Creation Rebel – Hitrun Records – 1979

Rebel Vibration / Jungle Affair / Hunger And Strife / Ian Smith Rock

Diverse Doctor / Mountain Melody / Black Lion Dub / Doctors Remedy

Killer second LP by Creation Rebel released on Hitrun Records in 1979. Plenty more Hitrun / ONU Sound material on this site if you care to search.

Text below written by Steve Barker courtesy of

Creation Rebel’s first album “Dub from Creation” (APLP 9001) was released in March of 1978. The original band, featuring the drummer Eric “Fish” Clarke, had been a studio outfit known as the Arabs, now primarily remembered for their work on the classic dub set “Crytuff Dub Encounter Chapter 1” (APLP 9002). The rhythm tracks for this album had been laid in Jamaica but the overdubs were worked up at the Gooseberry Studios in London. “Fish” left for Jamaica when these sessions were complete, leaving the group of remaining musicians preparing for duty as Prince Far I’s backing group for the DJ’s tour of Europe scheduled to start later in the year.


At this time the group comprised of “Lizard” Logan (replacing the original bassist Clinton Jack), “Crucial” Tony on guitar, Clifton “Bigga” Morrison on keyboards and Dr Pablo on melodica – which left an urgent vacancy on drums! Introduced to the band via Far I & Prince Records in Jamaica was a young man who had just completed his stint in the Jamaican army – Lincoln Valentine Scott a.k.a. “Style” – who, over the ensuing few years was to become the most in-demand session drummer in reggae and key member of the Roots Radics whose rhythms would dominate the scene between the end of the golden period of roots through to the digital age of the mid-eighties and onwards. Scotty of course also went on to form the nucleus of Dub Syndicate who have since recorded extensively for Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound.


In late 1978 Sherwood and Creation Rebel recorded “Starship Africa” (ON-U LP 8). Not released for the first time until 1980 the album still stands alone musically in reggae where it has no cerebral equivalent. “Starship Africa” can be interpreted critically as forming the third point of a sonic triangle equilaterally occupied by the disparate output of Grateful Dead and Tangerine Dream. A magnet for Headz which retains its stoned power today, the album mixed the customary drum and bass with ambient washes and industrial noise – all within a minimal framework.


The album’s story goes something like this. Just after the completion of the “Dub from Creation” LP, the young Sherwood found himself with the basic Creation Rebel cutting a bunch of rhythms in the studio for a character with the wonderful name of DJ Superstar – a contemporary of the Mexicano, and also rapping on top of funked up reggae rhythms. Most of these tunes had bass lines from Tony Henry of Misty In Roots. Sherwood had hummed the bass lines and Tony has re-created them – hence the melodic quality of the bass lines on the finished tracks.


What happened to these original tracks, who knows? But two years later Sherwood and Chris Garland, a friend from Cheltenham, were starting up a record company / agency in London’s Soho with the strange name of 4D Rhythms. The agency side of the business was to run acts like Dexy’s and Medium Medium, but they were also desperate to get some vinyl out on the street. In fact so desperate that Sherwood turned to the bunch of rhythms he had created a couple of years earlier, which up to that time he had considered quite “lame”. They were up for transformation!


Style Scott, in from Jamaica, did not so much overdub but played live over the original drum tracks from Charlie “Eskimo Fox”. Freed from the stylistic requirements of the Roots Radics, Scotty was encouraged to loosen-up and lay rolls and splashes all over the tracks in his now inimitable style. Six percussionists, that is the rest of the musicians and engineers and whoever was around the studio appeared phasing in and out of one channel, creating a trippy treble effect – which hid the fact that they were all out of time. Amongst these players was Sucker, a friend of Del from Osibisa, who occasionally gives the percussion mix a rich calypso feel.


