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Rub A Dub Style – Chapter 2 « DanceCrasher

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Rub A Dub Style – Chapter 2

Politics In The Dance

The seventies brought a whole new atmosphere to the dancehall. “In the ‘60s, when we celebrated our independence, when we came out of the colonial era, it was really nice,” explains producer Clive Chin. “It’s just that, after that 10 year stretch that just went past unnoticed, like the turn of a page – everything just started changing. People became more self conscious of who they are, what they were defending. The music started to change as well. Then, you had certain Jamaican artists picking up the team of the socialist system, where they would sing about Joshua, ‘Better Must Come’*, and things like that. There was a big change. The rock steady, which had that sweet melody, went by and the more political and social material came into effect.”

* Both songs, ‘Better Must Come’ by Delroy Wilson and ‘No Joshua No’ by Max Romeo were written referring to Michael Manley, leader of the PNP party

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Delroy Wilson – Better Must Come

In the ‘70s, life proved so difficult that many Jamaicans, including Clive and his family, moved to the U.S.. Politics began to creep into every aspect of life in Jamaica, including music. Deejay Dennis Alcapone was one of the many who, like the Chins, abandoned the country. “At the time, Jamaica was just turning violent [due to] the political situation. Guns were firing in the dance, and I heard from a lot of people that I died several times [he laughs]*, and I didn’t want it to become a reality. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Better to be safe than sorry. So, when I came to England and see the situation here, and go to the dances and see that there was no shot firing and people would stay in the dance until six, seven in the morning. It was a completely different situation, you know.”

* The violence often lead to rumors that certain entertainers had been killed

In 1972, Manley had been elected with 56% of the vote. Appealing to the downtrodden and disenfranchised, Manley had sought out the help of musicians in his campaign. Singer/producer Clancy Eccles, who recorded several songs in support of Manley including the crucial ‘Rod of Correction’, was called in to organize the traveling ‘Bandwagon’ shows that took Manley’s message to every parish. Inner Circle, Jacob Miller’s band, supplied the music. Singers included Bob and Rita Marley, Junior Byles, Dennis Brown, Judy Mowatt, Scotty, Marcia Griffiths, Tinga Stewart, Brent Dowe, Max Romeo, Derrick Harriet and Ken Boothe. The charismatic Manley toured the countryside, and ventured deep into the inner city ghettos to spread the message of his party. Although true Rastafarians eschewed political involvement, the People’s National Party began a campaign to co-opt the movement by incorporated Rasta symbols, ideas and music into their campaign. Manley portrayed himself as the Biblical Joshua and carried a stick he referred to as the ‘rod of correction’. Claiming the rod has been given to him by the Emperor Haile Selassie, Manley courted the Rastafarian vote with considerable success.

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Clancy Eccles – Rod Of Correction

But the euphoria of the election victory quickly dampened as Jamaica began to confront some of its greatest challenges. Manley was a strong supporter of Third World solidarity and aligned himself with Cuba and other revolutionary governments, something that set off alarms in Washington, still shaking from the Cuban Missile crisis. Jamaica’s close proximity to Cuba was a concern, and the U.S. did want to see communism, or socialism, spread. As Mark Wignall expressed it in The Jamaican Observer, “In the mid to late 1970s, at a time when Cold War tensions were being played out right across the globe between the U.S. and its NATO allies and the Soviet Bloc and its satellites, Michael Manley’s political direction placed Jamaica, a small island in America’s backyard pond (the Caribbean Sea), in the cross-hairs of hostile U.S. policy action.”*

* Who First Gave Tivoli its Guns, Mark Wignall, Jamaican Observer, June 27, 2010

The CIA, according to ex-CIA agent, Phillip Agee, began processes of destabilization in Jamaica. Guns began coming into the country. “In the period leading up to the 1976 general elections, violence took off in earnest. It was then no secret that new guns had come upon the Jamaican landscape, and it was argued that the firepower of the JCF [Jamaica Defense Force] was inferior to those of the gunmen aligned to the political parties.”* The inevitable result was an escalating arms race between the two opposing political factions in which many innocent lives were lost.

