Toyan - How The West Was Won

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

1981, Greensleeves

  1. How The West Was Won

  2. African Ting

  3. Big Showdown

  4. Toyan On The Go

  5. Lover Man Style

  6. Children Children

  7. Capital Offence

  8. Pope In A Di Corner

  9. Tribute To Entertainer

  10. Reggae Gone International

“How The West Was Won” is probably the best deejay record ever, easily the best in the original Dancehall style. Backed by the holy trinity of Scientist, Junjo and the Roots Radics, the riddims are as dancehall as dancehall gets, unbelievably heavy (especially on the first two cuts), full of life and character, and perhaps most importantly for an album of this caliber – all in agreement and connection with one another. The record is almost seamless with how the tracks flow into each other. The riddim will fade away, and Toyan – full of energy, passion, and having way too much fun in the studio on his first solo LP – just continues a capella for a while after. The result is so much more engaging than just a collection of singles, and it’s all very deliberate. African Ting is heavier than lead, you better hope your speakers go to 11 to get the most out of this cut. It’s Scientist’s best work and nobody else could dream of making it themselves. Then Big Showdown recounts dreadlocks vs. baldhead in the boxing ring, told in slow motion, and by this time you might have picked up a dozen or two of the words from Toyan’s mouth. For a foreigner like myself, no matter how well you do on the patois of other deejays, Toyan is still barely comprehensible. Especially on Children Children, which is yet another mega tune, riding upon Johnny Osbourne’s Ice Cream Love, cut with a beautiful introduction and played back about half a semitone lower than the original. Amazing attention to detail from start to finish, THE unmatched dance hall record, listen to it or miss the fuck out.

Then once you are finished search out Johnny Osbourne's LP "Fally Lover" and Wailing Souls' LP "Firehouse Rock", where most of these riddims come from, then also Scientist's "Scientist Wins The World Cup" for dub cuts of a similar selection. One thing that always manages to blow me away in reggae music is how quickly the artists were able to pick up new styles, run with them, and produce music that sounds like it's been through several years of refinement. This trio of albums is the representation of this phenomenon for the Dance Hall Style, but the same goes for any other moment of innovation in reggae history.

My picks: African Ting, Children Children, Capital Offence

Bim count: 18

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