on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 25 Apr

Reggae’s Finest Hours – Mabrak’s „Drum Talk“

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  Comments off

Leroy Mattis’ first drum was a plastic butter container. ‘My mother wouldn’t buy me a drum because back then the situation in Jamaica was very tense… In 1960 Jamaica was still an English colony, and the drum is a roots instrument.’ Tommy McCook was living two doors down; during the first years of The Skatalites, Mattis would practise there. In 1970 he was National Junior Drumming Champion, with Count Ossie winning overall; four years later his ensemble battled in the Senior finals with the drummers of the Light Of Saba.


„Our group was initially called Genesis, it was a 7-piece drum group, but I changed the name to Mabrak, which means Thunder in Amharic. We knew that we were coming with a heavy sound.“




Experiments in percussion, in the middle of the night at Harry J’s. Funky versions of rhythms like Curly Locks and Too Late To Turn Back Now, led by talking drums. Blaxploitation is in the air… the Staples… even a blast of Barry White. Beautifully mixed by King Tubby, who couldn’t believe his ears.

Originally released in 1976, in paper inners only. Smartly sleeved in quintessential Dug Out style this time around — with an insert, including a recent interview with Mabrak.

Some of you might hear from Mabrak for the first time now. Be careful: once tuned in, it might easily turn into addictive listening.  The talking drum as a lead instrument was a kind of „deeply rootded novelty sound“ – the ascetic outfit of the band must have been a dream come true for King Tubby’s mixing desk. Or is this whole story just made up? Fooling you into a short chapter of the  long history of great unmade albums?

In terms of smoked-out midnight vibes, Drum Talk is about as close as you’ll come to the deeply cherished reissue of the Dadawah album in Dug Out’s catalogue but, it’s also more danceable, if your body knows enough twists for skanking such minimalism!


(most parts based on the Honest Jon’s Reggae Department, „Dug Out“)

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