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Triptych 06: U-Roy + Topcat +Reggae Gav


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Triptych 06: U-Roy + Topcat

+ Reggae Gav (aka Burning Bush Hi-Fi)

Thursday 27 April

The Lemon Tree

Tickets 14 + 1.50 b/fee

Doors Open: 9pm

Top Cat 9.45

U-Roy 10.45

He's the Originator! The Father of the Dancefloor! The first Jamaican deejay to shake the nation! Ladies and gentleman, we give you: U-Roy.

Born in Jonestown, Jamaica, in 1942, and championed by King Tubby, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Bunny Lee and the late, great Duke Reid, U-Roy's unprecedented success in the late 60s and early 70s with reggae blueprints such as 'Wake The Town', 'Rule The Nation' and 'Wear You To The Ball', rendered him one of his homeland's biggest stars.

Originating a style so distinctive as to change the face of Jamaican music, U-Roy's vibrant, unshakeable interpretations propelled reggae rhythms across the globe - not least toward the UK, where he became a cultural, and critical, hero.

U-Roy is an absolute must-see: he put DJs and reggae music on the map; he proved a direct influence on American rap. His legacy to popular music is massive.

The indisputable leader of the gang? You bet your sweet ass, baby: UK dancehall legend and hip-hop junglist Top Cat has a string of reggae smashes to his credit, (as both a performer and producer), and is an award-winning DJ to boot.

His blistering ragga chants and flawless delivery have also infiltrated collaborations with artists from underground jungle thumpers Shy FX, to the Beta Band's skewed genius Steve Mason - aka King Biscuit Time - on his ace, Bush-baiting single, CI Am 15.

From an early career toasting with UK Sound Systems to a raft of classic releases including 'Request The Style', 'Push Up U Lighter', and 'Love Me Sess', Top Cat is one of the UK's most dexterous - and delirious - MCs.


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The 3 reviews below are ones I did for http://www.reggae-reviews.com/

Right Time Rockers (Soundsystem, 1998 [orig. released 1976])

DJing has influenced many forms of music including dancehall, ragga and hip hop. It is the art of chanting, singing or toasting over an existing track and part of the culture of recycling roots, dub and rock steady tunes and taking them to a new audience. Hugh Roy, or U-Roy as he is better known, as is one of the first DJs to successfully record his work. Some even call him the Godfather of DJing, and he was the first artist to hold the first four positions on the Jamaican charts. Right Time Rockers consists of tracks that were not intended for a wide audience. The tracks are Hookim Brother re-workings of Studio One Riddims, many used on The Mighty Diamonds' Right Time album. Initially the material was only to be used on sound systems in Jamaica. U Roy produced the tracks himself and the players include Tommy McCook and Sly and Robbie. U-Roy's vocals are of a consistent high standard on these tracks. Most tracks are dubs with toasts added, although The Mighty Diamonds are included on great tracks such as "Hal Vital." The album has a misty, dubby feel that is less frantic that some of his other material and at a pace that would equal the average Prince Far I record. Twelve tracks of lovely DJing action from the master that lasts for 36 minutes.

4.5/5 stars

Version Galore (Trojan, 2002)


This package collects 29 U-Roy tracks from 1970 and 71, which were produced by the legendary Duke Reid. As a bonus, you also get the original versions. These originals date from the late sixties and are simply fine rock steady tracks from The Paragons, The Jamaicans, Alton Ellis, and The Techniques, amongst others. U- Roy provides an extra layer on top of the rock steady tunes. Basically, he has an interesting conversation with the original vocalist. Despite his DJing tag, Roy is more of a singer with a sharp mind and great timing. He had a lot of chart success in the '70s, and it's easy to see why. He recycles recent hits, gives them a new personality, and reflects the sounds of the sound system. Roy was one of the first DJs to successfully record material and predates hip hop, grime, dancehall, and ragga by a decade or two. This material is fun and relatively light, unlike some of the material that fellow DJs such as Big Youth, PFI, and LKJ released.


U Roy "Dread in a Babylon" (Frontline)

U Roy is playing my city as part of this year's TripTych festival alongside Top Cat. I can't really afford a ticket but I may just make some sacrificies to see the original DJ. Dread was released as part of the relatively well recieved Front Line series in 1975. It's ten tracks of top quartile toasting tracks recorded at Joe Gibbs studio with the assistance of Errol Thompson and Prince Tony. The riddims are pretty well known, rootsy and well produced and seem to offer himself the perfect pulpit. He ducks in and out of the original vocals with a unique and cheeky delivery. This is an album unlikely to convert U Roy doubters but is pretty much essential for DJ fans.


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