that they are free songs and are unaccompanied by rhythm. Some are semi- free: the first half is free and in the middle it becomes metrical and people begin clapping or beating time. We use such a song with free rhythm, as the preliminary song or introduction.

Changó Obarí (4:35)
Soloist, Trumpet – Leo Smith

An Afro-Cuban (Lucumi) interpretation of a chant from Pernambuco. Brazil of Yoruba origin. The chant is a religions incantation to Changó Orisha of thunder, lightning and fire, who is called upon for protection against natural elements. The lyrics to this chant are in Nago (Dahomey) dialect; an adaption of those lyrics becane popular in the United States. Changó actually was king among the ancient Yoruba - a fierce warrior-king who personifies masculinity and virility. His symbol is the double-bladed ax.

Aïn Salah (8:16)
Soloist, Cornet – Clifford Thornton

Inspired by the music of ghaita and karkabou musicians heard in Algeria. Dedicated to the masterful ghaita (double-reed) player and chef d'orchestre of Aïn Salah (an oasis city in the desert of South Central Algeria) who helped me to understand so much. The Shenai used in this piece, is actually a South Indian double reed instrument which, like the ghaita, is part of a family of similar instruments used throughout Asia as well as Africa in areas with Islamic traditions. In fact, the instruments in the family are not merely found in North Africa; they are also common to Northern Nigeria, Upper Volta, Cameroon and Chad as well as in Somalia, the coast of Kenya and Tanzania in the east.

Gospel Ballade (4:47)
Soloist, Piano – Carla Bley
Soloist, Trombone – Charles Stephens

A somewhat traditional ballad of uncertain origin, inspired by Abyssinian Baptist Choir of New York City during service.

Sweet Oranges (1:06)
A somewhat traditional street vendors 's cry, inspired by a fruit and vegetable seller heard in Columbia. South Carolina.

Blues City (8:58)
Soloist, Baritone Saxophone – George Barrow
Soloist, Saxophone – Dewey Redman
Soloist, Trumpet – Ted Daniel

An extended (14 bar) blues constructed on a mode. Harlem on my mind.

In 1969, what had long been more than an interest for me in West african music became a formal and continuous study. This study was to involve both academic research and performance. I feel fortunate to have had the benefit of the wisdom, skills and experience of Professer Fela Sowande of Nigeria and Kobena Adzennyah of Ghana in these respective pursuits. It was in Algiers, also in 1969, at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival (sponsored by the Organization of African Unity), that I made first-hand contact with this music on the "mother earth".

In 1970 I briefly visited Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria and Cameroon. Later that summer I performed in Tunisie. Growing up in New York, the easily accessible music of the Caribbean and South American countries becomes our live connector to this African heritage: particularly the music of Cuba, Haiti and Brazil.
A trip to the Caribbean in the summer of 1972 provided focus on the differences in the evolution of styles and interpretations of ancient West African origin.

Ideas which had begun to formulate as early as 1968, and which were fertilized beginning in 1969, had become a tentative score by May 1972 which was read through in a public JCOA works-in-progress workshop at that time. Ten of the orchestra musiciens, includinq five of the African rhythm section, have lived with this music from that beginning through the public workshops, private rehearsals and recording. A period of almost two years passed, during which I revised the score twice. The players are my personal choices and collectively bring wide expérience in this idiom. All are greatly admired by me, and most are friends and colleagues of long standing.

My objectives in this work have been authenticity (traditional, historic validity) and contemporaneity. The challenge of writing for and working with large, ensembles has always interested me. My first influences in this direction as a child were the big bands of Basie, Eckstine, Gillespie, Machito and Puente. Later, I had the good fortune of working with the orchestras of Sun Ra, Bill Dixon, Sam Rivers, Archie Shepp and the JCOA. This piece, conceived as a linkage of chronological and geographical themes, traces the continuum from West to North Africa, to the Caribbean, the Southeastern United States, to Harlem. Most of this music is based on indigenous source material, especially the rhythmic basic and, to some extent, melodic content as well. Essenticially, these are instrumental versions of vocal melodies, with the exceptions of Aïn Salah and Blues City. With harmony, an attempt was made to capture the essence of the varions vocal and choral styles, flavoring them with contemporary harmonic devices where this did not threaten idiomatic integrity.

