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The Slickers

Although their biggest hit, "Johnny Too Bad," is a Jamaican classic and was included on the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, the exact makeup and history of the Slickers is a tangled mare's nest of rumors and contradictions. The first single to appear under the Slickers name, "Nana," was produced by Neremiah Reid, and appears to have been actually recorded on the sly by members of the Pioneers. Derrick Crooks was a member of the nascent Pioneers (along with his brother Sydney Crooks), and seems to have formed the actual Slickers around 1965 with Winston Bailey, although the group essentially consisted of Crooks and hired guns he enlisted to sing with him. A young singer named Abraham Green (later known as Ras Abraham) is said to have handled the lead vocal on "Johnny Too Bad" when it was recorded for producer Byron Lee in 1970. The song itself is listed as having been written by Derrick Crooks, Roy Beckford, Winston Bailey, and either Delroy Wilson or his brother Trevor Wilson, depending on the source, although it appears Trevor may have been the actual author (as well as the protagonist for the rude-boy character portrayed in the song). Nothing concerning the Slickers seems to be written in stone, however, and half-informed conjecture about the group's makeup and history seems to be the norm. "Johnny Too Bad" became a legendary song after its inclusion on the Harder soundtrack, and countless versions have been recorded by other musicians in a variety of styles, including a disco mix rendition credited to the Slickers themselves. Even this second version of "Johnny Too Bad" by the Slickers is tough to pin down. It appeared on an album called Breakthrough and is rumored to have been produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry. It certainly has all the earmarks of a Black Ark production, but there is some doubt as to whether Perry was involved in the project at all. Some version of the Slickers toured both the U.S. and Europe and released occasional singles through the 1970s before ceasing somewhere around 1978. The facts? The original version of "Johnny Too Bad" is one of the most celebrated tracks ever recorded in Jamaica. A couple of the group's other singles, particularly "You Can't Win" and "Man Beware," aren't too bad, either. Beyond that, the actual history of the Slickers has yet to be definitively established. ~ Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Harder They Come

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want

2. Draw Your Brakes

3. Rivers Of Babylon

4. Many Rivers To Cross

5. Sweet And Dandy

6. The Harder They Come

7. Johnny Too Bad

8. Shanty Town

9. Pressure Drop

10. Sitting In Limbo

11. You Can Get It If You Really Want

12. The Harder They Come

x

Track List: Jammin'

1. Jamming

3. 54-46 (That's My Number)

4. Don't Turn Around

5. You Can Get It If You Really Want

6. Wonderful Tonight

7. Johnny Too Bad

8. Electric Boogie

9. Israelites

10. Baltimore

11. Somebody's Watching You

12. Long Shot Kick De Bucket

15. Easy

16. Breakfast In Bed

17. Guava Jelly

18. Book Of Rules

19. Sitting And Watching

20. Some Guys Have All The Luck

21. Silly Games

22. Pass The Kouchie

23. Police & Thieves

x

Track List: This Is Reggae Music - The Golden Era 1960 - 1975

Disc 1

1. Iron Bar

2. Fat Man

3. Rough And Tough

5. My Boy Lollipop

6. Penny Reel-O

7. Phoenix City

10. Rudy Got Soul

11. Down By The Train Line

12. Cry Tough

13. 007 (Shanty Town)

15. The Loser

16. Train To Skaville

17. Ba Ba Boom

18. Stop That Train

21. True, True, True

22. Israelites

23. 54-46 That's My Number

24. Everything Crash

Disc 2

1. Do The Reggay

3. Engine 54

5. Cuss Cuss

7. Tighten Up

8. Return Of Django

9. Shocks Of Mighty

10. Monkey Man

12. Ride Your Donkey

13. Red, Red Wine

14. Wonderful World, Beautiful People

15. Pressure Drop

16. Don't Let Me Suffer

17. Rivers Of Babylon

18. Liquidator

19. Johnny Too Bad

21. Double Barrel

22. Many Rivers To Cross

Disc 3

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want

2. Montego Bay

3. Come Into My Life

4. Pop A Top

5. Blood And Fire

6. 400 Years

7. Duppy Conqueror

8. Vietnam

9. Singer Man

11. Give Me Power

12. Small Axe

13. Pomps And Pride

14. Bongo Man

15. Let Your Yeah Be Yeah

16. Guava Jelly

17. Black And White

18. I Feel Good All Over

19. Hypocrite

20. Stick By Me (And I'll Stick By You)

21. Cherry Oh Baby

22. African Herbsman

Disc 4

1. Better Must Come

3. A Place Called Africa

4. Trenchtown Rock

5. One Love, One Heart

6. I Can See Clearly Now

7. This Is Reggae Music

8. Brand New Second Hand

9. Lively Up Yourself

10. Stir It Up

11. Money In My Pocket

12. Funky Kingston

13. The Time Has Come

14. Everything I Own

15. Westbound Train

16. Cool Iron

17. Justice To The People

18. S90 Skank

19. Black Man Time

20. Bad Da

x

Track List: Trojan Reggae: Ska, Rocksteady And Reggae Classics, 1967-1974

1. Liquidator

2. Johnny Too Bad

3. Stick By Me (And I'll Stick By You)

4. Westbound Train

5. Ba Ba Boom

6. Double Barrel

7. Soul Shakedown Party

8. I Second That Emotion

9. You Can Get It If You Really Want

10. A Place Called Africa

11. Pressure Drop

12. Rivers Of Babylon

13. Ain't No Sunshine

14. Red, Red Wine

15. Long Shot Kick De Bucket

16. I Am The Upsetter

17. Return Of Django

18. Hot & Cold

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

Comments

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Great song
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Love!
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I love son
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One of the best song about rude boys.
Report as inappropriate
Excellent film and sound track.

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