After releasing his new single with Big Youth and George Dekker “Get Ready”, a cover of Smokey Robinson’s classic hit, we asked production maestro Prince Fatty to put together a playlist of his Top Reggae Influencers. On creating the playlist, he also added, “In one way or another, these tracks have been with me along my musical journey. Sometimes, it’s the mood, the sound or the harmony that attracts me first.”
Now that “Get Ready” is climbing the digital reggae charts, Prince Fatty blesses Top Shelf Music with his top 10, all-time reggae songs that has influenced him to this day. With actual artist commentary, we urge you to tune in, too!
- “Jacqueline” by Hugh Mundell
An early 80s rub-a-dub masterpiece mixed by Scientist. The vocal mix has a dub arrangement behind it. Scientist breaks up the sections perfectly, with horn breaks and filtered echo moments. You can hear the classic filter from King Tubby’s mixer being introduced to great effect.
- 2. “Entertainment” by Jah Thomas, Triston Palmer & Toyan
Another combination of dub and vocals. This is rub-a-dub, Roots Radics being the number one backing band for this style. Tight sound with heavy bass line and upfront drum in the mix.
- 3. “Pirates Anthem” by Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks
Growing up, I would hear this on Pirate Radio all the time. A killer Gussie Clark production with a great mix. Heavy keyboard bass line and drum machine pattern mixed hard. Cocoa Tea and Shabba Ranks are a good example of singer and MC combination.
- 4. “Ten Times Sweeter” by Winston Francis
Winston Francis is one of the best Jamaican singers and this features Leroy Sibbles (from The Heptones) on backing vocals. The push and pull in this rocksteady groove is crazy, elastic and bouncy. Sweet harmonies with a funny organ sound. This is like a time machine into the past.
- 5. “Counter Punch Dub” by Bobby Kalphat
Found this in a junk shop on 45, but the label was scratched off, so I never knew its title and who it was by. A haunting instrumental with melodica and awesome dub produced by Phil Pratt a great producer behind the likes of early Big Youth classics. Simple, but effective.
- 6. “Get Smart (b/w Version)” by Leroy Smart
A great mix by King Tubby with the killer flying cymbal groove. When you compare the dub to the vocals, you understand how Tubby broke down the elements — reintroducing each part and phrase perfectly. Essentially, a template for all to follow. Clever use of reverb and the first to use a hi-pass filter in this manner.
- 7. “Gimme Gimme Your Love” by Don Carlos & Papa Tullo
Heavy combination from the early 80’s, heavy beat and bass line. Don Carlos on the A-Side and Pappa Tullo on the B-Side, DJ Disco Mix style. A great drum mix and heavy cut mean that when played on a sound system, it sounds huge. A benchmark of that era.
- 8. “When I Fall in Love” by Ken Boothe
45 with dub. Classic Studio One, featuring one of the greatest singers that Jamaica produced. I love the simplicity of the dub version. Recorded on two tracks, so one track for the vocals and one for the music. The bass sound of Studio One always fascinated me.
- 9. “Trouble Maker” by Wailing Souls
From the album called Soul and Power. For me, one of the best Jamaican groups of the reggae era at the start of their recording career with Studio One; great vocal harmonies and arrangements with a soul feel. I especially like the flute and the music arrangement in this. The melody’s sharp like a razor blade.
- 10. “Them a Come” by Burning Spear
Another Studio One killer. The in-house band being the best, the feel and shuffle of the organ and guitar chop are so tight. These grooves sound simple, but really are not. The haunting voice of Burning Spear broken up by occasional funky guitar licks.
Clearly, Prince Fatty knows his reggae. Dub, roots, Jamaican ska and more are all constituents that not only make up the tracks above, but also his unique approach to reggae music. For more information on Prince Fatty, visit the links below and don’t forget to check out his latest music!