Jamaican Jazz Journeying - Aketi Ray Inspirations And Connections

For the last few years I've been plugging away on a new musical project which has finally come to fruition in the form of an all-acoustic dub-jazz group called Aketi Ray....double bass, drums, upright piano, horns, percussion, reverb and delay. We play compositions grounded in the instrumental music of  Jamaica - ska, rocksteady, reggae, rockers, dub - but drawing inspiration and influence from Ethiopian and US jazz, west African percussion traditions, all served up with the mind set of UK steppas........Kingston to Chicago to Addis Ababa to Dakar to London. 

After much work in the background we have an album recorded, lined-up and ready to launch in 2018, with a 12 inch release already out and 6-track vinyl-only album sampler dropping November 18th 2017. Check www.aketiray.com for all the details on those.

The mix below is a journey into the music that's influenced the Aketi Ray sound...mainly looking at those moments where Jamaican music and jazz brush up together, as well as a couple of tracks just a step removed, but influential to us. All part of the journey. Oh, and a couple of sneak previews of forthcoming Aketi Ray tracks! Have written a couple of words about each track too.....

(Big up Jazz Meet for sharing this mix on their always excellent podcast)

Jamaican Jazz Journeying // Aketi Ray Inspirations And Connections

1. Tambu - Friendship Group of Trelawny [0.00]
Starting things off with three percussion-heavy tracks, this one coming from deep in the JA countryside, a minute-long early recording of a session played on tambu drums - supposedly unique to the Trelawny area of Jamaica. 

2. Occupation - Cedric Brooks & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari [1.03]
One of the many alumni of the Alpha Boys School, which taught so many of Jamaica best players, Cedric's fusing of jazz and pure Rasta music has little parallel. This cut has him leading on sax over a nyabinghi rhythm.

3. Earth Sound - Ernest Ranglin [3.32]
Ernest's legacy in pushing Jamaican music in all kinds of interesting directions is second-to-none. This recording is less about showing off his great guitar playing as it is exploring what can happen when Jamaican jazz meets Jamaican drumming. 

4. Last Call - Don Drummond [5.59]
Moving into three killer ska tracks back to back, with Don Drummond leading the Skatalites in this classic piece. The Skatalites perhaps more than anyone deserve credit for cementing the role of jazz playing within JA's dancehall music, and then taking that sound worldwide. 

5. Hey Train - Buster All Stars [9.04]
For all the credit that the Skatalites get, Prince Buster's house band were just as firing, with a line-up that included the likes of Ernest Ranglin and Rico Rodriguez. 

6. Cleopatra - Roland Alphonso & The Studio One Orchestra [11.39]
One final golden era ska foot-stomper, Roland Alphonso leading on sax on what you could even call a proto-ethio-skajazz workout, if you really wanted! The Studio One Orchestra effectively the Skatalites without Don Drummond..

7. Barbados - Jazz Jamaica [14.18]
Keeping it ska but bringing it to London three decades later, Jazz Jamaica are a group started in the early 90s by the double-bassist Gary Crosby (who happens to be nephew of Ernest Ranglin), which set out to do big-band style jazz arrangements of ska tunes, as well as ska up some jazz standards. Amazing band to see live if you ever get the chance. This recording features the late great Rico Rodriguez on trumpet. 

8. Regulator {live} - Monty Alexander [18.10]
Kingston-born but US resident pianist Monty Alexander has been mixing up JA and US traditions in jazz for decades. I’ve never had the pleasure to hear him play live, but if this firing recording is anything to go by it sounds like a show not to miss. Bad tune.

9. Many Pauses {live} - Jazz Warriors [22.27]
Jazz Warriors were a London-based group which launched the careers of a generation of young musicians on to the scene - one of which was trumpeter Kevin Robinson, who plays extensively on our Aketi Ray LP. They released just one album, the landmark 1987 live recording Out of Many, One People (Jamaica's national motto). The piece of music included here is just a short extract from a much longer, constantly-changing track, Many Pauses, and features jazz vocalist and occasional D&B MC Cleveland Watkiss on scat parts.

10. This Day – Rico [24.28]
Journeying back to the 70s for three pieces from the roots era, starting with this classic cut from trombonist Rico Rodriquez. Moving to London in the 70s Rico played a big role in building the bridge between JA and UK music, both with his own compositions as well as playing an active part on the 2-tone scene. The album this cut comes from, The Man From Wareika, is a Jazz Reggae cornerstone.

11.Cuts and Bruises - Pablove Black [28.33]
Killer melodica piece from multi-instrumentalist Pablove Black. When it comes to great reggae melodica instrumentals August Pablo surely wears the crown and takes credit for adding the instrument to the reggae canon, but this cut here from Pablove is perfection – hard pressed to think of another time a melodica sounded so good.

12. Return of the Super Ape - Lee Perry [32.00]
In interviews Lee Perry often cites jazz as the music that inspires him the most, and even when his music doesn't have the solos of jazz, it so often has the experimental, rule breaking, attitude. In this cut it does both. Amazing record - pure inspiration into what can be done.