The spiritual and psychological fulfillment resulting from re-establishing the relationship with the traditional ethos... aesthetic... is boundless. It continually re-energizes, re-inspires and re-affirms the sense of direction. At the same time, it serves chiefly as a balance between the inner-self and the environment. This is, in part, the role and function of music in traditional African societies and among peoples of primarily African derivation. In this connection, music is vital to both religious and secular life for the same reasons and is manifested in the same ways. It is the core and foundation, the language of both religious and philosophic thought. The spirit, which informs an object or living thing must be HEARD to be completely experienced, understood and felt. It cannot be merely described or otherwise shown... HEAR, then, the fruit of The Gardens of Harlem.

Clifford Thornton*

*Clifford Thornton is Assistant Professer of Music at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, where he founded and directs the Program in African American Music.

I am deeply grateful for the contributions of Michael Mantler, Jack Jeffers, Christine Jakobs, Manuel Amaez, Marilyn Harris, Ron Ancrum, Eddie Korvin and Fred Seibert to this undertaking. This project has been made possible with Assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Music ©1972, Third World Music, BMI.
Produced by Clifford Thornton and the Jazz Composer's Orchestra
Associate Producer: Fred Seibert
Recorded April 4, 1974: Blue Rock Studio, NYC.
Recording and Mix Engineer: Eddie Korvin
Mastering: Harry N. Fein, CBS.
Front cover painting: mural done by elementary school students at Public School 125 on a fence at 121st Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem, USA.
Photographe: Christine Jakobs (2,3), Rufus Nickens (1)
Back cover print: Momodou Ceesay
Cover design: Susan Rivoir
Printed in USA.
©1975, JCOA Records.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 75-750279

JCOA RECORDS is the record label of the Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association, Inc., a non-profit organization.


True classic .....

'Lots Of Loving was among the most played records in UK reggae in 1979/1980, where the combination of Dread’s delivery and some of Sly And Robbie’s and Sugar Minott’s best rhythms assured his popularity. Great album by a great artist - one of those artists in which you need to grab everything you see due to the exceedingly high talent-to-output ratio.'

''Just discovered this guy. Nice tunes! I read up about him on Wiki and those out he was a bona fide gangster, having big problems with the US, UK, Jamaican and Canada police forces. A flawed genius. The Jamaican police wanted to question him for no less than 30 murders.'' -Haat Praat

''@Haat Praat yeah i know a few people over here in West London that knew Winston said the man just couldn't be fucked with, the TV even had a documentary on Yardies and he was named Britain's most dangerous man. Still one hell of a great artist though the production on this album in particular is raw and rough, classic material.'' -Gary McEwan

'Ranking Dread was notorious not only for his smooth Dancehall vocal stylings, but also his encounters with the law. Dread killed a police officer early in his career and continued to record and perform as a wanted man. Reputation aside, Lots of Loving is absolutely gorgeous- showcasing Dread's endless word association inna rub-a-dub style, with great production credit from Sugar Minott and zany dub elements all over. Been jammin' this one every morning and never fails to start the day off just right.' -NAID


Ranking Dread (born Winston Brown, c.1955, died 1996) was a Jamaican reggae deejay who grew up in the Kingston ghettos of Rema and Tivoli. He became famous for his work with the Ray Symbolic sound system in the 1970s. He later lived a life of crime and died in a Jamaican prison.

Ranking Dread first became known as a deejay on the Ray Symbolic sound system in Jamaica, but by the late 1970s he had moved to London, where he worked with Lloyd Coxsone's sound system. He released four albums starting with Girls Fiesta in 1978, produced by Linval Thompson, and worked with producer Sugar Minott on his third album, Lots of Loving. He had a minor UK hit in the early 1980s with "Fatty Boom Boom", but in the mid-1980s, he faded from the music scene but became notorious for his criminal activities, and was labelled "the most dangerous man in Britain and the number one Yardie Godfather". This was backed up by his appearance on a British television programme in the late 1980's entitled The Cook Report. However, when interviewed by Ben Chin in 1990 for a Canadian TV documentary, he denied all allegations put to him.

