General Trees - Ghost Rider

1985, Sunset

  1. Trackle Fi Me

  2. Ghost Rider

  3. Hello General Tree

  4. Drape Them Police

  5. Horse Man Style

  6. Four Wet Rat

  7. Grandfather Rock

  8. The Bible

  9. Me No Anxious

  10. Heart, Mind & Soul

Despite having a place in General Trees' debut LP "Heart, Mind And Soul", Ghost Rider was still a big enough hit to warrant its own LP, backed up by a fire set of some of the roughest and most hardcore tunes out of Amos Edwards' mouth. Before I mention anything else about this record I must draw your attention to the third tune, Hello General Tree, which is an almost-six-minute 12 bar blues tune featuring General Trees in a call-and-response duet with his apprentice Culture Lee. Names dropped in the record include Lady G, Daddy Meeky, TC and Barry Back, and General Threes! A real roll call for the whole Horseman crew!! The description above might seem baffling to you if you are the kind of person to have read these words I have written, and I can assure you that there are few words that better describe this tune. Trees is not a deejay to shy away from a crazy fusion idea but this is the pinnacle. Halfway through the tune he drops into the rockstone voice, which I have previously credited on this website to Burro Banton, but this record still predates Pampidoo. And the General does it really fucking good. Part of me wants to say it's a shame that it was only ever put to use on a left-field tune like this but then again that makes it all the more unique. And then not long after that starts, the whole thing devolves into scatting and by the fourth minute the two of them are quite literally singing "bla bla bla bla bloo bloo blay blay" and I love it. It's also a pleasure to hear another member of the Horseman crew on LP, there was a lot of talent in that sound but few members got LPs of their own in the 80s.

Thank you for reading my blog post about Hello General Tree, I hope you have enjoyed your time and if you are in the mood I also have some words to say about the rest of the set. The title track is a big hit but its placement in the track order is perhaps a mistake in making it stand out in this set - not only is it positioned before Hello General Tree but also after Trackle Fi Me which is a highly dramatic tune, especially for Trees as a generally medium-energy deejay, and especially for '85 as a generally medium-energy year for reggae. "Me just a press a button and me hear HEY HEY...", it's a motorbike tune and it's super duper cool. Really I feel like it could have been titled Ghost Rider and topped the Jamaican charts in an alternate timeline. At the very end of the set Heart, Mind & Soul makes another appearance, and then the rest of the record is filled with meat, and it's very tasty and well seasoned but perhaps not fine enough to make this the best deejay record ever.

Drape Them Police showcases some classic Trees storytelling and cadence, with great lines like "Boy get up outta the bed like him feeling fire heat", followed up by Horse Man Style which is conspicuously on the Heavenless riddim - the same one as Ghost Rider, which yet again diminishes its impact on this record. Horse Man Style is a seriously good tune, again full to the brim with storytelling lyrics ("We have we bleacher, you can't barely see that"), thematically totally correct, on a very cool and very Scorpio version of the riddim, and recorded in significantly higher fidelity than the title track. Special request to Squingy and Peter Chemist. And then the rest of the record is just the General riding the mic any way he sees fit, all of the tunes are good, I'm personally partial to Grandfather Rock on Answer but if you want to get to know General Trees better then the B side of this set is going to give you a very accurate impression of what he's all about.

My picks: Trackle Fi Me, Hello General Tree, Horse Man Style, Grandfather Rock

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