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Rub A Dub Style – Chapter 3 « DanceCrasher

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Rub A Dub Style – Chapter 3

Sounds of the late ‘70s

“Emperor Faith did have a heavier bass line still, but Papa Roots was a more mellower sound, like it have a more mellower tops. It was really mellow.”
– Jah Mikey

Papa Roots
After King Tubby shut down in 1975, the big dubplate sounds playing in the ghetto counted, among the most popular, King Attorney (later Papa Roots), Ray Symbolic, Stur-Gav, Emperor Faith, and Arrows. From these sessions emerged the most celebrated of the time including Trevor Ranking and U Brown, two direct deejaying descendants of U Roy.

By the time of the name change, Papa Roots was a ‘Rockers’ sound and played heavy rub-a-dub from 45s and dubplates. But there had been a time when the sound did play soul – a lot of soul. “The first owner for the sound system was a guy called Rupert Brown, from Olympic Gardens,” U Brown explains, “and the first name for that sound was Soul Attorney. Then, U Roy [who was working with King Tubby’s sound] had an accident and fractured his leg. When U Roy came out of hospital, he started playing Soul Attorney sound. U Roy was the top deejay at the time. Anywhere that U Roy go, the crowd follow.”

“We start become one of the top sound,” According to Ranking Trevor. “Them time King Tubby’s did break up cause the police them did mash up the sound. So, when I take [Attorney] to Waterhouse and the people discover this new sound – that’s where it get its break as Soul Attorney. When U Roy came across, U Roy decided to change the name to King Attorney.”

King Attorney, manned by selector Danny Dread along with deejays Trevor Ranking and U Roy, was a heavy sound with some serious dubplates. “That’s what used to make King Attorney outstanding,” Trevor continues. “We used to play seven version of one song. Like when we play ‘Death in the Arena’, we play all six ‘Death in the Arena’. When we play ‘Ali Baba’*, we play ‘Shot the Barber’, ‘Assassinate the Barber’, ‘Kill the Barber’.”

* originally John Holt for Treasure Isle but made famous, in a deejay style, by Dr Alimomtado’s ‘I Shot the Barber’, also Jah Stitch ‘Barber Feel It’ and ‘Bury the Barber’, I Roy’s ‘I Shot the Barber’, U Roy’s ‘Bury the Razor’ etc.- all pleas by the Rastamen to allow him to grow his dreadlocks in peace.

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Doctor Alimantado & Jah Stitch – The Barber Feel It

But the owner ran into some problems. Mr. Brown owned a tow truck and ended up with a government contract after a new law was put in place that cars parked in no-parking zone would be towed. In the over-heated atmosphere of the mid ‘70s, even that was enough to arouse suspicions that the sound was affiliated with one of the two political parties.

“We had a nice era playing all over the place,” Trevor recalls. “But them start class it as politics sound and they say we play for one party and we don’t play for the other.” Although they attempted to play “neutral boarders”, the incidence of violence increased. The owner wasn’t involved in politics, but the area they were in was getting hotter as the ‘76 election drew near. “They used to shoot up King Attorney so much,” Trevor continues. “When them shoot up the dance, they took all the records, all the dubplates. They did it in Greenwhich Farm, and they come back and do it in Barbicon. The politicians on the other side. This set of guys decide that we are not playing for them, so they want to kill the sound. And that’s the time my brother-in-law [Mr Brown] sell the sound”.

Mr. Brown decided to give up the sound and retire from entertainment. “After Rupert, this political activist from Trenchtown, the top part of Trenchtown, they call it Concrete Jungle, by the name of Tony Welch, he bought the sound,” U Brown explains. “And when he bought the sound, he played the sound for the first two or three years under the name of King Attorney, same way. And then after that, the People’s National Party wins the election [in 1976], they changed the name to Socialist Roots because Tony Welch, he was a member of the People’s National Party which is a socialist party”

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Socialist Roots announce their new name at a dance – 23 May 1977 at Angola Lawn, Avon Park Crescent, Kingston.

Once the sound was sold and officially re-christened Socialist Roots, the violence stopped. “When those guys get to own the sound nobody didn’t bother it,” Adds Trevor. “Cause they know those type of guy. It’s only when it was King Attorney, it used to get problems.”

With the change, Danny Dread and Trevor remained and were joined by Nicodemus* and Jah Mikey. Even singers came, as Jah Mikey recalls. “Barry Brown used to sing on Papa Roots all the while. Linval Thompson and dem man deh have fe pass through and sing out, [even] Little Roy.” U Roy had gone off to start his own Stur-Gav sound and was replaced by U Brown who was a carryover from the U Roy School of deejaying.

