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Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Bettie Page & more roller skating (because roller skating rules!)
10.16.2015
02:06 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Pop Culture
Sports

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Andy Warhol roller skating
Andy Warhol roller skating
 
If you keep up with my posts here at DM, you know I often put together cool photo-sets featuring famous people doing things that we all like to do like hitting the beach or lying in bed. This time around I’ve pulled together something fun for you to kill time with this Friday - images of people way cooler than us on roller skates.
 
Bettie Page and Gus the Gorilla roller skating, mid-1950s
Bettie Page and Gus the Gorilla roller skating, mid-1950s
 
Some of the images are from the wide variety of films with either roller skating themes or scenes in them such as Raquel Welch tearing it up on the derby track in the 1972 film, Kansas City Bomber. Others are from the late 70s and 80s when Roller Disco was all the rage. There’s even a few that go way back in time that I slipped in because they were just too cool not to share.

I’ve also included a video that features Dutch girl band, the Dolly Dots roller skating around in leotards lipsynching to their 1979 track, “(They Are) Rollerskating.” Because, like I said, roller skating RULES!
 
Grace Jones roller skating at Compo Beach, 1973
Grace Jones roller skating at Compo Beach, 1973
 
Judas Priest roller skating in 1981
Judas Priest, 1981
 
Many more famous rollerskaters, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Freaky as shit realistic dog masks
10.16.2015
11:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals

Tags:


BigMouth Inc. Patty The Poodle Mask

There’s just a few more weeks left ‘til Halloween. If don’t know what you’re going to wear yet, what about one of these incredibly freaky-looking dog masks? I mean, what the goddamned hell!

Again, I’m still holding out for the Sexy Kim Davis Halloween costume. Don’t ever say I never gave anyone a million dollar idea.


BigMouth Inc Buck German Shepherd Mask
 

BigMouth Inc. Barry The Boxer Mask
 

Chinese Crested Dog Face Mask - Off the Wall Toys Kennel Club ...
 
via Boing Boing

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Artful, decadent (and slightly creepy) papier-mâché animal masks
Demonic and dramatic handmade masks of dragons, owls and horned demons
GG Allin Latex Mask

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Hollywood’s macho, tough guy legend: ‘Lee Marvin, a personal portrait’ by John Boorman
10.16.2015
11:16 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

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004leemarv004.jpg
 
Lee Marvin was the kind man you’d want at your side should ever you get in a barroom brawl. There was something about Lee Marvin that you could trust—an integrity that meant he’d be there trading fists until the very last varmint was out cold. Sure he was tough, but there was also a great sensitivity to Marvin—he had an intuitive understanding to other’s needs and a knowledge on how best to help them.

When John Boorman was directing the closing scenes for Point Blank on Alcatraz, Marvin recognized the young director was out of his depth and needed a little time to get his head around how he was going to direct the scenes. To give him time, Marvin played drunk—singing and roaring. The production manager took Marvin away and fed him black coffee. As soon as Boorman had his thoughts together, Marvin was ready to shoot the scene.
 
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Lee Marvin was born in 1924 into a middle class family his father was an ad executive, his mother a fashion writer. Lee once claimed his family could trace their lineage back to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. He was educated at a Christian socialist boarding school, which shaped his politics as a lifelong liberal and Democrat.

As a youth, he hopped trains criss-crossing America. In the Second World War, he enlisted in the US Marines serving as a sniper with the 4th Marine Division fighting in the Pacific. During the Battle of Saipan most of his platoon was wiped out. Marvin was badly wounded—shot on the foot, leg, and buttocks—a deeply traumatic event that left him feeling guilty to have survived when so many of his comrades had died. He later said he felt he was “a coward,” which was the exact opposite of what he had been. Later, when he was an established star, he joked in one TV interview that being a young soldier in battle had taught him how to act.
 
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In movies Marvin’s tough, granite, impassive looks made everyone else look like they were acting. He was a genuinely brilliant actor, who brought subtly to gesture and movement, and purpose to the simplest of lines few actors could match.
 
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John Boorman and Lee Marvin during filming of ‘Point Blank’ 1967.
 
John Boorman had his big break through Lee Marvin. Fifty years ago when Marvin was the King of Hollywood—after beating Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton to best actor Oscar for Cat Ballou—he gave Boorman his full and unmitigated support as the director of Point Blank. Boorman was a novice who had made only one (flop) movie, but Marvin liked and trusted him. It was a major risk for Marvin, but he saw something in Boorman that was worth standing up for. Point Blank once again confirmed Marvin as top of the tree and started Boorman off on his long cinematic career.

