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World In Dub

Ranking Joe

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Album Review

DJ Ranking Joe (who has also recorded under the name Little Joe, not to be confused with Little John) is a legend among the cognoscenti of old-school dancehall reggae, although his commercial career and worldwide reputation have always been overshadowed by those of his contemporaries Big Youth and, especially, the great U-Roy, who served as something of a mentor to Ranking Joe during his early career. This excellent new set finds him in the company of session greats from the early days, including trumpeter Bobby Ellis, saxophonist Dean Fraser, and guitarist Chinna Smith; since Ryan Moore (of Twilight Circus Dub Sound System fame) is behind the boards, the rhythms are thick, dark, and heavy — close your eyes and you could be back in the Channel One studio or even the Black Ark during the roots heyday of the late '70s. And Ranking Joe himself is in top form; he's effortlessly articulate chatting on tracks like "Don't Follow Babylon" (a fine combination track featuring singer Michael Rose) and "Seek Ye First," neither of them breaking any new ground either lyrically or musically, but both demonstrating again that Ranking Joe deserves to be rated with the very best exponents of this venerable style of reggae chatting. Highly recommended.

Biography

Born: July 1, 1959 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Reggae DJ Ranking Joe was born Joseph Jackson in Kingston on June 1, 1959. Launching his recording career right around the time that the reggae/dub movement began sweeping the world during the mid-'70s, renowned producer Coxsone Dodd took Joe under his wing as he landed a DJ spot with a soundsystem called El Paso Hi-Fi. With Dodd overseeing Joe's early sessions, a debut single was issued in 1975 (under the name of Little Joe), "Gun Court." From there, Joe branched out and worked with a variety of...
Full Bio
World In Dub, Ranking Joe
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