* Even the legendary Nicodemus had to start out on the sound as a box man

U Brown

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U Brown – Weather Balloon

During his increasingly frequent flights overseas for concerts and record promotion, U Roy needed an understudy to fill in for him on King Tubby’s sound. U Brown just happened to live in the neighborhood and could sound identical to the teacher himself.

“In the ‘60s, U Roy was living in Kingston 11, which he still does, but he was living a little further up from where his house is now. I wasn’t living far away from U Roy. King Tubby’s sound system wasn’t far away, and I just take something onto U Roy, identify something within myself.” The young deejay began to hang around doing odd jobs, lifting the sound boxes and travelling with the crew to dances to set up, until he got comfortable and began to feel like “one of the family”. Until, one night he got his chance at the microphone.

“I start to smoke weed from I was young and I can remember distinctly, I was in a dance in St Mary, and the place is called Zion Hill in a little district of Richmond where they manufacture Cadbury chocolate. The dancehall is called Zion Lawn. U Roy was playing a record and we were smoking the chalice, which they call the Chillum pipe, and U Roy need to get a puff from it but the never want to do it around the sound system, so while he move away from the sound system into a dark corner where I was, the record almost finished and he asked me to go back and start the song from the top – and that’s the first time I ever touched anything on King Tubby’s sounds system. That’s the first time I get closer to U Roy.” Once they heard how close U Brown was to the ‘originator’, they invited him to fill in when U Roy was absent with a broken foot in the mid ‘70s. “Dillinger style more fit sound like Emperor Faith an’ Black Harmony, Kentone, an’ all those sounds. So, I was called on, as a young deejay who had a sound like U-Roy, to do the duty on Tubby’s.”

At the time, U Brown was working with a sound called Silver Bullet. “That’s the first sound system that I get the chance to try my skills. [It was located at] Phillip Avenue, off Tower Avenue, in Towerhill. Jack, the owner was a cyclist as well. Another guy was there playing the sound. We call him Duppy.”

From there, U Brown moved up to Sounds of Music which was owned by a man by the name of Phillip Monroe*, the father of female deejay Macka Diamond (formerly Lady Mackerel). There, he was filling in for deejay Winston Scotland.

* Phillip, as well as being in the liquor delivery business, also owned the label, Sounds of Music, and had released a song with Winston Scotland called Swing and Sway.

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Winston Scotland – Swing And Sway

The sound system scene was slow in the early ‘70s. “There wasn’t a lot of sets around then, just some small hifi. It was mostly Tubby’s, because Coxsone and Sir George [the Atomic] and sets like those fade out. So, it was sounds like Tubby’s and Kelly’s – Lord Kelly the Maestro, [and] a sound called Earl Discotheque that Dillinger usually follow,” U brown recalls. When the violence in Kingston got bad, around 1974, U Brown moved out to Ocho Rios to play Jack Ruby’s sound. He stayed on board until 1976, traveling with the sound to New York, until, on a visit home to his mother in Kingston, he found a letter from the employment office offering him a job. Solid employment was not to be scoffed at, especially in a time when deejays still had no aspirations to making a living from music. So, he stayed in Kingston and began working with the post office by day and King Attorney by night.

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U Brown – Wet Up Your Pants Foot

The first producer to record U Brown was Winston Edwards. U Brown did two sides for Edwards, ‘Jamaican Tobacco’ and ‘Wet Your Pants Foot’. Following Edwards, U Brown did a bit with Yabby You before moving on to producer Bunny Lee, in 1977, with a string of very successful 45s and albums that penetrated the UK Market. But the biggest hit for U Brown was one that he produced for himself, ‘Weather Balloon’. Inspired by the success of the tune overseas, U Brown delved further into producing, all the while continuing with his recording for Bunny Lee.

Trevor Ranking

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Ranking Trevor – Queen Majesty

The man most frequently cited by deejays in the ‘80s as their inspiration and teacher was Ranking Trevor. Learning the trade directly from U Roy, Trevor provided the crucial link in the deejay line going from the start straight through until the modern era, directly influencing deejays like Supercat who, in turn, inspired the hip hop and rap crossovers.

