“As I Would Say” or “As I Would Tell You”: Big Youth Selector’s Choice Mixdown

Here is a short profile on Jamaican heavyweight ‘Big Youth,’ the man who single-handedly invented and innovated “deejay,” or rap, as we refer to it in the U.S.  Quite possibly the “heaviest” dread to hold the mic since Marley and Tosh.
Also included is a review of a recent concert in NYC memorializing Gregory Isaacs
Big Youth, aka ‘Reggae Phenomenon’ who is respected and revered is described by the Encyclopedia of Popular Music as ‘reggae cognoscenti.’ He was the first Rasta DJ to bring, via his lyrical references to Rastafari way of life and the flashing of his dreadlocks onstage to popular music in Jamaica. These played a significant part in presenting the Rastafarian faith within mainstream Jamaica.
With songs like ‘Natty Cultural Dread’, Isaiah First Prophet of Old’, ‘Manifestation’, and ‘I Pray Thee.’ Big Youth according to the Encyclopedia of Rock “Represents(ed) the authentic sound of the ghetto … set new standards for DJs to say something constructive on record.” He led the emerging uprising Rasta consciousness in the early 1970’s that was capturing the imagination of the youth, or as he told me in an interview “when Bob Marley was leading a Soul Revolution I was leading the Jahwawa rock movement.” Dubbed “The Human Gleaner,” by the Encyclopedia of Rock, a reference to The Jamaica Gleaner one of Jamaica’s leading newspapers, because “it was from his records that many young Jamaicans learnt what was going on in society around them” and at one point he had five of the top-ten Jamaican singles.
He was the first Rasta artist to perform at a reggae concert at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum in 1974 along with the Scorch dance Group. The Encyclopedia of Rock, described him as a “stylistic and artistic innovator of the highest order” and an “important pioneer” – this by the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Big Youth’s style made him one the most popular artiste in Jamaica, where his fame and record sales rivaled his contemporary Bob Marley.
In late 1970’s Big Youth in his song Green Bay Killing was the first artiste to utterly condemn one of the most regrettable political massacres in Jamaica’s history, the Green Bay killing. Unarmed ghetto youths set up by the authorities and indiscriminately slaughtered by the security forces, including Big Youth’s brethren and national soccer player Norman ‘Gutto’ Thompson. Bob Marley would later address the Green Bay killing in his seminal song ‘Time Will Tell.’ In an interview with Phillip Smart and I on WNYU 89.1FM Big Youth told us of having his life threatened by agents of the state due to his outspokenness and having to step back in order to come forward later. He emerged even more determined and defiant in the 1980’s with his album ‘A Luta Continua’ (The Struggle Continues) in support of the Southern Africa struggle.
On stage Big Youth’s energy belies his 60 years; save the white mane beard and silver-grey-hair he showed very little signs of aging. And his unorthodox dance style was vintage Jah Youth. At times seemingly not sure what to do with himself his performance at RCS took this writer ‘back to my youth days in Jamaica at Gaynstead High School when his sound system referred to as ‘his mightiness Emperor Lord’ Tippa Tone Hi-Fi reigned.
Drawing on Rasta iconography his catalogue of roots and cultural, religious and black conscious hits from the early 1970’s he cajoles and mesmerizes his audience. He preaches ‘I Pray Thee’ on the Sattamassagana Rthymn. Jah Youth croons on his movie soundtrack “Every Nigger is a Star’, wails on ‘Ten against One’ and ‘Screaming Target.’ He chills out on ‘Cool Breeze’ (Stop that Train Rthymn) track, was fierce on ‘Dreader than Dread’ and he forewarns of the effects of remote control on our lives (in the 70’s before remote control existed) on ‘Jim Screechy’ (the Stalag Rthymn). As Big Youth belts out ‘so don’t you ride like lightening…cause man if you ride like lightening you will crash like thunder ‘on S-90 Skank on his first hit a female a volunteer came on stage and simulated the S-90 skank dance that elicited roars of approval from the large and appreciative crowd. When he draws for his 1976 hit, Ray Charles’ ‘Hit the Road Jack’, the audience erupts. His son Tafari then joins him on stage for two songs, Jah Youth takes time out to pay tribute to his friend and early mentor Gregory ‘Tooth’ Isaacs. He refers to Gregory as a kind soul who was always willing to help those in need and thanked him for being one of the first to offer him the opportunity to be on record. Youth also laments the tragedy of Isaacs’s drug addiction and how it hurt his career and image as a Rasta man.
Read more: http://www.jamaicans.com/news/announcements/jamaican-music-icons-ernie-smith-big-youth-honored.shtml#ixzz2KlWUS9Ud
Here is a killer mix of my favorite Big Youth tracks.  Start off with a vocal and dub produced by our friend Ryan Moore and Twilight Circus followed by my own personal rip of “Spiderman Meet Hulk” 7″ vinyl released on the Negusa Negast label.  On to 15 more album stunners and 1 live track from ‘Jamming In The House of Dread.’
1. Big Youth – Intro
2. Big Youth – Love is What We Need (Twilight Circus Sound System)
3. Big Youth – Dub Is What We Need (Twilight Circus Sound System)
4. Big Youth – Spider Man Meets Hulk
5. Big Youth – Wolf In Sheeps Clothing Part 1
6. Big Youth – Wolf In Sheeps Clothing Part 2
7. Big Youth – I Pray Thee (Live)
8. Big Youth – Waterhouse Rock
9. Big Youth – Hot Cross Bun
10. Big Youth – Mesiah Garvey
11. Big Youth – River Jordan
12. Big Youth – Some Like It Dread
13. Big Youth – Be Careful
14. Big Youth – Miss Lou Ring A Ding
15. Big Youth – Same Something
16. Big Youth – Political Confusion
17. Big Youth – The Way of The Light
18. Big Youth – Black Man Message
19. Big Youth – Honesty
20. Big Youth – Lightning Flash (Weak Heart Drop)



