Liner Note Authors: David Katz ; Alex Peacemaker.
Photographers: Kate Simon ; David Corio; David Katz .
Relatively unknown outside of the reggae music faithful, Yabby You, born Vivian Jackson, was a Jamaican vocalist and producer who worked in the mid- to late-'70s. With his long dreadlocks, his Rasta appearance meant he was an outcast with the Island's status quo set, but being an ardent Christian meant he was shunned by the Rastas. None of this helped his music career a bit, and after a few roots reggae hits he disappeared from the scene. Years later, his music was picked up and heralded by roots reggae addicts across the globe, and with this three-disc set, his legacy expands as Dread Prophecy comes with a highly desirable disc of true rarities. Disc one features the "classics" as signature roots numbers like "Conquering Lion" and Big Youth's DJ version "Yabby You" display how the man's music could be spiritual, hazy, and stately, and often all at once. A handful of lesser-known 12" mixes adds to the already essential first disc by stretching these grooves to proper, longer running times, then disc two presents "The Many Moods of Yabby You" as work with Trinity, King Tubby, and Jah Stitch brings Yabby the producer into focus, touching upon the genres of DJ, dub, and early dancehall. It's all the crucial stuff fan club members have collected before, but disc three is the unheard holy grail as undiscovered tapes left to Yabby's widow make their first public appearance. Exclusive dubplates recorded for Jamaica's touring sound systems are collected along with lost tapes for Yabby's album Unification, and if that weren't enough, the physical edition of the set comes with a 28-page booklet filled with rare photographs and enlightening essays. After the archival reggae label Blood and Fire went out of business it seemed Yabby's music would go from obscure to gone forever, but Dread Prophecy is a sea-change release, adding a wealth of new and wonderful material to the legacy. ~ David Jeffries