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Vintage Sound System Information

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mini-mad View Drop Down
Old Croc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mini-mad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2015 at 12:27pm
@Dub Specialist. Can i get a look at the plan on that bad boy please... i like those old school w-bins. Always had a great punch to them.

If it sounds like a gorilla is trying to escape, turn it down.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dub Specialist Sound Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2015 at 1:48pm
Yes mini its not a w-bin so too say imho its a folded horn 3 folds with 2x letter box's throat's for twin 12s

its the old EV Sentry bin....and yes do punch hard man ..
Musical Roots Reggae Vibration is Life! for music is sound...sound is vibration...vibration is energy... and energy begets life. Therein lies my passion!...MUSIC IS LIFE...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dub Specialist Sound Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2015 at 1:57pm
Dont work well at all in the house iether haha as we know, really excells outdoors,

EV 5050


techinally a baby bertha




Musical Roots Reggae Vibration is Life! for music is sound...sound is vibration...vibration is energy... and energy begets life. Therein lies my passion!...MUSIC IS LIFE...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sapro2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 April 2015 at 12:45pm
Here's one for you. Not all sound system photos but interesting non the less, some photos from the early days of St Pauls carnival in Bristol:

http://www.timeout.com/bristol/art/19-amazing-images-of-1980s-bristol-by-beezer?fb_ref=Default
Splat Soundsystem
Baby Sham pram Soundsystem
Sapro - SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/sapro
DJ Sapro. West country free party DJ and Producer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote app Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 April 2015 at 12:21am


Edited by app - 25 April 2015 at 12:21am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jammin75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 April 2015 at 8:11am
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feel the vibes !!!   "Who Feels it Knows it"            Strong like Lion              
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tune In Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2015 at 3:36pm
Originally posted by confused.com confused.com wrote:

Now that is a serious system. Only ever seen Jack's system in the 80s reggae documentary and in a few you tube clips. It is true the whole lot ran off of one single amp full of KT88s?

https://youtu.be/HojSqkgu8y8






Edited by Tune In - 26 April 2015 at 3:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote app Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2015 at 8:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mucsavage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2015 at 10:20pm
Nice one App, some proper reading there.
RIP Mr Ruddock

I am hooked on the 80s Firehouse type stuff.
Its cheesy and ruff all at the same time.
Love it

Also, this is one of my favourite threads all the whole t'internet

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote app Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 April 2015 at 1:16pm




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote app Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2015 at 5:32pm
From SoundsystemCulture fb. Something to readBig smile

JAH POPS – LORD PRESIDENT SOUND SYSTEM

"My name is Tony Davis but everyone used to know me as Jah Pops when I moved with Lord President sound system," says Tony who believes it was once one of the largest sounds from Manchester in the early 80s. "It was the heaviest sound system in Manchester at the time," he proclaims.

Tony was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1954. His early childhood memories are nights sitting next to his father's sound system called Boogies as he played weekend dances. "I'd be sat by the sound all night. If my mum knew this she would have killed him!" says Tony who's uncle Errol looked after him. "He was worried I'd be out that late, you know five, six year old. My dad didn't mind though. He wanted me to be with him when he played out because every other weekend was a time when he got to spend with me."

Tony arrived in England aged nine sent by his mother to live with his grandparents. He went to Old Trafford Boys School and later when he left education he got his first job in Trafford Park "making condiments sets, you know like fire guards, poker and shovels, them tings.” Despite this he remembers, "all the time I was thinking about sound system you know? I wanted to go and play the sound, or build a sound, or have my own sound but all I ever did was play somebody else’s sound.”

From the age of sixteen he was a DJ with a sound called Cat Weasel. "We used to play in the parties around Old Trafford until I met the President," he says. This was a turning point because Lord President was one of the biggest sounds in Manchester. "President had four DJs but he was the main DJ. The four of us were the main crew members and the rest of the guys were like box carriers." It was a big sound system for Manchester’s standards, “like 6000 watts of amplifier. Back in the days the average sound had a thousand or two thousand watts. So we were killing it sound-wise and weight-wise. We had a valve amplifier – valve amps would make it really heavy – and sixteen box speakers them times."

The sound was led by ‘President', a "nice guy" according to Tony, though sometimes a "bit of a show off because he knew he had the heaviest sound in town and people used to talk about him all the time." Despite this President was not always leading when it came to new music thinks Tony. He commanded respect out of sheer wattage instead. "When it came to playing [against President] if he didn't want you to play, he would just turn it up and drown you out... and play all night."

