First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
Post Reply
User avatar
Micke
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Sweden

First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by Micke » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:40 pm

Hi guys,

From what I understand Johnny Nash's 1972 hit "I Can See Clearly Now" is one of the first (if not the first?) Reggae-influenced song to feature a synthesizer in the arrangement (in this case a Moog modular)!



Does anyone know of any earlier Reggae-hits that feature synths?

Bob Marley's "Mr. Brown" predates the above song by a couple of years and definitely makes use of some electronic keyboard instrument, however I don't know for sure whether or not that really is a synth. The 'buzzy' sounding bass heard throughout reminds me somewhat more of a an electronic organ (combo-organ?), or even a Clavioline or Solovox, than a synth:


What do you guys think?
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

User avatar
balma
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2851
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:52 pm
Real name: Mauricio
Gear: DSI Tempest/Prophet 08/Roland V-Synth/Ensoniq Fizmo/E-mu MP7-XL7/Electribe ESX1/Radias/Waldorf MicroQ
Location: Costa Rica

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by balma » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:27 pm

As far as I know, Third World use synths. Maybe the most trippiest reggae band ever.

"...From the late 1960s through to the early 1980s, a piano was generally used in reggae to double the rhythm guitar's skank, playing the chords in a staccato style to add body, and playing occasional extra beats, runs and riffs. The piano part was widely taken over by synthesizers during the 1980s, although synthesizers have been used in a peripheral role since the 1970s to play incidental melodies and countermelodies. Larger bands may include either an additional keyboardist, to cover or replace horn and melody lines, or the main keyboardist filling these roles on two or more keyboards.

The reggae-organ shuffle is unique to reggae. Typically, a Hammond organ-style sound is used to play chords with a choppy feel. This is known as the bubble. There are specific drawbar settings used on a Hammond console to get the correct sound. This may be the most difficult reggae keyboard rhythm. The 8th beats are played with a space-left-right-left-space-left-right-left pattern..."

Now that's real reggae music. Third World is amazing.

Modern reggaeton (I hate it) is pure synth....
His sex dungeons are rumored to hold hundreds of people in secret locations around the world.
https://soundcloud.com/balma

User avatar
StepLogik
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:16 am
Gear: Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Vorpal Sword, Chain Mail +3, Ring of Invisibility, Staff of the Magi, Boots of Speed
Location: Boston, MA

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by StepLogik » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:39 pm



:lol: I like the pure organ skank - a ROMpler perhaps? But I doubt it's the first :)

User avatar
tallowwaters
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4998
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:11 am
Gear: LC-MS/MS
Location: snake's belly in a wagon rut

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:54 pm

King Tubby and Scratch Perry were starting up around 71 or so, though they aren't exactly 'reggae'. I know 'Revolution Dub' is around that time, maybe a bit later, but it has synths. Some of the Augustus Pablo stuff had synths as well, I believe...
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

masstronaut
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 756
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:26 pm

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by masstronaut » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:22 am

You seriously need to check this out, one of my faves. It's not the first, and not exactly a 'hit', but there's a great oddity on Trojan called Star Trek and credited to the Vulcans. Basically they took a few existing riddims from their catalogue and got some guy (Ken Elliot) to splatter Moog all over them. He kind of got carried away but I think the results are wonderful actually, if a little kitsch.




Might be a few more tracks knocking about on youtube if you look. Great album.
Last edited by masstronaut on Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

masstronaut
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 756
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:26 pm

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by masstronaut » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:30 am

tallowwaters wrote:I know 'Revolution Dub' is around that time, maybe a bit later, but it has synths.
'75 apparently. Pretty sure there are synths on Double Seven from '74.

Also recorded at Chalk Farm studios so I think it's probably the same synth player (and Minimoog) as on the Vulcans record.

User avatar
Micke
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:50 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by Micke » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:17 am

Another early reggae-hit to feature a synth is Bob Marley's "Stir It Up" (recorded in late '72):



I think John "Rabbit" Bundrick played the synth/keys on the studio version.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

User avatar
StepLogik
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1492
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:16 am
Gear: Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Vorpal Sword, Chain Mail +3, Ring of Invisibility, Staff of the Magi, Boots of Speed
Location: Boston, MA

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by StepLogik » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:21 am

masstronaut wrote:You seriously need to check this out, one of my faves. It's not the first, and not exactly a 'hit', but there's a great oddity on Trojan called Star Trek and credited to the Vulcans. Basically they took a few existing riddims from their catalogue and got some guy (Ken Elliot) to splatter Moog all over them. He kind of got carried away but I think the results are wonderful actually, if a little kitsch.




Might be a few more tracks knocking about on youtube if you look. Great album.
Oh man, that was great! Thanks for the links...

Polyroy
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:08 pm

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by Polyroy » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:12 am

The whole Vulkan album is wicked, i had it on a disc someone copied for me once, cheers for posting the links, i'll have to try and dig that one out!

User avatar
tom Cadillac
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 376
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:49 am
Gear: FS1R, EPS, JP8000, Kaos pad, Ineko, SP606, Mopho, MP7 and so on....
Band: Bipolarbass
Location: Auckland NZ

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by tom Cadillac » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:29 am

Yeah, definately synth on 'Double Seven'. Bob Marley later had an amazing Oberheim (3 little birds etc)- try reproducing that in a covers band!