* Who First Gave Tivoli its Guns, Mark Wignall, Jamaican Observer, June 27, 2010

Garrisons Communities and political violence

During the ‘70s, life in Jamaica was exactly the way it was described in so many songs from the period. People were suffering. Jobs were scarce, wages were low and essential goods were in short supply. In 1980, inflation was running at 28.6%, with unemployment at 27% with an estimated 50% for young people*.

* September two, 1986, The U.S. Message to Jamaica’s Seaga: It’s Time to Keep Your Promise, by Ashby, Timothy The Heritage Foundation http://www.heritage.org/research/latinamerica/bg531.cfm

The economy was unstable and factories were closing because the lack of foreign exchange made it impossible to buy parts and raw materials from abroad. The middle class was leaving as quickly as they could find a way around the restrictions on taking money put of the country. Because of the import controls, the shelves of stores lay bare and something as simple as an (imported) can opener could run you $25 Jamaican in the supermarket.*

* The music industry suffered also under import controls. Coxsone Dodd had to stop repressing his material in Jamaica and Jojo Hookim of Channel One had his import license reduced making it hard to get parts for his jukeboxes and gaming machines

Violence and poverty weren’t anything new to the streets of Kingston. For decades, people had been fleeing the hard life in the country for the hope of better employment opportunities in the city. But when they arrived, they soon discovered that the infrastructure wasn’t there. The farmers arriving daily in Kingston found that there was neither affordable housing nor land on which to build for themselves. So, many made their homes squatting on what came to be known as ‘capture lands’, or in ‘shantytowns’ where the dwellings were mere shacks, constructed with cardboard and zinc.

These lawless lands appealed to the politicians who would go in with favors and easily buy control of the area. Or they could take down the whole thing and build up their own community to replace it. “Between 1962 and 1972, (Edward) Seaga built Kingston West into a fortress, with a centerpiece in Tivoli Gardens, Jamaica’s first government housing scheme, which he built on the bulldozed site of the then Kingston dumps and a dreadful area named Back o’ Wall”.* Tivoli Gardens came compete with schools and health care centers. The project supplied first jobs and then dwellings for supporters of JLP leader, Edward Seaga, who was running against Michael Manley in the 1976 elections. Public housing schemes became a powerful tool to manipulate the people. Once built and filled with party supporters, that area could be counted on as a loyal constituency.

* Philip Mascoll, Jamaica: The Guns Of Kingston, Toronto Star , Tue, 24 Jul 2001

These neighborhoods, once connected to politicians or a particular party, became known as Garrison Communities. In the Corporate Area, they cropped up all over – Rema, Arnett Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Wareika Hills in East Kingston, Tel Aviv, Payne Land and Southside… All to insure a good turnout for the party at the ballot box. As singer Wayne Smith put it, “In Jamaica, in those times, you know seh, if this side is PNP and this side is Laborite, most of the politicians would pay some guys over there right now to intimidate those people to vote for us. Kill them! Do anything! But make them vote for us.” It was in these overcrowded ghettos that the trouble started. Often communities were only a few blocks wide making it hard for opponents to avoid each other. *

* For example, “The three blocks west of Gold Street in Central Kingston support Manley’s party but the three blocks east of Gold Street, known as Southside back the Jamaican Labor Party (J.L.P.) Of The Current Prime Minister, Edward P.G. Seaga.” – Showdown In Jamaica, By Mark Kurlansky; Mark Kurlansky Has Reported On The Caribbean For The Chicago Tribune, Maclean’s And Other Publications. Published: November 27, 1988

Where the ‘50s and ‘60s had been an era of excitement and optimism, the ‘70s where anything but. Fear and hopelessness began to seep into the national psyche turning what was once a dream into a nightmare. In the early ‘70s, many people had climbed aboard the Manley bandwagon, believing that change was possible. But, when faced with continual interference by the U.S. and its allies, the only change that came was that the rich got richer and the sufferers suffered more. Jamaica was indeed, as Prince Far I put it, “under heavy manners”.