When the album was being mixed Chris was urging Adrian to get madder “more reverb, more delay…”. But nothing could be so mad as the idea to mix the tracks blind. That is – turn over the quarter inch tape on the deck and feed in the effects and run the mix backwards, turn it back over for the finished product and somehow it made a crazy kind of sense. So much so that the mix was finished in one day! On the original vinyl there was just one track listed for each side. The title track was credited as a “soundtrack from a forthcoming motion picture”. One theory is that this little fantasy in the mind of Sherwood could very well have worked its way into the brain of one William Gibson, author of “Neuromancer” the classic debut cyberspace novel published in 1984. As reading that book now one can only hear Creation Rebel’s “Starship Africa” pounding out of the in-flight sound system on board the dread-crewed space-tug Marcus Garvey.


The band’s album “Close Encounters Of The Third World” (APLP 9008) on Hitrun had Prince Jammy credited with the mixdown, with Mr Sherwood referred to in the credits as “technician”. The release of the “Rebel Vibrations” album (APLP 9004) in 1979 preceded “Starship Africa” by over a year. Both sets were instrumental dub affairs and can now be appreciated as largely experimental in their approach, described in an unusually articulate phase by Mr Sherwood as exploring:


“…the unique possibilities of space in sound within the disciplined structures of rhythm, using bass line melodies and relying as much on the understated side of the overall result as on the overstated…”


The remainder of 1979 found Creation Rebel as anchor band for Prince Far I, Jah Woosh, Prince Hammer and Bim Sherman, all were featured in a non-stop three hour show which took to the road as the “Roots Encounter” tour. However, with the arrival of the eighties the band’s members were to tour less and less and eventually become disentangled as a creative outfit. Part of the explanation is, of course, that a working musician may have to go through many mutations in order to earn a living in the business.


Part of this inevitable phenomenon for members of Creation Rebel was that individually they also contributed to the musical existence of a whole bunch of other bands, most of whom were associated with Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound – the Maffia, New Age Steppers, Singers And Players, African Head Charge, Playgroup, Noah House Of Dread, Undivided Roots etc as well as the customary stints as backing musicians for visiting stars from Jamaica.


The “Psychotic Jonkanoo” album (ON-U LP 4) preceded the band’s final set by less than a year (“Lows And Highs” (ON-U LP 15) on Cherry Red Records in July 1982). The material consists of a fairly standard array of conscious style chants, delivered mostly by “Crucial” Tony in a militant style with harmonies from the band often reminiscent of Black Uhuru – especially on the opening track “The Dope”, where we also have the added bonus of “Deadly” Headley’s stylish sax intertwining with the vocal lines. The whole feel of the album is raised to a higher creative level by the arrangement and production which is clean, crisp and inventive – especially on the instrumental versions, “African Space” features a wah-wah guitar in almost restrained fashion!


“Threat To Creation” is not only the dub to the preceding “Chatti Mouth” but also provided the title to the band’s shared album with the New Age Steppers which appeared in November of the same year (ON-U LP 7). In fact the bass line for “Threat to Creation” slows down to provide the pulse for the most psyched out On-U dub of all time “Chemical Specialist” [Rhythm 8], whereas the title track suddenly assumes a different identity altogether! “Mother Don’t Cry” features one Lydon on vocal harmony, a duty for which Johnny Rotten was not renowned, although he had previously assisted the great Dr Alimantado with similar input!

  1. alistairliv
    February 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Woooo…..ooooowwwwwwwwwww. Started snowing up here now, but this wonderous music is giving me such a warm glow I just don’t care. It is even better than the Groundhogs Live in Leeds 1971 version of Eccentric Man which up until five minutes ago I thought was ace.

  2. baron von zubb
    baron von zubb
    February 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Amongst the top reggae ever.
    Took us ages to source it at the time.
    First heard it Sams bedroom in 79 and well the rest is history.

  3. Nic
    February 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Great record…


  4. dan i
    dan i
    February 9, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Wicked stuff! And a really informative piece from skysaw. That On-U site is quite a feat. On-U themselves claim to be working on a new website, but more importantly there are several new projects due this year – a dub version to Lee Perry’s recent ‘Mighty Upsetter’, new African Head Charge, new New Age Steppers (mostly with Ari Up), Samia Farah’s album, and not forgetting the wicked ‘Modern Sound Of Harry Beckett’ which you can buy now.