13. The Breadwinner - The Breadwinners [35.31]
As far as I'm concerned there is only one person out there who has carried on the works of Lee Perry at the Black Ark faithfully, and thats Al and the Breadwinners camp out of Manchester, England. I especially love their instrumental tracks, often featuring Sally on all horn and wind parts. Really recommend checking their back catalogue. Sublime.

14. Dub Me Tender - Dub Colossus [37.46]
Keeping it in the UK with Nick Page and his Dub Colossus band, who made a name for themselves for the dub records they recorded in a small flat in Addis Ababa that fused dub traditions with Ethiopian music. This one is a completely stripped-back, drum-free affair, that has a wisp of Ethiopia as well as a touch of US free jazz about it.

15. Ephemeral - Aketi Ray [41.35]
One last one from the UK, this one from us, the opening track from the forthcoming Aketi Ray LP 'From Ever Since'. Dubwise, flying cymbal rhythm, led by the wonderful sax playing of Nico Rouger, and backed by Kevin Robinson on ghost-trumpet!

16. Blood of Africa - Natty Locks & King Tubby [46.04]
Going on into three more sax led cuts here, the first a massive tune to me personally - the opening track from the first dub LP I ever heard, Tubby meets Perry at the Grass Roots. Always takes me back this track...

17. Man A Lion - Disciples Riddim Section meets Digistep [48.41]
Moving to 21st Century London with this great digi cut - modern roots from the UK at its best. Big up Kullar and the Roots Youths crew.

18. Roots Version Wise - Sky Nation [52.10]
Back to 70s JA with this powerful percussion and horn section roots work out.

19. Proverbs Dub - Wareika Hill Sounds [55.36]
Wareika Hill Sounds is a really great modern project, led I gather by Calvin “Bubbles” Cameron of Count Ossie’s Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari and The Light Of Saba fame. All the material they've put out has come out on Honest Jon's label so I expect there's a key London connection to this. Its new music but taps spirits of the past, without feeling in any way dated.

20. Distant Drums Version - Family Man & Knotty Roots [59.15]
Moving into three tracks back to back here with some heavy, conscious vibes, this weighty drum and horns piece is a dub of Vivian Jackson and The Defenders  Love Thy Neighbour, and credited to legendary bass player and co-producer player Aston Barrett.

21. Jah Irror - Jah Bast & The Shades [62.31]
One of my favourite records from recent years, perhaps surprisingly, out of Switzerland - going to show there are no borders in music! Lovely playing on all their cuts, but I particularly like the message on this one (the one vocal track on this mix), and its a message that is shared with the next track.... 

22. Mirror - Aketi Ray [65.44]
The second Aketi Ray track featured, and yeah, like the track before, this ones all about reflection and knowledge of self! This one is coming out on a 12inch on Steppas Records - look out for a video too! Should find it on the Aketi Ray website / youtube.

23. Nuh True - Ernest Ranglin [69.41]
Turning a corner here with a track from an Ernest Ranglin album he recorded in Senegal with Baba Maal's firing band. Its a beautiful record, effortlessly fusing his Jamaican sound with that of these Senegalese greats. Its the use of percussion that's been  particularly influential on the Aketi Ray sound.

24. Né la Thiass - Cheikh Lô [75.52]
While we're in Senegal I need to play one more - 
Cheikh Lô himself fuses music from all over... I find this one particularly beautiful, and can't get enough of the talking drum on this. 

25. Mulatu - Mulatu Astatke [80.37]
The Ethio-jazz sound is a big influence, and Aketi Ray's sax player Nico Rouger plays in two Ethio jazz acts, Addis Quartet and Krar Collective. We've definitely tried to bring some of Mulatu's flavour to the music we're making.

26. Jericho Jazz - Roy Burrowes, Clifford Jordan, Charles Davis [85.34]
Back to JA, and maybe even carrying over a bit of that Ethio flavour, a wonderful jazzed-up version of the classic Studio One Jericho Rock rhythm. The album this comes off, Reggae Au Go Jazz, is a must for you if you've listened this far and liked what you've heard!

27. None A Jah Jah Children No Cry - Dean Fraser [88.36]
Dean Fraser has been flying the reggae jazz flag for decades, and this is taken from a late 90s recording on the short-lived, but quality 
Island Jamaica Jazz label. A wonderful version of the Ras Michael classic Rasta cut None A Jah Jah Children No Cry. Serious music!

28. Call On His Name - Aketi Ray [96.40]
A final Aketi Ray track here, forthcoming on the album 'From Ever Since'. Flute, talking drum and piano in a thankful interaction.

29. Manasseh meets The Equalizer - Looking Glass Dub [100.32]
Wanted to finish off on a Manasseh track. Nick Manasseh's radio shows on Kiss FM in the 90s were absolutely instrumental in opening up the world of Jamaican music to me (and many others!), and he's an excellent producer in his own right too. A big influence in every way.

