Lost links & Re-ups

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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

06 December 2014

What a Bunch of Bullwackie!





While On-U Sound rose to the challenge of Dub in England, in the U.S. that mantle was raised by none other than Bullwackie.

Bullwackie was born Lloyd Barnes in 1944 in Trenchtown, Jamaica. He moved to the Bronx, New York in 1967. He was an active member of the newly developing DJ scene in New York City (primarily the Bronx, Brooklyn, & Queens). When that scene became so fatally violent (Barnes tells of how after one particular gig he had to pull bullets out of his speakers), so oppositional to the spirit of unity & communal enjoyment that reggae & the sound system culture espoused, Barnes opted to turn his hands to studio production.  He is the founder of the independent record label Wackies, specializing in great Jamaican music. The Wackie’s label, with its Rastafarian image of a lion with a dreadlocked mane, was one of the earliest reggae labels in this country.





Barnes was a protégé of Prince Buster while in Jamaica. They recorded several singles during the 1960s. Lloyd then worked for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label as an engineer before moving to New York. He opened Wackie's House of Music record store on 241st Street & White Plains Road. Behind this shop-front was his studio, the first significant reggae studio & label in the United States. This became the recording factory for Bullwackies & Wackies labels as well as other imprints such as Senrab (Barnes backwards), Hamma, & Senta. During the late 1970s & early 1980s he produced artists such as Horace Andy, Sugar Minott, Junior Byles, Roland Alphonso, Tyrone Evans, & Lee 'Scratch' Perry.




If you want a much more intimate & in-depth view of this Wackie Dub phenomenon, you can watch the 1980s film Wackies: Bulwackie in New York here. I highly recommend it.




Barnes presently resides in the Wakefield neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx, where he owns & operates another music studio on 225th Street & White Plains Road, once more called Wackie’s.



In 2001, Basic Channel, a German label, began to reissue Barnes’ earlier recordings. Thanks to this comprehensive reissue campaign by Moritz Von Oswald & Mark Ernestus, Wackies continues to reach new listeners. The force & beauty of the Wackies style still sounds prodigious today.

Here are a few tastes to make your day Dubtastic:

Engineer Douglas (Prince Douglas) Levy was part of the original 74-75 Wackie's crew alongside Lloyd Barnes & Jah Upton. For a while he has his own label, Hamma, within the Bullwackies family. Along with Sugar's International Herb, this 1980 dub album is his finest work.

Many of the rhythms are derived from a tape given to the studio by Sly & Robbie, containing their versions of the then-current Joe Gibbs hits. There is also a brilliant treatment of "Tribesman Dub" using the rhythm of Tyrone Evans' "Black Like Me". But the deadliest cut of all reworks another gift, Steel Pulse's "Handsworth Revolution", which arrived in a parcel of records from England the same weekend as the recording session. "March Down Babylon Dub" finds Bullwackie himself at the microphone in his Chosen Brothers guise, as steely & apocalyptic as Douglas Levy's fabulous production.

Prince Douglas – Dub Roots re-issue, Wackie's W295, 2005.
all decryption codes in comments

Side A –
Jam Love Dub
Hard Times Dub
Let Me Love You Dub
Tongue Shall Tell Dub
March Down Babylon Dub

Side B –
Sunshine Dub
You & Me Dub
North of the Border Dub
Tribesman Dub

This is one splendid Dub album...released originally on the Senrab label in 1976. The selection commemorates a series of brilliant seven & twelve inchers from labels like City Line & Wackies & from sister labels like Upton, Versatile, & Munchie Jackson's Earth imprint. The core rhythm tracks are straight from Jamaica. They are mostly tracks from Treasure Isle mixed by King Tubby. They were then worked over at the Sounds Unlimited studio on E. 24th Street in Manhattan.


Bullwackies All Stars – Dub Unlimited re-issue, Wackie's W-0036, 2006.

Side A –
Black Heart Dub
Disco Dub
Dub to Jah
Dub Seasoning
Dub Unlimited

Side B –
Bullwackies Revenge
Upton I
Hurricane Not I
Dubbing Around
Unlimited Dub


Enjoy,




4 comments:

  1. Dub Roots
    JyiOwC4ZRnxkTGvfo7rjr8Na9jcImXqgSWI6SsHCx1E
    Dub Unlimited
    mXJmXn7361DR_FG7jKntvdOAwJdMLG8xLUCBmm2mHJw

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  2. thanks for the wackies the film is great. i found it on vhs at berkeley library.
    robert

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    Replies
    1. Totally cool that you were able to find this gem. It is well worth the watch. Thanks for letting me know. Didn't know you were in Cali.

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