Tag Archives: record collecting

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: May 31, 2014: 25th Anniversary Vinyl is Vital Show (Stream + Playlist)

Happy Anniversary to Me! 25 years playing tasty Vinyl on Smile Jamaica!


Mixcloud hosts my Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive Streams. If you don’t want to read my vinyl cratedigging story below, just go deh!: May 31, 2014

I don’t know why last week was different, but I hit 3 charts on Mixcloud’s weekly uploads

  • 5th in the Vinyl chart
  • 15th in the Dub chart
  • 17th in the Reggae chart

Yes I! Give thanks and praise to you if you made it a priority to listen to Smile Jamaica  so it could chart. Maybe it was the cannabinally (did I just invent a word?) inspired Milton Glaser photo of birthday boy Bob Dylan:

Milton Glaser’s famous Bob Dylan poster mock-up

So I was very happy with that and decided to celebrate the next week’s Smile Jamaica edition with an All Vinyl Show. Been committed to vinyl from Day 1 on KRCL 90.9FM. I have relentlessly championed vinyl for 25 years now. It is a rare show that I don’t play at least a set of black wax or a dozen vinyl records in 7″, 10″, 12″ and LP format spread over 3 hours.

Every once in a while I get asked how much longer I plan on programming Smile Jamaica. 25 five years every Saturday afternoon. Quite a significant time commitment, eh? I answer the same each time: “When the station de-commissions the two turntables, I will retire.”

I doubt that will happen, but without being able to play Vinyl, it would be like listening to your Hi Fi with only 1 speaker working.

Smile Jamaica: Your Jamaican Jukebox

I feel fortunate that I have been able to apply my cratedigging for a Radio purpose. Most record collector addicts either don’t have a media outlet for their archives or disseminate their artifacts with other collectors. Like trading baseball cards.

In my case, the lion’s share of my record haul was funded via student loan easy money from Uncle Ronnie (it took me 15 years to pay off my 80’s record haul plus 3 University degrees.)

The period from about 1985-1995 coincided with a period of cheap Vinyl titles being sold in brick and mortar record stores to clear space* and gain seed money for these new fangled thingees called the Compact Disc.

*Did you know the size of the CD was made to exact specifications: 2 CDs could sit, perfectly,  side by side for every record bin. Thus, doubling the potential inventory.

I would drive to the Bay Area from Utah and scour San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, El Cerrito, Hayward, San Mateo, Carmel/Monterey, Santa Cruz and dig for Reggae Vinyl.

If I couldn’t couch surf with a relative for ten days, I would stay at the Travelodge across the street from the San Francisco Tower Records within walking distance of North Beach, Chinatown and the Bay.

This looks a lot like my living room at the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives World HQ

I would make a special trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to shop at the excellent roots music store: Village Music in Mill Valley. I found some really rare Reggae 45’s and the first five years of The Beat*magazine there once. Once you get a nice cache, it’s worth the drive and I will make the time to dig in the crates. Village Music was my favorite Bay Area store on my circuit. I was really bummed when I read they went out of business in 2007.

*The primary Reggae and World music magazine published in the US. I wrote Mutant Dub reviews for them for about 5 years. They didn’t survive the digital era either when ad revenue dried up as Reggae labels went out of business.

Village Music; Mill Valley, Collie-fornya: casualty of the digital era.

On the return drive, I would hit Auburn Collie-fornya (the old state capitol; home of Cherry Records), Sacramento vicinity and Reno. I have even stopped and perused the Yellow Pages in Winnemucca and Elko Nevada looking for a little record shack.

The good times came to an end. Ebay and Amazon dried up the source records for inventory as collectors could piece out their rarities for top coin, one title at a time.

Chain stores like Mall Wart, Beast Buy and Circus Shitty stocked a boring, narrow selection of titles. They would purposely  undercut the sales markup as a loss leader to get you in to buy a toaster or computer. The indie stores couldn’t buy on that volume to get the wholesale price break much less afford to sell titles for less than cost.

With digital preferences, iTunes legit, tube sites and outright online theft, the other shoe dropped on the physical record (and video) stores and more than 3000 have gone out of business in the past decade. The biggest of them being Tower Records, Virgin Records and HMV. Brutal.

It’s really depressing for a professional cratedigger like me when I pull into a town and see my familiar haunt closed or replaced by some sort of Dollar Store or Title Loan company.