Marcus Intalex – A Better Place – Tribute & Salute

DnB is a scene that draws on a lot of influences and has people coming at it from different angles. The dancefloor rules though, and it’s always been a case that more upfront tunes dominate. I love a good upfront tune as much as anyone, but DnB has always been deeper to me than just jump up. In the mid 90s the ‘Speed’ sound pushed especially by Fabio and Bukem got more of a platform, but by the late 90s it had been squeezed out again, and Upfront seemed to run everything. Yeah there were still good tunes, but too often the soul and depth was missing.

When Marcus and ST Files started putting tunes out as MIST it breathed new life into DnB for me, at a time when things could feel a little stale. Whether on a melodic soulful tip, or on a moodier techno tip, their tunes always had something to say, and drove the message home over a hypnotic groove that felt like it was drawing on Detroit.

I’m pretty sure I first heard a MIST tune (How You Make Me Feel) on Fabio’s radio show, but then not long after heard Grooverider play Dreamworld, and from then it was all over. And that’s the thing, Marcus has tunes which can sit in sets by any DnB DJ (with any taste!), whatever their style. As far as I'm concerned everything Marcus and St Files touch is gold. If a new Marcus record comes out it was buy on sight – no need to hear it first.

In my opinion no one has put the message into DnB as clearly as Marcus. Real electronic soul music. Like the tune goes: it’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing. His music reaffirmed the family tree connection between DnB and acid house, techno, garage, soul….

I’ve been wanting to do a Marcus Intalex and ST Files mix for years now, and kept putting it off. And  this morning I woke up to hear Marcus has died. It’s a massive shock and a tragic loss. To his friends and family, of course, but to DnB and to music in general. Marcus was young and was still at the top of his game in the music he was making. He smashed it from the off with the early Da Intalex jungle material and outdid himself to the last with the killer flying-high DnB he was putting out today….and clearly there was still so much to come from him, including on his techno alias Trevino. But what he leaves behind is in my opinion the strongest discography in DnB. There isn’t a single 12” of his that isn’t worth having and hearing. Not sure anyone else can claim that. My favourite DnB producer hands down, no hyperbole.

When people talk about the great dance music heritage of Manchester they think of the Hacienda generation. To me Marcus is up there at the top with them.

Salute and rest in Peace – never to be forgotten.

This mix is a tribute of some of my favourite Marcus productions, very broadly in chronological order, and including a couple of rarer remixes from the earlier days, tunes made with ST Files, Calibre and also his solo work. So many other tunes could've gone into this mix – like I said his discography is a treasure chest filled to the brim…but a box now so sadly closed before its time. Normally I take time to plan a studio mix, but this was a throwdown off the top of my head, and when tunes like Celestial Navigation were on the deck, played with a tear in my eye...

Marcus Intalex – A Better Place – Tribute & Salute 

Better Place
Love and Happiness
Lose Control
Warp 1
Second Thoughts
Proof Rock
Red 7
Make a Raise
Step Forward
Celestial Navigation
Bitter End

Have To Work Hard For It! Underground Bass Selection

A little mix of some of my favourite tunes from the UK's 'Bass' scene from the last few years (circa 2013-2017). For those unfamiliar its a sound that mixes up influences from early rave, proto/jungle, DnB, dubstep, garage, dancehall, grime instrumentals, and sits it all over a hype house tempo. Good old fashioned upfront, sweaty, sub-bass rib-cage rattling party vibes. Great fun I think - underground urban UK all the way. Have to salute deejay Marcus Nasty who champions this sound better than anyone.
My mix concentrates on tunes with that jungle/rave/dnb sound, so if thats your thing, try and get into this....

Have To Work Hard For It! Underground Bass Selection

Tchami - Tribute Remix of Rob Base's It Takes 2
AC Slater  - LMLY
Champion - Execution
Andrew Diggs - The Ghost [Rico's Edit]
Jay Robinson - Fury
DevelopMENT - Dem Boy Sound
Gilbino - Space Race
Born Dirty - Check Your Bell
Sunday Roast - Wisdom
Inkline - Carbon Play
Sunday Roast - Radio Who
Rico Tubbs - Iron Heart [Skapes Remix]
Rico Tubbs - Dancehall feat.Ragga Twins [Dub Mix]
Foamo - Wardance
Rico Tubbs - Big Bad Tune
Foor - Double Bass Baby
JG - Cave Explorer
Sunday Roast - Freak
Tchami - Tribute Remix of Marshall Jefferson's Move Your Body

>>>Download Link/Right Click Save As<<<

Aketi Ray: all-acoustic all-live dub-jazz group

AKETI RAY is the name of my new musical project - an all-acoustic all-live dub-jazz group....double bass, drum kit, upright piano, sax, trumpet, percussion, reverb and delay.......we play our own material, coming out of the instrumental music of post-independence Jamaica: ska, rocksteady, reggae, rockers, dub....but drawing inspiration and influence from Ethiopian and US jazz, west African percussion traditions, all with the tuff mind set of UK steppas. Kingston to Chicago to Addis Ababa to Dakar to London.

 There'll be a full album of material released later in the year, but we're kicking off in a special fashion....the first release, 'Mirror' is a 12" featuring two cuts from Aketi Ray and a two-part rework from UK dub stalwarts Alpha & Omega.

