Prince Far I

Pressure Sounds * PS18 * 1997

Health And Strength

Health And Strength

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Information

During the late seventies stories were circulating amongst reggae producers, record companies and artists about a huge demand for Jamaican music in Africa. Rumours of sales exceeding one hundred thousand albums were common and U Roy's 'Natty Rebel' and 'Madness' by The Maytones were supposed to have sold in huge quantities. In reality few knew the true sales figures. Suddenly however, Virgin Records with one John Lydon in tow turned up in Jamaica and seemed to open the cheque book and be signing anyone that was capable of breathing into a microphone. Island Records expanded their already fairly large 'reggae roster' and companies like Chrysalis entered the arena. Seemingly every major company was signing a reggae act.

On the surface all looked well. Studios in Jamaica were working non-stop. Tape after tape arrived at London based record companies ready to be released. Virtually overnight things went wrong. The Governments of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast imposed a complete ban on the import of 'luxury items' - this included records.

The record companies in London had signed the artists on deals that allowed them to do what is known as 'drop the artiste' - meaning either accept the next album and pay the agreed amounts of money - or simply not accept the next recording and then to tell the artiste/producer that they would not be releasing any future works.

This resulted in a flood of releases and many recordings being 'shelved' in other words unreleased for financial or political reasons which brings us to 'Health And Strength'.

Dating from 1978/79, the master tape almost from the time of delivery disappeared. Despite requests for the tapes whereabouts - no luck. Prince Far I's widow similarly drew a blank - the tape seemed lost. During a conversation with Pete Stroud aka Dr Pablo in early 1997 I said how tragic it was that a truly classic Prince Far I album was lost forever. Pete was aware that Richard (one of the original Hitrun staff) had made a cassette copy at the time from the original master tape and had it in his drawer at home. What?

We took the cassette to On-U Sound studio and listened in amazement, the quality was better than we could ever have hoped. In transferring the cassette to DAT and SADIE systems virtually nothing more than a little equalization and editing was necessary - 'Health and Strength' was found.

This is a truly classic Far I album, ranking alongside 'Psalms For I' and 'Under Heavy Manners'. 'Frontline Speech' and 'Weatherman Tam' were both Cry Tuff 7" Jamaican singles, 'Brother Joe' features Gregory Isaacs in a witty snipe at producer Joe Gibbs (Far I at one time was the security guard at Joe Gibbs Studio). There are several other cuts that have a Gregory Isaac's connection: 'House Of Jah' being a version of Gregory's 'Handcuff' and 'Health Warning' utilising Gregory's 'Sacrifice' rhythm.

The album features a version of George Calstock's 'The Ungodly' as 'Clean Hands Pure Heart'. We are also treated to Far I singing 'Easy Squeeze' and 'When The King Comes On Earth' where he is joined by Blackskin the Prophet deejaying against Far I's apocalyptic lyrics.

Having thought this album was lost forever I am truly delighted that it has been found for us all to hear and enjoy.

Adrian Sherwood
December 1997

Reviews

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    Unreleased Jammys dub plates that have been lovingly brought to us from Dub Store in Japan. Nitty Gritty on the tempo rhythm. No idea why this has never been released before as its really nice! 'Soundboy come'

    7"
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  • Prince Junior  - Hard Sound fe deadPrince Junior Hard Sound fe dead

    Dub Plate from King Jammy. Previously un-released. Thundering digital dancehall. Tough Stuff!

    7"
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  • Super Black - Bad WomanSuper BlackBad Woman
    7"
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  • Jimmy Riley  - Gunman of JAJimmy Riley Gunman of JA

    A previously unreleased version of Jimmy Rileys thoughtful Gunman of JA. As relevant now than when it was originally released according to Jimmy. Both sides come from dub plates that were re-mixed at King Tubbys. Tougher leaner and deeper than the original mixes. The A side is not on the new album ‘Live it to know it’. Essential roots music from Jimmy Riley backed by Sly and Robbie. Comes in a hand stamped sleeve.

    7"
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  • Jimmy Riley - Everybody Needs MoneyJimmy RileyEverybody Needs Money

    Two cuts of ‘Everybody needs money’ on the A side. A sparse moody observation on social inequality ‘It's the talk of the town, no money going around’. Sound familiar? It came first time around on the ‘Full Moon’ label and has never been re-pressed. The B-side, which has 2 cuts of Reggae Music, also came on the Full Moon label. Engineered by Scientist and was probably recorded slightly later than the A side. Both the versions of Reggae Music are not included on the ‘Live it to know it’ album. Comes in a hand stamped sleeve.

    10"
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  • Jimmy Riley  - Live It To Know ItJimmy Riley Live It To Know It

    Seventeen track set of Jimmy Riley self productions. Some real obscurities mixed with classic material. Jimmy started out with the Uniques as a harmony singer and then moved on to become a lead vocalist after Slim Smiths death. Jimmy worked with Jamaica's best producers as well as crafting an excellent body of work that were released on his own labels such Pee, Yes and Full Moon. This set focus's on his his self produced protest song between 1975 to 1985.

    CD/MP3/2xLP
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