Black Solidarity Presents String Up the Sound System
LP version. In the beginning of the '80s, reggae music became increasingly in tune with what was happening in Kingston's dancehalls -- probably more so than at any time since the sound system operators had started to make their own shuffle and boogie in the late '50s. 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 14 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. As Thomas said: "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 center, everyday." 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. And so, 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. Artists include: Triston Palma, Tony Tuff, Robert Ffrench, Michael Palmer, Puddy Roots, Ashanti Waugh, Phillip Frazer, Bill Blast, Cutty Ranks, Michael Forbes, Tony Carver, Eddie Constantine, Rod Taylor, The Bibles, and Frankie Paul.