Alpha & Omega have been a foundational influence, so it is a massive privilege and honour to share our début pressing with them. The record is out right now on the mighty Steppas Records, and pressed on some heavyweight 180g vinyl. Big respects and thanks to Ben Alpha Steppa for making this happen. To get your copy head to the Steppas Records website, or other dub vendors.


I'll be posting occasional Aketi Ray news here too, but best to follow us over on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/aketiray and on our website here http://www.aketiray.com

Wish us luck! And I hope you like the music.....

Oh and there's a video for 'Mirror', the first release. Check it out below...give it some full screen for full effect..............

Defection 89.4 - Saluting the Pirate Legends

Defection logo with a cheeky use of the DTI logo in it!

I grew up locked to pirate radio - getting out to a rave was a once in a while thing, but radio was there every weekend, Friday through to Sunday night. 1992 was a golden period in London, with a whole host of hardcore jungle stations on the dial, with three in particular leading the way: Weekend Rush 92.3 , Kool 94.5 and the mighty Defection 89.4 - from what I gather all running out of the same corner of Hackney, centred around the Nightingale Estate.

There was something about Defection that, for me, was just that notch above the rest. Serious high quality DJs, always a top selection, good natured uplifting MCing, great little jingles - just a sweet vibe that you can't fake. Defection...the station in the right direction...

I've posted a bit about Defection in the past, but this post here has been triggered thanks to my good friend Steph J digging out a nice little article about Defection from 1992. The article is alright - written by someone outside the scene,  so not really asking the questions I'd ask - but a nice little feature nonetheless. Best of all for me are the pictures! All that time listening to these  tapes (for years after the original broadcast) and having no idea what the studio and djs looked like...till now.

So check below for the scans of the article, and alongside that I'm posting up a few CLASSIC Defection sets - with download links and mixcloud streaming links.

Not sure when Defection stopped broadcasting but if I remember rightly by around1995 the 89.4 frequency had the ground-breaking UKG station London Underground on it. Always wondered if there was a link between them and Defection...

Nothing but love to all Defection crew: Chunks, Miley, Chattabox, Mix Master Max, DJ Wicked, Sonic, Shire, Nitro, Sketch,Wise, Ram, Flight, Nicklebee, King Size, Force of One Crew, not forgetting Kemistry, Storm and all the rest, and extra big shout to Lt Stitch. 0831 323 099....

*If any old Defection crew see this post and can ID who's who in that photo up top, please post in the comments. In fact any other memories / facts / jokes, please post them!*



Mix Master Max Masterclass - 1992
This is my hands down all time favourite pirate radio tape. Massive influence on me. Max was full of tricks: scratches, juggling doubles, and playing dancehall tracks and mixing hardcore tunes over the top - this in particular was a huge influence on me. Most importantly the selection was impeccable and unique. I heard him live once back in the day at Roller Express (Future Myth), and he did all the tricks live too
Download link Side A  ///// Mixcloud Stream Side A
Download link Side B ///// Mixcloud Stream Side B

Lt Stitch + Killer '92 Set + Defection 89.4 // 1993
Recorded in '93, Stitch lovingly tears through his favourite cuts from '92 - goosepimples and smiles guaranteed. Miley alongside.Bad bad set

Dj Wicked + Lt Stitch 
Wicked, aka Evil Ed, another Defection veteran, always fun sets with top notch scratching. Gold.

Feel Free - Killer 1993 Set
Feel Free was such a tight dj - brillinat set building and running mixes long - no quick cut crosses, just building tune on tune. Fantastic 93 set.

Lt Stitch + Full Crew in the Place - 1992
Vibes in the studio with a full house in session and Stitch playing some top tunes

Raise Your Voice - UK Soundsystem Selection

As Hackney One and Notting Hill Carnival come around once again and London gets out on the streets and infront of speakerboxes, here's a UK soundsystem style roots mix... Many of the tunes included here are ones I first heard played out by certain UK soundsystems, and then went off hunting to find what they were: big respect and thanks particularly to Negus Melody, Lord Ambassador, RDK Hifi, Young Warrior, King Earthquake, Iration Steppas, Channel One and Aba Shanti, who will forever be connected in my mind with playing many of these tunes at particular times. Love the way music gives us memories...

Want to draw attention to a couple of tracks here: The Law by City Culture is taken from the brilliant, must-buy Breadwinners LP, which I cant recommend enough - really deserves support. No one is doing live instrumentation roots music in the UK like them right now. Love this record.

Also two killer Alpha Steppa connected productions here, Violin Step and Material Things. Very happy to say that my first ever vinyl release as part of the Aketi Ray band should be coming out on Alpha Steppa's Steppas Records label later in the year - keep an eye out and a ear open for that: Aketi Ray is a live acoustic dub-jazz project,and the 12" release will feature a digidub rework by Alpha & Omega. There'll be an Aketi Ray album to come next year...something a little different for your ears!

So here we go: apart from one US and one FR its all UK productions, 80s up to the present day, starting off easy and getting harder as it goes, 2 hours of roots music, soundsystem style...