He had been involved with Jamaican gang leader Claude Massop, and was wanted by Jamaican police in connection with over thirty murders. He travelled to the United Kingdom, where he lived under several aliases including Errol Codling, became the head of a Hackney drug-dealing and armed robbery gang, and was wanted by the police there in connection with rape, murder, prostitution, and dealing in crack cocaine. He was arrested at an illegal drinking club in 1988 and found to be in possession of illegal drugs and deported later that year, officially for entering the country illegally, after being branded the most dangerous foreign national living in Britain. In 1990, after being deported from the United States, he was arrested in Canada for allegedly slashing his girlfriend's face with a knife after entering the country illegally on a fake passport, and attempted to gain refugee status there, claiming that he feared for his life in Jamaica due to his political affiliations.

He was eventually extradited back to Jamaica where he died in prison in 1996.

Lots Of Loving (Jah Life, 1997):

Original tracklist
1. Lots Of Loving 3:57
2. Loving Devotion 3:42
3. Super Star 2:58
4. A Which One A We Yu Love 3:37
5. Come Sister Come 3:24
6. Humble Lion Prayer 5:25
7. Wah-Go-A-Africa 2:56
8. Nuh Trouble Natty Dread 3:00
CD Bonus Tracks
9. Revival Time 6:38
10. My Mommy A The Nicest Mommy 3:56

Lots Of Loving (Freedom Sounds, 2012):

1. Lots Of Loving 3:55
2. Loving Devotion  3:39
3. Super Star 2:55
4. A Wish One A We Yu Love 3:35
5. My Lizia 4:23
6. Come Sister Come 3:18
7. Humble Lion Prayer 5:21
8. Wah-Go-A-Africa 2:55
9. Nuh Trouble Natty Dread 2:57
10. Same Thing A Happen 3:39
11. Dub Cut Lightning 3:32
12. First Cut 5:09
13. A Wha We Do 2:15
14. A Wha We Do 2:12


''If you own only one Thomas Mapfumo album, this should be the one.'' — Sean Barlow, Afropop Worldwide

Lion Songs: Essential Tracks in the Making of Zimbabwe is the only Thomas Mapfumo compilation that spans his entire musical career. It’s essential music made by one of the greatest musicians to have come out of southern Africa.

You owe it to your soul to check out the beautiful music of Thomas Mapfumo. Thomas Mapfumo is incredible and his music altered the historical trajectory of his nation.

'The constant political and social unrest in Zimbabwe stemming from its oppressed period of colonization when it was wrongly known as Rhodesia, spawned chimurenga music—the music of struggle and resistance. The artist who personified this musical activism is Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwe. His unwavering dedication to this movement since the 1970's is the subject of a biography by ethnomusicologist Banning Eyre, best known for his production work at Afropop Worldwide. Eyre is also the producer of this record, and the songs compiled on Lion Songs is a musical companion to his book "Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe."

Attempting to cover such an extensive body of work as Mapfumo's recordings proved to be an arduous task, but Eyre was cleverly able to assemble a comprehensive and chronological sampling of Mapfumo's career from his early recordings in 1973 with the Hallelujah Chicken Run, through his 2010 output with the legendary Blacks Unlimited ensemble—founded in 1978—with which he is most recognized.

Mapfumo was a mainstay in the decolonization and anti-apartheid movements, and gained a formidable reputation as an outspoken critic of the intolerable Ian Smith regime during the years leading to independence. He then turned his lyrical wrath towards the corrupt leadership of President Mugabe, who turned out to be another ruthless despot. His music was censured and repressed, but gained a stronghold with the guerrillas fighting in the bush, just as much as with the common people seeking a voice they could identify with.