Ranking Trevor grew up in Waterhouse, Kingston 11, Binns Road, not far from King Tubby and Prince Jammy. Around 1973, he started deejaying with Gold Soul, a local “party sound” that played all types of music. When Gold Soul started clashing with the bigger guys, like Killertone and Earl Disco, Trevor began to be recognized. Fortunately his ‘brother in law’, or at least the man who was dating his sister, owned a sound named Soul Attorney that used to play out at three mile, and Trevor was invited to join the crew.

King Tubby’s was the ruling sound in the area at the time, with U Roy at the helm. But then came the infamous night in St. Thomas when the police mashed up the sound and destroyed Tubby’s equipment. Out of frustration, this time Tubby never bothered re-building the sound. So, with Tubby’s, out of commission, U Roy moved over to Attorney. And that’s when Trevor got the best learning opportunity that a deejay could ask for. Trevor recalls, “When U Roy come amongst King Attorney, that’s where I learned more timing and how to sit on the beat. That’s why they say Ranking Trevor is one of the greatest rhythm ‘rider’ of all time. If you listen way back, I was just talking. Now, when U Roy come, I am more riding the rhythm. U Roy is my teacher. I am one of his ‘baddest’ students. He bring a lot of deejays, but is only Ranking Trevor could carry his melody. Ranking Joe tried. Brigadier Jerry tried, but Ranking Trevor is the only one who carry the real U Roy melody.”

The new generation of deejays coming of age in the latter ‘70s sounded like the originators, but the style, like the rhythms, was a bit different. “U Roy, them, used to talk and break and give the rhythm spaces. But we talk more on the rhythm. We full it up with sensible thing,” Trevor explains. The intonation was different, too. “When we say, ‘After you make war go and you let love stay’- U Roy would say, ‘Make war go!…and…you let love stay”. We ride it more pon the rhythm, so it gives the rhythm a groove”.

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Ranking Trevor – Caveman Skank

Ranking Trevor did his first recordings at Channel One where Attorney used to get dubplates cut for the sound. The Hookims gave him a try in 1977 with the 45, ‘Cave Man Skank’, followed by the even more successful, ‘Answer Mi Question’. But the songs that made Trevor the legend he is today were ‘Queen Majesty’*, over a remake of the rock steady classic by the Techniques from Treasure Isle, and ‘Truly’, over a Jay’s update of Marcia Griffith’s Studio One hit. The recordings came out as two of the first 12 inch disco mixes and created a sensation. It was the closest thing on vinyl to being in the dance and hearing the deejay come in with his rap right after the vocal. Disco 45s brought the dancehall experience directly into people’s living rooms. Still they remained mainly a foreign commodity, not a big seller in Jamaica.

* Originally by Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

In 1977, Trevor and five others were traveling out to Sav-La-Mar for a session when they collided with an old bus at Old Harbour. “It’s a lucky thing we crash there! Cause the way that guy was driving, I knew something was wrong. He’s not used to the road- those highway. He’s just used to the in-and around roads.” Fortunately there were no fatalities, but Trevor broke a foot and wrote a song about it, ‘Sav la Mar Rock’, which appeared on the Train to Zion LP, and it became a bit hit for him.

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Ranking Trevor – Three Piece Chicken And Chips

Trevor was truly a prolific hit maker. He recorded popular favorites like ‘Three Piece Chicken and Chips’, ‘Rub A Dub Style’, ‘Ital Stew’, ‘Masculine Gender’, ‘War’, ‘Auntie Lulu’. ‘Three Piece Chicken and Chips’ was a take-off on the popular Althea and Donna, ‘Three Piece Suit and Thing’. “It made from when we leave the dance a nighttime, we end up a Kentucky, ca’ that was the only restaurant open at night**. But there was only one Kentucky those days, at Cross Roads. That’s how that song come ‘bout – me and my little Indian girl from Cockburn Penn, I meet her up there [he chuckles and deejays]: ‘Long time I call you and you just feel fe come, through you see me with the chicken and chips…’”

* ‘Kentucky’, from the proper name Kentucky Fried Chicken, is used as a generic name for any fried
chicken place in Jamaica

Trevor went back to deejaying Attorney (by then, Papa Roots) after his foot mended, but times were changing. New sounds had taken over the spotlight. Trevor began to want more than just a permanent spot on one sound. He wanted the freedom to work wherever the pay was the highest, where he could reach the most people. “The independent sounds will pay you more cause if you no come a them dance, them nah gonna get that crowd. They put you pon the posters, the people them come out, so it’s a better pay from them than from the sound whe’ you work for permanent. The sound that you work with, you hardly get paid from them. Sometimes, they have so much excuse. But when you deejay for all Gemini, Scorpio or Virgo, they pay you different.” So,
Trevor broke off with Papa Roots and started making some welcomed guest appearances on the top sounds in Kingston, ending up on Kilimanjaro before Super Cat and Early B joined the set.