One of the reasons Tony enjoyed being involved was because he "used to get a lot of girls round the sound system. Yeah, I used to play records dedicated to the girls (when I knew their name). Songs like 'Ohhh Margaret!' and she would know that I was playing that song for her.” The music Tony played was mostly rocksteady and steppas music, "some roots and lovers, that kind of thing.” President was lucky enough to be able to source records straight from Jamaica for Tony to play. "He would assign people to press a dubplate for him and would come back to England and just mash up sounds with it!"

Tony also remembers playing at blues parties. "They didn't have no noise abatement society back then," he says, "and every weekend different houses, we'd play. We'd probably have two or three sound systems – one sound would string up in the living room, another sound would string up in one of the bedrooms and the third sound would be in the next room. Just bare darkness and everybody just nice.” Sometimes he explains, "you'd pay probably a pound or two on the door to get in and the party would go on late – maybe start 10 o'clock at night till 10 in the morning. People would still be dancing away, going home meeting the people going to church the same morning!" For Tony these were good times. "We'd walk home rather than take a taxi because we are feeling nice and high from the night, you know just stroll back home.” He remembers that this wasn't just a local scene of blues parties either – he used to get booked to play houses in different city’s as well including Leeds and Sheffield.

One of the most memorable sound system events for him was playing against Jah Shaka in London. "I think we came off really, really good. We didn't win because obviously Shaka sound had more followers than us... they were a bit bias. They reckon Shaka beat us up badly and send us back to Manchester!"

"Manchester is second to London when he comes to music," reckons Tony. As for sounds systems at the time, he believes Lord Cass was one of the most respected sounds from the area. "He was the sound that everybody loved at the time. Because he wasn't really a heavy sound but it was a mellow sound. People like the way that he DJ. He used to draw a crowd and hold a crowd all night.” As for second generation sound systems in Manchester he remembers, "Stereo Dan – they came after us – and Megatone."

Tony left Lord President sound after five years. "It was finance," he says which meant that he stopped his involvement with sound systems. "I wasn't making much money out of the sound. It was like being part of a sound and living off your benefit. It wasn't a wage as such.” The only person who really made money out of it was President and "we got pittance.”

Tony still occasionally DJs now but only for big occasions. "I don't go to every dance that there is because I'm more into the old style of dances you know?" He believes that previously "there was more unity, more closeness. People weren't going out looking for trouble.”


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BRIAN WADLEY AKA MR WOMBLE

Brian Wadley's family emigrated from Kingston, Jamaica, to the UK in the 1950s, moving first to London, Birmingham and finally Manchester. He was born in the heart of Moss Side in 1964. The sounds of his childhood though had a distinctly "Caribbean flavour"; Brian remembers listening to John Holt, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and "the great" Bob Marley off his family radiogram. "You'd sneak in to the front room and pick out the songs," says Brian because his family radiogram was strictly not for touching. Music gave his childhood "great vibes".

In later times however he remembers that music was even more important. The 1980s were for him and others a time of struggle especially against the 'sus law' which gave police extensive powers to stop and search. Music could be an exit from all this. For Brian it was key to "get together, play music, build boxes, get unified and find our own identity which was reggae music.” In hindsight he says, "it's crazy what we really went through. You couldn’t really go places with many of you. A few of you go somewhere and people are looking at you like you are just out there to do wrong and that.” Ironically Brian highlights, “when you check it against the music of that time, the music we were listening to wasn't about trying to be bad or do badness. It was all about righteousness, being the best person you can be.” The city centre did not feel open to Brian. It was not a space where he felt he belonged. "We used to get chased by gangs.”

Brian's entry into sound system culture began when he first bought records. "I went to Jamaica for the first time and brought back two seven inches; 'Dillinger CB200' and 'MPLA' by Tappa Zuckie', and it just started from then.”

From 1979 he joined Yabby U sound (now known as Jah Yabby’s), an experience he refers to as a "school". As a collective they started buying records for the sound system though he remembers he was still "finding himself really" and didn't have a set role. “Everyone was finding their own skill within the collective.” He eventually became a "microphone chanter" or a DJ - like a rapper who toasts over the song. Jamaican DJ ‘Big Youth’ had a strong influence on the group but for Brian his influences were also very spiritual, "conscious lyrics we used to meditate and concentrate on.” He recalls, "In them early days the music was more hopeful. You'd be DJing and you'd be trying to uplift the people and you'd practice every day your style and your delivery.” After years of performing around the community with Yabby U, he enthusiastically accepted an offer to DJ and be part of the team with Baron Sound in 1986. "It was definitely a move up, and later we had a record shop as well in the Moss Side precinct.”