More Marvin after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vintage ‘Op art’ book covers from the 50s, 60s and 70s animated with psychedelic results
10.16.2015
11:10 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Design

Tags:


 
German motion designer Henning M. Lederer animated 55 retro “Op art” book covers from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. The results are beautifully psychedelic and quite hypnotic.


 

 
The animation, after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Bust-a-gut funny ‘Computer Show’ mercilessly skewers the hapless tech idiots of 1983
10.16.2015
10:53 am

Topics:
Science/Tech
Television

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“Computer Show” is the latest in a lengthy recent tradition of brilliantly conceived cringe comedy making fun of the hidebound conventions of the recent past, and it is blazingly enjoyable.

It’s a satire of PBS tech shows from the 1980s such as Computer Chronicles, the bland, gee-whiz, slightly vacant affect of which it nails righteously. The host of the show is one “Gary Fabert,” and I would argue that Rob Baedeker in 20 scant minutes has earned himself an honorable place in Richard Metzger’s Pantheon of Clueless White Guys with yards to spare, alongside such heroes as “Jerry Hubbard” (Fred Willard) from Fernwood 2Night and Andy Daly from Review with Forrest MacNeil. He’s that good.

The ingenious idea of “Computer Show” is to send Internet entrepreneurs from our moment back in time to 1983 and see what the people from 30-odd years ago make of it. In the first two installments of “Computer Show,” the hosts welcome reddit’s Alexis Ohanian and Lumi’s Jesse Genet and Stephan Ango; in both cases the guests’ every utterance is met with blank stares and abrupt changes of subject. Not knowing what else to say, Fabert invariably responds with smarm and unearned condescension. (Sample line: “So, users at home, a vector is any place you would go to use a computer.”)

The ostensible subject of the show is the unbridgeable gulf that separates those who have experienced the Internet and those who have not, for it renders communication utterly impossible—when words like website or link instantly baffle and lose whatever party you’re speaking with, how on earth can you explain such essential parts of our lives as Rule 34 or Godwin’s Law? You can’t, is the answer.
 

 
The humor that most seems of our era often takes the form of convincingly stiff or chintzy imitations or “versions” of helplessly clueless artifacts from the recent past (often the 1980s or 1990s but sometimes the 1970s). In our sleek and pixel-perfect age, we are apparently fascinated, enthralled, horrified, what-have-you by the imperfections inherent in, say, any long-playing album or VHS recording. The examples are too numerous to name, but I’ll list a few obvious touchstones:
 
Anything involving Tim and Eric
Wet Hot American Summer
The two Hot Tub Time Machine movies
Look Around You
Scarfolk Council
Alex Varanese’s brilliant “ALT/1977” ads
The VHS Camcorder app
Between Two Ferns
Too Many Cooks
The “House of the Future” sketch from Mr. Show
That Braniff TV logo
 
Another one that fits is the fake ad with Rob Huebel and Colin Hanks from a recent installment of Last Week Tonight (jump to the 14:40 mark). We punish our forebears mercilessly for being so impossibly credulous and cute, but there’s a moral element too: “Computer Show” punishes Fabert for his sexism, and also sorely wants to draw attention to how nauseatingly corporate PBS became after the 1970s (the show is brought to you by “The McGarblin Group” and “Ludlow Ventures,” among others).
 

 
“Computer Show” comes from Sandwich Video, the founder of which, Adam David Lisagor, pops up at the end of each episode to give a poorly lit and poorly mic’d, overly earnest op-ed style speech in what looks like an uncomfortable swivel chair reminiscent of David Suskind or Tom Snyder.

The actors are uniformly excellent. In episode 1 Diona Reasonover does a great job playing vintage high school nerd “Angela Dancy,” while in the follow-up Jas Sams is splendid as “Sherri Longhorne.” But the comedic weight falls most heavily on Rob Baedeker as Fabert, and he is jaw-droppingly good—it’s hard to imagine the show without him. Bravo!