Emperor Faith

Although these early sounds had a lot in common, each had its individual pattern, its signature style, something that made it stand out. “In those days, if three sound system is playing in your community,” U Brown explained, “and you can hear like each sound system with a couple of seconds [delay] in between, then you can know which sound is in the east and which sound is in the west because you could hear that particular deejay’s voice, and you hear a certain type of song playing. Emperor Faith would play mostly Studio One – because in those days, that was the secret weapon. Tubby’s, now, would come with more Bunny Lee stuff.” King Attorney was known for its connection to Channel One.*

* Evidence of this is U-Roy’s CD release, Right Time Rockers, which finds U-Roy toasting “specials” for Attorney over the popular Channel Ones ridims of the day (Sound System 1998)

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U Roy – Right Time Rockers

Emperor Faith was one of the most highly rated sounds ever in Jamaica. “He had a big sound,” Recalls producer Bunny Lee. “His sound used to play Red Hills Road*, all over Jamaica. He used to rule the roost one time. Through he had such a large following, when he played the dubs [dubplates], people would go out and buy [the records], ask for them in the record shop… Emperor Faith was one of the champion sounds in Jamaica.”

* The headquarters was 123 Red Hills Road until the 1980 election when the area changed and Mikey moved the sound out to Portmore where he lived.

Owner Mikey Faith was a man with an impeccable selecting sense, someone who truly lived for music. “He got good ears!” U Brown explains enthusiastically. “He always choose some particular songs that other sounds is not playing, and he just go for two, three different cuts of it. For example, [he was ] the first sound system I hear play more than one [particular] version of ‘Death in the Arena’ – Studio One cuts – and that song was played against me in the National Arena, playing against King Tubby. It was a clash – King Tubby’s versus Emperor Faith in the National Arena.”

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Soul Vendors – Death In The Arena

Mikey started Emperor Faith in 1970, but he didn’t have it road-ready until 1971. A friend of his out in Rockfort had been running a small set named Sir Faith, but not really doing much with it. “I started to get interested in the music, so one day I said to him. ‘ Juba, why you don’t bring the sound?’ So, he brought the sound, but he didn’t have much music.” Mikey was already thinking of taking over the sound and building it up. “I started to cut some dubplates with Bob Marley, cause I was around them from about 1967. They were doing some music with Scratch [Lee Perry].” Mikey began playing Bob Marley on dubplate in the dance long before people caught on to the changes reggae was undergoing as it moved away from Rock Steady at the end of the decade. “I remember when he came with tune like ‘Thank You Lord’ and I was trying to sell it for him. I remember him saying, ’I have a nice tune, a church tune business, ‘Thank You Lord’.” But, people weren’t interested. “At the time, it was like the Techniques, ‘You don’t care for me at all…’ – all those pretty tune was popular. The people never ready for him [Bob] yet. After a while, they got ready for him, and I see about four months after that the same people that was trying [to keep him] down, start to flock him.”

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Thank You Lord

According to Bunny Lee, Mikey used to be Bob’s accountant. “He used to do accounts, check up on Lee Perry and all that for Bob Marley. Check on his royalty and how much records sell and all that. They were very close. He had the whole of the Wailer’s things [Music].” Mikey adds, “Bob used to just give me the 16 track tapes and say, ‘Boy, go and cut dub”. Sometimes when it was on an eight track, Family Man would come and mix it, mix a dub cut off of it for us.”

“Faith had a lot of Bob’s music on dubplate,” Producer Clive Chin remembers. “‘Kingston 11’, ‘Trench Town Rock’, ‘Earth’s Rightful Ruler’ with Peter Tosh and U Roy. They would come to Randy’s [Studio] and cut dubplates. This was early ‘70s. At that time, Bob had a little tiny store up by King Street and Charles Street and he had the Tuff Gong label going. Peter and Bunny had their own solo labels. They were in it as well. They all had dub cuts of their tunes being done.” “I used to have every Wailers when it just come out,” Mikey Faith explains. “There was one that has been released for a couple of years now, ‘Rainbow Country’ – I had that plate for years. Nobody else had it, until I got another cut and I gave my other [first] cut to Jack Ruby.”

