Strictly vinyl mix from main man BissoMan with 50 crucial cuts of Bob Marley.
Tracklist: 1. Judge Not (Beverley’s Records) 2. Love and Affection (CBS) 3. Simmer down (CBS) 4. One Love (Studio One) 5. Mellow Mood (Wail ‘n Soul ‘M) 6. Stir It Up (Island) 7. Rock My Boat (Upsetter) 8. No Water (Mcps) 9. Reaction (Upsetter) 10. It’s All Right (Mcps) 11. Sugar Sugar (Impact!) 12. Mr Chatter Box (Striker Lee) 13. Soul Shake Down Party (Upsetters) 14. Soul Captives (Imperial International) 15. African Herbman (Babylon) 16. Sun Is Shining (Island) 17. Concrete Jungle (Randy’s) 18. Mr Brown (Mcps) 19. Kaya (Babylon) 20. Gonna Get You (Wea) 21. Do It Twice (Fonit-Cetra Internatinal) 22. Lively Up Yourself (Mcps) 23. Bunin’ and Lootin’ (Island) 24. Rastaman Chant (Island) 25. Rebel Music (‘3 o’Clock Road Block) (Island) 26. Them Belly Full (Island) 27. No Woman No Cry (Island) 28. Jah Live (Tuff Gong) 29. War (Island) 30. I Shot The Sheriff (Island) 31. Punk Reggae Party (Island) 32. Guiltiness (Island) 33. Want More (Island) 34. Rastaman Live up (Tuff Gong) 35. One Drop (Island) 36. Jammin’ (Long Version) (Island) 37. So Much Trouble In The World (Tuff Gong) 38. Exodus (Island) 39. Easy Skanking (Island) 40. Ambush in the night (Island) 41. Time Will Tell (Island) 42. Natural Mystic (Island) 43. Redemption Song (Island) 44. Rat Race (Island) 45. Work (Island) 46. Coming From The Cold (Tuff Gong) 47. Pimper’s Paradise (Island) 48. Could Be Love (Island) 49. Buffalo Soldier (Tuff Gong) 50. Iron Lion Zion (Collection Series)
Rastafarians have as common parlance the philosophy that word sound is power! After the 1960s, one can identify the development of a fraternity of Rastafari faithful, taking their message into musical expression. In much the same way perhaps that the Psalms are constructed as sacred records of the ‘livity’ of the Old Testament patriarchs. The philosophy of the Movement moved to some extent (but not entirely) off the street corners, due partly to colonial repression and police brutality, into ‘the mixing lab-Oratory’ to create music that would teach the lessons of Redemption of the African. Planno, in philosophizing to his students who would congregate in his yard in Trench town, West Kingston (including ones such as Don Drummond, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus, Alton Ellis and Jimmy Cliff ) taught them to ‘tell out King Rasta doctrine around the whole world . . . Get your bible and read it, read it with understanding’ as his basic guide and teaching on liberating the individual. He would conduct his class room in the informal gatherings in his yard as together they built verses animating the experiences, ideals and aspirations of the Movement. The King James Bible consisting of its 66 books, the laws, Prophets, wisdom songs into the Revelation provided a source of reading, reasoning – analysis and interpretation. It was from this source that the Knowledge of liberation was to come, in particular from the Revelations in the Bible – revealing the identity of the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Sellassie I, the Power of the Trinity as the returned Messiah. Planno and a number of other brethren were to develop on the earliest teachings brought by the elders of the 1930s, a multifaceted cultural approach, and a network of over 60 bases in the west Kingston and the surrounding corporate area.
At these bases, the hitherto wayward – brothers in particular – became transformed, they could ﬁnd hope, a receptive environment to mould and teach themselves about their identity, their history, the politics of the time, self-sufﬁciency and most importantly in the context of their survival how to develop a habit of industry – mostly focused on the development of self-employment ideas, and especially music that when it hit ‘yu feel no pain’. Music has been the product emanating from what has been described as the business of hardship resulting out of the Poverty Laboratory.
