Saturday, October 01, 2016


Superb video of a party thrown by Volcano Sound System in Kingston, Jamaica, in the year 1984. Volcano was also a successful label, the business venture of one Henry "Junjo" Lawes, but he was probably making just as much money from the packed sound system dances where tons of Kingstonians turned out to hear Yellowman and Josey Wales, Jamaica's version of rock stars. The camera here is in the Skateland DJ booth, right there with the mic controllers; attendees crowd around to watch the masters of ceremony ply their trade; one can imagine hundreds, maybe even a couple thousand more attendees beyond them, all hearing the rhythms and vocals loud and clear over the massive speakers, dancing, talking, eating, drinking, partying down. Josey Wales starts the show with utter smoothness, and Lee Van Cliff follows him as the second half of a textbook one-two punch. Then, a rather hilarious guy with a deep froggy voice takes the mic from Van Cliff and keeps saying "MY NEW NAME IS.... BRBRBBRBRBRRBBR RIBBIT-MAN!!!" I think it's Papa Toyan, but I barely know what the hell is going on at all. I do know how crucial the selection is at the 7:20 mark when "100 Weight of Collie Weed" by Carlton Livingston comes booming over the speakers. Gotta be one of the smoothest and baddest drug smuggling songs of all time. tough like a Melville/Delon crime film, and now Josey Wales is voicing over Livingston's vocal so that the titular weed isn't "coming from St. Anne's" but in fact "COMING TO SKATELAND!" where the dance is being held. The Livingston tune gives way into its own instrumental dub version, and the Outlaw Josey just plain goes off... it's his show all the way, for this clip anyway, with Yellowman really just playing backup. After "Collie Weed" a guy I've never heard of named Louis Lepke takes a turn; he looks cool, and his first verse really rips, maybe in fact too much, too soon, as he seems to get flustered and quickly stops, saying something like "I'm kinda frightened/not in a wonderful condition/so I get nervous when I heard an explosion," referring to the gunshot sound effects someone else in the DJ booth is going nuts with. Josey Wales takes back the mic and I could swear critiques Lepke's performance with a quick "I would rehearse these things or not/that was secretly hot," which is really goddamn accurate.

Anyway, check the perennial Who Cork The Dance for a typically vast page on the Volcano Sound System, including a whole bunch of photos, flier reproductions, and non-dead links to massive sound files of dance after dance.

Needless to say there's lots more where this came from (YouTube), like an hour of Legendary Wha Dat Sound in 1985 (below), but first here's Part 2 of this Volcano jammy in which the Outlaw Josey Wales just keeps rollin', even rockin' a little "Leavin' On A Jet Plane." And it don't stop:

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