Raise Your Voice - UK Soundsystem Selection

To Be Poor Is a Crime - Still Cool
To Be Rich Should Be a Crime - Jeb Loy Nichols
The Law - City Culture / Breadwinners
To Jah I Call - Twinkle Brothers
Raise Your Voice - Aisha
My Fortress - Marlene Ammers
Only Love - Messenger Douglas
Promised Land - Brinsely Forde
Dubbing on the Kings Highway - Gussie P
Psalm 61 - Rasheda / Black Steel
Violin Step - Ashanti Selah & Alpha Steppa
Bloodshed - Errol Arawak
Babylon - Linval Thompson/Kheru Jahman Dan
Teardown Babylon - Blood Shanti
Material Things - Dub Dynasty
Bells of Life - Leroy Mafia
Sacred Fire - Chazbo meets Empress Shema
Their Reward - Prince Alla / Ras Kush
Bonify - Errol Arawak
Utopia Land - Teddy Dan / Kheru Jahman Dan
Dreamer Dub - Willie Tee
Last one:
Meteor Dub - Junior B

Download link 

Spring Roots Eternal

In previous years I've marked the arrival of Spring with a cross-genre Spring Sun Soul mix (>>back catalogue of those can be found here<<) - this year I've pulled out some roots tunes that have that spring spirit...new beginnings, the natural world reawakening, sowing new seeds, horizons moving forward, spirits lifting, all gentle but unstoppable. A few vocal pieces here but mainly instrumentals, accompanied with some live dubbing off the mixer.

Wishing everyone the best in this new season and sending a salute out to Lee Perry on his birthday, born March 20, right on the start of the Persian new year - great time for a new year i think....two Upsetter productions included in honour.

Spring Roots Eternal 

Golden Daffodils - Fulk Reid
Golden Dub - Uprising All Stars
Guiding Light - The Fashioneers
23rd Psalm - Juks Dread & Big Youth
Wall Street - Jackie Mittoo
Leftist - Revolutionaries
Still Waters Version - Jerry Jones & Sound Dimension
Spirit of Umoja - Dennis Brown + Augustus Pablo
Distant Drums - Family Man & Knotty Roots
Home to Zion Dub - Bingy Bunny
You Can Dub - The Upsetters
Roots Version Wise - Sky Nation
Born Free - Michael Rose
Free Dub - Michael Rose
Request Granted - King Tubbystyle
No Love - Black Traps
Dub Love - Black Traps
Blazing Fire Version - Owen Grey
Give Thanks Version - Don Carlos

Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Tribute

Of the all the producers out of Jamaica it's the mighty Rainford "Lee" Perry who holds the most special place in my heart. There's already so much been written about Lee Perry I don't want to repeat what's gone before but wanted to add a couple of personal thoughts as to why his music hits home for me the way it does.

There can be no argument that he innovated like no one else in JA, not to say the world - a genuine groundbreaker in an era of limited technology. His mixing style is sometimes sublime, sometimes raw, always switched on and conscious. Unlike other great masters of the mixing desk Lee had a very active influence on the music played and recorded  - a very hands on producer by all accounts.

Parts of his discography feels in a parallel dimension to the rest of what was happening in JA music. In fact, considering the esteem in which he is now held he supposedly had relatively few big hits in JA, and to some extent it was UK audiences that really clicked with his sound and helped cement his legacy.

I think the defining attitude that shapes his music is his unusually open, plural and active religious/spiritual outlook.... Lee was born and raised in the JA countryside and in those formative years visited Pukumina church services, which fuse Christian traditions with African practices of spirit possession, and allowed room for other more magical thinking. As the 70s wore on his connections with Rasta got stronger and stronger - yet he never grew locks himself, and in part blamed certain Rasta hangers-on as to why he felt compelled to burn his studio down.

My impression is that he never committed totally to Rasta but certainly related to many elements of it, whilst refusing to be limited by it. He clearly connected with the mystic side of things, but maintained his own unique cosmology. In a post-modern way he wasn't averse to taking in influences from all religions and other ideas he came across, and mixing them together as he saw fit.

So if you look through his lyrics you'll find songs about obeah and voodoo alongside Rasta doctrine, as well as the odd taboo-busting sexual lyric, as well as several songs not in English or with the vocal manipulated to make in incoherent. Whats in common here is a transcendentalism - transcending social norms, going beyond mundane understanding of reality, a faith in the mysterious and magical. Lee Perry definitely approached music like a shaman.

And thats where the dubs and instrumentals really come in. Lee doesn't use sound arbitrarily - even in the wildest moments its not there to sound wacky - there is always a higher purpose to what he does at the desk, each sound and action designed to resonate with his non-orthodox spiritual outlook. Its arguable over who invented dub - Lee has as good a shout to that as any - but to me he was certainly the first to explore its mystic potential so fully. Few have come close since.

All of which I, and clearly music lovers all over the world, really relate to - his world view is not a dogmatic religious position, more a freewheeling, mystic, high!, ever changing, personal love affair with life.... Rainford Rules....