These bases provided vibrant centres for debates on life, philosophy, the politics of Jamaica and the globe especially as far as it affected the people of Africa, some centres even provided training in Amharic, the ofﬁcial language of Ethiopia. The community bases also provided shelter, humble though this may have been, where warm meals (often a one pot of porridge or ‘a sip’/soup) for all who came, books and newspapers, instruments, recording devices and of course the Wisdom Herb as sacrament to inspire the meditation and reasoning a way forward.
Soon west Kingston was to develop a reputation as a Mecca for musicians and scholars from all across Jamaica and surely enough became a fascination for researchers from around the world, the attraction being the Rastafarians and secondarily their cultural panacea – the emerging institution/industry of reggae music.
Excerpt from: Jalani Niaah (2003) Poverty (lab) oratory:Rastafari and cultural studies, Cultural Studies.
We need to give proper consideration specifically to the Buru (or Burru) tradition as well.
Among the Buru drummers of the first half of the twentieth century was one outstanding and very influential musician who, like Babu Bryan, remains unknown to most Jamaicans, not to mention the rest of the world. The man I am referring to is Watta King. Not to be confused with the notorious West Kingston bad man Woppy King, nor with the Rastafarian patriarch known as Bongo Watto, who were two entirely different individuals, Watta King was a Buru master drummer of Kongo descent who migrated to West Kingston from Clarendon parish.
Although he made his living as a barber, and was not himself a Rasta, Watta gained renown as a drum-builder during the 1940s and 1950s – the very time that Rasta consciousness was beginning to gather force in West Kingston. During these formative years of the Rasta faith, Watta King was the owner of the most sought-after set of African-style drums in the area, and he and his fellow Buru players became the main drummers for the earliest grounations, or ceremonial gatherings, in the Rasta hotbeds of Salt Lane and Back-o-Wall.
It appears that Watta King represents the crucial link between the rural Buru tradition of St Catherine and Clarendon, and the nascent Nyabinghi tradition of West Kingston. His playing appears to have served as a model for many in the first generation of Rasta drummers, and his great influence can be traced through at least four important drummers of later years (and likely several others). Baba Job (also known as Brother Job), who was to become Count Ossie‘s mentor, and Seeco Patterson, Bob Marley‘s percussionist who I mentioned earlier, both spoke to me of Watta King as their “teacher” – the man most responsible for their early development as drummers. And Skully Simms, one of the most important session hand drummers from the 1970s on, told me in considerable detail about the influence Watta King had on him. …
Distant Drums: The Unsung Contribution of African-Jamaican Percussion to Popular Music at Home and Abroad Author: KENNETH BILBY Source: Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 4, Pioneering Icons of Jamaican Popular Music, Part II (December 2010)
Verses, names, symbols, and concepts from ancient Judah can come to figure centrally in a religious movement of modern Jamaica only through an unusually varied and extensive series of religious and cultural transmissions. This process of conceptual transformation and confluence has been the object of interest and inquiry in its own right, as scholars have attempted to trace “the twisted path to a Rastafari hermeneutics as the movement ‘hijacked’ Judeo-Christian Scriptures and converted them into vehicles for identity, ‘ideation,’ and liberation”. Rastafari reggae involves orders of intertextuality, multiple reconfigurations of language, meaning, names, and symbols, and the continual development and accrual of layers of additional semantic content and commentary. At one time literally grounded in concrete geopolitical and historical actualities, “Babylon” and “Zion” go on to become abstract concepts that pass themselves on like “memes” through modulating traditions, practices, and translations, eventually to occupy a crucial position in the religious art form of an Afro-Caribbean heterodoxy. The complex path of influences and inheritances by which the Psalms become Rastafari reggae songs goes back, according to tradition, all the way to the time of David, to whom some of the original psalms are ascribed. Evidence to place and date the Psalms historically is almost completely lacking, however, and thus there is room for considerable disagreement about these texts especially, as compared for example to many of the prophetic writings. Still, in broad terms, the path of migration may be said to extend from pre-exile Israel and Judah, to the first waves of Assyrian deportations of the northern kingdom in the eighth century BCE; to the sixth century Babylonian captivity and destruction of the Temple, and then the return and restoration; to the flourishing and fixation of the Hebrew scriptural tradition in the Persian or Second Temple period; to the Roman occupation, the watershed destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, and the diaspora. Meanwhile the Septuagint, already in Koiné Greek for centuries, is taken up in the rise and spread of early Christianity in the Hellenized Roman Empire, to be Latinized, Europeanized, handed down through a thousand years of medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation developments in the West, ultimately to become the “Old Testament” of the 1611 “Authorized” or King James version (KJV) of the Bible, making its way to the “New World.”
