Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jah Bless Yabby You

Reggae music has lost another great singer and producer, Vivian Jackson, a.k.a. Yabby You.

Writer Randall Grass revealed in his recent book Great Spirits (University of Mississippi Press) that Jackson had been suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis for most of his adult life. Yet during the 1970s and early '80s he made an immeasurable impact on reggae music, pioneering the deep roots sound, which emphasizes a spiritual message and overcoming oppressors.

Jackson produced talents such as Michael Prophet, Trinity, Big Youth, Wayne Wade and his own group The Prophets. Many experienced reggae fans and collectors are still discovering his works, including Blood & Fire's 2CD compendium Jesus Dread (recommended!).

Although obscured by a time period that gave us so many greats -- Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Culture, The Gladiators etc. -- Yabby You should be counted among them for his enduring contribution to reggae and for his unwaiveringly heartfelt messages.

Jackson died on January 12, 2009 at his home in rural Clarendon, Jamaica.

Discography at Roots Archives.

Listen to "Judgment Time."

Read Randall Grass's profile.