RIP: Columbus and Bay location; San Francisco. Spent thousands of dollars here over a decade of shopping

So please do some cratedigging so your pal Robert has a place to find new artifacts for ‘rinsing out’ on Smile Jamaica.

Thanks for listening to these Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive streams and, by all means, puff, puff pass the links to anyone you think might like the cool breeze of musical rotation inna Irie meditation at 33 and 1/3 and 45 RPMs! Vinyl snack crackle and pop is real. Digital is just a figment of your reality.

Playlist below the Mixcloud embed

bless, robt

  • Dillinger – Reggae Beat; Badder Than Then (A & M) ’81 US; All Vinyl Show
  • UB40 – Present Arms in Dub; Present Arms in Dub (DEP) ’81; Dub Album of the Week
  • Chalawa – Jah Collie Weed; Capture Land (Green Weenie) ’78 Jah-tario, Canada; 420 Seven Leaf Set
  • Crucial Bee – Cocaine; Just a Sting (All Starr) US Virgin Islands
  • Tinga Stewart – Give Me a Puff; Key to Your Heart (Calabash) ’83 Florida
  • Toyan – Chalice; Toyan (Channel One) ’82 JA
  • Sugar Minott – International Herb; 12” (Hammah) ‘83***End of Set 1
Jah-ntario, Canada. Green Weenie label
  • Sophia George – Girlie, Girlie; Fresh (Winner) ’86 JA; version galore (1)
  • Charlie Chaplin – Boyie, Boyie; 12” (Winner)’85 JA; version galore (2)
  • Barry Brown – Come On Natty Roots Man; Stand Firm (Justice) ‘78 JA
  • Natural Roots – Influence; Natural Roots (Only Roots) ’84 FR***End of Set 2
A huge hit Year 1 Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives (circa 1988)
  • Casselberry – DuPree’ – Positive Vibrations; City Down (Iceberg) Jah-waukee, Wisconsin; ’86 female folk duo on Marley
  • Peter Ranking & General Lucky – Farmer; Jah Stand Over Me (Razor Sound) ’82 JA
  • ***Interview with NRG Rising; Maori reggae family out of New Zealand
  • NRG Rising – Journey; From Darkness to Light***End of Set 3
NRG Rising – New Zealand Maori Reggae mother and dawtas
  • Mikey Dread – Heavyweight Style; 10” (Dread at the Controls) ’82 UK
  • Sena – Natural Woman + Strictly Woman; Juvenile Delinquent (Clappers) ’81 Brooklyn***End of Set 4
Aston Barrett - Juvenile Delinquent  -=[ Vinyl   [Front]
Familyman Barrett produces sublime female roots singers
  • Cornell Campbell – No Mans (sic) Land; Yes I Will (Micron) ’79 Can.; Up Park Camp riddim
  • Jah Glen – Save Our Nation; 10” (South East Music) UK Lambsbread riddim
  • Eclipse Band – Corrupted Society; Inner Reggae Rhythm (Only Roots) ’78 FR
  • Lillian Allen – Conditions Critical; Conditions Critical (Redwood) ’87 Emeryville, Collie-fornya; Canadian dub poet***End of Set 5
Canadian female dub poet. From Year 1 Smile Jamaica (circa 1988)
  • Sister Carol – Black Woman; Liberation For Africa (Serious Gold) ’83 NYC
  • Enforcer – Bad Boy; 10” (Narrows) ‘80
  • Roots Uprising – No Doney (Get High); Beautiful Music (Top Ranking) ’81 FL***End of Set 6
Paid $50 for this record in Washington DC ’98. Worth every penny!
  • Solo Banton – Chalice Haffe Blaze; 10” (Reality Shock) 2011 UK mutant dub herb tune
  • Idred Natura & Seventh Sense – Sip a Cup; 12” (Jah Works) 2007 mutant dub herb tune***End of Set 7
Smile Jamaica’s Holy Trinity: Mutant dub, Vinyl, herb tunes
  • Singers & Players feat. Brent Dowe – These Eyes; Vacuum Pumping (ON U Sound) ’88; Melodians singer on The Guess Who tune; mutant dub vinyl set
  • Basement 5 – Immigration; 1965-1980 (Island) ’80 UK; members went out to Big Audio Dynamite
  • Bim Sherman & Lion Youth – Happiness; Hits From the House of Shaka (Jah Shaka) UK ‘85
  • New Age Steppers feat. Ari Up – Some Love; Foundation Steppers (ON U Sound) UK ’83; feat lead singer of The Slits
Smile Jamaica’s vision of The Afterlife


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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