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Lou Reed peels off wild guitar solos during first Velvet Underground gig without John Cale, 1968
10.16.2015
09:18 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:

La Cave
 
By September 1968, Lou Reed was hell-bent on kicking John Cale out of the Velvet Underground. Reed and Cale started the band, but after two albums, Lou was no longer interested in working with the Welsh musician. It’s always been unclear as to why Reed felt this way, but the most plausible reason is that he sought to make the Velvets more accessible, while Cale wanted to keep one foot in the avant-garde. Regardless, in late September, after what would turn out to be Cale’s final concerts with the group, Reed met with drummer Maureen Tucker and guitarist Sterling Morrison and gave them an ultimatum: Either Cale goes or the band is finished.
 
John Cale and Lou Reed
John Cale and Lou Reed in New York City, 1968

Reluctantly, Tucker and Morrison agreed to sack Cale. But with Cale’s exit and upcoming concerts scheduled for the first week of October, a replacement needed to be found—and fast. Doug Yule, a Boston musician who was friendly with the band, was quickly brought into the fold. Yule would have to swiftly learn a set of songs, many of which he hadn’t heard before because they hadn’t been released yet. He made his way to New York City to rehearse for shows booked at a small venue in Cleveland called La Cave. Yule’s first gig with the Velvets is usually cited as having taken place on October 2nd, though in his exhaustive book, White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-by-Day, author Richie Unterberger writes that Yule’s debut was October 4th. Either way, the band’s new member had little time to prepare.
 
The new VU
The new VU, 1968

The Velvet Underground played two sets that first night in Cleveland with Yule, and thanks to recordings which were subsequently bootlegged, we can hear what they sounded like during this historic show. Incredibly, Yule already appears to be a good fit. He’s obviously up for the task, coming up with interesting bass lines—even singing background harmonies—on songs that he had just learned. His harmony vocal gelling perfectly with Reed’s during a lovely version of “Jesus” is just one of many cool moments. Reed’s guitar work is also noteworthy, like during the wild and weird middle section of “I Can’t Stand It,” but it’s the track that opens the first set that takes the cake.

“What Goes On” was one of many numbers played that first night that Yule barely had time to acquaint himself with (the tune would be included on their next album, The Velvet Underground, which came out the following year). There’s nothing all that interesting happening here at first (though Yule once again contributes some mighty fine harmonizing); that is, until Reed kicks off the initial solo with a fierce blast of noise. He follows up with melodic lines that resemble what would be heard on the now-familiar album take, but while the guitar tone on the LP version is psychedelic, here it’s all about volume and distortion. During the second and final solo, after a similar melodic passage, Lou lets it rip. At around the 4:52 mark, he goes into hyperactive overdrive, whipping up an atypically riotous, face melter of a solo that’s downright giddy in execution. It’s the sound of a man set free.
 
Lou Reed
 
This joyfully savage version of “What Goes On” would appear decades later on Peel Slowly and See, VU’s 1995 boxed set, and to date it’s the only track from the Cleveland concerts to be officially released. In his liner notes for the box, David Fricke is suitably inspired by the rendition, writing that it’s “rich with pyro-fuzzbox spew and climaxes with a staccato rush of tonal destruction over Sterling Morrison’s implacable, syncopated rhythm clang.”
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa’s ‘Roxy: The Movie’ was worth the four-decade wait
10.16.2015
08:48 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:


 
Frank Zappa fans have clamored for the release of Roxy: The Movie for about 40 years now. I’m one of the lucky ducks who saw its world premiere at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre on Wednesday, and I am here to tell you that it is good.

About halfway through the screening, I noticed that my face hurt because my mouth had twisted up and frozen in the stupidest grin of which it is capable—the kind of grin that could destroy a family, or end a career. As I type this, some twenty-four hours later, my face is still ruined. The Roxy shows, represented on disc by 1974’s Roxy & Elsewhere and last year’s Roxy by Proxy, are among the most joyful presentations of Zappa’s music. The songs are celebratory, the performances are exuberant, the musicianship is virtuosic but not stiff or fussy, the sound is totally bitchen, and Zappa himself seems more relaxed and cheerful than (or at least not as sour as) he appeared at other points in his career. Biographer Neil Slaven attributes the light mood and spirit of camaraderie prevailing at the Roxy shows to the recent addition of Napoleon Murphy Brock, the outstanding tenor saxophonist and singer who belts “Cheepnis”:

Brock’s arrival brought important changes to the context of the group. He had a distinctive and flexible voice and struck up an immediate and overtly warm rapport with George Duke, sharing the broad and quick sense of humour that Frank had drawn out of the keyboard player. Their on-stage badinage, which both celebrated and satirised black consciousness, contrasted with Frank’s own studied bizarre humour and there were moments when one sensed that he was happy and relieved to become a sideman in his own group.

