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Winston Riley’s musical legacy spanned decades and his sad, recent death has reminded fans of his huge influence on Jamaican music. Looking back over his extensive back catalogue, we’ve selected some favourites for you to enjoy and celebrate his life and work.
The list is broadly chronological and tries to give an example of all aspects of his work from his beginnings with the harmony group The Techniques, to his reggae production through to the dancehall sound of the 80s and early 90s. Riley’s productions varied along with his collaborators as he worked with lover’s rock artists, roots reggae performers and later with more direct and explicit slack deejays. He also helped to develop breakthrough international stars like Buju Banton and another important final note is his role in supporting female artists like Sister Nancy in a largely male-dominated scene.
Two of the tracks are based on the famous Stalag riddim (at least 400 versions of it exist) and some are better known than others but all showcase the expertise of Winston Riley.
The Techniques – You Don’t Care
Johnny Osbourne – Warrior
Dillinger – Melting Pot
General Echo (also known as Ranking Slackness) – Bathroom Sex
Tenor Saw – Ring the Alarm
Sister Nancy – One Two
Sister Charmaine – Dan Girl
Supercat – Boops
Buju Banton – Ma Ma Rule