The Bunny 'Striker Lee; Story - Reggae Going International - 1967-1976 - Noel Hawks and Jah Floyd - Jamaican Recordings - 200pp.
Unlike so many other reggae producers - Bunny Lee generates real affection. He's not a saint, he wouldn't claim to be. But he's done so much for the reggae business. While some producers record artists and then sit on the albums for decades - Bunny, releases them - and keeps on releasing them.
This latter point, is very important. You see Bunny understands the reggae business from an international point of view. He knows that it can take years to break an artist. So he juggles his incredible catalogue - albums, pop up in the UK, the US, Europe, not so much Japan - Yet!
The challenge for Noel and Floyd was trying to put some kind of timeline down - to try and make sense of it all. And they have done it fine style!
Stories are woven together over the years. The early days with Ken Lack, his work at Dynamic. And my favourite his love of rhythm invention. Flyers, Bumpers, Jumpers, Tickers - each and very one of them is given its place in reggae music history. Probably the only rhythm he didn't come up with in the seventies was Bouncers! Although I'm sure Bunny probably as got set of these rhythms in his vault!
His work with so many artists, means of course that some only get a namecheck. If he was to go into detail on every artist - the book would be three times the size.
Artists who are not really associated with Bunny Lee do get mentioned, Alton is one, and very interesting as well.
The book is packed with photos - its like a family album, you also get labels and sleeves and flyers. Its truly an amazing book! I loved Roydale Anderson's book, the first from a Jamaican producer. This one is just as good - its got a real warm vibe. And all credit to Noel and Floyd for that. Finally if you buy the hard copy of the book you get a free CD.
V/A - Once Upon A Time At King Tubbys - Pressure Sounds
One of the greatest DJ clashes of all time is the clash between Prince Jazzbo and I Roy!!! Forget about any of the nonsense that goes on today. Rolling around on stage is not entertainment - they should join a fight club. No the serious business is verbal. And no one got hurt. What Prince Jazzbo and I Roy was provide enjoyment to such an extent that everyone wanted to be involved. So gathering up all the many cuts from the various producers was never going to be easy - but now its been done. And with detailed notes from Noel Hawks so you can follow this musicl madness its just about as good as it gets. The I Roy cuts are some of the wildest tunes ever made. He uses his ability to mimic to the most. Jazzbo is the heavy hitter and scores some big points. In between there is Prince Far I, Derrick Morgan, Johnny Clarke and so many more. Musical History that is no longer a mystery!!!
Various Artists - Heavy Stereo Inna Kingston Town Vol 2- Kingston Sounds
Another revival label - featuring more Bunny Lee productions from the sixites and seventies. And yes there are some well known favourites Delroy's 'Rain From The Sky' , Pat Kelly's 'How Long', Johnny Clarke's 'Death In The Arena' - that have been on many many compilations. However what sets this one apart, are tracks like Ken Boothe's ' 'I'm Not For Sale' this was originally on some showcase set produced by Bunny in the late seventies.
'Kiss Me Girl' from Ernest Wilson it seems was first released on Pama in the late sixties, and is probably the first time its been on a album. An amazing tune. John Holt's 'My Number One' is also not something I have heard a lot of, if at all. While the only time I have heard Jackie Edwards 'Im In The Mood For Love' featuring the Now Generation band on the rhythm - was when Freddy Big Foot played it on his radio show - it sounded great then, and it sounds even better on CD!!!
Various Artists - Bunny Lee The Cool Operator - Smugg
The bulk of Bunny Lee's album releases have always been Artist based. With a just a few Various Artists sets spaced over a very long career. Compare that with some producers for instance Lee Perry who's career is now dominated by various artists set. And you can see how and why Bunny Lee got his name 'Striker Lee' he's got a knack for finding the net. If you want an hit you go to Bunny. And all the big names are here. Including Johnny Clarke, Horace Andy, Cornell Campbell, I.Roy and Dennis Alcapone. Yet strangely on this 20 track there are also tracks with artists like Gregory Isaacs and the Mighty Diamonds, plus Lee Perry!!! I suppose these kind of one off tunes are ideal for a Various Artist set. Also on this CD is a CD Rom interview with Bunny which is excellent. What a shame its not a 4 hour job. If its good enough for Coxsone - its good enough for Bunny. Someone make it happen!
(Bunny Lee) V/A - Jumping With Mr Lee - 1967-68 - Trojan. Producer Bunny Lee's influence over reggae music as been considerable, and it started with some of the excellent records found on this album. Vocal groups like the Uniques and The Sensations, singers like Derrick Morgan, Pat Kelly, Ken Parker and Slim Smith, and musicians like Lester Sterling and Vin Gordan all enjoyed great success with Striker Lee. And one or two of the really big hits are here, but the real purpose of this album is to show the foundation of where those hits came from.