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Prince Far I – Heavy Manners

“In ’75, ’76 the politics down there was getting a little bit out of hand. And that is one of the reasons we decided to set up a branch in New York in ’77.” Clive Chin explains. The Chin family, owners of Randy’s Records and Randy’s Studio 17 on North Parade, moved the main operation to Queens, New York and set up VP records (VP for ‘Vincent and Pat’ Chin) where the record store grew into what is today, the largest reggae distributor in the world.

“It was very tense. When you come down to Randy’s, North Parade, before you actually enter into the store, itself, from the sidewalk, you would see a long pole in the middle of the walkway. That pole never used to be there back in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. That pole was to guide the shutters. There were two shutters that came down in the evening to lock up the store. But the reason why we had to leave that pole in the middle was that, sporadically, there would be gunfire firing out from Hayward Street, Orange Street area, coming into Parade and in order for us to secure ourselves, we had to draw the shutters down quick. In order to make sure that the shutters come down in time, we had to leave that pole in, to guide the shutters down. We saved a lot of lives inside that record store.”

The reach of politics extended even into the daily lives of even those who never gave political parties a second thought. “They used to label you in them time there,” recalls deejay Ranking Trevor. “Cause the second owner [of the sound] was a politician from Jungle, one of the top guy, Tony Welch. But because I was sparring with them, they start label the sound and label me, say me is a PNP. You have to be careful, cause in those days, those guys want to kill anybody.”

“In that time it doesn’t matter what,” Selector and producer Jah Screw agreed. “If they think that you are ‘leaning’. Because it takes nothing to think you are leaning to the next side. You have be careful if you’re wearing green [the JLP color]. You have fe be careful if you wearing orange [the PNP color]. It was easy to get branded.” And, of course, “If you were branded PNP”, Welton Irie remembers, “you couldn’t go into JLP areas and vice versa.”

Clive Chin remembers a close call he had. “I believe it was in ’76, before Joel [Clive’s son] was born, I took his mother up to Half Way Tree to the Kentucky Fried chicken Place. I walk up to the [counter] to take my order, two guy back me up. I don’t know if they have guns or knife on them or whatever but I could see that they were politicians [people involved in politics]. So, them say ‘Mr. Chin, what party the I defend?’ So I say, ‘What?’ [They replied,] ‘Tch, you hear what I say, what party the I defend?’ Me say, ‘Party? Me nah defend no party. Me defend music. I am a producer. I am a musician. I produce music.’ So, him look pon me good to rahtid and he hear how me talk to him and him say to me, ‘What happen? Me a beg you a money, ya know’. So me say, ‘Whatever money done left after I buy the chicken, you are welcome to it’. But this is how tense Kingston became. It became so tense that, bwoy, you just haf fe know where and where you walk”.

Sometimes, choosing a side was the only way to stay safe. Sleng Teng vocalist, Wayne Smith, a resident of the Waterhouse district, known at the time as Firehouse on account of the rampant violence, recalls, “When I was growing up, my grandfather was JLP and my grandmother was PNP. So, you have the PNP people in the area used to drive round in the cars with the [megaphone] and say ‘Wayne, Junior – Leave out of Waterhouse!’ And then the JLP would come and say we must leave too – [that] me and my brother Junior and my brother Christoph fe leave. The PNP want us to leave and the JLP want us to leave. So, one of my brothers have to come out and turn a bad man for PNP.”

Political Lyrics and Pressure on Sounds

The vast majority of sounds were apolitical and carried entertainers of every social, political and religious group on the island, all together, united under music. However, no matter what an individual deejay’s personal opinions may have been, sometimes circumstance called for him to bring the thorny topic of politics into his lyrics. Like when the sound was performing in an area with a distinct affiliation with one of the two major parties.

