Posts Tagged ‘The Upsetters’



May 31, 2013


And a very happy birthday to Dirty Harry himself, Clint Eastwood as he turns 83 today. Starting out in television he got his major break as he took a chance starring in then-internationally unknown director Sergio Leone‘s 1964 western A Fistful of Dollars and the rest is show business history.

Oddly enough the spaghetti westerns had a huge impact on small island Jamaica, as the 60’s pretty much were flooded by 7″ titles honoring everyone from Clint to iconic bad man Lee Van Cleef – including the movie titles themselves! Compiled recently on the The Big Gun Down – Reggae Inspired By Spaghetti Westerns CD, but one of the earliest was The UpsettersClint Eastwood, correctly calling him “boss”. Check it out:


(More) Sounds of X-Mas!

December 20, 2012

Well sorry ’bout the break (been busy mixing an EP), but here’s a little more Yuletide croonings for your pleasure: The great Happy Christmas (The Christmas Song) by killer Jamaican reggae outfit Toots and The Maytals. Now, from my understanding reggae and ska was never that big in the US, but in the UK during the late 60s it was huge. Local label Trojan Records issued slews upon slews of 7″ singles and managed to release some chart topping hits, including Tony Tribe‘s Red Red Wine (you might remember UB40‘s hit version), The UpsettersReturn of Django and The Pioneers‘ classic Long Shot Kick de Bucket (good luck trying to decipher the lyrics on that one!). Even though they issued some of Bob Marley‘s earliest work the label itself failed launching themselves in the USA – with a company name like that go figure.

Anyway, lead vocalist FredToots’ Hibbert (he later on went solo) had a great voice that parallelled those of classic American R&B/Soul performers like Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett. Always delivering with soul and passion, a lot of the group’s tracks became classics like the prison-themed 54-46 (Was My Number) (most sampled bassline so far) and Pressure Drop famously covered by The Clash. Oddly enough his Funky Kingston later on appeared as the opening theme for reality tv-show Miami Ink. Mixing reggae with early 70s US funk it kicks mucho butt. Check it out:

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