Babylon Rockers #3 • Special guest Ganja Tree • DJ Set • Le Mellotron


“Leroy smart, Dennis Brown, Carl dawkins, Althea + Donna, Toyan and more.  Le Mellotron is all about people and music. In the beginning it was a blog that quickly takes the shape of a webradio gathering a growing community of music curators and lovers. Located in a bar just steps from Place de la Republique, in the heart of Paris, Le Mellotron beats day after day to the rhythm of the city, its people and streets. We strongly believe in a an emerging parisian musical scene, moved by its curiosity, able to capture and transform its worldwide influences. LeMellotron will be its amplifier.”
YouTube: Babylon Rockers #3 • Special guest Ganja Tree
Mixcloud (Audio)

Catch a Fire – Bob Marley and the Wailers (1973)


Catch a Fire was the major label debut for Bob Marley and the Wailers, and it was an international success upon its release in 1973. Although Bob Marley may have been the main voice, every member of the Wailers made valuable contributions and they were never more united in their vision and sound. All the songs were originals, and the instrumentation was minimalistic in order to bring out the passionate, often politically charged lyrics. Much of the appeal of the album lies in its sincerity and sense of purpose — these are streetwise yet disarmingly idealistic young men who look around themselves and believe they might help change the world through music. Marley sings about the current state of urban poverty (‘Concrete Jungle’) and connects the present to past injustices (‘Slave Driver’), but he is a not a one-trick pony. He is a versatile songwriter who also excels at singing love songs such as his classic ‘Stir It Up.’ Peter Tosh sings the lead vocal on two of his own compositions — his powerful presence and immense talent hint that he would eventually leave for his own successful solo career. More than anything else, however, this marks the emergence of Bob Marley and the international debut of reggae music. Marley would continue to achieve great critical and commercial success during the 1970s, but Catch a Fire is one of the finest reggae albums ever. This album is essential for any music collection.”
allmusic
W – Catch a Fire
YouTube: Stir It Up (Live), Concrete Jungle – The Grey Old Whistle Test, Slave driver
YouTube: Catch A Fire 1973 Full Album

Judah Eskender Tafari


“The seventies was the so called ‘golden era’ where reggae flourished with innovation, inspiration and power. Roots music was at its very peak during most of that period, and the activities down at Sir Dodd’s 13 Brentford Road, the address for Jamaica Recording Ltd AKA Studio One, was perhaps not in the same productive scheme as it had been a decade earlier, but the creativity was nonetheless extraordinary. Albums by names like Jennifer Lara, Sugar Minott, Pablove Black, Johnny Osbourne and Freddie McGregor springs to mind, as well as several brilliant 45’s by a plethora of artists. … The songwriter, Ronald Merrills, known to one and all as Judah Eskender Tafari, was a shadowy figure in the music until the long-serving Small Axe fanzine gave us a more detailed history of the man about twelve years ago. It was a long overdue piece to say the least, but indeed very welcome. …”
Reggae Vibes
YouTube: “Ta Fa Ri” & Sound Dimension – Danger In Your Eyes + Version, Danger In Your Eyes Riddim Megamix – Revolutionary Brothers Music, Jah Light + version

Hail H.I.M. – Burning Spear (1980)


“Across five seminal albums, Burning Spear would do more than just define roots; he would leave a fiery legacy that no other artist has equalled. Kicking off with the stunning Marcus Garvey in 1975 and encompassing the equally exceptional string of Man in the Hills, Dry & Heavy, Social Living, and Hail H.I.M., the final album in this series of masterpieces, Spear had undergone a continuous evolution. Over this five year period, Spear had truncated from a trio to Winston Rodney alone, grown to include the accompanying Black Disciples aggregate of elite sessionmen, then pared down to a smaller grouping, and had seen Rodney move into self-production. Along the way, Spear had developed a denser sound and mixed a variety of other genres into the deep roots atmosphere. By 1980, when work began on Hail H.I.M., Rodney had severed his ties to Island Records and most of the Black Disciples as well. However, Aston Barrett remained by his side as co-producer, bassist, and percussionist. So did saxophonists Bobby Ellis and Herman Marquis, now joined by Egbert Evans and keyboardist Earl Lindo, with fellow pianoman Tyrone Downie now also coming on board. There was a switch in sound as well; Social Living had been an almost anthemic album, while Hail H.I.M., in contrast, was transcendental. Much of the record has an almost proggy feel, as guitarist Junior Marvin jams across the heavy rhythms, the brass slices in jazzy passages, and lurking underneath, the tribal-flavored percussion and Rodney‘s congas. … It’s a stellar record, less a culmination of all that came before then a conclusion to a journey that had begun years before.”
allmusic
W – Hail H.I.M.
YouTube: Hail H.I.M. 9 Video