"From when you start unloading the sound you feeling the vibes. You stringing up the sound. The big speakers were like wardrobes. People would come from far for even community events. There was a great unity made,” believes Brian, “and a good mix of young and old especially in the blues parties where you would find a lot more elders.” As for local sound systems, he remembers Killowatt, Megatone, Tribesman and Freedom Masses. One of the most memorable sound system clashes Brian remembers was Baron vs Jungle Man in Hulme. "I can't remember the date but phew... what a dance man.” And then there was "Baron and Coxsone in Mayflower. Again I can't remember the year but people can tell you about that dance as well amazing.”

Blues parties were held all the time. "You'd go to the dancehall first and then it’s the blues right back to the morning till when the milkman is dropping off the milk.” He remembers the older generation talking about five blues parties happening along the same street! Later in the 1980s blues could also happen in floors of flats. "You could have three sounds playing!" declares Brian. Blues were also where people played when they were first starting out with a sound. "If you couldn't play the hall you'd try and play the house.” Despite the blues parties, he thinks Manchester did ok for sound system venues unlike other cities where these spaces were more restricted. "If you could get yourself a hall you can string up and in the early days we didn't look for club really. We is looking for a hall."

Another aspect to reggae culture in Manchester was in the production of music. 'Blood and Fire’ was a record label based in Manchester and there were some great bands. Brian remembers from the late seventies Silver Cloud and Harlem Spirit. This feature of the reggae culture in Manchester however is relatively unknown. As an explanation for this Brian says, "When you’re just creating history it's like you're not even knowing that you're creating history.” Though people would sometimes hook their boombox next to the sound system to record the music, Brian doesn't remember many attempts to photograph or archive the reggae scene.

Of course running alongside reggae culture in Manchester was the Rastafari movement. Brian remembers the Twelve Tribes of Israel meeting in Hulme every Sunday and the visible influence of Rastafari on the youth. Though he never joined the group he did consider himself as part of a wider Rastafari movement.

Going to sound system events has been important for Brian for a number of reasons. He especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet people and become good friends. He testifies that there was nothing unique about Manchester. "You could go to Birmingham, Sheffield, Huddersfield and you feel home from home.”

Brian now works for HMV as a specialist in reggae and has a show on Peace FM. Although he doesn't DJ for a sound system anymore he sees himself as an ambassador to the music of his youth.


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DAVID THOMPSON – LORD ROCKET SOUND SYSTEM

Lance Rose Thompson is the son of an important sound man of Manchester. "My father's name was David Thompson also known as Lord Rocket,” explains Lance.

David was born in Jamaica in a town called Thompson Town. "My dad told me it was named Thompson Town because there were so many Thompsons." He arrived in the UK in the early sixties and came straight to Manchester. "The first thing he said was it was too cold but once he settled down and got a job he decided to stay."

His father began attending local blues parties in Old Trafford "where most of the houses were really massive," says Lance. At first he'd bring his records to play then one time he was asked if he could DJ at an event, "even though he'd never been a proper DJ before he agreed. That’s when it all started."

The Lord Rocket sound started in the seventies. "A man called Austin, a local resident in Old Trafford, and Metro from Downbeat built the Lord Rocket sound. His dad also learnt by watching and got some parts from London and Sheffield. "The more boxes you got, the more everyone knows you're the man. My dad had loads of boxes built!" Lance estimates his dad had "probably twenty plus" speakers.

At first David started just playing blues parties but soon became a regular fixture at the Nile Club in Moss Side. Eventually he took his sound to Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham and London. His sound also travelled to Holland and Belgium.

The music his father enjoyed was country, rock n roll and later ska, rocksteady and roots reggae. He developed a broad palette of music and was even playing a bit of dancehall before he retired from sound systems in the nineties. "He loved it because the beats have got a high tempo. He also enjoyed the new baselines in dancehall music.”