Bob Marley presented with UN Peace Medal, 1978


The United Nations’ Peace Medal of the Third World was given to Bob Marley on June 15, 1978. in New York City. The late singer and songwriter earned this distinction for his courageous work appealing for justice and peace during a time of political unrest in Jamaica. He is bestowed the award by the African delegation to the United Nations led by Senegalese Youth Ambassador to the UN, Mohmmadu “Johnny” Seka on behalf of 500 million Africans. The award recognized Marley’s efforts on behalf of millions of disenfranchised blacks around the world.  Bob is visibly moved, and particularly humbled,  by the presentation.

Bob Marley and the Wailers were in NYC to perform at Madison Square Garden as part of the 1978 Kaya tour.

[vodpod id=Video.16514623&w=425&h=350&fv=]

Marley’s Acceptance Speech

Jamaica Gleaner July 2, 1978

Jamaica Gleaner July 5, 1978

Jamaica Gleaner July 26, 1978

Jamaica Gleaner August 5, 1978



Survival Rehearsal Recordings, 1979

Originally slated to be titled Black Survival, Survival is an album with an outwardly militant theme which explores the themes of black nationalism, Pan-African solidarity, and injustice at all levels. Marley took a great risk in releasing such a politically and racially charged album, especially after releasing such a mellow album in Kaya the year prior.

The record album front cover by Neville Garrick depicts 48 flags of 47 African countries and one flag of a Pacific island nation (row 7, column 3; included because of Marley’s warm relations with tribes people ala the Maori and Hopi). Presumably the flags were in use when the album was designed, in preparation for publishing in 1979, though many became obsolete.

Bob Marley and the Wailers

01-could you be loved take 1 1:49
02-could you be loved take 2 6:30
03-survival (cut) 1:21
04-zimbabwe 14:19
05-ride natty ride 21:39 (complete version)

Thanks to my good friend Dubwise Garage for the audio.


Bob Marley Does Australia, Builds New Studio 1979

Bob Marley & The Wailers
Live At The Hordern Pavillion
Sydney, Australia
Friday, April 27, 1979

01. Positive Vibration [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (5:15)
02. Concrete Jungle [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (5:21)
03. Burnin’ And Lootin’ [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (5:11)
04. Them Belly Full [But We Hungry] [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (3:46)
05. The Heathen [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (4:58)
06. Running Away + Crazy Baldhead [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (7:15)
07. I Shot The Sheriff [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (4:29)
08. No Woman, No Cry [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (7:25)
09. Is This Love [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (4:45)
10. Jamming [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (6:04)
11. Natty Dread + War + No More Trouble [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (10:45)
12. Get Up, Stand Up + Exodus [Live At The Hordern Pavillion] (9:47)

Jamaica Gleaner, January 20, 1979

Jamaica Gleaner, April 6, 1979

Australia 1979

Australia 1979


Peter Tosh: Reclaiming A Wailer

I have included a NPR podcast titled “Reclaiming A Wailer” and a Jamaica Gleaner article that discusses the recording of Tosh’s seminal debut album “Legalize It.”

Jamaica Gleaner May 9, 1975

Photo by Lee Jaffe



‘Scratch’ Perry a Pioneer in Jamaica’s Music Scene / Chicago Tribune / May 17, 2012



Peter Tosh: Reggae Sunsplash III, July 2-5, Ranny Williams Entertainment Center, Kingston, Jamaica

Held July 2-5, 1980 at the at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Center, Kingston, Jamaica Reggae Sunsplash III takes the Sunsplash franchise to another level.

