Big Youth

 

1972 WAS UNDOUBTEDLY A VINTAGE YEAR FOR JAMAICAN MUSIC - RHYTHMS WERE CHANGING ALSMOST WEEKLY, HAVING SLOWED DOWN FROM THE FRENETIC PACE OF 1969/70'S REGGAE, AND THE ISLAND'S REBEL MUSIC' PRODUCERS AND ARTISTS WERE EXPERIMENTING WITH CREATIVE NEW IDEAS WHIC-H WERE CONSTANTLY MEETING WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE PUBLIC OF THE PUBLIC.
PRODUCERS SUCH AS KEITH HUDSON, GLEN BROWN AND PRINCE TONY WERE SETTING THE PACE, AND YOUNG STARS WERE EMERGING AT AN ALARMING RATE. YOUTH SINGERS LIKE LEROY SMART, DENNIS BROWN, GREGORY ISAACS AND HORACE ANDY HAD BEEN FULLY ACCEPTED, AND THE MELODICA MUSIC OF AUGUSTUS PABLO, GLEN BROWN AND JOE WHITE REPRESENTED THE INSTRUMENTAL SIDE. DUB MUSIC FROM THE STUDIOS OF KING TUBBY'S AND OTHERS WAS ALSO STARING TO MAKE ITS MARK, MAINLY ON THE B-SIDES OF RECORDS ISSUED BY THE MORE IMAGINATIVE AND PROGRESSIVE PRODUCERS.

DESPITE ALL THIS ACTIVITY, DEEJAY MUSIC APPEARED TO BE FAILING TO KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES - ALTHOUGH U ROY, DENNIS ALCAPONE AND WINSTON SCOTLAND WERE STILL VERY POPULAR, SOMEHOW THEY SEEMED TO REPRESENT A TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO TOASTING, THEY CAME OVER AS BEING A LITTLE STALE - IN OTHER WORDS, A NEW SOUND WAS NEEDED, AND BIG YOUTH COULD PROVIDE IT.

ALTHOUGH HE HAD ONLY STARTED HIS RECORDING CAREER IN-THE JANUARY OF 1972, BIG YOUTH (REAL NAME MANLEY AUSUSTUS BUCHANAN) HAD BEEN DEFRAYING FOR A KINSTON SOUND CALLED TIPPERTON SINCE MARCH THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND HAD ALREADY DEVELOPED AN ORIGINAL STYLE THAT OWED LITTLE TO ANY OF ,LHE. .LOP- DEEJAYS OR-GIMMICKRY. HIS FIRST HIT CAME IN
THE SUMMER OF 1972 WITH A NEW VERSION OF "SKYLARKING" WHICH WENT BY THE APPROPRIATE TITLE OF "KILLER". ALTHOUGH HIS LYRICS CLOSELY FOLLOWED HORACE ANDY'S ORIGINAL SONG, THE DELIVERY WAS UNIQUE - BIG YOUTH'S STYLE MADE AN ENORMOUS IMPACT, AND HE BECAME THE LEADER OF A "NEW WAVE" OF DEEJAYS, WHICH INCLUDED SUCH NOW-FAMOUS ARTISTS AS PRINCE JAZ2BQ, BIG JOE, JAH WOOSH, DOCTOR ALIMANTADO AND DILLINGER-

BIG YOUTH'S TOASTING WAS THE RESULT OF CONSTANT PRACTICE/NOT ONLY FROM WHEN HE WAS ON THE MIKE AT SOUND SYSTEM DANCES, BUT ALSO FROM THE TIMES WHEN HE HAD WORKED AS A MECHANIC OR BUILDING-SITE LABOURER, AND HIS RELIGION. HIS BELIEF IN THE RASTAFARIAN FAITH LED HIM TO GIVE HIS FOLLOWERS MORE THAN JUST THE USUAL ENCOURAGEMENT TO DANCE. HE WAS APPALLED BY THE CRIME AND VIOLENCE THAT HE DAILY LIVED WITH, AND IN MANY OF HIS RECORDS HE WOULD PREACH TO THE NATION'S DELINQUENT YOUTH, PRAISING RASTAFARI, WHILE AT THE SAME. TIME CREATING ENTERTAINING AND IMPORTANT MUSIC.

BIG YOUTH IS STILL ONE OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE JAMAICAN MUSIC BUSINESS. HIS TWO FIRST BIG HIT SONGS: "THE KILLER" AND "ACE 90 SKANK" FOLLOWED BY MANY OTHERS SUCH AS TRIDE & AMBITION" WITH LEROY SMART, "ONE ONE COCOA" WITH GREGORY ISAACS, "DON'T THINK ABOUT ME" WITH HORACE ANDY, "MONEY IN MY POCKET" WITH DENNIS BROWN, "STOP THAT TRAIN" WITH KEITH & TEX (THESE WERE HIS EARLIER RECORDINGS). HE LATER CONTINUED HIS SUCCESS WITH SONGS LIKE "NATTY NO JESTER", "SCREAMING TARGET", "TEN AGAINST ONE", "NATTY IN THE HOUSE QF'DREAD", "I PRAY THEE", "EVERY NIGGER IS A STAR", "DREAD IN A BABYLON" AND "HIT THE ROAD ^ACK". ALL THE BIG YOUTH ALBUMS ARE INTERNATIONALLY MARKETED BY TROJAN RECORDS OF LONDON/ENGLAND.

 

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