"Usually you'd just sing along or nod your head. And sometimes you don't really think too deep about the song – you know the meaning? But he'd explain what the lyrics were about if it’s a roots song, he'd explain the message behind it – about what the government is doing to the people. Or the poverty in Jamaica. He was always saying there is a message in roots music if you listen!"

His dad used to buy a lot of his records from a shop on Princess Road owned by Duke Murray. He would also get family members to send over records from Jamaica. "He was serious about his music. One time he went to Jamaica and came back with two suitcases – one was full of records."

As well as Lord Rocket there was Lord Booze, Count Leroy, Count Sam, Skylark, President and Lord Cass. Lord Cass was "the main guy" according to Lance because "he had tunes that no sound man had heard before. He had a very mellow sound and everyone wanted be like him." Lance thinks his dads sound stood out from other sound systems because of his amplifiers. "They used to say it went off like a rocket. That's how the name came about." Lance remembers once when his dad was away in Jamaica, the sound was being played by the deejay Pascoe but he couldn't get people to react to the music. "It was the same way as usual and the vibe was nice but no one was really dancing – just nodding or just sitting down talking away. It was mysterious because the deejay was playing the same way. When my dad returned he looked at Pascoe and said 'what you doing?' And turned up the bass." According to Lance, "the place started shaking – the floor – everything. Everybody jumped up and started dancing."

Lance’s dad was concerned not only with a strong bass but being able to hear the different instruments recorded and creating a sense of intimacy. "Like if John Holt is singing my dad would want you to feel like John Holt is next to you and he's singing to you."

Another way that Lord Rocket stood out was because it had a strong female following. Lance believes this is because his dad played lovers rock as well as soulful calypso music. When David played certain records the women would take over the dance floor and they would be "jumping, singing and shouting his name and telling him to pull up."

Sound system culture in Manchester was a refuge from "very stressful" times thinks Lance. The exploitation and harshness of life in UK for migrants from the Caribbean was unexpected and "it got you down" he says. "When you'd listen to the music you'd release all the everyday stresses. It also brought people together." Lance believes "it was needed or else... who knows." Lance's dad believed that despite the tribulations sound system culture was "at the end of the day about peace and love."

Lance remembers a particularly poignant experience which highlights the environment around sound systems when his dad was attacked by white youths. "He was just walking down the street and then all of a sudden it just went bam! He felt a brick hit him in the side of his head." Years later however his dad's attacker approached him at a dance and said, "King Rocket – respect." For Lance's dad this proved "people are scared of something different. If they just take time know, we can just get along."

When David finished up as a sound man he sold some of his equipment and records to another local soundman. David told his son, "when you start something you got to eventually finish it. And at the end of the day I've had my time and I've enjoyed it. It's time for the new generation to come through and keep it going." Lance's dad said to him, "I don't feel upset about selling because when it’s time for me to leave earth and go home I can't take it with me. I'm just going to meet up with the rest of the sound man who've passed away and we're going to play again."

Lance admits that his dad was disappointed by the direction of sound system culture in the nineties. Violence and negativity were not what he had envisioned would be the future. "It was never like that in his days and obviously the whole purpose of the sound system was because they weren't let in places so they decided to organise dances themselves. But after what Lance’s dad’s generation did for it to turn round and to bring violence, it was sad for him. He thought things would change and be more positive. You know like go up a level from where it first started."

For Lance "it was the best days" growing up with a dad who was a soundman. Lance says his dad would come back after playing his sound with other important sound men in Manchester "like Lord Cass, Skylark, Count Leroy and many more. They would talk about the clashes. And the vibes were always great." He happily remembers "just walking with him around the area and seeing people beep in their cars or just shout Rocket! You know it felt great."

One of the most important memories Lance has of Lord Rocket was the day of his mum’s funeral. “I know it’s a sad day but this is his way. He didn't know how to write a tribute or do a speech, he only knew how to drop the tunes and drop the lyrics on the mic. For me it was the best way," says Lance.

Lance wants to continue his dad's sound system heritage in some way and doesn't want to undermine the solid reputation of Lord Rocket. He has been thinking about doing a tribute especially after his dad passed away in 2013.


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COUNT DANNY - COUNT DANNY SOUND SYSTEM

"They call me Count Danny," says long-time resident of Hulme and Moss Side. Originally from St Mary, Jamaica, he emigrated to England when he was thirteen. After living for some time in Dudley, West Midlands, he settled in Manchester. From a very young age Count Danny realised he wanted to be a soundman.