 

The woman with her hand down Zappa’s pants is named Joan, we learn
 
Before I saw Roxy, my favorite Zappa concert video was A Token of His Extreme, the 1974 special taped for public TV that features many of the same personnel: keyboardist and singer George Duke (a great artist in his own right), percussionist Ruth Underwood, bassist Tom Fowler, drummer Chester Thompson, and Brock—the One Size Fits All band, whose praises I sing. But Roxy trashes it. I just drove by the Goodwill and threw my Extreme DVD out the window. Roxy gives you one more drummer in addition to Thompson (Ralph Humphrey), trombonist Bruce Fowler playing impossible parts, and one of Zappa’s best-ever bands playing in a hot club rather than a cold TV studio. And there is so much to see at a Zappa show, and so much of the visual information is funny. Hearing Napoleon Murphy Brock and Bruce Fowler argue with their horns is bracing; watching it is hilarious.

I’m just old enough to remember when going to the Roxy was like this. People sat comfortably at tables, smoking, while waiters circulated with their backs to the stage, taking drink orders. (This is one of those rare cases where the past was actually better than the present.) However, I am nowhere near old enough to remember the denim-clad innocents and aging weirdos who apparently peopled the Sunset Strip during the early 70s. The audience participation, one of Roxy’s big treats, builds to an orgiastic climax on “Be-Bop Tango,” during which a “professional harlot” who has just entertained some of our boys at Edwards Air Force Base and original Hollywood freak Carl “Captain Fuck” Franzoni shake what the good Lord gave them (though He probably had other uses in mind).
 

 
Alex Winter, who is working on an authorized Zappa documentary, moderated the post-screening Q&A. Ralph Humphrey and Bruce Fowler came down from their seats to join the panel. Editor John Albarian, archivist (or “Vaultmeister”) Joe Travers and producer Jeff Stein explained that the over 40-year delay in the movie’s release was due to technical problems. A malfunction that took place four minutes into the first of the filmed concerts meant that the footage and sound could not be synced until the advent of digital technology; another glitch took out the crew’s intercom, with the result that much of what they shot bore no relationship to what was happening onstage (e.g., the camera is on Zappa’s foot while George Duke takes a solo). Albarian consequently had to do a lot of “cheating” in the editing room, which he said was made easier by the band’s wardrobe (black T-shirts and blue jeans every night). I couldn’t tell; more importantly, Humphrey, who like actually played these shows, told us he couldn’t tell either.

Ahmet Zappa introduced the film and joined the panel afterwards, and when he wasn’t fantasizing about sodomizing the Vaultmeister, he was sharing valuable information. He told us about a tape he’d recently heard of his father jamming with Eric Clapton in 1967 (“bonkers”); that his uncle says his late mother, Gail, saved America in her capacity as a CIA agent; and that Captain Beefheart once ended an argument with Frank by plunging his hands into an ice chest, letting the cubes slip between his fingers, and declaring “Diamonds!”

The conceptual continuity continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Want to watch something really WEIRD tonight? Try ‘Helen Keller vs Nightwolves’!
10.15.2015
06:44 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:


 
Dangerous Minds pal Jesse Merlin, who I have called “the Paul Lynde of this generation” many, many times (it’s totally true, plus he’s the undisputed king of “horror musicals”!) writes to inform us that as of today, the zany new cult film Helen Keller vs Nightwolves has been made FREE to view online by the twisted visionary behind it.

Helen Keller vs Nightwolves tells the shocking story of how a group of nightwolves terrorized a tiny village taking people’s hearing and eyesight… and the one woman who fought back.”

After playing “Werewolf Hitler” in Ross Patterson’s FDR: American Badass! he wrote me a lead role in the follow-up picture, which was written, directed and presented by his alter-ego, demented genius cinema auteur “St. James St. James.”

It stars Lin Shaye, Jessie Wiseman, Barry Bostwick, Alanna Ubach, Richard Riehle and myself against a horde of bloodthirsty Nightwolves. Based on a true story!

