JAH GRUNDY – SHAOLIN DISCIPLES

A: Jah Grundy – Shaolin Disciples

B: Joe Gibbs & The Proffesionals – Kick to yu chin

 

Jah Grundy rides the Professionals’ update of the Techniques’ rocksteady anthem ‘Love is not a gamble‘ in fine style. Using the kung-fu theme – popular through the flood of martial arts movies in the seventies and onwards, like The 36th chamber of Shaolin –  the song is known as Shaolin Disciples, Sharlin Disciples and Shaolin Temple. To make it even more complicated, the matrix number also differs on its various releases. It’s all the same song though, and it’s the work of a talented youth named Jah Grundy. Born as Stephen Weise, Grundy is the brother of  Sylvester Weise, who ran the Libra Don label and co-wrote all the songs on Gregory Isaacs superb Night Nurse album. As Jah Grundy, Stephen recorded a few tunes for Gibbs, Channel One and Mikey Dread before leaving Kingston for Negril and changing his artist name to Principal. The mic-man tells his story on the ‘Just Love Me’ and ‘Dance With Me’ albums, which he released in 2003:

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in October of 1958 my birth name was Stephen Weise. I grew up living with my mother and stepfather. My favorite subject in school was composition for which I always received good marks. I attribute my love of this subject as a major contributing faction in my passion for composing lyrics.

While growing up my stepfather owned and operated two record shops in Kingston called Cunningham Record Shops which were located on Spanish Town Road near the Coronation Market. After school and on weekends I would help out in these shops. I noticed my musical inclination at the tender age of 9. While working one day in the shop, I found a telephone mouthpiece and hooked it to an amplifier in the shop. To my delight, the mouthpiece worked splendidly. Using this device, I began talking and singing to the rhythms of the music. This was where I first began to develop my musical skill and style.

Jah Grundy Jah Grundy / Principal (picture by Beth Lesser)

As I continued to practice, I began to realize that a crowd would gather both inside and outside of the shop to watch me perform. One day while entertaining the crowd, my stepfather appeared and became upset when he realized the crowd was their to watch me rather than to purchase records. In anger he unplugged my mouthpiece. After he left, I reconnected it and continued to entertain. One could easily trace my musical beginnings to that date some thirty years ago.

After that incident my stepfather decided it was time for me to acquire a trade. He took me to apprentice as a shoemaker. Even though I excelled at the trade I was not happy as my soul belonged to my music. I left the apprenticeship and went to work at Joe Gibbs Record store in downtown Kingston. My stage name was Jah Grundy which I adopted after my favorite racehorse. My first recording was made at Channel One Studio in 1974 and was entitled Peace A De Action. Ironically, all I received for my share was cab fare from the studio. While at Joe Gibbs I recorded eight songs. Two of the eight were released. The first one Shaolin Disiples better known as Shaolin Temple topped the charts in 1978. The second titled Resident Area featured myself along with the Original Black Uhuru with Michael Rose as the lead singer.

During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s I became one of Jamaica’s front line dancehall DJ’s. I began using the stage name Original Principal which originated in a classroom when learning about mythology. During the class I knew more about the topic than the teacher and took over the class. The other students then crowned me the Original Principal which has stuck in more ways than one.

In 1978, I moved from Kingston to Negril to escape the city violence and join my father who was a resident of Negril. I still reside in Negril to this day.

I deejay’s on sounds such as Emperor Faith, Socialist Roots, Black Star, Stereo Phonic, People’s Choice, King Majesty, Black Harmony Hi Fi, Arrow, Virgo, Gemini, Studio 54, Soul to Soul, Kingsturgav, Jack Ruby, Elpato, Tuffgon, Wh-Dat, Bodyguard, Taurus, Stone Love, Kilimanjaro, Super Sonic, Disco Bill, King Faith, Lightening, El Matador, Soul Shot, Ticka Muzik, Ghetto International, Black Scorpio, Metro Media, Down Beat, African Love in New York, Road Runner, Melody Hi Fi, Earthquake in Toronto, Cozone, Saxone, V Rocket, King Tubby’s, and MacBee in England.

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Label: Belmont (Ja)
Release date: 1978
Riddim: Love is not a gamble (Techniques)
Matrix: DSR 7410 / DSR 7411 / JG-061  KK Mastering

Posted: 16-05-2016

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