ATX Sound System: January 24, 2019

Awesome Sounds from Africa and Jamaica

When we don’t have the ATX Sound System turntables spinning, we like to keep our ear to the ground in two of our current favorite reggae hotspots: Portmore, Jamaica and Accra, Ghana. Thanks to the wonder of internet streaming, we’re able to tune in to local radio stations in each locale to get our fix of what’s new and bubbling in reggae, dancehall and Afrobeats.

SunCityFM: Located in Popcaan’s hometown of Portmore, situated halfway between Kingston and Spanish Town, SunCityFM plays a lot of mainstream hits (with a lot of talk) during the daytime but as evening time comes around, things really tend to pick up with more fresh dancehall riddims, especially on the weekend.

YFMBilled as Ghana’s “Number 1 Urban Youth Station”, YFM broadcasts across the capital of city of Accra and the golden triangle of Accra, Tumasi and Takoradi. YFM also tends to pick up more on nights and weekends (luckily +6 hours ahead of Austin, so this is afternoon time for us), where you apt to hear a mix of mainstream hits, Ghanaian reggae from the likes of Stonebwoy and Samini, and up-and-comers like Shatta Wale or Nigeria’s Burna Boy.

 

Classic Album: Cocoa Tea

In the early 1980s, producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes was on a hot streak, delivering 7″ singles by some of the brightest young (and not-so-young) talent on the scene — Yellowman, Toyan, Eek-A-Mouse, Little John, Linval Thompson and John Holt, to name a few — via his Volcano record label. Two notable releases among these were “Lost My Sonia” (1982) and “Rocking Dolly” (1983), infectious songs performed by a smooth-voiced singer named, fittingly, after the Jamaican word for hot chocolate: Coco Tea. Both are included on the 1985 debut album from Coco Tea (as his name was spelled then), Wah Dem a Go Do… Can’t Stop Cocoa Tea. Produced by Junjo, it features the muscular backing of the Roots Radics band and the Midas touch of Sylvan Morris (mixer extraordinaire who worked with from everyone from Bob Marley to Augustus Pablo) at the controls, using many of Junjo’s most popular early dancehall riddims. It wouldn’t be long before Junjo’s crown was stolen by an upstart producer named Prince Jammy (later King Jammy) who had previously served time working with sound systems and as King Tubby’s engineer. Ironically, Coco Tea’s next significant LP, The Marshall would be produced and released by Jammy. But his debut remains a classic in his catalog. You can see Cocoa Tea perform at this year’s Austin Reggae Festival and, in the meantime, hear the aforementioned tracks on our Spotify Playlist.

 

This Week’s Austin Reggae Fest Spotify Playlist

Click here to hear the dub sounds we have been listening to the last few days.