Tag Archives: Tower Records

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives (Stream + Tracklist): June 3, 2017 – Black Wax Cratedigger’s Harvest!

 

Lots of my Student Loan kasheesh was spent at this SLC record shop. Going strong 30 plus years later. Removed 90% of their CDs to make room for MOAR vinyl

A life in cratedigging. Kick started the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive’s in my friend Neil’s dorm room. Fall of 1986. That lit the fuse!…..

<Black Uluru in a dorm room? Instant Reggae fanatic; 20 sec.>

…I’m going through a home remodel. 40 years of record collecting crammed into my garage right now. When I ran out of shelves, I bought some big ass tupperware bins to try and make it all fit.

This has to fit into my new addition. A Library for a Librarian

Between my organic collecting (used record stores, Ebay/Amazon, stock from my distributor when I sold Reggae online) and my binge buying when Record Stores started dying out in the mid 2000’s, my 1200 square foot house had reached a state of entropy.

So to make room for the demolition of two bedrooms to accommodate an actual Library (A Librarian with his own Library!), I had to move everything into my garage in a short amount of time.

Now that the project is coming to completion, I have to move everything back in!

Can 40 years of books, records, CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes fit into a space 41 feet by 10 feet? Stay tuned!

My method?

  • Get up early on Saturday. Have my spinach determining what I’m going to sort and separate  in the garage.
  • Go have breakfast at Left Fork Grill with my best bredrin Leonard and his buddy John
  • Drink about 8 cups of coffee
  • Head back to mi casa in Sugarhouse
  • Grab a stack of disks for my CD boombox to while away the time sifting wax
  • Fully caffeinated: Start to organize the entropy.
    • I would separate by format: LP, 12″ disco mix, 10″ disco mix, non-Reggae vinyl
    • Then: look by title and cull albums if they fit one of my preferred set-genres
      • 420
      • Roots Dawtas
      • UFOria
      • Wailers Family Tree
      • Halloween
      • Marley Tribute songs
      • Rockers doing Reggae

I don’t know how many physical vinyl pieces I have (not even including 7″ 45s). CDs a whole separate issue.

10,000 pieces? 15,000? Somewhere in between.

It has literally taken me from early January to June to sort it all and separate for the final move into the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive.

From when I moved to SLC from Bozeman, MT in Sept. of 1986, I have been on a vinyl crusade. And the nostalgia of where and how I acquired the lion’s share of black wax really kicks off memories of a subculture that has mostly died out: the local record store.

Many great ones are still slinging wax: Like Randy’s in Salt Lake. Ditched their CDs to make room for the vinyl resurgence: 20 sec.

But over 500 stores have gone out of business in the last decade. When the music industry killed vinyl, they didn’t anticipate that digital music sales like Itunes, Spotify etc. would make those $18.99 CDs economically irrelevant.

Columbus and Bay in North Beach. I would stay across the street at the Travelodge and crate dig til closing. Nearly cried when I heard the news Tower was going under

And even though vinyl is making an awesome comeback (full vindication for I ‘n’ I), it’s too late for many of my favorite haunts.

Last summer my local Montana chain went out of business: Hastings. I would drive through gorgeous wheat fields and flowing rivers and cratedig from Butte, Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, Bozeman and Billings.

700 hundred miles from SLC to Fort Benton, Montana. Hastings books/cds/DVDs broke up the monotony of the drive. Went out of business Summer 2016

As much as I love Montana and my parents, I’m not driving home this summer. Not much for me to do there now but watch wheat grow.

bless, robt

Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: June 3, 2017 – All Vinyl Showcase; 34 sec.

Set 1:

  • Brigadier Jerry – Everyman a Mi Bredrin; Jamaica, Jamaica (RAS) ’85 DC:
  • Bullwackie’s All Stars – Nature’s Dub; Nature’s Dub (Wackies) ’80 Dub Album of the Hour
  • Time Unlimited – Live Upright; Devil’s Angel (Live Wire) ’84 JA
  • Mother Liza – Ten to Ten; Mother Liza Meets Pappa Tollo (Vista Sounds) ’83 UK
  • Devon Russell- Homebound Train; Homebound Train (Freedom Sounds) ’83 JA
  • Zap Pow – Be Cool; Irie Land (Rhino) ’80 LA
  • Al Campbell – Collie Herb; 12” (Jah Life) 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
The Record Room: Phoenix, AZ, 2016

Set 2:

  • Inner Circle – Forward Jah Jah Children; Reggae Thing (Capitol) ’76 US

<Inner Circle: Capitol’s answer to Bob Marley; 15 sec.>

  • Leroy Smart – What Will I Do; Rite Sound Reggae Story (Jah Live) ’77 Fr.
  • Barry Brown – Ital Rock; I’m Still Waiting (Rocktone International) ’83 Can.
  • Super Chick – Roach Killer; Reggae Dancehall Classics (Sleeping Bag) ’87 NY female dj