Mikey also tried to help promote Bob’s music. It was Mikey’s money that paid for the tune Trenchtown Rock to be recorded. He even turned down an offer from Bob to be his manager, something he never stopped regretting. With the fresh dubplates he cut ready to be played, Mikey had little trouble convincing Juba to relinquish ownership of the set. The only condition was that Mikey keep the name, which he did with one change, substituting ‘Emperor’ in the title. “It was a more African connection more than the ‘Sir’ thing which was English.” With that, Mikey stopped playing soul and, by 1971, was fully into the rub-a-dub. “When I came in, I used to play soul music, but I never played soul [after that]. It was a more hard core thing. They used to call me the dub master. Believe me, I had a lot of dub[plates]. I hardly play 45s. Most of my music was on dubs”.

His big break came as an opening act. “There was some guys now used to [come up] from Greenwich Farm to come up to Redhills Road and they used to talk about El Paso sound a lot, say they are going to keep a dance one night with El Paso. I was a young sound, so they were saying, ‘Come on, open for the sound.’ So, I went there and I opened the act. I played there until Dennis Alcapone came and they [El Paso] took over.”

From there, Mikey began to build a loyal following. Then the clashes began. “In the early days, I was young [but] I wasn’t afraid to play against anybody, cause I didn’t have anything to lose. I wasn’t afraid to play against the established sounds, cause I know I have the ammunition, cause I used to buy the records and just keep on buying records. I was buying records from everybody. It’s an expensive thing running a sound system. So, eventually we started having some clashes with me and with Big Youth on Tippertone*.”

* Big Youth eventually started his own sound, Negusa Negast and in the early ‘80s.

When Mikey headed for a clash, he was thinking about the music, not the deejays. “I started out with [deejay] Jah Mike and then after a while I used to change my deejays regularly. As a matter of fact, sometimes, I don’t have any deejays. When I’m going to play out, I have to pick up two deejays. I didn’t have a resident deejay. There was a guy named Trevor, we used to call him Higher [?]. He used to be with Coxsone number two sound – cause King Stitt was on number one them time – and he came over to me for a while. I think he was the first one.”


Emperor Faith live in session at UWI Students Union in 1974 playing Studio One on dub. A very rare recording.

By the mid ‘70s, many of the older sets had shut down. But, Mr. Dodd was still producing records and needed to get them played on sound systems for exposure. Sugar Minott, who was recording for Mr. Dodd, recalled, “Emperor Faith was the only sound that Coxsone used to give all the unreleased tracks.” Mikey’s intense search for good music led him to a productive, cooperative arrangement with Coxsone Dodd’s studio where Faith had access to all the newly recorded material before it was released. “I used to go down to Coxsone, at the Downbeat studio. We had Miss Enid* and Larry Marshall – those were the two people that were in the studio. And then you had Sylvan Morris [The engineer]. And eventually, between Larry Marshall and Enid and Sylvan Morris, they used to just tell me, ‘Take this tune’. Some of them, they didn’t even know the name if it, so I used to go up there and give it my own name. I used to kick up a storm out there with those tune! We push off a lot of Downbeat [Coxsone Dodd] tunes. When we go up to the studio and select the tunes and start to play it on the sound system, he could release those
tunes, cause he know we sort of hot it up for him.”

* Enid Cumberland was a gospel singer who recorded for Dodd and was working in the studio and record shop

Although the sound had many selectors over the years, Mikey remained the main man at the helm. “I used to just seek out the music. I wanted to have every tune. I used to seek out the one-away tunes there, and after a while, I get to know the tunes that the people want and the tune that would make a hit. Selection is the whole thing to this music thing. You could have 10,000 records in front of you and a man come with a handful of musics and him just play nicer than you. Cause it’s just the selection, the way you play the music – what music you play now and what music going to follow it. When you put on this tune, the next one must be just as nice, or nicer, and the next one nicer and nicer, and on like that. You build up a crescendo. You have to play in a sequence. You can’t just hopscotch – you play this tune and then you play the next tune, you play a rubbish tune and then you play a nice tune. It’s the people mind you working on. And if you keep them rocking, you can control them. You are actually controlling them at the time, forcing them to listen, and liking what you are playing. You have to be there for the people. You can’t be just playing for yourself.”

