In the Roots and Culture dominated 1970's, Reggae was filled with producers like Bunny Lee, Augustus Pablo, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and the Hoo Kim brothers at Channel One, all trying to make their individual mark on the scene. But one of the most consistantly succsessful was the team of Joe Gibbs and Errol "E.T." Thompson AKA The Mighty Two. Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Culture, Jacob Miller, Trinity, Althea and Donna and so many others made their way to Gibbs' Retirement Crescent studio to record songs that are now considered true Reggae classics.
The pair met early on while Thompson was the resident engineer at Randys studio in Kingston. Gibbs frequently used Randys for his own productions so it was inevitable that ET would be the man turning the knobs on many of Gibbs' sessions. In 1975, when Gibbs' opened up his own studio on Retirement Crescent, he took Errol Thompson with him. So now with Gibbs' own state of the art 16 track studio, and the master engineer ET behind the board, the Mighty Two set out to conquer Reggae music.
Some of the most powerful stuff recorded by them at the time was by the group Culture, led by the charasmatic Joseph Hill. Their "Two Sevens Clash" set, today, is considered a reggae classic. The vocal was delivered with such passion that on July 7, 1977 (when four sevens clashed) Jamaican absentee-ism from school and work was at an all time high! Oher impressive vocal sides come from Dennis Brown, who cut excellent sides like "Concrete Castle King", "Malcolm X", a recut of his previously popular "Money In My Pocket" and covers of Bob Marleys "Slaver Driver", and John Holts "Man Next Door".
But it wasnt just vocalists that the Two had success with. Deejays were a big item in Jamaica at the time and they were right at front with productions of such deejays as Trinity, Jah Thomas, and the gruff-voiced Prince Far I. Trinity scored a big hit with "Three Piece Suit and T'ing" on the rhythm from Marcia Aitkens cover of "I'm Still In Love". And the rhythm was again revived a little bit later for Althea and Donna's major hit "Uptown Top Ranking". And of course, the "Under Heavy Manners" set by Prince Far I is classic.
One of the main draws to the Mighty Twos production work is the instrumentation of all of their tunes. The Professionals, Gibbs studio band, were made up of of some of Jamaicas most talented muicians. So some nice isntrumental sets like "State of Emergency" were released at around the same time. Plus, since Errol T is often credited as being one of the first innovators of Dub (along with King Tubby), theres no shortage of top Dub sets like the "African Dub All-Mighty" volumes. In fact, volume three was even extremely popular with the punk rockers in the UK in the late 70s. And you can't lose with the Professionals recuts of classic Studio One and Treasure Isle rhythms.
The thing that makes the Mighty Twos records sound so apart from their contemporaries is that their sound is hard to nail down. They cut so many different styles of records by so many different artists that theres no difinitive sound like there is for Augustus Pablos far east sounds, and Bunny Lees flying cymbals sound, Channel Ones steppers rhythms and so on. The best thing to do is to just dive right in there and check the sound of The Mighty Two.
Culture - Two Sevens Clash
Althea and Donna - Uptown Top Ranking
Prince Far I - Under Heavy Manners
Dennis Brown - Visions
Trinity - Three Piece Suit
Joe Gibbs and the Professionals - State of Emergency
Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson - African Dub All Mighty Chapters 1-4
Various Artists - Uptown Top Rankin'
Various Artists - The Mighty Two
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