After smashing premieres in LA, NYC and Montenegro, Ross has unleashed it upon the world FREE this morning. You’re welcome, America. Prepare to blow your O-ring…

Without further ado… here’s Helen Keller vs Nightwolves
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The best rock show EVER? Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers 1977. Fuck yeah!
10.15.2015
03:12 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:


 
Embedded in my brain are memories that radiate light like shards of luminous crystal. Most of this radiance involves sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The night I spent with Lester Bangs at The Village Gate in 1977 watching a blazing performance by Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers was one of those incandescent nights. Between the music and Lester’s company, it was borderline mythical.

The fact that I remember that night at all is testimony to just how utterly amazing it was. A lot of my past has congealed into the kind of gunk you find inside of an old turntable. But this memory gleams. Drunkenly conversing with Lester was like trying to stand up in a row boat during a hurricane. The force coming off of Thunder’s guitar provided the ballast to keep me from capsizing. The Heartbreakers were stunning.

Thunders was firmly embraced, but not yet strangled, by the arms of Morpheus. His guitar riffs strafed the packed house like low-flying aircraft. With Walter Lure doing the heavy lifting and Jerry Nolan and Billy Rath grinding out the kind of transcendent energy that only loud guitars and big ferocious beats can deliver, the band was epic, not to be fucked with, New York to the extreme. No one could touch them. It was without question one of the great rock shows I’ve ever experienced. And it’s now available from Cleopatra Records on hot pink vinyl.
 

 
Binky Philips was one of the sticks of dynamite that detonated New York City’s punk explosion. He was at the Village Gate for all three nights of The Heartbreakers residency. When Binky talks about those days, it pays to listen:

The Who are my favorite band. Always will be. Having seen them on stage from 1967 on, I know they were the best live band I ever saw. That said, only, yes, only The Who can compare to the three gigs Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers performed at the Village Gate on non-trendy Bleecker St in mid-August, 1977.

Okay, I’ve committed that opinion here without having heard the about-to-be-released album recorded at those rightly legendary shows. Here’s hoping I wasn’t on reefer too powerful for my better discernment. I will caveat out front… The Heartbreakers were a very visual band. My band, The Planets, attended all three evenings. We hadn’t seen the guys in many months. Downtown visionary, Leee Black Childers, had just taken control of the band’s destiny a year earlier when he decided to get the hell outta Dodge and hit the far more receptive Brits in London who were currently gaga over the Heartbreakers’ biggest fans, The Sex Pistols.

There’s been a long held myth that when the band landed in England, Leee made them the following proposition; switch from hard-to-obtain-in-London heroin and switch to easy-to-score speed and he, Leee, would supply them endless amounts free. Let me emphasis the word myth. But, it must be noted, The Heartbreakers onstage demeanor during their three “Home to renew our visa and make some money, honey” shows at the Village Gate seemed to confirm the vice-switch rumors. All three nights, all four members of the band were overtly grinding their teeth, twitching, blinking rapidly, Jerry hitting his drums harder and sharper than I’d ever heard him, guitars roaring, Billy slamming his Precision… and playing the entire set nice and fast… Ramones tempo, at least.

Me and my fellow Planets loved Johnny, of course. Hell, I’d met him in early 1969 as John Genzale. But, we all felt that Walter Lure was the secret weapon of the band and overshadowed by JT’s toxic-level charisma. We made our point at all three nights by standing directly under Waldo’s mic stand and screaming “Wal-Tuhhh!” at the top of our lungs after every song. Walter was hilariously uncomfortable and John was amused. After the final show, I went home and wrote a song called “N-O Spells No”. It was a pure homage to Walter’s songs in the Heartbreakers oeuvre. I am thrilled and proud to announce that Walter Lure and I have recorded an album, due out in January, under the name The Last Ditches (Lure came up with that) The album features Walter singing and playing lead on “N-O Spells No”… 38 years later. How ‘bout that! God, I cannot wait to hear this Heartbreakers rekkid!

 

 
Brooke DeLarco was at the soundboard for The Heartbreaks three night stand at the Gate. She wrote me in an email:

Terry Ork put the shows on. They were part of a series of shows he did in the summer of ‘77. I had been doing sound for The Feelies and had worked on their record and Richard Lloyd’s for Ork Records. Terry asked me to do the sound for those shows, which is how I met the Heartbreakers. It was the first time I had ever heard them. The Heartbreakers had just come back from England after recording LAMF.  At the sound check I knew right off they were a force to be reckoned with!