Lion Songs is an excellent opportunity to capture the essence of a true revolutionary with unwavering principles who threw the weight of his music against all adversaries, and lived to tell the tale. Due to relentless political pressure taking its personal toll, Mapfumo went into exile to America in 2000, where he remains to this date. But his music continues to cast a beam of hope back in Zimbabwe, where the struggle continues, and he is affectionately recognized as The Lion.' -James Nadal

'This album is the audio companion to the book Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe (Duke University Press) by Banning Eyre. These songs, recorded between 1973 and 2010, tell the story in unforgettable performances by the man and his extraordinary musicians, including rare and unreleased tracks. Mapfumo himself provides context in excerpts from  interviews with Eyre over a span of 30 years.

Like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, singer, composer, and bandleader Thomas Mapfumo and his music came to represent his native country's anticolonial struggle and cultural identity. Mapfumo was born in 1945 in what was then the British colony of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The trajectory of his career—from early performances of rock 'n' roll tunes to later creating a new genre based on traditional Zimbabwean music, including the sacred mbira, and African and Western pop—is a metaphor for Zimbabwe's evolution from colony to independent nation. Lion Songs is an authoritative biography of Mapfumo that narrates the life and career of this creative, complex, and iconic figure.

Banning Eyre ties the arc of Mapfumo's career to the history of Zimbabwe. The genre Mapfumo created in the 1970s called chimurenga, or "struggle" music, challenged the Rhodesian government—which banned his music and jailed him—and became important to Zimbabwe achieving independence in 1980. In the 1980s and 1990s Mapfumo's international profile grew along with his opposition to Robert Mugabe's dictatorship. Mugabe had been a hero of the revolution, but Mapfumo’s criticism of his regime led authorities and loyalists to turn on the singer with threats and intimidation. Beginning in 2000, Mapfumo and key band and family members left Zimbabwe. Many of them, including Mapfumo, now reside in Eugene, Oregon.

A labor of love, Lion Songs is the product of a twenty-five-year friendship and professional relationship between Eyre and Mapfumo that demonstrates Mapfumo's musical and political importance to his nation, its freedom struggle, and its culture.'

Tracks 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, and 22 are all excerpts from interviews with Thomas Mapfumo. All were recorded by Banning Eyre, some for public radio’s Afropop Worldwide, some in Zimbabwe and some in the U.S., between 1988 and 2009. Mapfumo’s speaking voice is a thing of wonder, and communicates a lot about his nature and personality. More importantly, in these clips, you can hear in Mapfumo’s words the evolution in his thinking as a bandleader and a social critic.

Here is additional information about the songs themselves:

“Ngoma Yarira (The Drums are Sounding)”  Mapfumo’s first adaptation of a traditional Shona mbira song. This 1974 track by The Hallelujah Chicken Run Band launched a central initiative in Mapfumo’s artistic career.  His is the quieter, answering voice. The song’s lyrics suggest that war is coming to Zimbabwe, which indeed it was. Mapfumo created this song with lead guitarist Joshua Dube, and the original single was credited to both of them.

“Pamuromo Chete (It’s Only Talk)” 
This 1977 hit from Mapfumo with the Acid Band talks back to then Prime Minister Ian Smith, who had recently proclaimed that the country would not see black majority rule “in a-thousand years.”  He had to backtrack on that and accept the inevitable within mere months.  Mapfumo re-recorded this song in 1999 for the album Manhungetunge. The original master tape of the 1977 single has been lost and it has appeared on no other compilation. Thanks to Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa for providing this version, straight off the vinyl!

“Pfumvu Pa Ruzevha
(Hardship in the Reserves)”
One of the legendary “chimurenga single,” this brooding adaptation of an mbira song is a classic, and a song that Mapfumo has continued to perform over the years. This is also from the Acid Band in 1977, and it expresses the suffering of people on the land during the liberation struggle. They were deprived of basic goods, terrorized by both sides in the war, and generally made powerless victims. This song tugged hard at the hearts of their relatives in the city. The lead guitar on this and “Pamuromo Chete” is played by Leonard “Picket” Chiyangwa.

“Butsu Mutandrika (Oversized Boots)”
Soon after their formation in 1978, the Blacks Unlimited created this version of an older song that refers to the uniformly sized boots mine workers were forced to wear while working. Mapfumo’s boisterous performance, complete with whistling and brisk guitar work from Jonah Sithole, made this a big hit for his new band. In fact, it became so well loved that Archbishop Abel Muzorewa adapted the song as a theme for his ill-fated political campaign in 1979. Muzorewa won that election, but could not rule the country and was soon out of politics. Mapfumo’s association with that misadventure took some time to overcome. But the song lives on, still performed by Mapfumo today.