"I used to listen to music they call rocksteady, ska and reggae," says the Count, remembering his formative musical experiences. "I used to listen to soul music as well, like the Four Tops and Temptations." Going to sound systems in Jamaica happened at a younger age reckons the Count, "we used to hide and come out at night time when our parents had gone to bed and go listen to sound system." He also remembers in Jamaica sound systems were sometimes hung from trees and there were bass speakers you could climb inside of. "You could lie down inside of it and the bass line used to get me in the head!" He recalls one sound system from that time called 'Count Wong' that used to play his district regularly, "that's the sound that mostly played in my neighbourhood. It was a good heavy sound."

One of his favourite records back then was ‘Please Stop Your Lying’ by Errol Dunkley, "I always sing that tune everywhere I go." New music also came to the Count on the radio, "we used to go to bed and wake up late at night, probably around two, three o'clock at night to listen to the radio. All the latest sounds dem come on the radio deh."

Count Danny arrived in Manchester around 1971 and felt at home immediately with the city, "I feel like I was in Jamaica.” He thought it was nicer than Dudley which he remembers was a bit quiet. He worked two, sometimes three jobs to make ends meet because it was very slow to earn a decent living. His first job was making mud guards on Stockport Road. "Dem days wasn't easy, sometime we stay with friends, sometimes if you do a place you get one room," and remembers he found it hard to get good housing. It was also hard because of the racial prejudice and the fear of racist attacks. "They used to say beware of the skinhead. Because if we go into certain area we get people flinging stones that way. In the South places like that, back in them days you have to watch yourself.” Often when trying to go out in town was when the "problem started" says the Count. "They'd look at me and say you're not from around here. You know what I mean and we have to fight our way out or runaway of someting. Places like The Ritz and them nightclub... we used to like go there but it’s after when they finish..."

Despite this Manchester used to be known as one of the best places for entertainment. “People used to come from all over, out of town.” As for sound systems he remembers, "I used to enjoy Lord Cass, Duke Murray, Lord Rocket, a man called Sky Lark, Uncle Booze, Uncle Stone... so many sound was around dem days.”

Because he was still young at the time the Count used to go to Westwood Street Community Centre as well as Moss Side Youth Club and Burley Youth Club to see sound systems. He recalls he still had to sneak out late at night to see sound systems in Manchester and remembers going to see Lord Cass play. "He used to play in a place called Midways in Moss Side. That was a long time ago." Count Danny remembers another sound system called Persian which played at the Reno Club, "Persian used to play all the RnB and we used to call him King of soul!" The Count also managed to catch a handful of Jamaican artists play Manchester over the years including Janus, Alton Ellis, John Holt, Errol Dunkley and Dennis Brown. "When a group comes from Jamaica it was always a big occasion and everyone want to come out and see them perform.”

Count Danny started his sound system in the early seventies. At the beginning he mostly played in youth clubs as well as a pattie shop on Moss Lane East called Sam Pattie. "They used to have a room in there and I used to go there sometimes and play music for him," remembers the Count. He played reggae and soul, mostly purchasing records off a man called Paul Marsh who had a record shop on Alexander Road in Moss Side. Later he also ventured to Birmingham and London as well as organizing a monthly order of records from Jamaica at a place called Randys in Kingston. As new sounds came up explains Count Danny, they would have sound clashes with the old and one of his most memorable experiences was playing up against Baron in Manchester.

"Things have changed now," says the Count. He wouldn’t advise the rekindling of the culture of sound systems because of "clampdowns" on places to play. "They got this law now that if you play your sound [at an unlicensed venue] they can take your sound away so people get frightened.” The music has also changed he admits, "peoples into what’s now called ragga.” He believes people want to hear more contemporary sounds and not the older roots artists such as Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. Despite this Count Danny still plays his sound system out but a lot less and normally just for festivals. "Last time I played my sound in the park and it was quite good!"

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PAUL ROBERTSON AKA CAPTAIN – KING SOLOMON SOUND SYSTEM

Paul Robertson is from Moss Side in Manchester. His parents arrived in the mid fifties, “my dad's from Kingston and my mum's from Saint Anne's Bay.”