It was thus in the classic English translation of the Bible that Jamaicans discovered the Judaic texts, but even then the reception was further modulated, mediated by resistance and interference. One may have expected missionary efforts to have been undertaken on the part of eighteenth-century British colonialists to convert indigenous and slave populations and spread Anglican Christianity, as had been done with Catholicism in Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Instead, according to Barrett, “the English planters in Jamaica adamantly refused to share their religion with the slave population”; for the Africans of Jamaica, “the Church of England and its high liturgy was considered too sophisticated”.
“After England took over Jamaica and established the slave trade, no attempt had been made to Christianize the slaves” for nearly two centuries. It was only through later “nonconformist” denominations like Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians that black Jamaicans were introduced to Judeo-Christian religion and the King James Bible. It is plainly the King James version that reggae psalmists take up and adapt to their own revolutionary purposes, as a number of characteristic examples will show. The language of the “Old Testament,” and especially of the Psalms, appears frequently in Bob Marley’s lyrics and in other reggae songs, notably the classic anthem “Rivers of Babylon,” which is an extended quotation of KJV Psalm 137 (and some of Psalm 19). This song deserves close analysis, as it is emblematic of the Rastafari reggae tradition, and both song and psalm have been the subject of singular attention in the scholarship. Rastafari identify especially with the ancient symbolism of “Zion”—under- stood not to be in contemporary Israel or the Middle East, but in Africa, and particularly Ethiopia—and they live in “Babylon,” which refers to realities of oppression far from Mesopotamia, which is (as Peter Tosh says) “everywhere”. For Rastafari, “two systems exist: Zion and Babylon, the good and the evil.” Babylon is both “the embodiment of evil in biblical literature” and also “a symbol of bondage, not only for ancient Israelites but for all people held in slavery and oppression, especially black people”.
Through an imaginative and highly subversive reinterpretation, Rastafari read themselves as portrayed in the texts and symbols of the Babylonian exile and the pre- and postexilic periods. In their “free-style approach” to the texts, making such an identification is not difficult: Rastafari are said to “hijack biblical materials and concepts and relate them to any situation or problem when their language and imagery fit the categories and ideology of the interpreter or movement”. Judaic biblical verses thus provide many lyrical and conceptual points of departure for religious reggae songs, just as they offer symbols (like the Lion of Judah) that become badges of Rastafari cultural and religious identity. The core religious vocabulary of Rastafari reggae originates in the King James version, but nearly all the names, places, and words have undergone extensive and creative deformation of language into Jamaicans’ own distinctive idiom. Key words and phrases are retained, but almost never strictly verbatim; reggae songs freely adapt and inflect the anglicized texts in a highly stylized vernacular that is unique to Jamaican and reggae culture. “I-an-I,” for example, is a preferred pronominal form; according to Stefffens, the expression “means ‘you and I’ or ‘I and the Creator who lives within I,’ indicating that there is no separation, that disunity is an illusion” , and affirming Rastafari union and identity with “the Divine, who indwells ‘I-an-I’ ”. These innovations notwithstanding, the overarching religious themes of Rastafari reggae are recognizably, indeed unmistakably Judaic: captivity, oppression, exile, diaspora, longing for freedom and return. “Rastafari reggae” thus designates a specific subset: reggae music is only one form of Rastafari religious expression—i.e. not all Rastafari is reggae— and certainly not all reggae is Rastafari.