“How it would work”, Jah Screw explains, “when you was in an area, sometimes you have to take the chance and ‘big up’ somebody in that area, because you have to do it. For the time that you are there, you have to do something. You have to send out requests to everybody. You have to send out to Jim Brown. You have to say, ‘Big up father Jim Brown’, Claudie Massop. If you’re in his area you have to say something. When you reach up a Jungle, you have to say, ‘Yes, Mr. Welch’*. You have to.”

* Jim Brown, Claudie Massop and Tony Welch were politically involved community leaders

It was expected and it worked. Political lyrics were well received because they were so specifically local and aimed at the particular community. Zaggaloo recalls, “We keep a couple of dance out in Ashanti Junction and it was like that – political. I was even talking to Sluggy Ranks and I tell him, ‘When you singing, try sing anything that’s talking about what’s going on in the community and you will see how your song really reach out to more people than anything else’. More people would more listen to songs like that, in those days. I don’t know about now, because now is a different trend. But, in those days, it was more like, what is going on in your area you would deejay about. They get a better response more that anything else.”

Whatever the sentiments of the sound owners or personnel, they had to go with the leanings of the particular area they were playing in, and that meant coming up with some pretty incendiary lyrics which could be seen as provocative. Ranking Trevor recalls, “I don’t know how I do it all those years, cause so much guys did wan’ kill me. We had so much politician song, like you say, ‘Two sheet of Gleaner fe go bu’n down Rema. Cup a cup fe go clap Up Massop’. That way the other side wan’ kill you! That’s what we used to deejay. You have certain rhythms that you put lyrics on. Father Jungle Rock [became] Concrete Jungle Rock*. But the guys them used to stay down a Rema love it. They used to say, ‘Uuuuuhhhhh! If I get a hold of Ranking Trevor, gonna blow off him head! But he’s one of the greatest deejay. Him bad.’”

* Don’t Shoot the Sheriff: An overview of Rastafarians and the Legal System, Geoffrey Alex Domenico, http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/domenico.html

Political lyrics were actually very common in the dance, despite the apparent dangers. Peter Metro, for example, appeared at a PNP Rally held in Skateland. He explained, “You know, at the time, I was living in a PNP area, a PNP constituency, whatever time the PNP rally would be keeping, PNP meeting, they would call upon me, because I live in the community, to come and entertain the crowd that was there – either before or after the Minister make him speech. So, I would go there and sing. I guess a lot of guys do this in their communities.”

Peter’s brother, Squiddley Ranks could be quite outspoken with lyrics like, “Wan’ Michael Manley pon the fifty dollar bill.…Put the boy Seaga on the one cent…” He readily admitted that if you talked like that, “You get branded as a PNP deejay” with possible severe consequences. “Cause it’s a life and death thing when you sing like that. But, in those days I never really stray. Just stick to the area I come from. In those days, I don’t go in a laborite area go deejay. Gemini don’t play in laborite area them times.”

Sound systems came under tremendous pressure to play out in support of one side or the other. “Guys used to come to us and put gun to our head to go and play,” Arrows owner, Sonny, remembers. “That was before the peace treaty. Guys would come and demand us to play- showing up brandishing guns and all like that. We just say, ‘OK no problem, you name the dance and we’ll be there.’”

Jah Screw remembers having to cancel a pre-booked date in order to take the sound down into Tivoli Gardens when one of the community leaders insisted. “We supposed to play by Macarthur Avenue and we couldn’t play because they demanded the sound play down there [Tivoli]. We have to play because, I mean, we wasn’t really into politics, but the whole of Jamaica use any little thing you say to brand you. Ray Symbolic [the sound owner] come by my house and say, ‘Bwoy, Screw, you have a career. You either have to think about your career or you going to finish with the whole businesses’. So, the following day I decided to play [in Tivoli]. And we went down there and it was a roadblock, down there in the Center. And at that time I play about fifteen piece of ‘Death in the Arena’! They have like Massive Dread, Gully Rat, General Echo. Everybody come along and I play for them. I have fe do what I have fe do, you know what I mean.”