The concert is being held a few short months prior to a General Election, and the island is rife with political violence.  This explains the festival grounds resembling some sort of prison camp, with the crowd completely surrounded by solid rows of uniformed soldiers with M-16 rifles sporting fixed bayonets.

The show goes off without a single reported incident though, and the crowd is blessed with “unusually inspired” performances from the likes of Culture, Black Uhuru, The Gladiators, Mighty Diamonds, and of course a sizzling set by the one and only Peter Tosh.

Jamaica Gleaner June 30, 1980

Peter Tosh
Live at Reggae Sunsplash III
July 2-5, Kingston, Jamaica

2-400 Years
3-Steppin Razor
5-I’m The Toughest
6-Bush Doctor
8-Don’t Look Back
9-Get Up, Stand Up
10-Recruiting Soldiers
12-Babylon Queendom
13-Buk-In-Ham Palace

Peter Tosh’s historic livitribe during his performance at Reggae Sunsplash III…


Photo by Lee Jaffe


Give thanks to my good friend Kinkywas Enrique Cabrera Romano AKA “was1” at Reggae Traders for seeding this show.


How Jamaica Conquered The World – Episode 1: Jamaican Independence

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing with you the “How Jamaica Conquered The World” podcast series.  To read more about the project and film, please visit http://www.howjamaicaconqueredtheworld.com/

Today is Episode 1: Jamaican Independence

“1962-2012 Celebrating 50 years of Jamaican music”


“Bad Card” Banned in Jamaica 1980

In 1980, upon the release of the single “Bad Card” from the Uprising album, the Jamaican government moves to ban the song from Jamaican airwaves because of it’s negative political connotations.  Bob Marley, a Peoples National Party supporter, sees two of his songs from the Uprising album (“Bad Card”, “Coming In From The Cold”) used in political ad campaigns by both parties. For his part, Marley adorns the cover of his Uprising album with rising suns, a PNP symbol, as well as clenched fists, the Socialist party symbol that PNP is aligned with.


You a-go tired fe see me face;
Can’t get me out of the race.
Oh, man, you said I’m in your place
And then you draw bad cyard –
A-make you draw bad cyard,
And then you draw bad cyard.

Propaganda spreading over my name;
Say you wanna bring another life to shame.
Oh, man, you just a-playing a game
And then you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
A-make you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
A-make you draw bad cyard.

I want to disturb my neighbour,
‘Cause I’m feelin’ so right;
I want to turn up my disco,
Blow them to full watts tonight, eh! –
In a rub-a-dub style, in a rub-a-dub style,
In a rub-a-dub style, in a rub-a-dub style.

‘Cause we guarding the palace so majestic;
Guarding the palace so realistic!

Them a-go tired to see we face (oh yeah!),
Me say them can’t get we out of the race;
Oh, man, it’s just a big disgrace.
The way you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
The way you make wrong moves (make wrong moves);
The way you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
A-make you draw bad cyard (draw bad cyard);
A-make you draw bad cyard –
In a rub-a-dub style, rub-a-dub style,
In a rub-a-dub style – [fadeout]

“Bad Card (Rub-A-Dub Style)”



The Playboy Story plus Live in Minneapolis-St. Paul, 1976

The following article appeared in the September 1976 issue of Playboy as well as in the September 7, 1976 edition of the Jamaica Gleaner.  The article finds Bob Marley and the Wailers in the midst of their 1976 Rastaman Vibration tour.  It includes a slight review of the April/May shows at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

Playboy, September 1976

I am also sharing The Wailers’ amazing performance at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall on May 13, 1976 and a television interview from the same date.  This is one of my personal favorites.  The audio is from the soundboard and is clear and crisp.  The audio is shared in lossless (FLAC).   Please keep it lossless.


Bob Marley Interview with Jerry Douglas and T.J. Westem
Minneapolis, MN
May 13, 1976

Bob Marley and the Wailers
Live at Orchestra Hall
Minneapolis, MN
May 13, 1976

1.Trenchtown Rock
2.Burnin & Looting
3.Them Belly Full
4.Rebel Music
5.I Shot The Sheriff
6.Want More
7.No Woman No Cry
8.Lively Up Yourself
9.Roots Rock Reggae
10.Rat Race
11.Kinky Reggae
12.Positive Vibration
13.Get Up Stand Up >
14.No More Trouble > War > No More Trouble


Rastaman Vibration

© Peter Simon

I must give credit and thanks to Tammy Beveridge for sharing the Playboy Magazine cover.  Please visit her website HERE.