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Various Artists - Black Solidarity Presents String Up The Sound System - Vinyl


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At the beginning of the eighties reggae music became increasingly in tune with what was happening in Kingston’s dance halls… probably more so than at any time since the sound system operators had started to make their own shuffle and boogie recordings in the late fifties. The international audience and the critics were too busy looking for a new Bob Marley to appreciate what was happening downtown and failed to acknowledge that this was a return to the real, raw roots of the music. Brash, confident, young record producers who were totally in tune with the youth audience stepped forward and seized the moment…

Oswald ‘Ossie’ Thomas began his apprenticeship in the music business at the age of fourteen and served his time as a record salesman for Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee and Winston ‘Niney The Observer’ Holness before moving on to Miss Sonia Pottinger’s Tip Top Records.

“I ended up working in three record stores on Orange Street from 1976 to 1981… Yeah man! Me deh ‘pon me bicycle till I buy my motorcycle! Them days records were coming out left, right and centre… every day!” Ossie Thomas.

It was during his time with Miss Pottinger that Ossie began to produce records for himself and in 1979 Ossie and Phillip Morgan began the Black Solidarity label based deep in the Kingston ghetto on Delamere Avenue. Phillip initially inspired Ossie to start the label and soon Triston Palmer, Phillip Frazer and “a youth named Gary Robertson” joined in although Gary later left for Canada.

The Soul Syndicate rehearsed in the Delamere Avenue area and Tony Chin gave Ossie a cut of a rhythm that he used for Triston Palmer’s ‘A Class Girl’… the label’s inaugural release. The record was a sizeable success and paved the way for hit after hit after hit on Black Solidarity.  Ossie worked with just about

everybody who was anybody during this critical period of the music’s development including vocalists Robert Ffrench, Little John, Sugar Minott, Frankie Paul and most notably Triston Palmer.

“But Delamere must be considered as a music street sheltering as it does such artists as Junior Byles, Don Angelo, Triston Palma, Phillip Frazer and producer Ossie of the Black Solidarity label…”  Beth Lesser.

And the man who had made his name in the business selling other people’s records now became one of the most important and influential record

producers of the era.

With grateful thanks to: Paul Coote, Nick Hodgson & Hasse Huss


1. Bad Boys – Triston Palmer

2. Never Trouble Trouble – Tony Tuff

3. Single Life – Robert Ffrench

4. String Up The Sound System – Michael Palmer

5. Champion Bubbler – Puddy Roots

6. Police Police – Ashanti Waugh

7. Fancyness – Triston Palmer

8. A Little Bit Of Love – Phillip Frazer

9. Barrel Mentality – Bill Blast

10. Inner City Blues – Cutty Ranks & Triston Palmer

11. Reggae Fever – Michael Forbes

12. Ethiopia – Tony Carver

13. Strawberry – Eddie Constantine

14. The Lord Is My Light – Rod Taylor

14. Stop It – The Bibles*

15. Mother In Law – Robert Ffrench*

16. Gimme What Me Want – Tony Tuff*

18. Steady Skanking – Frankie Paul*


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Various Artists - Black Solidarity Presents String Up The Sound System - Vinyl

Various Artists - Black Solidarity Presents String Up The Sound System - Vinyl