The pressure was on the individual deejays, too. Deejay Crutches, who had carried Arrows through the ‘70s with his talent and dedication, was forced to leave in 1980, “due to political friction”. Zaggaloo, the selector for Arrows, explains, “Crutches couldn’t play the set no more. Because the area where the sound come from, they said it was a PNP area. They accused Crutches of putting up JLP posters and it caused a conflict where they had beat him up and they threaten his life. They say he’s not to come around no more and all of that. Sonny and Bill [Arrow’s owners] wasn’t really [happy] with that, and after while he just pull away from the set.”

Still, singers and musicians were largely considered exempt. “Most of my little friends them get dead”, Wayne Smith recalls. “You have Tower Hill man a come over to Waterhouse, pure shot a fire that night there. While the shot them a fire, me come out and me say, ‘Me live around here so me have to defend around here too’. So, my brother look pon me and say, “No, man. You are a singer. Go on in back!’ So them time there, me did a try. But me breddah say, ‘You a singer, you cool’”

Singer Sammy Dread was once the victim of a notorious kidnapping. “Those times, I used to sing but I never really used to go and hang out because of how the politics was going on. Early one Sunday morning, three gunmen juke me down and take me to Rema and was going to kill me.” Luckily, someone who recognized him as a singer arrived in time and they let him go. In the 30 years since, he has never set foot in Jamaica.

Singer Anthony Redrose moved from Spanishtown to Waterhouse and found that, despite the bad reputation of both areas, as an artist, he was safe. “In those days nobody na kill no singer. And nobody na shoot no singer. Them love you. From them find out a you can sing and a you sing that song there, them honor you. From you sing songs, you can go anywhere. Safe passage. And you no need nobody to walk with you. Them nowadays people are different. Them no care. Them man a go rob you. Them want your things that you sing and work for.” But back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, music was the one thing that could cross borders and unite fellow Jamaicans. People loved their music, and the artists and the sound system personnel received the best celebrity treatment a ghetto could offer.

Some artists, however were openly politically active, and many died for their allegiance. “Mickey…Simpson was stabbed to death after getting involved in a ‘neighborhood dispute’. Dirtsman, a dancehall star, who lived in a PNP stronghold, was shot after refusing to publicly endorse the party. Pan Head, another dancehall star, was killed in an incident disguised as robbery. Nothing was taken from him… Massive Dread was shot for publicly speaking out against the political authorities. All these performers lived in so-called ‘garrison communities’. These are ghettos controlled by political gunmen who are loosely linked to Jamaica’s two main political parties, the JLP and the PNP. None of these murders have been solved.”

Peace Treaties

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Jacob Miller – Peace Treaty Special

Throughout the ‘70s, politically inspired violence affected everyone. “You get up this morning and you wonder who you know was killed”, recalls Producer Dudley Swaby, aka Manzie. “Every day, I know somebody who was killed. Or if I didn’t know them, I know of them or know about them. Even Michael [Manley] couldn’t wait until the day of the [1980] election for him to lose and give it up. He had given up a long time. A lot of my friends too, close friends, they were all in that situation. Together, we all had to leave [Jamaica] immediately. You didn’t have to belong to no political party [to be threatened]. You didn’t have to be no activist or nothing. It’s just where you was living, you’re branded and you can’t say or do nothing different, or you lose your life right there. Have to just go with the flow.”