“Shumba (The Lion)”
This 1981 mbira adaptation is a fine example of the mbira guitar sound that was becoming a staple in the Blacks Unlimited repertoire. The guitarists here are Jonah Sithole and Leonard “Picket” Chiyangwa, picking at their furious best. The lion stands for the spiritually guided guerilla fighters who won the liberation war.

“Chauya Chirizevha (Rural Life is Back)”
A celebratory 1980 song sung at the end of the liberation war noting a return to peaceful life in the war-ravaged countryside. The final moments of the song mark include a name check for Zimbabwe’s new president, Robert Mugabe—a rarity for any politician in the Mapfumo cannon. 

“Nyoka Musango (Snake in the Forest)”
This 1983 adaptation of a hunting song builds on the metaphor of “snakes in the forest” to suggest that the recently ended war has left dangerous forces behind, “dissidents” intent on reviving conflict rather than moving ahead with peaceful nation building. This also happens to be one of Mapfumo’s most resonant dance songs. Joshua Dube and Emmanuel Jera deliver the tangling guitars, with Washington Kavhai on bass in this new formation of the Blacks Unlimited.

“Magariro (Tradition)”
This moody mbira composition, created by Mapfumo and his musicians in 1993, with Bezil Makombe and Chartwell Dutiro now on mbiras, and Ephraim Karimaura on lead guitar. The song asks what Zimbabweans will leave to their children and descendants now that they have abandoned so many of their traditional beliefs and practices. This fundamental message in Mapfumo’s work has rarely been so soulfully expressed as it is here.

This 1989 song (the CD jacket has a typo; it incorrectly says 1987) changed everything for Mapfumo. Composed and recorded in the wake of the Willowgate scandal, in which government ministers were found to be selling BMWs on the black market, the song pointed a sternly accusing finger at Mugabe’s regime. This was a first, and the start of Mapfumo’s public shift to become a vocal critic of the government he had once helped to empower.

This is a live recording made by Afropop Worldwide at SOB’s in New York City in 1991. The song is a warning to young Zimbabweans not to be ensnared in the violent projects of manipulative politicians. The recording, featuring The Blacks Unlimited brass section, showcases the band’s unique live sound during this era.

“Bukatiende (Wake Up, Let’s Go)”
This adaptation of a classic Shona mbira song is well suited to both hunting war scenarios, wherein early rising is key. It is also a stellar example of the rich sound Mapfumo’s early-90s band created with mbira songs. A real gem!

“Ndiayani Waparadza Musha
(Who Has Destroyed My Home?)”
This song was created in collaboration with the author, Banning Eyre, in Harare in 1998. It draws on a West African traditional song, the Mande classic “Kulanjan,” but Mapfumo and his musicians transform it into a powerful lament about the dissolution of Zimbabwe under the Mugabe regime.

“Marima Nzara (You Have Harvested Hunger)” This 2001 song, recorded in Eugene, Oregon, with Zivai Guveya on lead guitar, deeply inflamed loyalists to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. The song suggests that the government’s thuggish occupation of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, and general lack of knowledge about agriculture and farming, were inflicting hunger on the people of Zimbabwe. Reaction to songs like this had already caused Mapfumo to move his family to the United States. Soon, he would not be able to return to Zimbabwe at all.

“Ndangariro (Remembering)”
This richly layered anthem was the lead track on Mapfumo’s 2010 release, Exile. It expresses the sadness Mapfumo feels at being separated from the land and people he loves. It also demonstrates Mapfumo’s more ambitious approach to studio recording during his years in exile. Much time was taken in creating, arranging and mixing this track. For all that is going on within it (including rhythm guitar by Banning Eyre, and multiple leads by Gilbert Zvamaida), you can hear every detail.