    I am running a special On-U tribute session at our local Community Centre (on the Cowley Road, east Oxford) this Friday where will be playing all manner of On-U lovelies. This is part of our weekly Foundation Friday Roots Reggae sessions from 8-12:30. and click on Foundation Fridays.

    any suggested requests for Friday’s show?


  5. Nic
    February 9, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    How about ‘Earthwire Line’ (from ‘Threat to Creation’): always an uplifting one…
    Or ‘My God’ (from ‘Songs of Praise’)…

    Best of luck with the session…

  6. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 9, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    African Blood / Hands And Hearts 10″ – Congo Ashanti Roy – ONUDP8 from 1983 or thereabouts. Will put it up now so you get the vibe for Friday…whaaoo…

    If you record some of the mix on the night Dan, I would be happy to shove it up on this site for you.

  7. devotionalhooligan
    February 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    hey dan… you just gotta throw in sommit by bim sherman.

    and cheers mick for another bunch of cool posts.x

  8. dan i
    dan i
    February 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Yes Hooligan, we did throw in quite a few Bim Sherman. Sadly, we didnt manage to record the night, but I will post up a rough setlist for On U headz. What was really gutting was that after several weeks of busy nights with quite a few new folks coming to the club, this Friday there seemed to be about 5 other things on just along the Cowley Road and we were virtually empty – gutting.

    More to come…

  9. dan i
    dan i
    February 18, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Dan I & Shakaman On-U Sound Special, 13.2.09
    (this is not the playing order, I can’t remember that well)

    Congo Ashanti Roy/ Singers & Players – Moses
    Carol Kalphat & Clint Eastwood/ Dr Pablo – African Land/ Dub
    Naggo Morris – Jah Will Explain/ Dub
    Adrian Sherwood – J’ai Change/ You Wonder Why
    Harry Beckett – Like You Didn’t Know
    Sinead O’Connor – My Love I Bring
    Deadly Headley – 25 Years From Alpha
    Gary Clail & Dub Syndicate – Two Thieves & A Liar/ JA Minor
    New Age Steppers – Too Many Dreamers
    Creation Rebel – Independent Man
    Creation Rebel – Chatti Mouth/ Chemical Specialist
    Creation Rebel – Threat To Creation
    Prince Far I – Throw Away Your Gun
    Prince Far I – Daddy Kool 12″ (a well heavy tune)
    Prince Far I – Bass Ace
    Prince Far I & Culture – Message From The King
    Bim Sherman – Keep You Dancing
    Bim Sherman – Love Forever
    Bim Sherman – Too Much Workload
    New Age Steppers – 3 Dog Race
    Dub Syndicate – Places I Won’t Go Dub
    Dub Syndicate – Cuss Cuss/ Lloyd Robinson – Cuss Cuss (Studio One)
    Dub Syndicate & I Roy – Ital Breakfast
    Dub Syndicate – Maffia
    Dub Syndicate – Vibrate On
    Dub Syndicate & Akabu – More & More
    Dub Syndicate – Stoned Immaculate (Pay It All Back mix)
    Dub Syndicate – No Alternative
    Ghetto Priest – Dungeon
    Junior Delgado – Prophecy
    Lee Perry – Jungle Discoplate/ Zoo Time
    Lee Perry – International Broadcaster
    Lee Perry – Everything Start From Scratch
    Singers & Players – lots of LP cuts
    Justice League Of Zion dubs
    Little Roy – Way Down In Babylon
    Little Roy – Singing The Blues
    Little Roy – Long Time Rocksteady
    Jah Shaka – various instrumental dubs
    Dred Beat 12″ (very On-U like)
    Twinkle Brothers & Sir Lee – Jahovia In Dub Majesty/ I Love Selassie I

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