By the 1976 election, Jamaica was on the brink of an outright civil war. The contest between Manley and Eddie Seaga pitted two determined men, and battles were being fought on the street of downtown Kingston. Travel around the city became a perilous endeavor. Sound systems had to stay within their own neighborhoods. Jazzbo recalls, “Before that we used to play seven nights a week. But, there was a time in the middle ‘70s, when the sound couldn’t play at all. Because it was political administration and violence against leaders and opposition. No sound. 1975, 1976. No sound couldn’t play.” On May 19, 1976, a tenement building on Orange Lane, where PNP supporters were meeting, was set on fire. The gunmen blocked the exits and prevented firemen or police aid from reaching the conflagration. Rumors blamed both sides for the tragedy. No one trusted anyone anymore, and no place was completely safe. Manley declared a state of emergency and 500 people were detained.

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Jah Baba – State Of Emergency

In 1976, despite the worsening economy, Manley was returned to office with a substantial majority. But the violence didn’t stop. Wayne Smith, who lived in the politically sensitive area of Waterhouse, recalls, “That time there, it wicked, wicked. Worst, worst, worst! Nuff of my little friend that me grow with dead. Even one time, when me come out of Tubbys and me run, me a see some people come down a fire gun, a fire gun and a come ina our turf. One of the persons was a pregnant girl. She was firing a gun. And some of the man them from over our side now, shoot, shoot, shoot. And then she get a shot ina fe her chest. All them a do is take her up and throw her in the truck. And keep on coming. And me say ‘Wha! Them people deh no human beings. How them no ‘fraid of nothing?’ And then me have fe hide, hide, hide. One of my friend, he was about 21. He went up to the daycare center to pick up his son and he was coming out of the daycare center with his son and they just shoot him. And him just drop and him son just drop on the road. Dangerous them time there!”

People were growing weary of living in fear and the public pressure for peace was growing stronger daily. Even as early as 1975, peace movements began to surface but none was able to withstand the external pressures to keep the war going. Jah Wise, Tippertone selector, commented, “They had a lot of peace time before the big one, you know. Everybody used to have their little peace for all one week, two weeks.” Then violence would spill forth again. To support a moratorium on violence in a particular area, sound systems began crossing the borders to play in territories previously verboten. For a brief period the treaty would hold and people could walk freely between two warring communities. Then suddenly, the months of planning would be shattered
with one gunshot.

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Leroy Smart – Jungle And Rema

One of the best known downtown Kingston peace efforts was between the neighboring districts of Jungle and Rema. Leroy Smart’s song, ‘Jungle and Rema’ (Well Charge, 1977), made the two little neighbors famous all over the world. Jungle and Rema were both parts of Trenchtown. Concrete Jungle (Arnett Gardens), was on top, and Rema (Wilton Gardens), below. Both were hard core garrison communities. When the leaders of the two neighborhoods proclaimed a cease fire, the whole area celebrated at a peace dance where Papa Roots played. Ranking Trevor recalls, “Claudie Massop, the famous Claudie Massop, and the famous Tony Welch, they were on the front line and some guys must have fire some shot in the crowd. One gunshot fire and, for the whole week, its pure gunshot. The peace break up for a couple of months until you reach the real peace.”

The real peace movement also began at the grassroots level. People in the affected communities were desperate for a respite. They began pressuring the top guys on either side to do something to stop the violence. Popular support for the peace movement reached the community leaders. The two opposing sides held an all night meeting and at daybreak called for a cease fire. A truce
had been reached.

Jah Wise watched the peace process begin right by his home. “When peace start, it start right on my corner. Peace just start one night. My corner, Beeston Street, me just stand up. Everybody come across and people say, ‘Peace’. The west – Beeston Street, Regents Street, Oxford Street. Everybody say ‘peace’. And I wasn’t sure. And I looked. And I take time, look, and I take time, and take time…People was coming over this side and people going over to that side. It was on my border*. I take a little walk and I can’t believe it. I walk right over to Duke Reid’s studio and see if everything is alright. Peace was there.
Then dance start keep.”

