Big Youth - Screaming Target

1972, Gussie / Jaguar

  1. Screaming Target

  2. Pride And Joy Rock

  3. Be Careful

  4. Tipper Tone Rock

  5. These Fine Days

  6. The Killer

  7. Solomon A Gunday

  8. Honesty

  9. I Am Alright

  10. Lee A Low

Gussie, how we love you... I have no doubt in my mind that this set would not be half as famous as it is today if not for the "No No No" riddim on the opening track. And special thanks to the artist Big Youth for screaming over it. I assume that is Big Youth. Well the result is dramatic and sets the tone for the record, it's hardcore, it's Gussie reggae, and there's not too much going on lyrically but early Big Youth is more about vibes and musicality than lyrics.

Early Big Youth on LP consists of this solo record and "Chi Chi Run" from earlier the same year, which is credited to Big Youth but features a number of other vocalists. In my opinion Chi Chi Run is the better record but there is about twice as much Big Youth on this one, and perhaps more importantly, 100% more Gussie.

One thing I will say time and time again when I think about these super early deejay records is how quickly the scene developed and how different all the early artists were. Big Youth really sounds nothing at all like U-Roy, neither I-Roy nor Alcapone nor Scotty nor anybody else. Big Youth is the first heavyweight deejay and this is his first (and only) time giving that style a proper showcase. By the time he did "Dread Locks Dread" in 1975 his deejaying style had transformed completely, even his approach to music making in general, and the result of that is that Screaming Target is a one of a kind record. The last little detail I want to mention is how Solomon A Gunday and Lee A Low are both done on different versions of the same riddim, and I just love how we are given the chance to appreciate the nuances of the little decisions that one must make when producing a reggae tune. Even if you are a music maker of any capacity yourself, it's easy to become disconnected to the process when enjoying music as a listener, and yet another small thing I like about reggae is how there are opportunities like this to engage with the creation process. And this is one example where it's not just hearing another deejay cut of Satta Massagana. Lovely...

My picks: Screaming Target, Pride And Joy Rock, Lee A Low

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