Joseph Cotton – Gourmandizer

A: Jah Walton – Gourmandizer

B: Mighty Two – Mandizer Rock


I once saw some raw footage of a, sadly unfinished, documentary about life in Jamaica. The snippet showed an elderly, proud rastaman who declared that it’s nearly impossible to die of starvation on the island. The country indeed produces a very rich and great variety of fruits and vegetables and it may come as no surprise that many also have a song of praise to their name. The mighty Gourmandizer is one such tune.

Gourmandizer also marked the debut of a new dj on the scene. Born in St. Ann, a son of the legendary drummer Count Ossie, the consistently sharp dressed Jah Walton quickly made waves with his vegetarian lifestyle promosong and never looked back. When Pressure Beat asked him about the song, he explained:

“..that was my first recording, 1976. It was an answer to a Dillinger song call “Ragnampiza.” (Channel One, 1976) Joe Gibbs wanted me to do it and call it Gaumandizer, which is someone who would eat a lot of meat, including pork and as you know rasta dont eat pork. If you listen to the introduction you will hear Ruddy Thomas saying “Wah happen gaumandizer?” and I say to him: “Yuh couldn’t come call I an I gaumandizer, rasta. I an I a vegetarian, yuh nuh see it?” And then Ossie Hibbert say: “Gaumandizer!”

jah walton picAfter which the Joe Gibbs version of the “Unchained” riddim is unleashed (a next cut to ‘Schooling the beat’ off of African Dub part I) with Jah Walton explaining he “nah deal wid pork.” It’s hard to believe this is the first recording of this dj, as it is delivered in such a fine and confident style, you’d expect the man on the mic to be more experienced. I guess it’s fair to say Jah Walton is a natural talent. After his debut Jah Walton continued his career by recording for many other producers:

“..going from studio to studio. When is not Randy’s, is Joe Gibbs or Studio One, Channel One, King Tubbys or Treasure Isle. Blacka Morwell (Gibbs’ inhouse producer and former studio gateman) was a man known by every one in the business. I knew him from the idlers corner where we all grew up. All studio doors were open in my time.”

As well as performing on soundsystems:

“I perform on many sound system as you can imagine. In 1978 I became one of the resident dj on Stone Love, which was a small sound system at the time, then in 1979 I move to Channel One to be the resident dj along side U Brown.”

An overview of tracks recorded in this period of time came out a few years ago on the German Moll-Selekta label. I think the label ceased to exist and the lp is out of print, but “Dancehall days 1976 – 1984” (credited to Joseph Cotton, the name Jah Walton took on in the 80’s) is more than worthwhile to track down. It features some hard to find singles and some great unreleased tracks too. Gourmandizer, however, is not on there. Which is a shame really, because the track is still very well received some 40 odd years later. If you manage to get your hands on a copy, rinse it and you’ll find out. But it’ll be hard. Gourmandizer discs are scarce because few soundmen out there would let this go without putting up a fight. Like I said, it’s still very well received..

Special thanks to Jah Walton/Joseph Cotton for his time and kindness.


Label: Joe Gibbs Record Globe (Ja)
Release date: 1976
Matrix: DSR- 2699 A / DSR-2700 B
Riddim: Bob Andy – Unchained

(originally posted on 21-09-12)



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