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Sugar Minott – Can’t Cross The Border

* For people living in downtown Kingston, ‘tribal’ war was never far from their doorsteps. Because the politically affiliated territories were so small, there were many ‘borders’ one had to avoid crossing in the city. Many songs have dealt with the reality of having to live inside a war zone. Sugar Minott used the metaphor of crossing the border to talk about his spirituality in ‘Can’t Cross the Border’, produced by George Phang Thriller used the same basic lyrics and melody in his dubplate of the same name. Barrington Levy’s ‘Be Like a Soldier’ talks about defending your area. The theme often present in lyrics from these times.

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Barrington Levy – Like A Soldier

A decision was reached to hold a concert to officially proclaim the peace. The One Love Peace Concert was held on April 22, 1978 at the National Stadium with Bob Marley headlining. Jacob Miller sang his Peace Treaty Special. Dillinger deejayed ‘The War is Over’. Trinity appeared along with Peter Tosh, Big Youth, Dennis Brown, Ras Michael and others. The high point of the evening was when Bob Marley was joined on stage by the two leaders of the rival political parties and, in a dramatic moment, Bob joined their hands together in a forced display of unity.

But the dances had come first. Even before the big concert, sound had been holding peace dances all around Kingston as part of the burgeoning movement to end the bloodshed. Jah Wise began to travel with Tippertone into areas he had never been before. The community leaders had sat down together and decided to try and live in harmony. “I think it was [in] jail or gun court, but a man reason and reason and it just happen. Claudie Massop said, ‘peace dance’, and we came to Tivoli – the first peace dance. The second peace dance [was] in Rema. That was before the concert. The concert come long after. The dance them keep before.”

The peace dances became a big trend. Dexter Campbell, owner of Echo Vibration, remembers, “You have this place in front of Duke Reid’s Studio. Used to have a bar there. We play a peace dance there. And I play at Lizard Town, a part of Tivoli Gardens. They used to call Lizard Town the ‘social’ part, the PNP part. They used to have Tivoli Garden at the top and, at the bottom, you have a little areas where you have the high rise houses and things, and we played there. Everybody come together, PNP and Laborite. That was one of the first peace dances I play. At that time Gemini also play in Tivoli Gardens- a peace dance.”

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George Nooks – Tribal War

It was a very exciting time for dancehall. While the truce was in place, it allowed people to cross borders for the first time and learn about new deejays with lyrics and patterns that still hadn’t reached very far ‘out a road’. Ranking Trevor, then a deejay with Socialist Roots recalls, “The way how it get so united, we have some politicians from the other side following the sound now!

Them time there, we just learned about General Echo. That’s the first time I hear Tappa Zuckie and General Echo.” The peace idea struck a chord all over Jamaica. For the week ending week ending April 11, 1978, The Daily Gleaner’s top ten hit parade included three songs about peace, two of which were specifically about the peace treaty. At number four, ‘Peace Treaty Special’, by Jacob Miller, on Top Ranking. At number five, ‘Tribal War’ by George Nooks on Crazy Joe. And, just entering the chart at number 10, ‘War is Over’, by Dillinger, on Joe Gibbs.

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Dillinger – War Is Over

Deejay Trinity, who recorded the song ‘Western Kingston Peace Conference’, remembers peace time mainly for its brevity. “It help things. But only for a time. It never last. You know, politics come. The whole thing just stir up back. It was just for a time. It was a nice little time, but it just come and just gwaaaann, and you have [community leaders] Claudie Massop dead and then Bucky Marshal go ‘way a foreign. Because they was the instrument of peace. Yea, instruments of peace. Cause most of the big politicians dem didn’t like peace cause them know that when peace [come] and people come together, then people get smarter. They use it to divide the people. It never last, as I say, because corruption, violence, cause they [the politicians] prefer that. Because once you live [in] violence, them get stronger than before. So, it didn’t last long. But it was a good thing.”

Chapter 3: Sounds of the late ‘70s

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