A: Joe Gibbs & The Destroyers – Navado Joe

B: Joe Gibbs & The Destroyers – Straight to the head

Two superb boss reggae sides from the Joe Gibbs camp, featuring Johnnie Lover on vocals. Both utilizing the ‘Mad Rooster’ riddim, Little Johnny Jones plays the western rude boy in fine style. Lee Perry had introduced spaghetti western influenced music in Jamaica, which was already smitten with the movie genre itself, with the very succesful ‘Bronco (Django shoots first),’  featuring Sir Lord Comic on vocal duties, and the impeccable ‘Return of Django.’ After that, a whole bunch of follow ups hit the streets; both by Lee Perry, Rupie Edwards, Bunny Lee and of course Joe Gibbs, who celebrated Django actor Franco Nero on wax.

413px-NevadajoeReleased in 1964, Oeste Nevada Joe or Guns of Nevada, was a Spanish/Italian western telling the story of a superfast gunfighter who is hired to discover why profits are disappearing from a mining company. Although it was less popular a spaghetti western than ‘Django’ or ‘For a fistul of dollars,’ it was apparently known well enough in Jamaica to use the lead character in a song. And even if the people didn’t know who Nevada Joe was, the introduction takes no prisoners. Uglier than Ugly and also badder than Ugly (Tuco from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) Nevada Joe challenges Django (or Lee Perry, if you want) to meet him at Stone Hill at ten to twelve…  Considering the plot and rating of Django, it’s quite bold of  ‘Nevada Joe’ Dexter to even think he’s going to win this one. But let the music do the talking and it sure does pose a threat to its competitor, for it is scorching hot!

Even more so on the flip, where Johnny Jones is either inviting Jack Colby to his world (‘welcome mister Colby;’ from the flick High Noon and played by Lee van Cleef)  or ‘mister coffin’ (i.e. Django, who’s dragging a coffin with him all the time), I can’t really make it out. When I bought this record I was convinced it was a Lee Perry production because it’s got his signature written all over it; what with the echoes, the theme, the effects and all. But when these tunes were released Perry had already left the Gibbs stable to go out on his own, recording for his own Upset(ter) label, as well as the Dynamic imprints. So, kudos to Niney, who has mastered the art of spaghetti western reggae to the fullest. Both cuts are marvelous and available on the Jamaican press or the Trojan Amalgamated subsidiary.


Label: JoGibs (Ja) / Amalgamated (Uk)
Release date: 1970
Riddim: Mad Rooster
Matrix: Dyna JG – 837 / 838

Posted: 02-04-2016


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