The use of samples is much more interesting though. Well strctly left over bits from the vocal tracks. This left a lasting influence. I'd like to know how much financial constraint played in the use of synth in early reggae?
"On the following day , the sorcery undespairingly continued: I changed my series, chose other sequences, cut other lengths, spliced different progressions, and hoped afresh for a miracle in sound." (Stockhausen)

User avatar
balma
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2851
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:52 pm
Real name: Mauricio
Gear: DSI Tempest/Prophet 08/Roland V-Synth/Ensoniq Fizmo/E-mu MP7-XL7/Electribe ESX1/Radias/Waldorf MicroQ
Location: Costa Rica

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by balma » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:40 pm

masstronaut wrote:
that was a good excuse!....Image
His sex dungeons are rumored to hold hundreds of people in secret locations around the world.
https://soundcloud.com/balma

User avatar
tallowwaters
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4998
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:11 am
Gear: LC-MS/MS
Location: snake's belly in a wagon rut

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by tallowwaters » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:55 pm

tom Cadillac wrote:Yeah, definately synth on 'Double Seven'. Bob Marley later had an amazing Oberheim (3 little birds etc)- try reproducing that in a covers band!

The use of samples is much more interesting though. Well strctly left over bits from the vocal tracks. This left a lasting influence. I'd like to know how much financial constraint played in the use of synth in early reggae?
I imagine living in a ghetto in a third world country had quite a constraint. Of course, basses with 40 year old strings and drums with s**t end heads are what gave it the distinctive sound.

Absolutely right about Double Seven. I though Revolution came before that.

By the way, those Vulkan tracks are sick...
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

User avatar
balma
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2851
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:52 pm
Real name: Mauricio
Gear: DSI Tempest/Prophet 08/Roland V-Synth/Ensoniq Fizmo/E-mu MP7-XL7/Electribe ESX1/Radias/Waldorf MicroQ
Location: Costa Rica

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by balma » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:27 pm

We have a true and authentic reggae culture here in CR in the atlantic coast, specifically at the zone of Limon.

Very poor area, high levels of delinquency on the main city, but the small coast towns remain as reggae paradises....

There were a lot of caribbean inmigrants that came to build the train lines on the past century, they stayed here, and build towns of pure jamaican negros....

You can see some of these guys, living from artesanal works,sitting on the streets with all their rastafari looks, and that smell.......

They have a minimun wage, but have a very, very, VERY relaxed life. lying under the beach trees talking on a weird english, man. When I see their huge smile and singing reggae, I will like to be a jamaican negro too....
Europe girls that come here, almost melt on their arms. For them, those guys are pure sexual latin bombs, they score all the blondie tourists.... f**k...

This is "Puerto Viejo" a reggae beach, I go there at least once per year. Some bars are on the beach surrounded by trees, tables have candles, there are some cops sitting on one, and on the others, everybody is drinking, having fun and smoking weed, and cops do nothing. What they could do? if everybody does it.

Image
Image


The town is very small, you can walk around it in half an hour....this is the main street:
Image

See what I mean.... :)

Image

Image
Image
Image


Image
Now I was eating with my mom on a tiny restaurant, and this rasta guy was out there, like waiting for me, then I walked out and he called me, and said on english:

hey man, do you have somethin' for me? right? right there in your left pocket!!!

So I put my hand inside my pocket and grab the last joint that I had and gave it to him.

how the f**k did he knew I had a joint on my pocket?

Telephatic rasta
His sex dungeons are rumored to hold hundreds of people in secret locations around the world.
https://soundcloud.com/balma

PolarAC
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:28 am
Gear: ASR-10, ESQ-1, Juno 6, MPC 2000, Concertmate MG-1, Fender Rhodes 88, Wavestation A/D, Mutable labs Shruthi-1, Bastl MicroGranny, Volca FM
Location: SoCal

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by PolarAC » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:24 pm

^^^Good s**t. I always wanted to go to Costa Rica. I also heard they have nice chicas :)

User avatar
balma
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2851
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:52 pm
Real name: Mauricio
Gear: DSI Tempest/Prophet 08/Roland V-Synth/Ensoniq Fizmo/E-mu MP7-XL7/Electribe ESX1/Radias/Waldorf MicroQ
Location: Costa Rica

Re: First Reggae-influenced hit to feature a synthesizer?

Post by balma » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:49 pm

Helll yeah!
Image

You should see the place where I work. I CAN"T focus!

Big reggae cultire here, strongest from Middle America after Panama. But Panama is mostly reggaeton. People here simple loves classic reggae, Bob Marley is an idol.
Reggae and electronic owns the beach parties. If is not reggae like Peter Tosh, Third World, Marley, etc, is house music..... party mood seven days at beaches. Such a strong tourism culture.

Life in the beach here.... well... each time I go, I swear to myself that I must come back the other weekend. But also, is quite expensive due to lot of tourists....
His sex dungeons are rumored to hold hundreds of people in secret locations around the world.
https://soundcloud.com/balma

Post Reply