When Mikey first bought the set, former owner Juba was using “some old time tube amps called 807. Now, Tubby was a technician and he build his own sound and I used to like how his sound look, so I started to go around Tubby, and Tubby built the Amplifier for me. He built me a number of amplifiers over the years, like when I change over from the 807 to the KT. The sound systems go through phases. When I first started with the sound, we used to use steel horns and put them in the trees and after that, the thing change over and we start using tweeter boxes. So we change our equipment over the years.”*

* Tube Amps: “Those time Tubby‘s sound was tube amps,” explains area deejay Pompidou. “The sound have to go from early morning and string up for the amps can get hot! Cause the hotter them get, the more the sound play better. Gussie Clarke adds, “They were the drawing card to the sounds then. The sound was 90% more important than the deejays then. Because the importance of (the) sound was power- the type of amplifier, the power the amplifier have, the size of the boxes, the amount of bass you’re going to hear. In those days they were primarily tube amplifiers, and there was a specific tube that was used. It was called a KT, so the boost- the important catching card – was how many KTs does this amplifier, this sound have. Whatever the number was in terms of volume, you know that sound was a lot more powerful than the other sound. So, it was much more the power of the sound that was the drawing card.”

Mikey also remained close to his sound system peer, King Tubby, for many years. “Tubby was my technician, so I was in Tubby camp. So, at first, I used to get everything [on dubplate]. I used to spend a lot of money at Tubby’s! Tubby had one tune that he had gotten from Coxsone there, ‘Choice of Colors’ [Originally by Heptones], and he mix it up with ‘Everybody Talking’ –some people call it ‘Midnight Cowboy’. Tubby join the two tune together. You would be hearing the first one and it would just slip into ‘Everybody Talking’ [Leroy Sibbles, Produced by Coxsone Dodd].”

When U Roy and Tubby separated, and U Roy offered to work with Mikey on the sound, Mikey turned him down, not wanting to risk a rupture with his good friend and music supplier.

However, “After a while the relation with Tubby kinda got a little sour. Up to his death, which was very sad, we were not on speaking terms. Because of the relationship with Tubby, we never used to play against one another, but there was a breakdown… and because of that, we had a clash.”

It happened around 1975. “That clash came about almost by accident because it was supposed to be Tubby and Coxsone. Coxsone had stopped playing for a couple of years so he didn’t have any good amp. So he gave out his amp to Stero in Spanishtown to have it fixed.” But the repair wasn’t going smoothly, so when Mikey stopped by Studio One, the two promoters asked him if he would be willing to fill for Mr. Dodd in the clash. “Normally I would have said no, cause Tubby and I not supposed to have a sound clash. But because we were at odds at the time, I said, ‘OK I’ll play’.”

On the Sunday of the clash, Mikey stopped in to Studio One to pick up some dubplates. “[Mr. Dodd] put on a 16 track tape and started to play running it down, and when he came to this tune, it was an old tune that they did long ago, it was about Prince Buster, killing the prince or something like that, and Alton [Ellis] did it*. I said, hold on a second, I want this rhythm – this is the rhythm I’m going to use tonight. I got three pieces of it and I said, ‘Mr. Dodd, I’m going to name this tune ‘Death in the Arena’, cause we were playing in National arena. So, I got three cuts off of it – I got the straight cut, a dubplate cut and another rub-a-dub.”

* The song is Whipping the Prince by Alton Ellis and The Soul Vendors

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Alton Ellis – Whipping The Prince

U Brown was fronting Tubby and Jah Mikes was with Emperor Faith. Tubby started playing first, but then complained his amps weren’t running well and there was something wrong with the transformer. He asked Mikey if he could play. “It was just a ruse, still. What he wanted me to do is play out my records and then he would come, but it backfired. It backfired!” Mikey started playing his pieces of ‘Death in the Arena’ and Tubby had no answer. “This is what catapulted me to fame, that same clash with King Tubby. After that, the dates started to come in”.

It also gave Mr. Dodd a big boost. Sugar Minott, who was in the studio at the time Mikey found the rhythm, recalls, “Afterwards, Emperor Faith used to get all them dubplate [from Studio One]. That’s how people started to get some, cause [Mr. Dodd] realized he could name money from this. So instead of being so tight, he loosen up a bit.”

The effect was a sudden recrudescence of interest in Studio One. Sounds came to reply on the versions. Studio One rhythms became a central feature of the dance. And once the ‘versioning’ took off (the updating of the older standards), these foundation riddims, so familiar and so well loved, formed the basis for the emerging style that came to be called ‘Dancehall’.

Chapter 4: The Studio One Revival

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