Paul’s life has been defined by music. His journey into the world of sound systems began early. He remembers the man who lived next door to his parents was called Mr Paris who used to build sound systems. "He used to play music when everyone was asleep. But I'd be awake with my ears to the wall listening to next door's music," says Paul who remembers Mr Paris played a mix of ska, rocksteady and reggae. These were the sounds of his childhood along with Studio One, Treasure Isle and Blue Beat. At home he recalls it was his mum who bought the records. "Every time she went to Jamaica, which was on a regular basis, she would come back with vinyl.” He remembers two of the records his family used to own, 'Mamma Don't Want No Pea's and No Rice' and 'My Sweet Lord'. "Oh god you couldn't keep me away from the radiogram, you just don't know. It was my life.”

He describes the radiogram as the first sound system for many people who became sound system operators. "The Blue Spot was the one to have coz I think that was one of the most powerful radiograms at the time. And that was what they used to use in parties, blues, you know? It started from a Blue Spot gram upwards. Respect the Blue Spot, trust me.”

"Back in the day when I was a little boy there was a blues on the road we used to live on which was Harpenden Street in Moss Side.” One time he remembers popping out to the blues across the road and seeing the amplifier that they were using. "It was dark. All you could see was the lights on the amplifier. It was mesmerising.”

Paul was so into his music you’d regularly find him in youth clubs and where other sound systems were hanging out. In 1978 he started building his own sound. "We'd go to building yards and steal wood to build speaker boxes," he explains, "because we weren’t working we didn't have money.” What is even more incredible is that Paul claims that in those early days they didn't build sound systems with plans and measurements. Instead they got most of the information from just inspecting other systems. He also remembers pushing the sound around Longsight on shopping trolleys because they couldn't afford a van.

One important memory he remembers is playing (then as Dread Lion sound) against Jah Love in Carmoor Road with a speaker box he’d knocked together in his mum's yard. “It was a red one, I'll never forget the colour of it.” He remembers taking a valve amp and the speaker box and leaving it for his friends to set up while he finished work. When he returned however the system wouldn't play. "I come into the dance and they were saying they can't get it working so I come in and wired it up and start playing and then a crew member went... yes man you are the Captain! And that’s how I got the name Captain," he recalls. The dance was a success even with a box he had just knocked up. “Believe it or not we sounded heavy. We playing against a bigger sound than us, you know. We were only youths compared to them [Jah Love].”

Paul later renamed his sound system King Solomon. It was different to other sounds because it was "raw" believes Paul. He didn't have flight cases for the speakers or the valve. "It was just a raw valve put on the side of the floor and all the wires come into it twisted with no plugs. We couldn't afford plugs then. We'd just twist the wires together and tape them up.” Paul's set up at its peak included two three hundred watt valve amps, three pre amps and a PA amp.

The feeling before a session was always the same. “I was at work and couldn't wait to get home you know? And I'd just get in and that was it. No dinner. Don't care about no dinner, my music and my sound is more important than eating, serious. My food in life was sound.”

Manchester's sound system scene was unique according to Paul because it was such a magnet for nationally touring sound systems. "It had a lot of sounds back in the day. You got Baron, Gemini, President, Yabby's, Tribesman... and these are just the most well known!”

London based Jah Tubby's was one of the most memorable sounds Paul remembers seeing at the community centre in Moss Side. “What a wicked dance... wicked, wicked.” The music and culture of these sounds was strictly roots reggae. "It was just very strong and powerful. It was like a teaching.” He believes the roots culture filled the gaps and pedagogies of schooling, "like Christopher Columbus... he didn't discover Jamaica it was the Arawakan Indians, you know, we learnt that through the music.”

The influence of Rastafari on sound system culture was also extensive during the 1970s and 80s. "Everyone was becoming rastas, doing things righteously, helping each other. It was just so nice," thinks Paul, "that's what mesmerized me sometimes.”

The sound system culture in Manchester was not based in the city centre. The geography of the city was experienced very differently compared to now. "I didn't know about town. The only way I found out about town was through my older brother because he wasn't into sound systems, he was into soul. So the soul and all that stay in the town.”

Paul sees the contemporary sound system scene in England as dramatically different from his youth. “We had such a strong roots foundation in Manchester and all of a sudden it’s gone," says Paul disheartened. He sees what does remains of the scene as constrained by lack of venues and the formality which has been imposed on using spaces. "Everyone is crying out to play but there is nowhere to play, they're capping it,” and points out, “Moss Side Youth Club is still around however they don't have sounds playing in it anymore.” He also thinks that competition around power and size of sound systems has undermined the positive message in the music. “Back then there was less ego involved in the music.”