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The following five mixes (here in reverse order) were put together over several years, and concentrate mainly on the era where has was at home with his own studio, the Black Ark, with the occasional dip before and after. The first mix breezes through some of the tracks that I first fell for, with each subsequent mix digging deeper and deeper into the vaults of his discography. The most recent mix, Chapter 5, looks solely at some possibly lesser-known tracks from the first two years of the Black Ark, 1973 and 1974 - a magical time with its own distinct sound..

Have to give a massive Thank You to knowledge-providers David KatzMick Sleeper and Black Ark Nuggets without whom these mixes couldn't have happened. 

Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt.5 - Ark Sets Sail 73-74

The Originals - Got To Be Iry
Ken McKay- Nobody Knows
Kinge Oney - Jah Jah Know
Chenley Duffus - Standing On The Hill
Annette Clarke - I Wanna Be There
Upsetters - Dub Power
 Roman Scotland - Arab And Israelite
Annette Clarke - Sinner Man/Dub
Cynty & The Monkees - Lady Lady/Dub
 Ital Winston - Princess Street Skank/Ride On
Al Rock - True Believer In Jah
The Upsetters - Soul Train
Leo & The Upsetters - Doctor Demand / Black Bat / Bad Lamp
The Ethiopians - Prophesy
Ron Wilson - Rat Poison
Max Romeo - The Question
Smokey Brown - Version/My Baby
Time Unlimited - Reaction/Version
Soul Syndicate - 8 Round To Foreman
Click here to download


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt.4 - More Power
The Meditations - Houses Of Parliament
The Congos - Don't Blame On I
Leroy Sibbles - Rasta Far-I
The Stingers - Give Me Power
Roy Lee & King Iwah The 1st - Give Me Power No 2
The Upsetters - Tipper Special
Upsetters - Black Ipa
Upsetters - Ipa Skank
Upsetters - Key Hole
Upsetters - Freak Out Skank
The Gatherers - Start Over
Robert Palmer - River Stone
Lloyd & Devon -Wolf Out Deh
The Upsetter - Shepherd Rod
Juks Dread & Big Youth - 23rd Psalm
Zap Pow - River
Augustus Pablo - Vibrate On
The Upsetters - Vibrator
The Bluebells - Come Along
The Upsetters - Dub Along
right click it here to download


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt3 - All Glory
Lee - on the Wire [intro]
Junior Byles and the Versatiles - Cutting Razor
Ralph Haughton & The Ebony Sisters - Take Warning
Derrick Harriott - Walk The Streets
Watty Burnett - Rainy Night Dub
The Upsetters - So Many Shanks
Shenley Duffus - Sincerely
Jolly Brothers - Conscious Man
Lee Perry - Conscious Dub
Twin Roots - Know Love
The Heptones - Crying Over You
Alton Ellis - The Children Are Crying
The Congos - Children Crying
Debra Keese - Travelling
Lee Perry - Noah Sugar Pan Dub
Lee Perry - Rejoice in Skank
The Silvertones - Financial Crisis
The UPsetters - Financial Dub
The Heptones - Babylon Falling
The UPsetters - Babylon Dub
The Heptones - Three in One
Lee Perry - Lee in the Heartbeat
Lee & Omar Perry - Do the Lion DUB
click here for download


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt2 - Forward With Love
Time Unlimited - Africa We Are Going Home
Mystic Eyes - Forward With Love
Leroy Sibbles - Garden of Life
The Congos - Fisherman Dub
Upsetters ft Full Experience - Dyon Anasawa
Lee Perry - Evol Yenoh
Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo - Mengieb
Lee Perry & THe Upsetters - Hold Them King Fu
Lee Perry & THe Upsetters - Black Vest
Lord Creator - Such is Life
Lee Perry - Such is Dub
Earl Sixteen - Freedom
Lee Perry - Freedom Dub
Unknown VOcalist - Nuh Fe Run Down
Lee Perry - City Too Hot
Brad Osbourne & The Towerchanters - Little Flute Chant
Eric Donaldson - Stand Up!
The Upsetters - Dub Fa Yah Rights!
Bree Daniels - Oh Me, Oh My
The Upsetters - Oh Me, Oh Dub
Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Crab Years
Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Black Belt


Rainford Rules! Strictly Lee Perry Selection Pt.1 - Train is Coming
Junior Murvin - Roots Train
Bunny and Ricky - Freedom Fighter
Junior Byles - Place Called Africa
Lee Perry - Mother Land Dub
Brent Dowe - Down Here in Babylon
George Faith - To Be a Lover
The Upsetters - All the Way
Danny Hensworth - Mr Money Man
The Heptones - Sufferers Time
Devon Irons - Ketch Vampire
The Upsetters - Vamp a Dub
The Upsetters - Party Time
Lee Perry - Man to Man
Lee Perry - Freedom Street
Horace Smart - Ruffer Ruff
Lee Perry - Original Jungle Dub
Lee Perry - Rubba Dub
Lee Perry - Cross Over
Lee Perry - Cross Over Dub
Lee Perry - Bird in Hand
Max Romeo - One Step Forward
The Diamonds - Talk About it
The Children - Yama-Ky
U-Roy and the Children - Yama-Ky
The uPsetters - Pop Goes the Dub
Lee Perry - Chicken Scratch (the tune that gave him his nickname)

click here for download

Congo Call: Africa-inspired jazz 1956-1970

The struggles of the civil rights era in the US had a profound transformative power and inevitably this would come to be expressed in the music of the period. With black power came a change in sense of identity, one aspect of which included a proud reclaiming of African heritage. Crucially the civil rights struggles ran concurrently with anti-imperial liberation struggles across the world, with many African countries winning their independence throughout the fifties and sixties - the sense of change and new beginnings must have been intoxicating.

