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Jah Woosh

In a crowded field, toaster Jah Woosh -- born Neville Beckford in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1952 -- left his mark on the roots age with a string of popular singles and a series of seminal albums. Haile Selassie's 1966 state visit to Jamaica prompted Beckford's conversion to Rastafarianism, and Prince Lloyd's Sound System made an equal musical impact, providing a launching pad for Beckford's career. He teamed up with friend Reggae George as Neville & George, but the pair famously failed auditions for both Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid, bringing the partnership to a swift end. George Bell, however, sent the newly christened Jah Woosh into the studio in 1972, although "Morwell Rock" never gained a proper release. However, "Angela Davis" and "Mr. Buyer" arrived on 45 the following year. The single caused a few ripples, and 1974's "Magnet Scorcher" created a few more, but it was when the toaster joined forces with Rupie Edwards that his career took off. His 1974 eponymous album was a smash, rising to the top of the Jamaican chart, and wowing reggae fans in the U.K. as well.

Invariably, producers were now keen to record the toaster, and a slew of singles flooded forth. The DJ also tried his hand at self-production, with the Dreadlocks Affair album giving proof of his talent. The Dudley Swaby-produced Psalms of Wisdom and Leonard Chin-overseen Chalice Blaze both appeared in 1976 as well. All three sets were hits, and featured such smash singles as "Ital Feast," "Dreadlocks Affair," "Shimmy Skank," and "Natty Baldhead." Woosh's self-produced Religious Dread set included another clutch -- "Chant Freedom" and "Marcus Say" among them -- with 1978's Gathering Israel album merely the icing on the cake. A split set with I-Roy, We Chat You Rock, was also recorded during this period. The DJ cut crucial singles for other producers, too, including Keith Hudson and Lloyd Campbell. "I'm Alright" and "Love Jah & Live" were the 45s that clicked in the U.K., but it was Woosh's albums that established his reputation there. Blaze kindled the most excitement, and led to his first U.K. tour. Further visits brought Woosh into Adrian Sherwood's orbit, and he joined Singers & Players, while Creation Rebel oversaw 1979's World Marijuana Tour album. The DJ Legend set, meanwhile, rounded up many of Woosh's crucial recordings from this era.

The '80s were less kind to the toaster, and his output notably slowed, with only a trio of albums released. Instead, Woosh turned his attention to production. He oversaw the Bim Sherman Meets Horace Andy & U Black split set, as well as the Prince Jammy v King Tubby -- His Majesty's Dub collection, and co-produced Larry Marshall's Throw Mi Corn album. His final production, in 1985, was Fight on My Own, a set from old friend Reggae George. Despairing of the new digital sounds running rife through the sound systems, Woosh withdrew entirely from the Jamaican and U.K. scenes. Emigrating to Ghana, the toasting producer threw himself wholeheartedly into West African music. In recent years, however, Woosh has re-emerged to oversee re-releases of his back catalog. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Harder Shade Of Black

1. I'll Be Around

2. One Thousand Swords

3. Harder Shade Of Black

5. Peace In The Valley

6. Columbo

7. Special Branch

8. Pablo In Dub

10. Children Of Israel

11. Problems

12. Lovers Mood

13. Jah Guide

15. Chalice Blaze

17. Yamaha Ride

20. Shouldn't Say No

21. Santic Meet King Tubby

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: Stricly Rockers In A Dread Land

1. Natty Dread Travel On Mini Bus

2. Let Love Shine Along The Way

4. Marcus Garvey Words

5. A Way You Come From

6. Strictly Rockers

7. Proficy A Fulfill

x

Track List: This Is Crucial Reggae: DJ's

2. Way Down South

3. Heavy Manners

4. Draw Your Brakes

6. Screaming Target

7. Marijuana In My Soul

8. Glitter Not Gold

9. Riding Melody

10. Blackman Time

12. Cocaine In My Brain

x

Track List: Wild Paarty Sounds, Vol. 1

1. Woodpecker Sound

3. Quante' Jubila

4. Quit The Body

7. Asian Rebel

11. Yipee I Aah

12. The Dice

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