Dug-Out

Tiger: Rap Pon Rydim

A previously-unreleased rocksteady version of Ding Dong Merrily On High. Or rather the one-of-a-kind, head-on, 1988 mashing of harder-than-hard-core dancehall and ultra-raw Detroit techno. Utterly inspired, gale-force ranting pon a flashin’ TR-909. Soundboy will choke on his Horlicks and soil his winceyette onesie.
Jaw-dropping.

Honest Jon’sHard Wax

  

Tenor Saw: Victory Train

‘Special thanks to Freddie McGregor and the Studio One band’, it says on the cover, as the up and coming Saw gets full superstar treatment from the best in the business (not to mention a full-colour sleeve).

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Willi Williams: Sweet Home

Driving Shaka murder, fury and yearning mixed into a perfect marriage of digital and old-school music-making. Bagga Walker and a drum-machine tear up the dub. Complete with rare, ebullient Colarman toast.

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Nitty Gritty: General Penitentiary

‘Nitty Gritty. Just reading the name alone tells you that he is rough and tough. Having survived many a hard time in the ghetto, he’s come forward now in his own original style, to let everyone know that he’s arrived with a force.’ Another Black Victory classic missing in action, with superb rhythms and killer dubs, a dream combination of Studio One and Bullwackies musicians, and the young sing-jay already at the top of his game.

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Sugar Minott: Sheriff John Brown

Co-architect of Black Victory, Sugar himself takes the mic for its last release, a driving sufferers cliffhanger about bent cops and going on the run, with Bagga Walker, the great Studio One bassist, in full effect…

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Tempo Explosion

Moving between New York and Kingston, Jamaica, in the mid-to-late-1980s, the revered Black Victory label is a perfect storm, crossing the sainted ranks and deep lineages of Studio One and Bullwackies, together with the first, most celebrated strikes of the digital revolution in reggae.

Here is its key album: a devastating, chilled, dread run on King Tubby’s Tempo rhythm, and surely the greatest one-rhythm LP of all time, with the very greatest versions of the Red Rose classic. (Wackies artist Leslie Moore’s sleeve design compares its intensity with nuclear testing in Nevada, so you know you’re in trouble even before the needle drops.)

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Little John: What You Want To Be

Bim! Rougher than rough Roots Radics cut of Every Tongue from 1982, fired up with wild effects, murderous dubbing, and live, jostling microphone interplay; and with an excoriating version.

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Naphtali: Hole Up Your Hand

Brilliant, icy, rude-boy minimalism, ticking and clopping out of the Vibes Sounds studio in Mayville Road, Leytonstone, East London, in 1987. Blacka at the controls, Jah Warrior the apprentice dentist.

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Foxy Brown: Love Is Where You Find It

Careening from the Black Sublime of Dadawah to the, er, Foxy Brown of Jennifer Hylton, Dug Out lets off this early-nineties r’n’b-tipped torpedo, recorded by Lloyd Pickout Dennis at Dynamic, with the Firehouse Crew — George programming drums, Danny the bass, and Wrong Move the other keys.

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Dadawah: Peace And Love

Dark, hypnotic, tripping nyabinghi from 1974. Led by Ras Michael over four extended excursions, the music is organic, sublime and expansive, grounation-drums and bass heavy (with no rhythm guitar, rather Willie Lindo brilliantly improvising a kind of dazed, harmolodic blues). Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond stayed up all night after the session, to mix the recording, opening out the enraptured mood into echoing space, adding sparse, startling effects to the keyboards. At no cost to its deep spirituality, this is the closest reggae comes to psychedelia. Lovingly returned to its original, singular glory, restored at Abbey Road, with superfly vinyl in old-school, hand-assembled sleeves.

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Jah Warrior: Dub From The Heart

With one eye on the past, this captures UK roots sound-system vibes, like magic in a bottle; the other on the future, it’s a prophesy of dubstep. The music is live and direct, in-session; grooving and intense, dense and massive; swirling, sizzling and echoing, with writhing Junglist bass. A collaboration between Steve Mosco and Dougie Conscious, this was originally released in 1996, in the early days of Steve’s London-based Jah Warrior label.

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Anthony Red Rose: Electric Chair

A stinging, thumping, futuristic soundboy frightener, terrible and remorseless, this was originally brandished by JA producer Dennis ‘Star’ Hayles in 1989, caged in a label sampler. Mid-decade, Red Rose had a smash hit for King Tubby with an immortal song about a rhythm with fierce tempo; by now it has mutated into a killing machine, controls set to vaporize all zinc pan, super-charged with the shock treatment of all dibbi dibbi.

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Michael Rose: Observe Life

Raw, stripped funk from the Black Ark, charged with atmosphere and aura. Done over as Zen tutelage, no doubt inspired by Rose’s spar Niney, this is the Final Weapon rhythm — that signature cowbell, tough, scrubby guitar, bass bubbling deep in the pocket, and the Upsetter mixing live on the spot. Adrian Sherwood revisited the song with Ari Up — but here is the hortical piece.

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