1. Mapfumo Speaks: "Hallelujah!" 0:51
2. Ngoma Yarira (The Drums Are Sounding) 2:08
3. Pamuromo Chete (It's Only Talk) 3:24
4. Mapfumo Speaks: "Mr. Smith" 0:25
5. Pfumvu Pa Ruzevha (Hardship In The Reserves) 4:28
6. Butsu Mutandrika (Oversized Boots) 3:45
7. Mapfumo Speaks: "No Consciousness" 0:33
8. Shumba (The Lion) 5:08
9. Chauya Chirizevha (Rural Life Is Back) 4:07
10. Mapfumo Speaks: "Revolutionary Songs" 0:48
11. Nyoka Musango (Snake In The Forest) 5:20
12. Magariro (Tradition) 4:29
13. Mapfumo Speaks: "Little Gods" 0:26
14. Corruption 8:24
15. Mapfumo Speaks: "Dying For Politics" 0:28
16. Jojo 4:48
17. Bukatiende (Wake Up, Let's Go) 5:00
18. Mapfumo Speaks: "Light At The End Of The Tunnel" 0:24
19. Ndiyani Waparadza Musha (Who Has Destroyed My Home?) 5:58
20. Mapfumo Speaks: "Stolen Land" 0:27
21. Marima Nzara (You Have Harvested Hunger) 6:36
22. Mapfumo Speaks: "A Good President" 0:53
23. Ndangariro (Remembering) 4:42

Incl. PDF

Banning Eyre is a freelance writer and guitarist and the senior editor and producer of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. He is the author of In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali, Playing With Fire: Fear and Self-Censorship in Zimbabwean Music, and Guitar Atlas: Africa, and the coauthor of AFROPOP! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music. Eyre is a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and his writing has been published in Billboard, Guitar Player, Salon.com, the Boston Phoenix, CMJ, Option, Folk Roots, Global Rhythm, and other publications. He has also performed and recorded with Thomas Mapfumo.


Awesome deep, deep latin tinged jazz from trombonist Grachan Moncur and Jazz Composers Orchestra. Recorded with the Tanawa Dance Ensemble & stellar musicians including Carla Bley, Leroy Jenkins, Cecil McBee or Charlie Haden & Beaver Harris.

'How perfect is that cover? For whatever reason, I just love it. It evokes the hazy and heavy spiritual vibes within. Grachan Moncur was one of many great avant-garde players to receive commissions for work with the Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association in the 70's, but he was one of the few who had cut his proverbial baby teeth on hard bop. This work is strong and worthy spiritual jazz featuring a major cast of top players. Soloists include Stafford Osborne and Hannibal Marvin Peterson on trumpet, Carlos Ward on alto sax, Beaver Harris on drums, Pat Patrick on flute, Cecil McBee and Charlie Haden on basses, Carla Bley on piano, Leroy Jenkins on violin, and Jeanne Lee on vocals. There are many more players involved but the general atmosphere is a little more subdued and artistically considered than some of the other, more frantic JCOA output. There is a good amount of thematic recall and dedicated planned solo space that makes it an enjoyable listen from a variety of angles, much like Moncur's BYG-Actuel dates. Check it out.' -jazz_peasant

'Echo's really baffled me the first couple of spins. As some might know I'm quite smitten with Grachan Moncur III's music, in particular his first handful of solo releases. His works are very measured and thoughtful, with an incredible ear for tones and timbres. So, decided, I've tried to track done all the works his been on, and Echo's just happened to be one of these, and funnily enough I made the plunge without any prior research. I wasn't too familiar with many of the names. I was somewhat versed with Archie Stepps soul, avant-jazz fusion, which I happen to be fond of, so little by little before putting the vinyl on the table I was piecing together what I thought this would sound like only to be comfronted by a music tangent.

... then the noise hit me :) While I've listen to some noisey jazz / free improvisation it produced a considerably raction, not in a bad way, but one more of confusion at the situation at hand, maybe at the preconcived notion I'd let leak into my mind, or just possibly at the uniqueness of this piece. At this time in jazz there was the schisms between the more taditional fanatics and what was currently happening in free Jazz and to a lesser extent Avant-jazz, arguing that the black 'soul' was slowly be leached out of jazz, for a more asture, academic back drop. My first thoughts were this piece must have been somewhat influentual for the european scene, particular efi (european free improvisation), as I saw this piece to have toes dipped in both free jazz and free improvisation. The second piece might provide a better case for this.