Representing far more than mere entertainment, this now classic form of reggae is not, as it were, “just music”—any more than the original psalms were; whether at the First or Second Temple, or by the rivers of Babylon. Insofar as they are derived from particular biblical verses set to music, many Rastafari songs—at least in what has been called reggae’s “churchical” mode —may be considered distant but direct descendants of the psalm form itself. Reggae songs and themes have resonated even with indigenous peoples who have been colonized on their own land (“Reggae on the Rez”) rather than being carried away into captivity or driven into exile.
From Judah to Jamaica: The Psalms in Rastafari Reggae Thompson, J. (2012). Religion and the Arts
“A Jamaican scientist is recreating a ‘supreme’ marijuana that was smoked by Bob Marley in the 1970s before it was wiped out the following decade during the American war on drugs.
Amid mangos, lychees and other jackfruit, Dr Machel Emanuel has planted a field of cannabis plants measuring dozens of square meters in his lab in the botanical garden of the Biology Department at the University of the West Indies in Kingston.
His specialty: landrace cannabis, which grew naturally in Jamaica before it disappeared as a result of human intervention.”
Another influence was the growing backlash against “slackness” and “violence” music in certain circles. Hence the “banning” of Lady Saw from performing in Montego Bay proclaimed by that city’s Mayor after her notorious success at one of the music festivals there; or the decision by various members of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians to refuse to provide musical backing for singers of slackness or violence, or a renewed policy of filtering of much of this music by certain of the radio stations and a corresponding promotion of “spiritual” music.
The conditions in the “industry” were therefore conducive to a renewal. It is obvious that the swing benefitted enormously from the emergence of heavily “spiritual” singers of the quality of Garnet Silk in the early nineties, or Luciano slightly after, but the dance hall also experienced a duality in some and an outright “conversion” in others of its major figures. Lady Saw, for example, the top female D.J. who continues to be the undisputed queen of sex lyrics, can sing a highly successful song of praise and thanks to God (“Glory be to God”) for her material advancement resulting from those same “slackness” songs. In the midst of his 1991 album of sex lyrics, “Gold”, Capleton sings a song “Bible fi dem,” proclaiming his religious righteousness. It is neither that these singers are being inconsistent nor that they are being opportunist. Indeed, their reconciliation of sex with spirituality is consistent with a value system that does not dichotomize carnality and spirituality.
Naturally, such a mix does not meet with approval from orthodox Rastafari. In discussing “the anointing” of dancehall, Yasus Afari argues that: “You cannot accept just any song into the dance because the dance is to praise Jah.”
Even Capleton becomes intolerant of sexual lyrics in his more recent phase. And yet, Bob Marley had no difficulty in singing songs of sexual expression, if not slackness, recognizing the validity of this human dimension, just as front-line “conscious” singers like Buju Banton today defend the mix of carnality and spirituality.
Found in: Babylon to Vatican: Religion in the Dance Hall
Author: Joseph Pereira
Source: Journal of West Indian Literature, Vol. 8, No. 1 (OCTOBER 1998)
So tuned to the beat of Burru drums, the early Rasta lamentations, comprised of mournful dirges of Christian songs, hymns, and psalms from the Psalter, were social, political, and religious commentary on the unfavorable condition of the black Jamaican masses, and of the Rastafarians in particular. As the movement responded to harassment and persecution from the Jamaican public and the “Babylon police” in the 1950s, these lamentations became increasingly militant with a strong revolution and liberation motif. By the 1960s, Rastas had developed an impressive repertoire of musical lamentations adopted to their peculiar method of black revolutionary protest and call for political, social, and economic change in Jamaica. In 1969, The Melodians, comprising Brent Dowe, Tony Brevette, and Trevor McNaughton, sang Psalm 137 in new Rasta voices under the title “Rivers of Babylon.” The song remained local until “Bonnie Em,” singing under the influence of reggae star Bob Marley and the Wailers, did a Cover Disco Version in 1975, which became an immediate hit internationally.
Found in Why the Hebrew Psalms? from Tuning Hebrew Psalms to Reggae Rhythms: Rastas’ Revolutionary Lamentations for Social Change