Reggae Rula, vol. 1

There was a time when Reggae music in Spain was made more with the heart than with really uknowledge, with more passion that technique, with more enthusiasm than ways of promotion. After the dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, the country had entered into a so-called democratic transition.

And also began to arrive strongly the vibration of Jamaican reggae, which had lived, during the 70s, it’s greatest period, when it was internationally exported specially to those countries and areas where jamacains based like United Kingdom Canada and United States. The way the jaicans understood music was conquering the new musical waves all around the planet. In Spain, that jamaican influence was still weaker, reduced to some covers from the pop bands leading the national charts on that moment. But the huge influence by the greatest Reggae ambassador ever, Bob Marley, was growing strongly. His death on 1981 raised his figure to the category of legend and his greatest hits were played in all the world dancefloors and radios. With him, other jamaican artists like Third World, Jimmy Cliff or Peter Tosh were part of the most popular Reggae names to whon ant citizen could have access in anyway.

In the other hand, the punk wave on 1976-77 also changed notably the international musical scene. Anyone could grab a guitar and play four chords or hit a drum discharging their fury against whoever they wanted to. Imagination was upfront technique and lots of bands were borned everywhere with the idea of expressing their defiance against the system or simply make music fresh and brave. That situation led to new movements like the New Wave and, by the end of the seventies, a new musical style strongly influenced by jamaican music took it’s name from the main record label at thet time, Two Tone. That name really matched with it’s aesthetic, drawn in two tones: black and white. And in the british cities suburbs young white and blacks, mostly caribbean and jamaican inmigrants descendents, united for creating a new rhythm which was nothing less than pop and ska music with reggae and punk influences. The shock wave was unstoppable.

Step by step, in the early 80s borned the first bands playing Reggae and Ska music with their own style. Between the first pop & rock bands, Euskadi, Valencia, Catalunya, Madrid and some parts of Andalucía saw the dawn of the jamaican sound. At the beguining we could find Potato, originally from Vitoria-Gasteiz, and valencian Jah Macetas. Malarians (Guaki Taneke) and Desakato Dada coming from Madrid and, in Barcelona, Skatala and Dr. Calypso were also playing the jamaican vibes but closer to the ska sounds.

At that moment ska and reggae music were also part of the music played by the bands playing the so called Rock Radikal Vasco, a music label, which didn’t liked to every one, but was the shack were lot of bands were filed like Hertzainak, Kortatu, La Polla Records or Barricada. But jamaican music was also part of this scene, as it was for the british punks. Potato, formed in 1984 were close to punk scene, but only played reggae and ska. Their first songs were cover of original jamaican songs adapted to spanish lyrics, with their own sarcastic style, like “Miguelín El Casero” (“Sammy Dead-O” from Eric Morris), “Jamaica Ska”, “Punky Reggae Party” or “Monkey Man”.

In Valencia Jah Macetas was borned in 1983 from the ashes of a prior band called Julio Fari Y Sus Macetas. The difference from Potato’s parting style, Jah Macetas followed the classic path: using Studio One riddims mixing it with Lovers Rock atmospheres. And also, from 1986, the charismatic Pere Andrés joined the band as lead singer when Julio “Fari” Beltrán left the band, these new bands were followed by some other bands in different parts of the country.

This compilation’s author intention is to remember and throw some light over that music scene compiling a selection of the most interesting part of it. he also was a part of it by running his own radio show Sound System FM, airplayed since 1989 up to date with his partner Xavi “Papa Dick” Guillamon, went to this first live performances and interviewed most of them at that very first moment. So his intention is, from his point of view, selecting the best moments of the first reggae days in Spain.

(This text is taken from the album liner notes).

A1. Potato – Rula (1988)
A2. Jah Macetas – Dime (1990)
A3. Números Rojos Ft. Ragnampiza – Ave Europa (1990)
A4. Mango Bongo – One, Two (1991)
A5. Malarians – No Lo Pienses Mas (Circa 1988) inédito
A6. Banana Boats – What A Saturday Night (1993)

B1. Roots Generator – 1992 (1993)
B2. To Pa Jah – Mi Amigo Revolucionario (1995) sólo editado en K7
B3. Dr. Calypso – Reggae Para Peach (1995) sólo editado en K7
B4. Jah Macetas – El Sueño Del Capitán (1997)
B5. Potato – Jabalíes (1992)
B6. Lone Watti – I & I (1997)

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