Friday, January 4, 2008

The Revolutionaries / Tappa Zukie - Escape From Hell

The Revolutionaries / Tappa Zukie - Escape From Hell
Label - Tappa / Trojan
Recorded - 1977
Style - Reggae, Dub, Lee Library, Roots

One of Jamaica's most talented artists, Tappa Zukie has had an equal impact on both sides of the recording deck, as both a hitmaking toaster and as a producer who has worked with the cream of Jamaica's vocalists. In addition, his early ties to the punk community in both London and New York was instrumental in the crossover of roots reggae into the mainstream. Born David Sinclair, Tappa was a diminutive of a nickname his grandmother gave him, while Zukie was derived from the gang he ran with as a child, the Zukies. In his teens, he began working for the sound systems, first with I-Oses Discotech, then for the Maccabees. It was through the latter that he came to the attention of producer Bunny Lee; unfortunately, his off-hours delinquency ensured that he was also coming to the attention of the police.

In 1973 he moved to London where he was immediately swept into the studio to record his debut single, "Jump & Twist". Returning to Kingston at the end of the year, the young DJ now began recording singles for a variety of producers such as Yabby You, Bunny Lee, Ossie Hibbert en JoJo Hookim. Out of those sessions came the famous 'MPLA' album. He also set up his own 'Stars' label. Financial problems forced him to hold back the album release, but he did put out some singles. It was at this point that he began producing other artists, initially working with the likes of Errol Dunkley and former Itals vocalist Ronnie Davis.

Back to London he found out that a recording session he'd done during his previous stay, with producer Clem Bushay, had since been released as the 'Man A Warrior' album, and was selling like hotcakes through the Klik label. He then released the 'MPLA' album and found himself with the best-selling reggae record in the U.K. that Christmas.

A period of astonishing productivity followed, releasing the 'Man From Bosrah', 'Earth Running', 'Escape From Hell', 'In Dub', 'Peace In The Ghetto', and 'Black Man' albums between 1977 and 1979. At the beginning of the 80s he definitely was an international presence to be reckoned with. He worked with Horace Andy, Militant Barry and put out some interesting albums himself. Later in the decade he was responsible for productions with the Mighty Diamonds, Max Romeo, Ken Boothe, Sugar Minott, and U-Roy. As the digital era took over he solely concentrated on production work, releasing tunes with Beres Hammond, The Heptones, Simpleton and June Lodge.

The album 'Escape From Hell' saw its initial release in 1977 as a ten track album. It has been somewhat overlooked due to the small numbers of its original pressings. Tappa was at the height of his peak period as a roots producer with Sly & Robbie and the Revolutionaries house band and then up-and-coming engineer Prince Jammy, who would replace Philip Smart as right hand man at King Tubby's legendary Waterhouse facility.

The opening cut, Sidewalk Dub, sets the tone as a totally dubwise reading of Tappa's devotional 'My God Is Real', followed by the instantly recognizable Massacra Dub, an enthralling cut of Prince Allah's wonderful anthem, 'Burial'. Population Dub takes the 'Take Five' riddim, itself being an adaption of Dave Brubeck's jazz favourite. Then there is Weather Umbrella a well known riddim originally made popular by Ray-I as 'Weatherman Skank', who used the Treasure Isle classic 'It's Raining'. Next up comes King Alpha In School, a spirited re-cut of the Ebony Sisters' 'Let Me Tell You Boy' that Tappa used earlier for Horace Andy's 'Stop Your Brutality', followed by the outstanding Experience Dub, a subtle counterpart to Horace's 'Natty Dread Weh She Want' (which borrowed lyrics and structure from an earlier Soul Syndicate hit whilst also making use of the melody of Alton Ellis' Studio One classic, 'Hurting Me').

The album comprises bonus dubs, all drawn from the same key period of 1976-79. Noteworthy are the super rare Double Struggle, across Gregory Isaac's great 'Love Light' rhythm, which Tappa picked up from Ossie Hibbert at Channel One. More niceness on Natty Princess Version where you'll hear an excellent re-cut of Delroy Wilson's classic 'Conquer Me'. She Want A Version is a fantastic dub cut of the popular 'Phensic', while the album closes with Rub A Dub A Weh Them Want, of course based on the everlasting 'Natty Dread A Weh She Want'.

1. Sidewalk Dub
2. Massacra Dub
3. Dub Driver
4. Population Dub
5. Weather Umbrella
6. King Alpha In School
7. Experience Dub
8. Marching To Zion
9. Escape From Hell
10. Squatters Dub
11. Straight To Him Chest
12. Revolution Version
13. Double Struggle
14. Natty Princess Version
15. Real Version
16. Sensimelia Version
17. She Want A Version
18. Mariguana Version
19. Broad Back Skank
20. Rub A Dub A Weh Them Want



Anonymous said...

another king-sized slavering of super dubs, doubtless, bro.. excellent, thanky so much.. bearded zeb

XMP said...


drfeelgoed said...

Thanx in advance, looks great!

XMP said...

no problemo

Danny said...

You blog is great! The aobum notes are great! Thank You! This link is gone.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brother!!!

Your blog is crazy in the musical sense of a true real music lover!
For me you deserve a BIG"Respect" for your commentaries,text, stories,pics of albums, tapes... and musical knowledge!!!
Different kind of all sort of music in your blog!!!
Many thanks and praises!!!

nb:born in 1962 in africa i love african afrobeat soul funk jazzrock & reggae music.I have recorded manies of my album but not enough time to make a "famous" blog like yours!
Thanks too for "escape of hell-Tapper Zukie"!!!