On September 30th, 2014, Shanachie Entertainment will release Unification: From Channel One To King Tubbys With Willi Williams And Yabby You, the long-lost roots reggae treasure so long anticipated. With a sound often reminiscent of Black Uhuru’s breakthrough “Showcase” album that was recorded around the same time, UNIFICATION stands with Willi Williams other classic albums MESSENGER MAN and ARMAGEDDON TIME as pre-eminent statements of roots reggae.
Willi Williams is a Jamaican reggae and dub musician and producer. He is known as the “Armagideon Man” after his hit, “Armagideon Time”, first recorded in 1978 at Studio One in Kingston.
UNIFICATION is a collaboration between two like-minded artists who shared a similar spiritual as well as musical outlook. Neither Yabby You nor Willi Williams have ever been motivated by money or fame in their music-making. Indeed, their pre-eminent goal has been to deliver a spiritual message. Willi met Yabby in 1978, a time when Yabby had grown to be one of the most powerful producers and recording artists on the Jamaican scene, noted for his intensely devotional recordings and for his collaborations with fabled dub-master King Tubby.
“Sometimes you are inspired, “ Willi says, “and you don’t even know yourself the nature of the inspiration. I was inspired to write these songs and even today people attribute the songs to things happening today. We were portraying what we were seeing as the future, looking ahead to the turn of the century. A lot of that has unfolded even in recent times. Like ‘Armageddon Time’ gets played whenever there is a human disaster…it is looked at as ‘the end of times song’.”
Recorded at both fabled Channel One studio and King Tubby’s studio, the album utilized a diverse group of top-shelf Jamaican musicians, including Sly & Robbie and the Revolutionaries, Soul Syndicate, The Gladiators, Jackie Mitoo, Bobby Ellis, Cedric “IM” Brooks and Bobby Kalphat.
“Of course everyone knows Willi Williams from ‘Armageddon Time,'” says Shanachie’s Randall Grass, “but he’s produced so much good music that has been under the radar, known only to the deepest roots aficionados, often released only on his own label with limited distribution. This album he produced with Yabby You is truly a “lost classic” that I think ranks with his best work. We hope that releasing it on Shanachie will give him the wider attention he deserves.”
This news comes as Shanachie is busy compiling a definitive Yabby You CD box-set. According to Shanachie label chief Randall Grass, who was interviewed recently by MIDNIGHT RAVER about the project, the set will contain 3 compact discs: Classics, The Many Moods of Yabby You, and Rarities. The set will contain rare and previously unreleased material from the likes of Michael Prophet, Wayne Wade, Half Pint, Patrick Andy, Trinity.