This definitely wasn't a love at first sight, and doesn't find its way off the shelve near as often as it should, but I have a lot of respect for what the musician have accomplished hear. It took many spins to arrive at this stage; a lot of nit-picking at this seeminly formless mess. At the start I found the easiest way to deconstruct this piece was to focus on the interplay between select instrument and follow that through for the entirity of the piece. Through this mode of listening I picked up some delicated tho' maybe not entiely planned intreplay between the musician. I might be a little bias here, but I found this easier with Moncur's playing, perhaps because he, at times, is one of the more restrianted players on the record, but still remaining increbily 'free'.

H'mmm... hope that makes some sort of sense, coherency is not one of my strong points after a day a travelling. On a side note I would be interested in hereing others opinions on Frank Wrights music, but unfortunately his records are natorious for being impossible to find.' -Apsalar

Grachan Moncur III (b. June 3, 1937): Legendary, iconic, and innovative musician, composer, arranger, ensemble leader, producer, and teacher
JAZZ lives often end tragically, but not all tragic endings are alike. Some jazz musicians (Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler) die too young, achieving instant martyrdom. Others (Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Bill Evans) lead lives that are like slow-motion deaths, lives that give their music a sweet, decadent perfume and make the flaws in their art seem like so many needle tracks, scattered traces of disintegration. But there is another way of exiting the scene: living too long, passing the years unproductively, falling silent. Less noticed and far more common, it's the surest route to obscurity that the music offers.

If Grachan Moncur III had perished 40 years ago in a car crash, or become one of jazz's junkie-poets, he might be a legend today, rather than an all-but-forgotten trombonist. Unless you're a serious student of free jazz, chances are you've never heard of him. But in the 1960's and early 1970's, Mr. Moncur was the leading trombonist on the scene. (His only rival was Roswell Rudd, whose style was as gregarious as Mr. Moncur's was subdued.) He dressed like a leader, wearing black turtlenecks that defined Bohemian hipness and sporting a goatee that hinted at intellectual seriousness, if not militancy. His tone, attack and sensibility embodied what the jazz critic David Rosenthal called ''badness'' -- an air of unshakable cool that conceals, but just barely, an undercurrent of menacing intensity. For the better part of a decade, the curtain rose for this young lion, and he was resplendent. And then -- darkness.

''Whenever I have a conversation about what's wrong with the jazz business, I always start out by saying, 'Where is Grachan Moncur?' '' the alto saxophonist Jackie McLean said recently.

Geographically speaking, he is in Newark, where he has raised six children (including a 32-year-old son named, yes, Grachan IV), taught trombone lessons and  served as a composer-in-residence at the city's Community Arts Center. As far as the jazz scene is concerned, he may have ceased to exist altogether. As Mr. Moncur, 66, acknowledged by phone: ''I seem to have disappeared. But in a sense I wasn't totally extinct. I just went underground.'' -Adam Shatz

Grachan Moncur III (born June 3, 1937) is an American jazz trombonist. He is the son of jazz bassist Grachan Moncur II and the nephew of jazz saxophonist Al Cooper.

Born in New York City (his father's father was from the Bahamas) and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Grachan Moncur III began playing the cello at the age of nine, and switched to the trombone when he was 11. In high school he attended the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, the private school where Dizzy Gillespie had studied. While still at school he began sitting in with touring jazz musicians on their way through town, including Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.