The Village Gate was predominately a jazz venue and had a very good sound system. The prior shows in July had been Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Talking Heads, The Feelies, Blondie and everyone else on the scene except for Television and The Ramones. It was also the first bookings for Mars and Teenage Jesus and the nights Terry first uttered the word’s “No Wave” in relation to those bands.

The buzz in town was fever pitched as always at their shows.  All 3 nights were sold out.  3/4 of the way through the first set, they blew the sound system! The amps overloaded and shut down. They played the last song of the set, “One Track Mind” with no vocals. I always wished they had done “Pipeline” but instead they left the stage.

They next night we got the sound straightened out.  The band was tight as ever but slightly slowed down from their initial onslaught the first night! (too much junkie business…lol! ). The last night was rip roaring with Sylvain and Robert Gordon on board for guest appearances. Elvis died that weekend!

Johnny was always the sweetest person to me. I never got any attitude from him or the band for being a girl sound mixer! He called me “young lady” and begged “baby please more monitors”! I was known for getting a great drum sound which Jerry recognized and I was more than happy to give him. Billy was a big advocate for me doing their sound and I continued doing their shows at Max’s until the Live album came out. Walter and I remain friends to this day.

During this period they were all business, the best they ever were in my opinion.

Thanks to Brooke there was someone taping one night of the three. L.A.M.F. - Live at the Village Gate 1977 is sourced from a tape recording off the soundboard. The quality is rough but it captures the energy, vibe and delirium of punk in its early days. It also may be the only document of what some—at least those of us who were there—argue is among the greatest live rock shows ever.
 

Walter Lure holds rock history in his hands
 
Here’s a video made exclusively for Dangerous Minds featuring one of the tracks off of L.A.M.F. - Live at the Village Gate 1977, “Get Off The Phone.”
 

  Thanks to Phyllis Stein and Matt Green for the photos.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Jesus Dread: The dark, mystical 70s reggae of Yabby You
10.15.2015
02:24 pm

Topics:

Tags:

image
 
Vivian Jackson, AKA “Yabby You” was one of the most fascinating and innovative artists and producers of the “roots reggae” period of the 1970s.

Poverty-stricken his entire life, Jackson was in ill-health as a result of living at and working in a garbage incinerator in Waterhouse, Jamaica since he was a young child. After a spell in the hospital for malnutrition, his legs by then crippled with arthritis, 17-year-old Jackson was told that he could no longer return to his former job and moved to Kingston, where he eked by, earning a precarious living in the streets. Although he more or less identified as a Rastafarian, Jackson did not believe in the divinity of Emperor Haile Selassie I and his Christian beliefs were at odds with the other Rastas he knew.  “Dem use to deal with Ras Tafari, an’ I deal with Jah through Jesus Christ” he said. Jackson was given the nickname “Jesus Dread” as a result of his argumentative nature when it came to the topic of religion.
 

 
One night an ethereal song came to Jackson as he was talking about religion with friends: “Like a strange ting, inside a-my thoughts, like an angel a-sing.” Although his poverty slowed the recording process down, many top musicians and master producer, King Tubby were impressed with Jackson’s unwavering passion that this song must be brought into the world, and volunteered their services. Yabby You performed and directed his vocal group, the Prophets, standing with the help of crutches. The resulting album, Conquering Lion is a dark, brooding masterpiece of true religious fervor and a seminal reggae classic, his lyrics inspired by the New Testament, especially the prophetic Book of Revelations. The Prophets’ chant of “Be-you, yabby-yabby-you” gave Jackson another nickname, “Yabby You,” which he used for the rest of his career. In many ways, I see this song as a reggae equivalent to “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys. Listen to the way the voices are layered. No other Jamaican artist was doing anything even remotely similar at the time. Nor have any since.

The Conquering Lion album was pressed in a run as small as 500 copies when it was first released in 1975 and it took another 22 years before the LP was widely heard outside of Jamaica, with the deluxe 2 CD edition of Jesus Dread (1972-1977) featuring the entire album plus various “versions” of the song released by UK reggae label, Blood and Fire. Now it’s considered a classic.

Vivian Jackson passed away in Jamaica on January 12, 2010 of an aneurysm. He was 63. A 3-CD box set of his work, Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You was released by the Shanachie label earlier this year as interest in his work continues to grow.
 

 
After the jump, the entirety of the incredible (out of print) ‘Jesus Dread’ compilation…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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