Arkology – Lee “Scratch” Perry (1997)


“Purportedly the definitive Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry compilation, the three-CD set Arkology is loaded with good intentions and is carefully constructed, but with a back catalog like Perry‘s — where it’s nearly impossible to find out what’s what — definitive in this case is a dream. Still, the compilers have done a fine job of providing an overview of Perry‘s career that makes sense musically, historically, and culturally. For those who want to jump headlong into Perry‘s world, this is the way to go. (Otherwise, buying two to three individual releases would be recommended.) Arkology‘s foundation is the 1979 anthology Scratch on the Wire; the compilers took those tracks and added a significant number of remixes and a few previously unreleased dub tracks to give it some weight. And that is perhaps the set’s biggest drawback; it doesn’t cover quite enough of Perry‘s career. Remixes are nice, but a representative sampling of the early, mid-, and late periods at Black Ark would have been better, as well as a few of the early-’60s ska tracks that didn’t make it onto Heartbeat’s excellent Chicken Scratch compilation. There are also some irritating audio considerations here; sometimes reggae reissues lose that warm, extremely loud bass sound that is crucial to the riddims. That’s not always the case on this release, but there are some moments when you wish there was just a little more blood coming from the speakers. So, all that said, is Arkology worth it? Absolutely. Don’t think that this large purchase will give you all the crucial Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry recordings; it provides a good overview and is an excellent introduction, but consider it the start, rather than the completion, of your journey with Scratch and the Upsetters.”
allmusic (Audio)
Jungle psychedelia
W – Arkology
iTunes
YouTube: Arkology 33 video

(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais / The Prisoner – The Clash (1978)


“‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ is a song by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was originally released as a 7-inch single, with the b-side ‘The Prisoner’, on 16 June 1978 through CBS Records.  … The song showed considerable musical and lyrical maturity for the band at the time. Compared with their other early singles, it is stylistically more in line with their version of Junior Murvin‘s ‘Police and Thieves‘ as the powerful guitar intro of ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ descends into a slower ska rhythm, and was disorienting to a lot of the fans who had grown used to their earlier work. ‘We were a big fat riff group’, Joe Strummer noted in The Clash’s film Westway to the World. ‘We weren’t supposed to do something like that.’ ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ starts by recounting an all-night reggae ‘showcase’ night at the Hammersmith Palais in Shepherd’s Bush Road, London, that was attended by Joe Strummer, Don Letts and roadie Rodent, and was headlined by Dillinger, Leroy Smart and Delroy Wilson. … ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ helped The Clash assert themselves as a more versatile band musically and politically than many of their peers, and it broke the exciting but limiting punk mould that had been established by the Sex Pistols; from now on The Clash would be ‘the thinking man’s yobs’. …”
Wikipedia
Punknews
BBC: White man’s blues
YouTube: White Man – 3/8/1980 – Capitol Theatre, White Man in Hammersmith Palais with Lyrics, The Prisoner

U-Roy – Dread in a Babylon (1975)


“Even without the music, this album would still leap off the racks; its photo of U Roy exhaling a mushroom cloud of marijuana smoke from his ever-available pipe ranks among the all-time greatest covers, regardless of genre. However, U Roy doesn’t have any trouble coming across as a distinctive presence; his scattershot repertoire of barks, chants, and screams is as critical or more important as the deft, unobtrusive backing woven behind him. U Roy imposes his own willful style, regardless of setting. Sometimes he pulls off a positively poppy veneer on tracks like ‘Runaway Girl’ or ‘Silver Bird’; other times, he extemporizes slightly ahead of the beat on ‘Natty Don’t Fear’ or ‘The Great Psalms.’ His lyrics run the gamut of Rastafarian concerns, from facing adversity (‘Dreadlocks Dread’) to female troubles (‘I Can’t Love Another’) and royalist run-ins (‘Chalice in the Palace’). The uncredited musicians stay out of the way (although they get their own album-closing instrumental, ‘Trench Town Rock’). This album ranks among the ’70s dub masterpieces, even if the odd lyrical clinker keeps it from perfection; ‘Runaway Girl’s’ glistening skank can’t paper over its sexism (which suggests the girl in question ‘may be nice/but you’re not that smart’). Even so, sometimes an artist only needs charisma to get across, and U Roy handily wins on that score.”
allmusic
W – U-Roy
iTunes
YouTube: 01 – Runaway Girl