SIR LORD COMIC – JACK OF MY TRADE (THE WHIP)

A: Slickers – Man beware

B: Sir Lord Comic – Jack of my trade (The Whip)

 

Lee Perry and Keith Hudson are often cited as the pioneers when it comes to recording deejays on wax, and indeed they were onto the phenomenon early in the game and had the audacity to release these tunes as singles when it was still considered experimental to do so. However,  it was WIRL who recorded the first ever deejay record and released it on vinyl.  Skaing West was released in 1966 on Ronnie Nasralla and Byron Lee’s BMN label in Jamaica and on Doctor Bird in the UK and featured veteran deejay Sir Lord Comic, a toaster who was already handling the mic for near and about 10 years by then.

Legend has it that it was Coxsone Dodd who introduced the art toasting in Jamaica. While he was abroad in the US he heard american deejays talk over records on the radio, talking and jiving to the beat but not necessarily telling a story. He explained the idea to his Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat soundsystem deejay, Count Machuki, who then took up the mic and started ‘wisecracking’ in the dancehall. It turned out very succesful and Dodd’s rivals soon followed suit by putting men like Cuttins (Treasure Isle) and Red Hopeton (King Edwards) to the fore.

Sir Lord Comic, who was a dancer with the Admiral Dean soundsystem, also began to chat. And unlike the others, who never recorded, the good sir somehow managed his way into the recording studio and on wax. Though never really succesful in terms of sales and hits, his catalogue is still rather impressive, what with songs like Great Wuga Wuga (Wirl), Bronco/Django shoots first (Upsetter),  Rhythm Rebellion (Studio One) and Jack of my trade. The latter song he cut for Joe Gibbs, who seems to have had the goal to catch the veterans on wax in 1970, recording a handful of tunes with both Comic and Count Machuki (his first recordings ever).

‘Jack of my trade’ rides an update of the Techniques’ ‘You don’t care‘ riddim, which Gibbs also used for ‘Franco Nero‘. Although uncredited, the vocals on this tribute to the Django actor are also Sir Lord Comic’s. Singing wasn’t exactly his strong suit however, which makes this song a rather unpleasant experience. On Jack of My trade, though, we hear Lord Comic in fine, fine style. The Mighty Cool Cat chats his way through the bible (Mark 8:36 – what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul?), Richard Wright (Black Boy – Like the farmer said to the potato, I’ll plant you now and dig you later), his colleagues (calling U Roy, King Stitt, Otis Redding ..), the world, the whip and pyschedelic sounds around town. And it sounds absolutely superb.

Jack of my Trade was the last recording of Sir Lord Comic. He appeared again in the Deep Roots Music documentary some ten years later, alongside his friend Count Machuki, talking about ska, showing off his dance moves and, sadly, displaying his days as a deejay were more than over. Which was also apparent when deejays like I Roy and Big Youth took the game a step further in the early seventies by telling stories that were actually related to the lyrics of the original tracks they sung over. And with that, the deejay boom truly took off.

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Label: Pressure Beat (Ja) / Pressure Beat (UK)
Release date: 1970
Riddim: You don’t care – The Techniques / Franco Nero – Destroyers
Matrix: Dyna JG 2063-1

Posted: 28-12-2015

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