morwell unlimited fidel castro

A: Morwell Unlimited – Fidel Castro

B: The Professionals – Fidel version

Maurice Wellington, better known as Blacka Morwell, will probably be best remembered for his work with the group the Morwells / Morwell Unlimited, but there is far more to the man than meets the eye. Although Errol Thompson, deservedly so, often gets credit for his body of work for Joe Gibbs,  both Maurice as well as Ossie Hibbert & Ruddy Thomas remain uncredited most of the time. Undeservedly so, I might add, because they were influential and instrumental at Retirement Crescent.

Maurice Wellington set up the Morwells in 1972 with childhood friend (and Joe Gibbs recording artist) Eric “Bingy Bungy” Lamont, which became a trio in 1974 when Louis Davis joined (who was formerly a member of the Versatiles, whom also recorded for Joe Gibbs.) It was Louis Davis who was the arranger for the group and it was also Louis who taught Bingy Bunny to play guitar. A job well done, since the latter would be become a very in demand session player with the Roots Radics, while Blacka landed a job as the in-house arranger for the Joe Gibbs studio’s. I remember reading an interview where he said he started out as the gateman for the studio, but I can’t find proof of that anywhere. As an arranger Blacka did marvellous work with a group called African Disciples, who would release their smashing debut album in 1977 and were now called “Culture.” Legend has it, it was Blacka who renamed the group.

In 1976 Maurice also became a producer and engineer for the Joe Gibbs studio and it is from this period, the featured 7 inch stems.  Although both Bingy Bungy and Blacka took up vocal duties on their songs, Fidel Castro is an instrumental. I think it’s quite safe to say the track is probably only credited to the Morwells because it is a Blacka production (according to the matrix number), but it sounds like a Professionals tune in every way (which features Bingy as well, who was a member). To make things a bit more complicated, the track bears the engineering signature of Errol Thompson, with the car crash in the break being the most evident giveaway. Although that might have been a studio trademark by that time, since Ossie Hibbert also used effects on his dubs. I can’t say for sure, because frankly, i’m not that familiar with the production style of Maurice Wellington. It definitely sounds like a Joe Gibbs Studio production, and that’s what matters to me.

Musically speaking, Fidel Castro is a bit of a gem. A little one, but a gem nonetheless. The tune would have fitted in perfectly on the “State of Emergency” album (on which Blacka does get a credit), but the fact that it doesn’t makes this a bit more collectable. Especially because I don’t think this was ever featured on an album. Not that “Fidel Castro” is pure fireworks, ultra rare or astonishingly mindblowing – nothing like that really – but this horn laden track does display the power of the studio. The Professionals are solid, tight and original. The production is heavy yet clear and the effects are funny, but actually add to the track like a picture to a story. And yes indeed, they make it sound so simple, but I don’t believe that for a minute. Stick it on and enjoy. That’s what music’s for..


Label: Errol T (Ja)
Matrix: M.W. 3109 RRS / MW ML 3108 RRS
Release date: 1976 (my guess)
Riddim: Melodians – Come on little girl

(originally posted on 02-05-11)



  • pressurebeat says:
    7 November 2014 at 14:26


    Pressure Beat said…

    Accidentally deleted a comment by Voice of Reason >

    “Apart from the Vincent Gordon trombone line, this would have fitted quite well onto the Morwells’ 1975 LP “Dub Me”, although that was recorded at Channel One with “Fish” Clarke and “Flabba” Holt on drums and bass. ” < It is actually the same riddim as the first track on that lp. Track is called Sky Ride and lacks the horns. Good point! Thanks for the input VOR. Much appreciated. 9/19/2011 the_voice_of_reason said…

    The riddim is therefore the Morwells’ version of the Melodians’ “Come On Little Girl” from their debut Lp “Presenting the Morwells”, eight tracks of which came out over here on Burning Sounds in 1978 as “Crab Race”.

    That LP’s changing hands for silly money these days, and even the UK release will set you back about £60.


    Pressure Beat said…

    Thanks to Nick Farris (via e-mail) and VOR for the riddim update.



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