Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Listening Diary; Sunday May 11, 2014 (Vinyl Sabbath)

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives Grade: A/A-


Been really homebound at the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives. Allergies for sure-ty. Cold wet weekend made me an invalid. Dayquil, Nyquil. No dice.

Called my beloved mother, Jeannette, wished her a happy Mother’s Day in a Jah-tana blizzard.  Chatted up my best pal Tristin. And watched my beloved Giants spank the hated Dodgers in extra innings.


Being homeward bound made me plow into the treasures of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive.

So I am a Librarian by trade. And like Sanitation Engineers mop floors, Librarians are Information Engineers. We organize information into searchable format.

I am in the perpetual state of cataloging and creating discographies of my collection by format. Right now I am in the mood for the most esoteric of my Reggae formats* (10″ vinyl extended mix single.)

*other than my treasured Bob Marley 8 Tracks

From the Dead Formats Shelf of the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives

I have an Excel database that tracks A side: Artist, Song; B side: Artist,Song; Record Label; Producer;  Year (very hard sometimes to find); Reggae Band laying down the riddims. Other metadata like: herb tune, Marley tribute, soul cover, etc. Then I give each side a grade.

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives Grade: B+/A-

Here is what I cataloged and listened to on my Hi-Fi. Vinyl Sabbath (May 11, 2014: Mother’s Day and 33 Years of Bob Marley’s tragic passing)

10″ vinyl: Dirty Dub Dozen

*b & w = backed with or the B side

  • Boney ‘L’ & Vibronics – Babylon Children b/w* Vibronics – The Return (Jah Tubbys); A side is female roots on a good militant steppers riddim. Militant Steppers is the martial Euro dubble time stiff drum and spongy echo. B side is cool instrumental by the Dub group Vibronics.

Grade: A/A-

  • Dennis Brown – Tenement Yard b/w Open the Gates. Part of a latter-day reissue series of vinyl classics from Niney’s Observer label. Revive/Reissue Label: Observer Gold. Dennis at his roots best. Sufferers A side with Rasta imagery B side

Grade: A/A+

  • Johnny Clarke – Dreader Dread + Clint Eastwood – Dread Lion b/w Horace Andy – Guiding Star + Tappa Zukie – Jah Is I Guiding Star (Attack Gold); cut ‘n’ mix using Bunny Lee’s production of King Tubby mixing the flying cymbal attack of the Aggrovators. Version rides recycling hard riddims. Both jams are high impact examples of early 70s Rasta commercial roots.

Grade: A/A

  • The Congos – Some are Having Fun b/w Mad Professor & the Robotics feat. Michael Walters – Jungle Vibrations (Ariwa) 2002. Gorgeous A side featuring the falsetto of Cedric Myton. B is a great ricochet echo mostly instrumental jam with that trademark Mad Professor sound

Grade: A/A

  • Mikey Dread – Heavyweight Style b/w Rub-a-Dub (Dread the Controls) ’82 picture sleeve. Spongy riddims featuring the singjay. Studio craft with false starts, trombone melodies and sticky downbeat. Mikey’s cartoon vox celebrates the tough riddims. B side is a notch better. “Music is my butter, music is my bread.” Rub a Dub: the excuse needed to grab your gal and wind up her waist on the dance floor. Deliberate one drop, more measured, where the twisty groove pumps bass at your groin.

Grade: B+/A-

  • Gregory Isaacs – Cool Down the Pace b/w The Stranger (Island) ’82 picture sleeve. Mixed by Groucho Smykle  who updated Black Uhuru’s contemporary sound. These are inverted tracks where it is mostly dub riddim where Gregory meanders in and warbles over an early 80s digital drum sound.

Grade: A/A-

  • Carlton Jackson – Only Jah Will Do b/w Jonny (sic) Osburne (sic) – The  Love of Music (Ital International) ’82. Wow what a great roots record. A side is sublime Rasta celebration. While Johnny or Jonny celebrates the philosophy of celebrating Reggae music

Grade: A+/A

Purchased at Streetlight Records in San Francisco circa 1989
  • Jah Mason & Robbie Valentine – Ganja afe Free b/w Mike Anthony – Culture Calling (Sip a Cup); 2005 Militant Steppers powerhouse produced by Gussie P with riddims by Mafia & Fluxy. A side is a combination style herb tune. B side is a great roots and contemporary dub jam.

Grade: A-/A

  • Keith & Tex + Scotty – Tonight + Children Children b/w Pablo & Fay – Bedroom Mazurka (Trojan) UK reissue of some classic Derrick Harriott productions. A side is the great slinky riddim moving into Scotty toasting a nursery rhyme. B side is Pablo’s melodica dreamscape over Fay’s come hither seduction. Jamaican novelty update.

Grade: A/B+

  • King General – They Say b/w Centry – King of Kings (Lovedub Music) 2006 Conscious Sounds Bush Chemists militant steppers mutant dub mashup. A side is a great high voiced singjay herb tune, “They say Sensimilla can’t smoke”. B side is a different riddim instrumental. I used this one to test out my new stereo setup since I had to upgrade my TV/entertainment center over the weekend.

Grade: A/A-

Love mi Dubplate: “They say Sensimilla cyaan smoke”

Barrington Levy –  Mr. Money Man b/w Super Chick  Me a Champion (Hit Bound) ’83. Trademark Barry warble over a subtle rub a dub groover. Very atmospheric protesting against the banksters vexing the working poor way back when.  B Side is female sing jay. Very off key on the singing while stepping it lively on the deejay toast ‘n’ boast. Psychedelic extended mix once Chick steps aside.


  • Derrick Morgan  – Conquering Ruler (2002 Re-Visit) b/w Martin Campbell – Old Time Dance (Channel One UK). Featuring the Hi-Tech Roots Radics. A is a Rock Steady classic update. B side is better as a celebration of Reggae inna dancehall style. 3 versions per side: vox, vocal/dub, dub. Bonus beats are always a treat!

Grade: B+/A

Good day to celebrate His Imperial Majesty with roots ‘n’ dubbers paying tribute!

bless, robt

Praises to Jah: Truly the Conquering Lion





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