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  U-Roy: The Lost Album--Right Time Rockers The Soul Selector

U-Roy: The Lost Album--Right Time Rockers


      Merciful Dub   Poor Marcus   Swell Head Skank

"DJ business to me, a DJ is a singer, Is like you haffe have certain voice, certain vocal ability still. Sometime you have some DJ that, they try to crowd The music. I’m not like that I space my words Between the lines And rest the mike And then come back And say something" ----U-Roy

Vintage Vinyl’s reggae imprint, SOUNDSYSTEM Records, proudly announced in late 1998 the release of "The Lost Album—Right Time Rockers", rare recordings by Reggae’s DJ godfather U-Roy. In a genre of music that often sees a bewildering number of releases by seemingly countless artists, the emergence of new recordings on CD by an artist of U-Roy’s stature caught the attention of the reggae media. "There’s plenty to get excited about over the release of this album which hasn’t been seen for two decades…the music couldn’t be better", said Chuck Foster in The Beat. By special arrangement with the artist, from a relationship formed in the 1980’s through promoting live shows in the mid-west, Soundsystem invites reggae fans the world over to hear the champion chanter U-Roy at the very peak of his powers, recording at Jamaica’s Channel One during that studio’s highpoint as the island’s most influential sound.

Originally recorded as ‘specials’ for the competitive sound-system business in Kingston, "Right Time Rockers’ captures as well as perhaps ANY recording of the era the power of the new sound in reggae during the mid-70s—"Rockers", the name used to describe the heavy drum & bass sound coming out of Channel One. Propelled by the crisp and aggressive percussion work of Sly Dunbar, Rockers was the tag given to the spacious-sounding mixes of reggae rhythms cut on 16 & 24 track recording consoles available to the Jamaican engineers, a style of recording that re-emphasized the sound of the rhythm section, all phased, echoplexed, reverbed and taped-manipulated into sonic masterpieces.

Notwithstanding previous innovations in Jamaican music, Rockers represented a huge step forward aurally-to this day, the experiments in the 70’s by the best Jamaican producers and their engineers have never been surpassed by succeeding styles-and-fashions in reggae.

By the time U-Roy recorded over these tracks, his reputation as the DJ of ALL DJs was secure. Or as reggae historian LEROY PIERSON stated in the liner notes, "His work was so pervasive, his success so profound, and his style so influential that is hard to imagine artists like Prince Jazzbo, I Roy, Dillinger, Doctor Alimantado and Big Youth ever even having a chance to record without Roy’s pioneering foundation work paving the way." Yes, as others have stated before, it is reasonable to cite Roy’s work as a primary precursor and influence on ANYONE who ever picked up a microphone and begin to chat, chant, or rap over a rhythm track. His syncopated, call-and-response rope-a-dope approach is so original and definitive, it’s not surprising that Bob Marley, who by large was no fan of DJ music, once opined, ‘Wweelll, me like U-Roy…’ In 1976, U-Roy recorded these tracks at a session in the Maxfield Avenue studio that found him confidently riding the cream of Rockers riddems, many that were first heard on the Mighty Diamonds’ groundbreaking and roots- defining vocal effort, the Right Time album. In Great form, Roy gives a performance that stands with the very best by any DJ during this time, and today can be rightly called ‘classical reggae’, to borrow a term from Bunny Wailer.

‘Right Time Rockers’, with liner notes by Pierson and great photography by Beth Kingston, is available now on CD from Vintage Vinyl direct, at only $11.99. A quality limited edition VINYL pressing will be available in November 1999 at $10.99. Go Deh…



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