Numerous jazz artists in this era had Africa on their mind, drawing on it for inspiration and strength. The following mix collates some such favourites. Some of these tracks include explicitly African elements, such as certain previously unused percussion patterns and scales, but for me what these tracks really have in common is more abstract than that - the sounds of possibility, of the chance to live in a better and more beautiful world, and of optimism in the face of adversity. That's what makes this music as relevant as ever.... the dream of Africa lives on....

Congo Call: Africa-inspired jazz 1956-1970

Tanganyika {intro edit} - The Buddy Collette &Chico Hamilton Sextet (1956)
Home In Africa - Horace Parlan (1963)
Blue Nile - Alice Coltrane (1970)
The Egyptian - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (1964)
Congo Call - Prince Lasha (1963)
Ghana Spice (pt1) - Candido (1970)
Man From South Africa - Max Roach (1961)
Man From Tanganyika - McCoy Tyner (1967)
Liberia - John Coltrane Quartet (1964)
Appointment in Ghana - Jackie McLean (1960)

Spring Sun Soul

The annual ritual Spring Sun Soul mix, celebrating life, new beginnings, possibilities...onwards and sunwards! Upfull music all the way... on a beats and bass vibe this year. Shout to Fez, Bolans, Dmnnfta and J Robinson for turning me on to some of the tunes and artists featured... If you want more spring soundtrack do check the previous Spring Sun Soul mixes from the last 6 years >>here<<.

Spring Sun Soul VI

Children of The Sun - The Sun Ra Arkestra
Skylights - Boxcutter & Defcon feat. Kaidi Tatham 
Balanzat - Talamanca System 
Sunrise - Origination
Phnxdwn - Vestige
Run To The Sun (Instrumental) - NERD
Green Sky - Moon B
Expressions - Linkwood
Back & Forth - The Insiders

Fabio on Kiss 100 Tape Cache

From the years 1994-1997 the jungle sound split in several directions and different clubs and nights catered to the different sounds. The unity from the days before was still there in spirit, but things definitely did fragment - only natural i think - people wanted to push the sound and take it in different directions and express themselves as they saw fit. It would've been nice if there was more crossover, both in djs sets and in club line-ups, but on the whole it didn't happen so much.

I kept up on what was going on across the board but my heart was definitely in the Speed camp - Speed being a club night with resident DJs Fabio, Bukem, Kemistry & Storm, Doc Scott and Lee, which played tunes that if you had to describe them could be said to be deeper and more musically involved than what was going on on the upfront jump-up side of things. Really exciting times musically. Should also add I've got a little Speed Connection Facebook group here which you'd be more than welcome to join and post endlessly on.

1994 was the year that jungle blew up in the media and also the year that London's Kiss 100 FM - once a pirate station which got a legal license in 1990 - a little belatedly picked up on our UK breakbeat rave scene. The likes of Fabio, Rider, Bukem, JJ Frost, Randall, Hype, Kenny Ken and others played the slot on rotation - was the first time jungle got played on legal radio - and it was a great chance to hear tunes that wouldn't normally get played out in a dance, all kinds of (jumpy) dubplates, tunes that wouldn't come out for another year, and tunes that never came out at all. The whole scene was always pushing forward so fast that these shows were like a glimpse into the future...essential listening. Started at 9-11pm on a Wednesday if i remember rightly, but got pushed into a post midnight slot after a couple of years....

My flat mate used to particularly record Hype and Bukem's Cosmic Jam sessions, but I tended to go for the Fabio shows above all else - or at least those are the tapes that have lived to see the day 20 years on. Many didn't make it, including some early Giving it Up Slot Fabio & Grooverider sessions. Particularly gutted to have lost one which ended with Fabio playing some house tunes. Still not found that uploaded anywhere. Anyhow, we move on!

So here are the ones that made it. Thanks so much to RolldaBeats family for help with the tracklists (posted in the comments). Rolldabeats also has the best catalogue of all the Kiss Jungle Shows - check that here. Great hive-mind resource for those who care.

Before we get into it just got to pay respects to Fabio for all his hard work and almost single-handed commitment to pushing the sounds he does - hugely appreciated by a certain section of jungle music lovers. On the whole this was music that was sidelined at the time, and sadly even in an age of 24/7 jungle pirates and plenty old skool nights still remains sidelined... Interesting listening back to these tapes now and hearing Fabio talking about the splits and trying to keep the unity. So much good music and so many good memories attached to these sounds - a serious part of my life played out over these tapes.... Salute Fabio, and a big shout to all the original jungle soul boys and girls and all the Speed/Tempo/Swerve faithful.