After high school Moncur toured with Ray Charles (1959–62), Art Farmer and Benny Golson's Jazztet (1962), and Sonny Rollins. He took part in two classic Jackie McLean albums in the early 1960s, One Step Beyond and Destination... Out!, to which he also contributed the bulk of compositions and which led to two influential albums of his own for Blue Note Records, Evolution (1963) with Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan, and Some Other Stuff (1964) with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

Moncur joined Archie Shepp's ensemble and recorded with other avant-garde players such as Marion Brown, Beaver Harris and Roswell Rudd (the other big name in American free jazz trombone). During a stay in Paris in the summer of 1969, he recorded two albums as a leader for the famous BYG Actuel label, New Africa and Aco Dei de Madrugada, as well as appearing as a sideman on numerous other releases of the label. In 1974, the Jazz Composer's Orchestra commissioned him to write Echoes of Prayer (1974), a jazz symphony featuring a full orchestra plus vocalists and jazz soloists. His sixth album as a leader, Shadows (1977) was released only in Japan. Unfortunately, he was subsequently plagued by health problems and copyright disputes and recorded only rarely. Through the 1980s he recorded with Cassandra Wilson (1985), played occasionally with the Paris Reunion Band and Frank Lowe, appeared on John Patton's Soul Connection (1983), but mostly concentrated on teaching. In 2004 he re-emerged with a new album (Exploration) on Capri Records featuring Grachan's compositions arranged by Mark Masters for an octet including Tim Hagans and Gary Bartz. -Wiki

Tracklisting / Additional Info:

A1 Band 1 (i. Prologue, ii. Reverend King's Wings I, iii. Medgar's Menace I, iv. Drum Transition, v. Garvey's Ghost (Space Station)) 12:06
A2 Band 2 (i. Angela's Angel I, ii. Drum Transition) 8:27
B1 Band 3 (i. Right On I, ii. Angela's Angel II, iii.Right On II, iv. Reverend King's Wings II, v. Medgar's Menace II, vi. Drum Transition, vii. African Percussion Ensemble) 19:40
B2 Band 4 (i. Right On III, ii. Angela's Angel III (Jamboree), iii. Drum Transition, iv. Amen Cadence, v. Epilogue: Excuse Me, Mr Justice) 3:48

Band 1
A1a Prologue
Soloist, Trombone – Grachan Moncur III
A1b Reverend King's Wings I
A1c Medgar's Menace I
Soloist, Alto Saxophone – Carlos Ward
Soloist, Trumpet – Stafford Osborne
A1d Drum Transition
Soloist, Congas – Titos Sompa
Soloist, Drums – Beaver Harris
A1e Garvey's Ghost (Space Station)
Soloist, Bass – Cecil McBee, Charlie Haden
Soloist, Trombone – Grachan Moncur III
Band 2
A2a Angela's Angel I
Soloist, Flute – Pat Patrick
Soloist, Trombone – Grachan Moncur III
A2b Drum Transition
Band 3
B1a Right On 19:40
B1b Angela's Angel II
Soloist, Trumpet – Hannibal
B1c Right On II
B1d Reverend King's Wings II
B1e Medgar's Menace II
Soloist, Clarinet – Perry Robinson
Soloist, Violin – Leroy Jenkins
B1f Drum Transition
B1g African Percussion Ensemble
Soloist – Tanawa Dance Ensemble
Band 4
B2a Right On III 3:48
B2b Angela's Angel III (Jamboree)
Soloist, Bass Trombone – Jack Jeffers
Soloist, Guitar – Mark Elf
B2c Drum Transition
B2d Amen Cadence
B2e Epilogue: Excuse Me, Mr Justice

Alto Saxophone, Flute – Carlos Ward
Bass – Cecil McBee, Charlie Haden
Bass Trombone – Jack Jeffers
Clarinet – Perry Robinson
Congas, Talking Drum – Titos Sompa
Cowbell, Shekere – Malonga Quasquelourd
Drums – Beaver Harris
Engineer – Eddie Korvin
Flute – Keith Marks (tracks: A1.2), Pat Patrick
Guitar – Mark Elf
Maracas, Drum [Hair Drum] – Jakuba Abiona
Mastered By – Harry N. Fein
Percussion – Coster Massamba, Frederick Simpson
Piano – Carla Bley
Producer – Grachan Moncur III, The Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Timothy Marquand
Trombone – Janice Robinson
Trombone, Voice, Composed By – Grachan Moncur III
Trumpet – Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Stafford Osborne
Viola – Toni Marcus (tracks: A4)
Violin – Leroy Jenkins, Ngoma
Voice – Jeanne Lee, Mervine Grady

Recorded April 11, 1974 at Blue Rock Studio, New York City

Blog List