Review: Appearing originally on the Solid Groove label out of Croydon in South London, 'Exclusively' is sometimes misconstrued as the UK issue of 'Dance Hall Style'. The tracks from both were recorded at the same sessions - with Bullwackies joined at the controls by Junior Delahaye and Prince Douglas and issued close together in 1982-83. Half of 'Exclusively' non-exclusively versions four tracks from the Stateside release - three are re-titled - and also 'Eating Mess', which appeared on the first pressing of 'Dance Hall Style', though unlisted on the sleeve. The mixes are all different (and without dubs). Five further specials include the funky 'Musical Episode', a superior Bob Marley tribute, and a version of 'Rougher Yet'. It's all vintage Wackies, and spun out of Horace's all-time greatest album - unmissable.
Review: "You're Back" by Lloyd McTaggart is one of Wackies' earliest and most obscure 12". Recorded around the same time as the monumental "Revolution/The Time Is Now" by Leroy Sibbles & Stranger Cole, it features the Love Joys' backing vocals, lots of 70s synth percussion, the weirdest trumpet part and a wicked version as part two on the flipside.
Review: Taking its name from Jezreel, the Biblical city founded by the tribe of Issachar, where God is said to have cursed Ahab for his greed, this singing duo's debut Wackies album is steeped in rasta spirituality. Clive Davis and Christopher Harvey step forward from the backing line on innumerable Sugar Minott sessions for example and into the company of the great JA vocal combos of the late seventies. As at home with Viceroys-style harmonies as with traditional impressions and doowop-derived flourishes; as comfortable riding Channel One-style steppers as with more laid-back, lovers grooves. Dug in behind them is drummer Jah Scotty's New Breed Band - also known as the Reckless Breed - falling between the Sylvester Brothers and Itopia as Wackies in-house crew. Included in the line-up this time are two of Lloyd Barnes' sons, Bob and Shaan. Appearing as Reggae Jerry, guitarist Jerry Harris is on top form, and as Jerry Hitster he contributes some startling keyboards (alongside Sylvesters' old-boy Roy Robertson), not least in the opening bars. Most of the rhythms are one-offs, though Roman Soldiers is the militant first outing of Natures Dub, and Living In The Ghetto is Kicking Scott from the same album. (On top, the sleeve features vintage reggae typesetting by Leslie A Moore, LAM Graphics Int.) This is a showcase LP, with all tracks extending into inventive dubs. Arrangements are by Lloyd Barnes and Jah Hamma, aka Prince Douglas, who also work the mixing desk.
Review: Another carefully considered reissue from Wackie's tackles two of Kingston born John Clarke's tracks from 1978. They first landed on the Jumbo Caribbean Disco label (which was actually based in Brooklyn) and here are just some of the tens of gems he recorded for the imprint. Both tracks are super hazy dubs with the clipped rhythms of "Big Leg Mary" and burrowing lead coming on heavy, while "Wasn't It You" is a smooth and deadly jam. This one has been known to fetch upwards of 100 quid on second hand markets, so move fast to secure yourself a sure fire winner.
Review: Around 1980, London-based Bullwackies fan Ed Brennan circulated amongst his friends a homemade cassette of his own favourite Wackies productions. In turn, Lloyd Barnes made his own selection from this Pirate's Choice - adding several debut cuts, but retaining Ed's title and much of his artwork (omitting the barcode which he had snipped from a can of drink!). Like the Coxsone re-appropriation, this makes for a superlative compilation. Lloyd Barnes trumps Ed Brennan throughout, kicking off with a killer one-off rhythm from the vaults, featuring Bobby Sarkie of The Immortals, before teaming Joy Card's 'Black Girl' (originally on 12") with a previously unreleased singjay version by Barrington Spence. Other highlights include Clive Hunt's reading of Wayne Jarrett's 'Darling Your Eyes', Joe 'No Equal Rights In A Babylon', Auxumite's 'Interpretation Of New Sensation' (by Wackies songwriting regular Andrew McCalla), and Sugar Minott singing beautifully over an exclusive horns mix of his 'Sometime Girl' 12". "From over 150 singles and 20 albums these 10 extracts are showing you the quality and range of Jah reggae music", as the cover puts it. Another master-class from Bullwackies country.