Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Passing Of Yabby You

Some very sad news reached me yesterday that Vivian "Yabby You" Jackson had passed away at the age of 63.

For a lot of reggae fans like myself, Yabby You's music was the very embodiment of roots reggae, with his songs and rhythms yearning with soul, rawness and heaviness.

His output throughout the 1970's, as both singer and producer was some of the best reggae music ever recorded. Most of these recordings were mixed by dub master King Tubby who was more than partly responsible for the power and weight of Yabby's sound. For me Yabby You ranked alongside Augustus Pablo as one of my favourite reggae artists.

Tracks like "Love Thy Neighbour", "Conquering Lion", "Run Come Rally", Jah Vengeance", "Warn The Nation", "Walls Of Jerusalem", "Chant Down Babylon", "Deliver Me From My Enemy" and the stunning instrumental "Death Trap" have stood the test of time and I have never grown tired of them and doubt I ever will. His first two albums "Conquering Lion" and
"Chant Down Babylon Kingdom" [aka "King Tubby Meet Vivian Jackson") are perfect in every way.

Essential productions of other singers that come to mind are tracks like Michael Prophet's "Love and Unity", Tony Tuff's "No Warrior", Patrick Andy's "Living In Mount Zion", Charlie Morrison's "Selassie Memorial", Dicky Burton's "God Is Watching You", Wayne Wade's "Man Of The Living" and Errol Alphonso's "Chant Jah Victory". Really the list just goes on. He produced some fine work by the deejay's Big Youth and Trinity, but I have never been a huge fan of that style.

Jackson did resurface in the early 90s with a reissue programme and some new recordings appeared, which unsurprisingly never matched the higher heights of those early recordings.

Curiously, although visually a Rastaman, Jackson considered himself a Christian and by all accounts rejected Halie Selassie's divinity.

The man has left an amazing out-of-press back catalogue and I fear it won't be very long until it gets exploited for all the wrong reasons.

Note that nearly all of the tracks I listed above are available on Blood and Fire "Jesus Dread" 2CD set, if you can find it.

Some audio clips follow:

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