For Paul sounds systems have been an everyday part of his life and his involvement has been for the love of music and not money. He says, "I've got a big selection of music and I can play a tune to relate to what's happened. If badness has happened I can play a selection. If goodness has happened or love has happened I can play a selection.” His life experiences are matched with an extensive range of recordings he has collected. "The selection can relate to what is going on in my life and give me an uplifting feeling.”

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WINSTON “DADDY” LOWE – DUKE LOWE SOUND SYSTEM

Winston Lowe and his wife arrived in Manchester in November 1960 from Kingston Jamaica. It was a strange landscape to him and very cold. "My wife's suitcase was packed with clothes but mine was just filled with pure records," he remembers.

Rhythm and Blues was the music he listened to in his youth on his neighbour's radio and at parties back home. Since Winston was a teenager his life revolved around music and when he first started out as a soundman his favourite record was Lowell Fulson's 'Guitar Shuffle'.

He acquired his first sound system through a friend called Roy who'd had some money problems and who agreed to sell his 'Duke Roy' system to him. Winston started getting regular bookings and eventually played out every weekend and sometimes in the week all over Kingston. "We'd start seven, eight o'clock in the evening right back to the next morning going on four, five, six."

He had been collecting 78s vinyl and carried his collection over in a suitcase. He also had a crate built to safely ship over parts of his amplifier and pieces of his sound system. "When I first arrived I didn't know nobody but a man soon approach me who'd heard about my sound in Jamaica to see if I had any records to sell. Slowly I started meeting more people and noticed there were already a few sound systems in Manchester in the early days."

It took a bit of time for Winston to get settled but eventually he started to play out using the amp he'd brought over. "Everyone wanted to hear it!" he remembers. "Manchester hadn't heard bass quite like it!" Furthermore Winston was playing more 'downbeat' sounds which hadn't quite made it over to the UK.

Though there were a few record shops in Manchester which Winston used, most of his records were imports. He would be sent a list of new releases from a record shop in Jamaica. "You'd pick out what sound good by taking chances and then send money.” Winston was also receiving a box of records every week from a friend in Jamaica. Though he has had to throw out a lot since then because of mould damage he’s still got between five and half and six thousand records in his collection.

The parties and the sound system scene in Manchester weren’t quite like Jamaica however remembers Winston. Sound system dances here were enclosed rather than in open spaces. "Back home it was more free but in Manchester it was like you were hiding, you know?" The police would often come and shut sound systems down. Then there were the gangs: rockers and skinheads who could make Manchester an unfriendly and dangerous place for black people to go out in. Partly in reaction to this and the racist door policies of some clubs 'blue parties', or as Winston describes 'bottle parties' were organised in people's homes. "We did our own ting an' provide for ourselves," he says. "What I'd do is provide food, say curry goat or chicken, yu nah what I mean? And a big bowl of rum punch," and then there would be dancing.

Winston soon found work as an Electronics Repairman after teaching himself in Jamaica. He found the different working conditions frustrating and his foreman once told him he was too fast and that he should make the work last longer. He was also making and repairing other electronic items for the local community from his house, "I would repair TVs, radios etc and people were grateful as I never charged them, I just wanted to help out in the community and see people happy." He also built sound equipment for other soundmen and was well respected on the sound system circuit.

Winston built his own sound, Duke Lowe, in the early 60s. He recalls, "My first sound had two valve amps. The amp was fondly known as Betsy. My last one had fourteen. It had KT88 valves inside it and was very heavy custom built. 'Now days the bass that comes out of a system hits your face but this one would shake the floor!"

"I don't know what I'd do if it wasn't for the music. Since I retired I think I'd get so bored," he says going on eighty-one years and still continuing to go out to dances and playing once a week on Peace FM radio. "It's so much inside my blood now I can't pack it in."

The seventies and eighties produced the best reggae believes Winston. From the nineties his interest waned though he admits it may be because of his age. Rhythm and Blues remains Winston’s favourite music.


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Young Croc
Young Croc


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gee136 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2015 at 3:51pm
Good info there app Thumbs Up 

The Manchester Sound Crews are still around doing their thing, Just the other day, Yootman, King Cosmic & King Solomon had a blessed session, the Manchester Crews have Sound Machine business in their blood!!!

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Goverment Sound (weight & treble roots machine)

When Goverment ah play, infidels, ginals & masqueraders run away.....
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