<Roach Killer shoes: favorites in the dancehall for killing roaches and rub a dubbing; 35 sec.>

Starboard Records, 1988 – West Valley City, UT. RIP

Set 3:

  • Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus – I Am an Ethiopian; Movements (Dynamic Sounds) ’78 JA

<I’m not Mr. Brown, Mr. Smith, Mr. White – I’m an Ethiopian; 12 sec.>

  • Dennis Brown – Wake Up; Wake Up (Natty Congo) ’85 UK
  • The Meditations – Running From Jamaica; Message From the Mediations (United Artists) ’76 US
  • Gregory Isaacs & Christine – Rock On; Rock On (Jah Live) ’75 Fr. Combination style
  • Prince Far I – Bendel Dub; Front Line Dub (Virgin Front Line) ’79 Dub Album of the Hour

<Virgin record label in Nigeria; 50 sec.>

Randy’s Records: SLC, 1986

Set 4:

  • Lone Ranger – The Clock; Hi-Yo Silver, Away! (Greensleeves) ’82 UK
  • The Shakers – Emergency Call; Yankee Reggae (Asylum) ’76 Boston; female vox on Judy Mowatt tune
  • Eek a Mouse – Sensee Party; Skidip! (Greensleeves) ’81 UK
  • Misty in Roots – Wandering Wanderer; 12” (People Unite) ’81 UK
Rough Trade Records: San Francisco, New Years Even 1988

Set 5: 420 Black Wax

  • Peter Culture – Coconut Chalwah; Behold 10” LP (Top Beat) 2000 UK 

<Coconut chalice; 14 sec.>

  • Clint Eastwood – Collie Weed Style; Love & Happiness (Burning Sounds) ’79 UK
  • Winston Reedy – Sensimilla; Dim the Lights (Inner Light) ’83 UK
  • Niney the Observer – My Spliff; Nuclear Jammin’ (Voiceprint) ’86 Chicago
  • John Holt – Police in Helicopter; 12” (Holt) ‘83

<Johnny Law in your rear view? 28 sec.>

Reckless Record, 1990 San Francisco/Haight Ashbury: RIP

Set 6:

  • The Wailers – Get Up, Stand Up; Wailers Vinyl Box Set (Island) #3484 of 10,000 vinyl box set

<Lessons in crate digging: Buy low ($70), sell high (working kidney)>

  • Bobby Culture, Brimstone & Fire, Nicodemus & Louie Culture – Going Home; Tidal Wave (Unicorn) ’83 Santa Monica: R.B. Greaves pop update
  • Junior Byles – I Don’t Know; Rasta No Pickpocket (Nighthawk) ’86 St. Louis
  • Don Carlos & Gold – Blackout in the Ghetto; Showdown vol. 3 (Hitbound) NY
  • Black Uhuru – What Is Life; 12” EP (4th & Broadway) ’83 US picture sleeve

<Not Marley, Tosh, Cliff or UB40: Black Uluru’s Anthem made I ‘n’ I a Reggae fanatic>

  • Ras Command – Education; In Dub (Red Arrow) ’95 Germ.: Mutant Dub album of the hour
9 disk vinyl box set: Amoeba Records, Berkeley 2001: $70. Versus $3500 on eBay

Set 7:

  • Blue Riddim Band – Restless Spirit; Restless Spirit (Flying Fish) ’81 St. Louis

<Livicated to our KRCL bredrin: Bad Brad Wheeler>

  • Fab 5 – Shaving Cream; Jamaican Woman (Stage) ’87 JA
  • Aisha – I Know a Place; 12” (Ariwa) ’90 UK
Smokey’s Records, SLC 1987: RIP

Set 8: Mutant Dub

  • Black Uhuru – Boof’n’Baff’n’Biff (Fila Brazillia rmx no. 2); Dancehall Queen Soundtrack (Island Jamaica) ’97 US
  • Dub Syndicate – Roots Commandment; Echomania
  • New Age Steppers feat. Ari Up – Stormy Weather; Foundation Steppers (ON U Sound) ’83 UK female vox on Lena Horne classic
ON U Sound mail order, London: 1990?

Words of Wisdom:

 

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

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

Greetings,

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:

Bob_Dylan_Rasta_by_garrett_btm
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.

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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.

crate-digging
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.

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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.

Tower-Records
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
130732653268
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
Sophia+George+-+Girlie+Girlie+-+12%22+RECORD-MAXI+SINGLE-284211
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
new-NRG-Rising
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
conditions
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
m3NqqBOakCf77WZWpv0gCPA
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
rej
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
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Smile Jamaica’s vision of The Afterlife