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Rupie Edwards

Jamaica's more eccentric producers get all the glory, but it was the less flamboyant Rupie Edwards who arguably made the biggest impact on the island's music scene. As the inventor of the one-riddim album, and the first to popularize dub abroad, the singing producer signposted reggae's path for posterity. Rupie was born in Goshen, Jamaica, on July 4, 1945, and his family moved to Kingston when he was 13. Talent shows beckoned, as did a career as a mechanic, but the singer was still in his teens when he cut his debut single, 1962's "Guilty Convict." Duos were all the rage, and Edwards joined forces with Junior Menz as the Ambassadors, then added Dobby Dobson to create the vocal trio the Virtues. Their singles were sporadic, and so Rupie turned to self-production in 1966, self-producing four of the Virtues' numbers, as well as a couple of solo cuts. By 1968 Edwards had had enough, and launched his own Success label and record shop, located at 136 1/2 Orange Street. Success' name quickly became a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the reggae era splattered with its hits. Given his fine, warm tenor, Edwards' stream of solo singles sold well, but he made his real mark with his productions of others. Veterans and stars-to-be both passed through his doors during the next few years, among them the Heptones, Bob Andy, Errol Dunkley, the Ethiopians, Joe Higgs, Dobby Dobson, and Dennis Alcapone. Edwards had an ear for new talent, recording the Concords, and when the group folded, a solo Gregory Isaacs. He took the Mighty Diamonds into the studio for the first, and gave Johnny Clarke his first hit, 1973's "Everyday Wandering."

And then the singing producer had a stroke of inspiration, turning "Wandering" into an utterly strange but wonderful proto-dub piece titled "Ire Feelings (Skanga)." It took Britain by storm, spinning its weird web into the Top Ten, with its follow-up, "Leggo Skanga," just missing the Top 30. Edwards' prescience didn't end there. In 1974 the fashion for remodeling old melodies had already taken hold, and the producer now took that concept to a whole new level. The Yamaha Skank album was built around a single riddim -- "My Conversation" -- and featured vocal cuts, DJ versions, and instrumentals. Few people grasped the concept at the time, but they would...eventually. Meanwhile, "Skanga"'s success saw the release of 1974's Pick Hits compilation, with Edwards' own debut album, 1975's Ire Feelings (not to be confused with the one-riddim album Ire Feelings: Chapter & Version), arriving in 1975, followed by 1976's Jamaica Serenade. By then, Edwards had already immigrated to Britain, where he continued turning out singles by the score with the likes of Jah Woosh and Shorty the President, as well as new cuts from Dunkley and Dobson. His output slowed when his U.K. label, Cactus, closed shop, and in the new decade he left reggae behind for Christian music. In recent years, however, Edwards has looked to his massive back catalog, reissuing highlights across a series of excellent compilations. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: D'soca Zone

1. To Take Away

2. De Wetta De Betta

3. The Buzz

5. Panic

7. Dushi

9. Jouvert (Jump Up)

10. Hilary

11. My Birdie

12. Call Meh Now

13. Drivers Wanted

14. Bling Bling

15. Unda De Bridge

x

Track List: Flashing Echo

x

Track List: Furry Selection: Luxury Cuts Of Trojan Chosen By A Super Furry Animal

1. Skylarking

2. Curly Locks

3. Dread Combination

4. Flashing Echo

5. Vibrate Onn

6. Darkest Night On A Wet Looking Road

8. Penny For Your Dub

9. Do It Baby

11. Free The Weed

12. Kaya

14. The Long Way

x

Track List: History Of Trojan Records: 1972-1995, Vol. 2

Disc 1

1. Them A Fe Get A Beatin'

4. Festival Da Da

6. Keep On Moving

7. All That We Need Is Love

8. S90 Skank

9. The Time Has Come

12. Money In My Pocket

13. Salvation Train

14. Loving Pauper

16. African Queen

17. Words Of My Mouth

18. Purify Your Heart

20. Stranger On The Shore

21. John Devour

22. Have I Sinned

24. Everything I Own

25. Help Me Make It Through The Night

Disc 2

1. Fire Burning

2. Sweet Bitter Love

3. Stalag 17

4. Here I Am Baby

5. None Shall Escape The Judgement

6. Ire Feelings

7. Play De Music

8. Forward Jah Jah Children

9. Jah Jah Bless The Dreadlocks

10. Hurt So Good

12. Duke Of Earl Dub

13. Soldering

14. Keep Cool Babylon

17. Ram Goat Liver

18. Heavy Manners

20. The People Got To Know

21. Love The Dread

23. You Are The Sun

x

Track List: Ska Fever, Vol. 3

1. I Don't Want To Cry

2. Young Lover

4. You Got Me Rockin'

7. Take Me Home

8. Headache

10. I'll Love You Forever

12. How Can I Be Sure

13. Sit And Cry

14. Love Not To Brag

16. Good Morning

17. In My Heart

18. My Sound That Goes Around

19. Tell Me Why

20. Lonely Days

21. You Are A Cheat

22. Pack Up Your Troubles

x

Track List: Soca Gold 1999

1. Lethal Batty

2. Kaylaylay

3. De River

5. Take That And Cool It

8. Bumper Killer

9. I Run De Party

13. Oil Pumping

14. Get On Bad

x

Track List: Trojan Ganja Reggae Box Set - Marijuana In My Brain

Disc 1

1. Herbsman

2. Ganja Plane

3. Ishan Cup

4. Collie And Wine

6. Kaya

10. Pass The Pipe

12. Ganja Free

14. My Jamaican Collie

15. Feeling High

17. Herb Vendor

Disc 2

2. Calley Version

3. Bring The Couchie Come

5. Ganja

6. Collie Dread

7. Ashanti Ganja Dub

8. Free The Weed

11. Callying Butt

12. Chalice To Chalice

13. A Hundred Pounds Of Collie

14. I Love Marijuana

15. Jamaican Colley (Version)

16. Smoke Marijuana

17. Marijuana In My Soul

Disc 3

1. Collie Weed

2. Marijuana

3. Marijuana In My Brain

4. Herb

5. Collie Weed

6. Collie

8. Sensimilea

10. The Great Collie Herb

12. Babylon Don't Touch My Sensi Dub

15. Kaya

x

Track List: Young, Gifted And Black

Disc 1

1. Oh Carolina

2. Madness

3. My Boy Lollipop

4. Guns Of Navarone

5. I'm In The Mood For Ska

7. 007 (Shanty Town)

8. Rudy, A Message To You

10. Train To Skaville

11. Hold Me Tight

12. Angel Of The Morning

13. Wet Dream

14. Israelites

15. Return Of Django

16. Red Red Wine

17. Wonderful World, Beautiful People

18. Long Shot Kick De Bucket

19. Liquidator

20. Monkey Man

21. Elizabethan Reggae

22. Many Rivers To Cross

23. Rivers Of Babylon

24. Kingston Town

25. Young, Gifted & Black

Disc 2

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want

2. Love Of The Common People

3. Black Pearl

4. Montego Bay

5. Sun Is Shining

6. Johnny Too Bad

7. Double Barrel

8. Rain

9. Let Your Yeah Be Yeah

10. Black & White

11. Cherry Oh Baby

12. Monkey Spanner

13. Suzanne Beware Of The Devil

14. Big Seven

15. Everything I Own

16. Help Me Make It Through The Night

17. Ire Feelings (Skanga)

18. Hurt So Good

19. Midnight Rider

21. Dat

22. Side Show

23. Uptown Top Ranking

24. Money In My Pocket

25. Police & Thieves

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