The Yabby You, Wailers Connection

Vivian Jackson AKA “Yabby You” was a man with such unique talent that he continues to make news in reggae circles even today, fourteen years after his death.

It was 1972 when Yabby You gathered Wailers bassist Aston”Family Man” Barrett, drummer Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, and guitarist (and future member of the Wailers)   Earl “Chinna” Smith  at Lee Perry’s Black Ark to lay down a riddim that would become the foundation of Yabby You and The Prophets’ most enduring anthem.  “Jah Vengeance” was voiced at King Tubby’s by The Prophets (Yabby You, Alaric Forbes, Bobby Melody).  While some recall Gladiators’ lead singer Albert Griffiths voicing that session as well, Yabby doesn’t address the subject directly in his 1995 interview with David Katz only adding “through me being poor, the man had to look to alternatives.  When it was time to record the whole of the persons was like Albert Griffiths….”

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Photo:  Dave Hendley

Photo: Dave Hendley

Aston “Family Man” Barrett would record many songs backing The Prophets throughout the 1970s.  “Run Come Rally” (also laid down at the Black Ark); “Conquering Lion” (credited to Vivian Jackson and the Ralph Brothers and on which Fams plays bass and organ); and the timeless “Love Thy Neighbour” (which is also produced by Fams, then an alternate bass player in Yabby You’s Defenders band which also showcased Robbie Shakespeare when Fams was on tour or in the studio with Bob Marley and the Wailers).  He explains:

“[I] use Horsemouth, Chlnna and Family Man. Then Family Man trained Robbie [Shakespeare], and Rob­bie do that thing named Revolutionary. Whenever me can’t use Family Man me use Robbie.”

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Robbie Shakespeare (l) and Yabby You (r)

Robbie Shakespeare (l) and Yabby You (r)

(Sly Dunbar and Anthony ‘Benbow’ Creary sat in on drums for Horsey from time to time when he was not available.)

Family Man produced and recorded “Love Thy Neighbour” at Randy’s using Robbie Shakespeare on bass, Carlton Barrett on drums, with Fams taking on rhythm guitar.  For the horns arrangement, Fams relied on Vin Gordon’s trombone, Herman Marquis’ clarinets and Dirty Harry’s sax. Interestingly, Fams uses this same riddim for the Wailers’ “Distant Drums.”

As an aside, I love Carly’s drumming on this track, which is my favorite of all of Yabby You’s work.  Not being a musician, I am unable to point to the eleme4nts of his drumming that really stand out here except to say that when you hear a roll or fill it sounds so perfectly timed and placed that you cannot imagine anyone else having played it any better.

While Family Man is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and Yabby You’s go-to-guy for organ and keys, it is Earl ‘Bagga‘ Walker who is selected to play organ on tunes like “Anti-Christ” and “Warn The Nation,” most likely because Fams was recording in the studio with Bob Marley.  It is clear that Yabby You selected Family Man not only for his musical talents but also for his character, which Yabby praises in an interview with John Masouri (for his book Wailin’ Blues:  The Story of Bob Marley’s Wailers):

“Family Man, when him see that I’m ill, him come every Saturday and cook food and thing. He bring a little bush,  buy ganja, but any time him up by Bob Marley and  Peter Touch,  him  stay  in the   background doing  his  work,  but  that  is  the significance of the tune ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ and  Family Man have nuff creativity.”

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A review of Yabby You’s DELIVER ME FROM MY ENEMIES which appeared in the December 3, 1977 issue of New Musical Express.

D R. Melody Maker (Dec 3, 1977)yabby%2Cyou-crop

Here is a playlist of Yabby You vinyl transfers from my personal record collection…

Willi Williams/Yabby You project update!

 

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.

Big thanks to our good friend Randall Grass of Shanachie Records for leaking the track list to us of the forthcoming Willi Williams/Yabby You “lost” album.

Here are the titles of the tracks in no particular order:

Natty Natty
Unification
Any Day
Free Dem
Righteousness
Rock On
One Destiny
Home Sweet Home
Daughter Of Zion
Children
Armagideon Man
Rally

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Long lost Willi Williams, Yabby You LP set for September 30 release by Shanachie

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 fromArmageddon 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.

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Willi Williams

More Jah Raver vinyl selections!

More vinyl selections from my personal record collection. Digitally transferred to the MIDNIGHT RAVER SOUNDS SoundCloud in high-quality audio. Crucial selections from Barrington Levy, Viceroys, Mikey Dread, Yabby You, Prince Lincoln, Johnnie Clarke, Scientist and more.

Includes a rare deejay version to Burning Spear’s “Marcus Garvey” by Little Joe with a Prince Far-I cut on the flip. Produced by Enos McLeod.

Check the two Augustus Pablo-produced tracks: Dillinger’s “Brace-A-Boy” on the Rockers label and a rare cut titled “Go Johnny Go” featuring Dennis Alcapone on the Jaguar imprint.

As always I have included a great Wackies 12″. This time we have Melvin and Lloyd with “Rasta Deh Pon Top” on the City Line label.

Be sure to check the amazing Heptones 12″ “You Can’t Hide From Jah” on the E&J label.

Also included is a ruff Horace Andy track titled “Rock-A-Bye” on the Rockers imprint and a rare Mikey Dread cut titled “Dread At The Control” produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry for his Black Art imprint.

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Raver digs deep

Today we dig deep to bring you some really fine reggae gems…

A stellar reggae tune from a mediocre reggae album (Natural Wild).  The players on this one are sick, sick, sick…Prince, Ranchie, Mikey Boo, Ansel Collins, Joe Jackson.  Even our friend Chris Lane is credited!

Album features significant contributions from Joe Jackson (who dropped this stupefying bombtrack in 1982).  Natural Wild was originally issued with a limited bonus disc God Sent Dub.

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Rod Taylor backed by Fully, Santa, Chinna…one of the great riddims from Soul Syndicate.

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I told you I was digging deep!  Rare Sly & Robbie Black Uhuru dubs coming your way live and direct from the Raiders of the Lost Dub LP!

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“Fire and Brimstone” (version to “Journey”) and “The Monkey Is A Spy” (version to “Sensimilia”)

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DEB Music 7″ single “Rent Man” vocal and dub.

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Michael Rose and Tamlins do “Aquarius” on a Taxi 7″ single.

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TRIPLE shot from the Mikey Dread camp!  Rod Taylor w/ Soul Syndicate “Behold Him.”  Dread At The Controls 7″ single.

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Hopeton “Boom Shaka Laka” Lindo (check it Festival style…) with “Black History”

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Earl 16 on a DATC 10″

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Dennis Brown is terrble (not terrible) just terrble like Charles Barkley on the vocal and dub.  DEB Music, Castro Brown, Battersea Rise, London, what!?

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What’s that?  You don’t know this one?

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King Jammy.  “Slaughterhouse Five.”  Riddim too tuff…