Tall Dread - Ten years late

A: Tall Dread – Ten years late

B: Mighty Two – version


In a conversation or a written piece about dj’s from the Joe Gibbs stable, it’s most likely you’ll hear or read the name ‘Prince Mohammed’ within a nanosecond. See, I just did it myself. It always strikes me as odd when this occurs, as Prince Mohammed was certainly not the only dj who recorded for Gibbs. Nor was he the best, but that’s just a personal opinion. Perhaps his constant namechecking is due to the worldwide succes of ‘Someone loves you, honey‘ which introduced Prince M to a whole new audience and somehow established his name as thé Gibbs dj. Just the other day I saw a youtube film in which the uploader was asking for the name of the uncredited dj version on his blank Joe Gibbs label; the first comment underneath it was: ‘that’s easy, this is Prince Mohammed’  but it was actually Puddy Roots on the mic. Worlds apart in both style and delivery.

Perhaps part of the blame can be shifted towards Joe Gibbs himself, because his constant mislabelling, miscrediting and use of disguise characters doesn’t make it any easier a task to define who’s who in reggae. ‘Ten years late’ by Tall Dread is one of them, I believe, because other than this release I’ve never seen or heard anything else by the tall man. Maybe it’s because Joe Gibbs credited it to him on a reissue album called ‘Original dj classics volume 3‘ but ‘Ten years late’ is often credited to … Prince Mohammed.

I don’t buy it though. The track is a superb dj cut on the Heptones classic ‘Equal rights, – called ‘Black September‘ in the Gibbs version – and showcases a versatile micman who can both sing and toast. Naturally, this brings to mind Prince Mohammed again, who mastered both of these arts. I prefer to listen to him as a singer (George Nooks) because as a dj I often find him to be too loud. On record he always comes across like he’s shouting. Only softening it with a lowvoiced ‘yyeeeeeeerrrr‘ here and there, Prince Mohammed sides are generally more than I can take (That said: there are exceptions.)

‘Ten years late’ displays none of these trademarks, really, and is delivered in quite a laid back style. Tall Dread moans in a Big Youth influenced approach about hardship, keeping the faith and half bionic men, while interspersing his story with ‘go deh‘ and ‘mercy lord!’ remarks. All of these are clues that lead me to believe this wicked track was actually recorded by Shorty the President. Not only did Shorty use the ‘mercy lord’ trademark, he can also be heard toasting/singing in a very similar style on many other releases from the mid to late 70’s. Also, Shorty has been subject to puns about his name more often (shortier the president etc), but being named Tall Dread is just too funny not to be true.

President is tall on this release indeed, making it all the more sad he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. If I’m right, that is. If I’m not, well, then this would be Prince Mohammed’s best recording ever, in which case it’s also sad he doesn’t get his credit. And now it’s 30 years late inna babylon… Killer tune!


Label: Belmont (Ja)
Release date: 1978
Matrix: DSR – 1924 / DSR – 1874
Riddim: Equal rights (Heptones)

(originally posted on 25-11-11)



  • pressurebeat says:
    18 November 2014 at 12:37



    the_voice_of_reason said…

    Well, I’m pretty sure it’s not George “Prince Mohammed” Nooks. While the style is similar to Shorty the President, I don’t hear a massive vocal similarity. If this isn’t a one-off recording, and the deejay did record for Gibbs under another name, I’d hazard a guess that it might be Jah Grundy of “Resident Area”/”Shaolin Temple” fame. I also thought it might be Joe Tex, but playing this back to back with “Rub A Dub Evening” makes that less likely to my ears


    Pressure Beat said…

    It’s always a bit of a guess. Like you, I’m pretty confident it’s not Prince Mohammed, but I’m not too sure about the Jah Grundy guess either. I spun both versions you mentioned and, although there are indeed similarities, I’m sticking with my original thesis.

    Rinsing “natty pass him gce’ or ‘Don’t Skulk’ I hear that same trembling and breaking voice as in the Tall Dread song..



Leave a reply

Fields marked with * are required