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Sly Dunbar (1952 - ) and Robbie Shakespeare

Related: reggae - drums

Related: Padlock EP


Sly and Robbie Sly Dunbar was born on 10 May 1952, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare are considered one of the world's premier rhythm sections for their work in & out of reggae. They are considered originators of the “Rockers” rhythm. Dunbar & Shakespeare formed their Taxi label in 1980. It has seen releases from many international successful artists, including Black Uhuru, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Ini Kamoze, Beenie Man & Red Dragon.

He has played for The Aggrovators (1970s); The Upsetters (1970s). Recorded for Barry O'Hare in the 1990s.

As a member of Word, Sound & Power he backed Peter Tosh on the album Mystic Man.

During the last 20 years British lensman Pogus Caesar has photographed Sly Dunbar many times. Caesar has also captured images of artists who have collaborated with Dunbar, these include Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson, Michael Rose, Jimmy Cliff and Mighty Diamonds. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sly_Dunbar [Feb 2005]


  1. Material - The Third Power [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    First of all, check out the members of this band: Bootsy Collins, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Shaba Ranks, Herbie Hancock, Bernie Worrel, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, and Pee wee Ellis. Yet this album had very little promotion and so it is sadly relatively "unknown". Big Shame....To me, the two great tracks from this album are:COSMIC SLOP (cover of the Parliament song) MELLOW MOOD (reggae love song) -- A music fan from Tokyo, Japan, for amazon.com [...]
  2. Serge Gainsbourg - Aux Armes et Cetaera [1 CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Serge is the first white artist who engages the famous rhythm section of Peter Tosh, Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass), which has also already played with Jimmy Cliff and Gregory Isaacs. Later, Sly and Robbie will also play with Ian Dury, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger. The album "Aux Armes et Caetera" is recorded during five days in the Island studios in Kingston (Jamaica). Like always, when the executive at Phonogram asks him, if everthing is ready, Serge boldly lies, writes half of the songs in the plane and the other one during a sleepless night as he is used to do. Around Sly and Robbie there are Sticky Thompson (percussion), Mikey "Mao" Chung (keyboards) and Radcliffe Bryan (guitar), all three of them from the band of Peter Tosh. Plus there are the I Three, the three background singers of Bob Marley: his wife Rita, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths. In short: la crème... -- Michael

    In 1976 he became the first white guy to do major recording in Kingston, Jamaica, beginning a long stint with the great reggae rhythm duo, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. He also employs Marley's Wailers. In 1979, a feisty Gainsbourg produces "Aux Armes Etcetera," which parodies the militaristic overtones of the "sacred" "La Marseillaise," to a reggae beat, much the way Hendrix reconfigured the "Star Spangled Banner" as antiwar song. Denunciations by generals, priests, and politicians follow. Former paratroopers and crusty war vets protest at his concerts, threaten fans. In Marseilles the protests led to cancellations. In Strasbourg, a bomb threat and 400 paratroopers vowing vengence spooked the Wailers so much that they refuse to play. So Gainsbourg took the stage alone, singing "La Marseillaise" without musical accompaniment. The goons join in to sing along and afterward file meekly from the hall. Gainsbourg has charmigly blindsided them. His album sells over 500,000 copies, goes gold -- his first. He wins "best male performer" and "best album" awards at that year's music awards in Cannes. Eugenie Sokolov, his first novel, describes the turbulence of this time. "Eugenie Sokolov" is also a great nose-tweaking "song" -- a series of farting sounds, "scat flatulence" if you will, set to a reggae beat. -- Bart Plantenga
  3. Living My Life (1982) - Grace Jones [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. My Jamaican Guy 2. Nipple to the Bottle 3. Apple Stretching 4. Everybody Hold Still 5. Cry Now, Laugh Later 6. Inspiration 7. Unlimited Capacity for Love
    This album came right between a so-so Grace Jones album ("Nightclubbing"), and a genius Grace Jones album ("Slave To The Rhythm"). This was the start of something good. i like this Sly-and-Robbie production with Grace Jones better than the previous 2 ("Warm Leatherette", "Nightclubbing") because it touches more into electronic instruments and synthesizers. The 2 before this was more a simple straight Rock/Reggae band. There are quite a few songs on here that reach classic status for me. One is the Broadway song "The Apple Stretching", a tale of New York City life in the morning. Grace Jones uses her dramatic vocals to make the song come alive. The slower and less intense (and underrated) "Inspiration" is another great one, with a sound that is sneaky and relaxed at the same time. The last track "Unlimited Capacity For Love" is another great one, and is yet another track with a more relaxed but still danceable feel. "Cry Now, Laugh Later" is a precursor to the Techno and Electronic music of today, with an awesomely heavy dance beat and a keyboard riff along with distorted vocals. Honorable mentions are the short and sweet "Everybody Hold Still", and the somewhat repetitive "Nipple To The Bottle". The worst track is the dry and repetitive "My Jamaican Guy". i simply don't see how people can like this song so much, with the phrase "My jamaican guy" being repeated over and over again. An edit of this song cutting 2 or 3 minutes off of it would make it perfect. This definitely belongs in the collection of every Grace Jones fan, especially those who favor her 80's material over her 1970's Disco. --Travis for amazon.com
  4. Mick Jagger - She's The Boss [Amazon US]
    Album was co-produced by Nile Rodgers of Chic fame and Bill Laswell. Twelve Inch of Lucky In Love (co-produced by Francois K) is highly sought after. It also features the rhythm section Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. [...]

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