Fabio on Kiss 100 Tape Cache

All tapes ripped at 320kbps. Hover over titles and right click and save as to download. Tracklists in the comments.

Fabio - Science - First Show - 1994
  Fabio's first solo show
"taking you through the spectrum...a little show, Im calling it: Science"

Fabio - Travelling - Science Pt2 - 1994 - Side B
Fabio's second solo show... "music for the open minded"
Fabio - FreezeFire - Dec 94 - Side B
End of 94...turning the corner into 95

Fabio - Summer Bees Wax - 1995 - Side B
Getting into 1995 - by now Fabio really was carving out a distinct sound
"look ahead every single time" 
Fabio - Mutant Jazz - 1995 - Side B
After a quiet start Speed was blowing up by this point

Fabio - Moving - Summer 95 Side X
The soundtrack to the summer of 95...we had a proper heatwave that year 

More gold from 1995

Fabio and Grooverider - End of Year Spesh - 1995
F&G's xmas shows always great fun and filled with interesting chat

Fabio - New Days - Sept 1996 - Sides A+B
By 1996 the jazz elements were really coming to the fore

Fabio - Jazz Stepping - 1997 - Side A
The jazzstep becomes official

Fabio - RIP 1997- Side B
Deeper and deeper into jazz and fusion sounds

A little bonus one - recorded from R1 and some great crowd vibes on this:
Fabio - Live at Sonar Festival Barcelona 2003 - Side A

...also have some Rider tapes to rip - they'll go up later in the year i expect
and dont forget, tracklists in the comments

Blood & Fire - 20th Anniversary Tribute

I remember 1994 well... 1994 was the year jungle blew up in the UK, and one consequence of that was that it brought Jamaican music right to the front of the mix to a generation of ravers. There were always reggae elements in the UK hardcore/breakbeat rave scene, from direct samples to lifted basslines, and even the importance of soundsystems had an influence on us, but it was the way in which a lot of jungle producers ditched the pianos, ditched the squeaky vocals, and went straight to the JA source that meant there was no longer any hiding from Jamaican influences. It was the rave scene that really exposed me to Jamaican music, and whats more it was all those spaced out Sundays and Mondays which made dub records make a whole lot of sense!

Apart from one other Tubby (Meets Lee Perry at the Grassroots) CD i picked up in 1994 the first real JA recordings I ever bought were the first two Blood and Fire  releases: If Deejay Was your Trade, and the Tubby comp Dub Gone Crazy. I was in no position to place what I heard in any wider context of Jamaican music because it was all still just a beautiful mystery to me, but there was something about the packaging and care in selection that went into these two releases that made me know that this was Classic Material. And with Striker and Tubby in charge of course that was true, but even beyond that it was the love the B&F crew put in that got that message across loud and clear.

The way they put it is this: "Philosophy - To bring the standard of reggae reissues up to the level of the best in jazz, blues, R&B etc., and to ensure that both artists and producers are paid for their work.", and over the next two decades Blood & Fire put out over 50 essential releases, helping return what might otherwise have been lost obscurities back to their rightful place as foundational moments in the history of All music.

And so the 20th anniversary of Blood & Fire is also the 20th anniversary of my own journey into the bottomless treasure chest that is Jamaican music. Blood & Fire played a huge part in turning me on to it, and I'm far from the only one for whom it played that role. Without a doubt Blood & Fire deserve every credit for helping fuel a revival of interest in Jamaican music, the turbo injection of which is still felt all across the bass-ends of the music scene today.

In this year 2014 it was announced that Blood & Fire will be starting up again...its not yet clear if that will come to pass, but even if that proves too much to hope for, they've achieved so much in those 20 years. So with that all said, have to give a big respect and an even bigger thank you to those who made it happen: Steve Barrow, Andy Dodd, Bob Harding, Mick Hucknall, Elliot Rashman, et al, and also a big shout to all the Blood & Fire forum crew for sharing your knowledge. In tribute here's a mix that barely scratches the surface of the music they've reissued...go out and buy the lot, every last release is essential. www.bloodandfire.co.uk/discography.php

Blood & Fire - 20th Anniversary Tribute

Tribal War Dub - Yabby You
Train to Zion - Linval Thompson & U Brown
Know Where You're Going - Junior Byles
Pure Ranking [edit] - Horace Andy  
John Bull - Morwell Unlimited meets King Tubby
I Man Version - Willie Williams
Ites of Zion - Tommy McCook
Ghettoman Corner - Welton Irie
No Tarry Yah Version - Yabby You
See a Dub Face - Scientist
Hard Times [edit] - U Brown
Bandulu  [edit] - Cornell Campbell & Ranking Dread
Oh Jah Dub - Impact All Stars
Honey Dub - King Tubby
Jah Vengeance - Vivian Jackson
Vengeance In Dub - Yabby You
Jah Speak In Dub - Tappa Zukie
Chant Jah Victory - Errol Alphonso
Kings Pharoah's Plague - The Prophets
Plague of Horn - Tommy McCook
Fishermans Anthem - Dean Fraser
Let Your Love [edit] - Mykal Rose

right click for download