Mikey Dread World War III – Discuss


I’m pushed this week and totally disorganised, so I’ve not really thought this through. I’ll apologise now for the shambling attempt to rush out this post…!

I have a pretty reasonable reggae collection; bigger than I realised actually, when I pulled 3 boxes of vinyl out of the loft at the weekend only to find the majority of it was reggae and rap (intermingled with some dodgy acid jazz which hasn’t really dated very well!).  Despite listening to a variety of reggae over the years, I’ve always associated Mikey Dread with The Clash or as a producer rather than performer.  I don’t remember how I stumbled across this record, called World War III, which he released in 1980.  I love the fact that he delivers his warning messages with such an upbeat sound.  There’s a lovely dub feel to the whole thing, yet it’s not full on, head-pounding dub and he uses his voice to good effect, changing his style across the tracks (there’s an almost Eek-a-Mouse moment on one track and an almost Screaming Target moment on another).  I really like it.  I know reggae isn’t for everyone – I know plenty of people who can’t get on with it at all, but this is accessible.  I’m glad I found it.

It’s interesting isn’t it, when you think you know a genre quite well but it still has the capacity to surprise you by throwing up unknowns?  Has this ever happened to you? There are probably hundreds more reggae artists you can recommend to me who I’ve never heard of (especially newer ones).

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge.  What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?



18 thoughts on “Mikey Dread World War III – Discuss

  1. Like you, I always tend to think of Mikey Dread in terms of The Clash. I’ll have to make some time and listen to this. Not sure I’ve ever heard it before.

    I tend to like older reggae, up until the early 80s, and I like dub and roots stuff the most. Max Romeo’s “Revelation” and “War Ina Babylon” are worth a listen, as is Junior Murvin’s “Police And Thieves”. I like a lot of the stuff that Lee Perry did with The Upsetters, “Super Ape” is pretty good and I am a big fan of U-Roy’s “Dread In A Babylon”. Of course, there is always Burning Spear, who is brilliant.

    I bought a few of those 3-CD Trojan compilation box sets ages ago and there is a lot of good stuff on there.

  2. Hi Carole. I’ve got all of what you’ve mentioned excluding Max Romeo! Re compliations; I’ve just checked and have 10 of the Trojan box sets including 1 on vinyl. I’ve also got several Soul Jazz Studio One compilations and maybe 3 volumes of their Dynamite! series. I’ve also got Volumes 2-6 of something called Sensi Dub on vinyl (not sure what happened to vol 1!), so I’m surprised I’ve never come across Mikey Dread in amongst all of that…
    I really like the older reggae too. I’m particularly fond of Augustus Pablo and Jackie Mittoo.
    I saw Burning Spear at a Reggae Sunsplash once. That was the same weekend the soundsystem got closed down early for being too loud and causing the neighbours of the festival to complain…those were the days.

    • Which year were you at Sunsplash? I was there every year throughout the 80’s. I don’t ever remember the neighbors complaining, almost every performance didn’t begin ’til after 10pm and many times we finished as the sun came up.

  3. Your tastes match mine and Carole’s here – if you haven’t got African Dub Almighty Chapters 1, 2 & 3 I cannot recommend them highly enough. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals with all of the other famous and most-used templates of reggae music which you can file alongside Lee Perry’s stuff (which includes Max Romeo of course. Absolutely brilliant.
    Everything Dennis Brown put out was magnificent.
    After 1980 it mainly goes dancehall – which can be brilliant too. In particular Shabba Ranks, Sizzla, Sister Nancy, Beenie Man.
    But my greatest praise post 1980 would be reserved for two very different artists : Damian Marley, Jr Gong whose first album Welcome To Jamrock is a classic, and Beres Hammond who has been making music since the mid-eighties and all of it is tremendous – more lovers rock, old skool type sounds, very interesting melodic stuff with good lyrics.

    • Thanks for the tips. Of the newer stuff, i do have 2 Sizzla albums, Black Woman & Child and Kalonji. Haven’t listened to them for ages so thanks for the reminder. I don’t have any Damien Marley, although I did mention his collaboration with Nas in last week’s post. After you mentioned Joe Gibbs I went on a hunt amongst my CDs. Just need to work out how to post a picture of what I found; is another Soul Jazz output. What a great label.

    • “Everything Dennis Brown put out was magnificent.”

      Oh, yes. I used to live in Clapham for a while in the mid-70s and we used to hang out in Brixton a bit. You’d hear Dennis Brown everywhere, much more than Bob Marley

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Interesting thread and as with many people my interest in reggae came about through the punk connection in the late 70s. I haven’t bought any reggae since the early 80s so this will all be late 70s/early 80s stuff that I am recommending so I’m not sure if any of it is still available in physical form !

