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Dave Barker

Dave Barker was born David Crooks in Jamaica in 1948. His mother relocated to Britain in 1952, leaving Crooks to be raised in Jamaica by his grandparents and uncles, a difficult situation for the child, who as a result developed a noticeable stammer when he began to speak. Singing, however, was another matter, and by his teens Crooks was a member of several street-corner vocal groups, including his first, the Two Tones. He teamed up with Glen Brown in the late '60s, and the pair recorded "Lucky Boy" for Harry J and "In This Whole World" for Coxsone Dodd before parting ways.

Crooks was next briefly a member of the Techniques, replacing Pat Kelly, who had in turn replaced Slim Smith, in the legendary trio, recording a pair of songs with remaining members Winston Riley and Bruce Ruffin. David Crooks became Dave Barker after working with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry in 1969 (Perry felt the name David Crooks just didn't have the right ring to it), sessions that produced the classic tracks "Prisoner of Love," "Set Me Free" (and its more famous version, "Shocks of Mighty"), and "Lockjaw." An album of Barker's Perry-produced material was released in 1970 as Prisoner of Love.

Although Barker had a sweet, high tenor, and was a gifted and soulful singer, Perry encouraged the DJ side of him, and Barker's American-styled radio DJ interjections have arguably brought him more attention than his singing. It was as a DJ voice that Winston Riley brought Barker in on a project he was recording with veteran session organist Ansel Collins, and the result was 1971's wacky and infectious single "Double Barrel," which ended up topping the charts in the U.K. (and just missed the Top 20 in the United States) that same year. The duo, performing as Dave & Ansel Collins, followed it up with the almost as successful "Monkey Spanner" single, and a delightful album, known variously as Double Barrel and Heavy Heavy Monsters Sound of Dave & Ansel Collins, was released and remains a classic, genre-bending bit of rocksteady craziness.

Barker and Collins toured Britain extensively behind the album and its two big singles, and Barker chose to relocate to London, where he continues to make his home. Although he will probably always be most remembered for his DJ work from the "Double Barrel" era, Barker was also a fine singer, and his more straightforward vocal tracks should not be overlooked. Trojan released Monkey Spanner on CD in 1997, a 26-track collection that brings together a selection of his work from the late '60s and early '70s, and includes generous examples of both his DJ and singing styles. ~ Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: DJ Spooky Presents: In Fine Style - 50,000 Volts Of Trojan Records

Disc 1

1. Sweet Like Candy

2. Nice Nice

3. 007 Shanty Town

4. Funky, Funky Reggae

5. Shades Of Hudson

6. Summertime

7. Disco Devil

8. Jah Jah Man

9. Lama Lava

10. Come Together

11. Old Fashion Way

12. Rain

13. Your Ace From Outer Space

15. The Trial Of Pama Dice

16. Ba Ba Boom

17. Fever

18. Morning Sun

Disc 2

1. DJ's Choice

2. Screaming Target

3. The Great Musical Battle

4. The Russians Are Coming (Take 5)

5. Popcorn

6. Brother Noah

10. Dynamic Fashion Way

11. A Yah We Deh

12. Here Comes The Judge

13. Flat Foot Hustling

14. Hot Sauce (AKA The Agro Man Is Back)

15. Rudy A Message To You

x

Track List: I Am The Upsetter (Box)

Disc 1

7. Return Of Django

8. Check Him Out

9. Prisoner Of Love

10. Return Of The Ugly

11. Rightful Ruler

13. Medical Operation

15. Shocks Of The Mighty

17. Duppy Conqueror

18. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

20. Place Called Africa

21. Give Me Power

23. Beat Down Babylon

25. Small Axe Version 2 (Aka Shocks '71)

Disc 2

1. Public Enemy Number One

2. Professor Ironside

3. Hot & Cold

5. Preacher Man

7. Babylose Burning

9. Cow Thief Skank

10. Black Ipa

11. Jungle Lion

12. Bathroom Skank

13. Words

14. Dub Organiser

15. Better Days

16. Station Underground News

17. Rebels Train

18. To Be A Lover

19. Herb Vendor

21. Curly Locks

23. Woman & Money

Disc 3

1. Bury The Razor

2. Woman Gotta Have Love

4. Fire Fe The Vatican

5. Roots Train Number One

6. Ital Corner

7. Thanks & Praise

9. I Was Appointed

10. Groovy Situation

12. Know Love

13. Sons Of Slaves

Disc 4

1. Cloak & Dagger

2. Rude Walking

4. Black Panta

9. Fungea

12. Kingdom Of Dub

13. Dubism

14. Lizard Stick

15. Dub Fu Ye Rights

16. Foundation Solid

18. Vampire

x

Track List: Upsetting The Nation

1. Eight For Eight

2. Outer Space

3. To Love Somebody

4. Soulful I

6. I'll Be Waiting

9. Medical Operation

10. Night Doctor

11. Self Control

12. Crying About You

13. Thunderball

15. One Punch

17. Prisoner Of Love

x

Track List: High Explosion: DJ Sounds From 1970 To 1976

Disc 1

1. Rule The Nation

3. Whisky Chest

5. Draw Your Brakes

6. Cool Breeze

7. Headquarters

8. Way Down South

9. Hi Jacking

10. Screaming Target

11. It Must Come

12. Deliver Us

14. Salvation Train

17. African Descendent

18. President Mash Up The Resident

19. High Explosion

20. Only The Strong Survive

21. Wear You To The Ball

22. Red Nuts And Gin

23. Daughter Whole Lotta Sugar Down Deh!

24. This A Butter

25. Drive Her Home

Disc 2

1. Hot Bomb

2. Number One Station

3. Treasure Isle Skank

4. Ontarius Version

5. My Little Filly

6. Glitter Not Gold

8. Children Children

11. Skin Him Alive

12. Shades Of Hudson

13. Riding Melody

14. Festival Wise

15. Yamaha Skank

16. For Our Desire

17. Jack Of My Trade

18. Clean Race

20. Mr Harry Skank

21. Deck Of Cards

22. Give Me Power (Version 2)

23. Behold

24. Peace

25. Unbelievable Sound

x

Track List: Trojan Reggae Rarities Box Set - 2004

Disc 1

1. Suffer Me Not

3. Goodnight My Love

4. Coming On Strong

5. Govern Your Mouth

7. Ain't That Peculiar

9. I Have Changed

11. Why Did You Leave

12. Worries (A Yard)

13. Good To Me

14. Musical Fight (a.k.a. Target)

15. Su, Su, Su

16. Adam And Eve

17. Mr. DJ

Disc 2

1. Last Lick

3. It's Your Thing

4. Darkness

5. Going In Circles

6. Feel A Little Better

8. Music Talk

11. More Heartaches

12. Life Is Rough

13. Super Bad

14. Sitting In The Park

17. Dr. Fud

Disc 3

1. Keep On Trying

3. B.B.C.

4. Rose Garden

5. Shacatac

6. A Little Today, A Little Tomorrow

7. Check Out Yourself

8. You Can't Buy My Love

10. Back On The Scene

11. Touch Me Baby

12. How Could You Do THis

13. Ramblin' Man

14. I'll Be Free Someday

16. Reggae Man

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