    There are a number of Dennis Brown 12″ singles that are superb including Ain’t That Loving You, Say What You Say and How Can I leave You all from the late 70s. Another 12″ by Dr Alimantado called Slavery Let I Go is also worth trying to find. Albums worth checking out include Visions by Dennis Brown, Equal Rights by Peter Tosh, The Lonely Lover by Gregory Isaacs, Forward on to Zion by The Abyssinians and Taste of the Young Heart by Junior Delgado. Also any albums by Misty in Roots from the UK are a good bet. Hope this helps.

    • Wow. Thanks, some great stuff for me to track down here. I love Peter Tosh. His voice is so distinctive. I have several of his albums. I only have a couple of tracks from both Gregory Issacs and The Abyssinians; I need to put that right. I have Fearless by Junior Delgado, bit listened to it for a while, but will look out for Young Heart. Thanks so much for your suggestions.

  5. Musical preference is for the dub stuff: Perry, Tubby, Sherwood, Mad Prof & Mr Dread.

    Also I like the political stuff: Culture, Prince Far I, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah.

    Sometimes you can get both in one:

  6. I know nothing about reggae and all I understood about this post was ******* “dodgy acid jazz records” ********** 😉

    • I genuinely just laughed out loud! Maybe i will do a post about my dodgy acid jazz collection. I might even tell the story of falling asleep watching Galliano at Glastonbury….😋 It involved baked goods. I was much younger then!

  7. Must have been the baked goods… we saw them a couple of years later in 1997 on the Four tour when they were edging into D&B, that wasn’t exactly the most soporofic concert I’ve been at…;-)

    The ‘Spill could certainly use a Dodgy Acid Jazz Collection post in any case.

  8. Ah, Mikey Dread, used to have the DATC 12’s of ‘Break Down The Walls’ & ‘Jumpin’ Master’ –
    fantastic stuff! His ‘African Anthems’ CD is great as well, especially the shout-outs in between tunes.
    Nice selections from all above, and yes you can’t go wrong with the Soul Jazz collections; Studio One series, Dancehall etc.,

    Personal selections would be for Lee Perry ‘Arkology’ Island comp and the dense ‘Blackboard Jungle’ amongst countless other comps.
    The Blood & Fire records catalogue is fantastic as well covering ’70’s roots and dub that includes Horace Andy, The Congos and King Tubby – a good place to start is with the ‘Dubwise & Otherwise’ comps and ‘Heavyweight’ samplers.
    For ’80’s Dancehall, the King Jammy Selector’s Choices Vol 1-4 are fantastic.
    For more recent offerings I’d go with Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno

  9. Total agreement with most of the above recommendations, but rather than listing specific favorites I’d rather refer you to labels, record companies that specialize in reggae. Well obviously there’s Island and their subsidiary Mango and Trojan but they pale when compared to Heartbeat. Heartbeat specialized in reggae and issued hundreds of artists throughout the 70’s – 80’s. Similarly, so did Shanachie; I supplied many album cover photos for these companies. There were several others that had a passing interest who released some good reggae; Tinder comes to mind as does RAS records and Greensleeves, and of course there were literally hundreds of small labels in Ja. that released only 7″ 45’s, far too many to name. I have several with no label other than the artist’s name and the title pencilled on the cover. Many artists created their own labels, Gregory Isaacs had his African Museum plus he often recorded on Front Line. Ernest Ranglin had G.G records. Bunny Wailer had Solomonic and Bob Had Tuff Gong. Lee Perry had Black Ark and there were dozens more.
    The reason I can’t offer specific artists is because there’s just so many, I have 8ft of tightly shelved CD’s and 12 ft of LP’s; I started collecting ’em in 1972 when I saw the film The Harder they Come, it’s been a wonderful musical career.

  10. OK, I suppose I must suggest a couple of favorites so I just opened ITunes under Reggae and the page that opened had a selection; these are some favorites.

    Jamaica, Jamaica Brigadier Jerry
    GP Gregory Isaacs
    Open Mind The Tamlins
    18 with a bullet Dereck Harriot
    Until Nadine Sutherland
    Princess Black Edi Fitzroy
    Time Kiddus I
    Graduation in Zion Kiddus I
    O Si Keka (Cameroon) Kaissa
    Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner Black Uhuru
    Feast Of The Passover The Congos
    Greetings Half Pint
    The Judgement Come Cornell Campbell
    Right Time Mighty Diamonds
    Great Stone King Tubby & Soul Syndicate
    S.90 Skank Big Youth
    Dreadlocks in Moonlight Lee Perry
    Ark Of The Covenant The Congos

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