Influenced by these DJs was Chaka Demus, who began his career in the early eighties performing on Jammy's 'Supreme Sound' as 'Nicodemus Junior'. Born John Taylor in Western Kingston, some time in August 1963, the young DJ changed his mantle to Chaka Demus for his debut single, 'Increase Your Knowledge'. A series of singles swiftly followed, including 'Two Foot Walk' and a combination hit with the fêted 'big belly man' Admiral Bailey, entitled 'One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer'. While with Jammy's, the best of Chaka's work was compiled on the album, 'Rough And Rugged' that also featured hits from the previously mentioned Shabba Ranks. In 1987 Chaka joined Donovan Germain and the Penthouse posse to record the prophetic 'Chaka On The Move', which cleared the way for a slew of hits. While this compilation features the combination of Chaka Demus and Pliers, we felt that we should demonstrate a little of their solo work. To select notable tracks from the DJ's phenomenal output was not easy but we hope you'll agree that 'Mi No Inna It', 'Caroline Gal' and the celebrated 'Shock Out', riding the classic 'To The Foundation' rhythm are fine examples. The DJ also contributes the Bunny Lee-produced 'Don't Hang It On The Line', which he had previously voiced for Black Scorpio following a spate of underwear thefts in his hometown.
In 1991, Chaka shared a Miami stage with Everton Bonner who performed as Pliers. Plier's nomenclature was in line with the prevalence of performing under the guise of various handy tools. Notable performers from this era include, Clive 'Tenor Saw' Bright, Everton's brother Joseph 'Spanner Banner' Bonner and Delroy 'Pinchers' Thompson.
Everton aka Pliers was born in St Ann's on 4th April 1963 and began his musical career with a variety of production crews, including Pickout, Pioneer, Jammy's and Harry J. He began performing as 'Blues Melody' before changing his name to Pliers out of respect for the aforementioned Pinchers. In fact when you listen to 'Love Song' on this compilation you will probably recognise snippets from a well-known Pinchers hit. His first chart action was with 'Babylon A Brutalize We' in 1983, which was followed by a series of hits, including the original version of 'Murder We Wrote' in 1986 for Pioneer Music. As a soloist Pliers worked with King Jammy's and Black Scorpio as well as with other notable producers on such songs as 'Snake In The Grass' and 'Bam Bam'.
Following their success at the aforementioned Miami showcase, Chaka Demus and Pliers decided to team up. Their first recording session was with Ossie Hibbert, who produced 'Gal Wine', which proved an instant hit in the Dancehall and on the specialist charts around the world. A series of top tunes followed, including 'Wining Machine' and 'Worl' A Girls' (that inspired the short-lived female vocal group to perform under this guise) alongside 'Ruff This Year' with Blackbeard, and a superb version of John Holt's Studio One classic, 'Fancy Make Up', suitably titled, 'Dutty Character'.
The duo's winning combination led to sessions with the Ryddim Twins, a.k.a. Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, who had joined forces as the Taxi Gang in 1979. Sly & Robbie provided a solid foundation to the Revolutionaries as well as Peter Tosh's acclaimed albums, 'Legalise It' and 'Equal Rights' under the guise of 'Word Sound & Power', before supporting Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and the world renowned Black Uhuru, whose sessions culminated in a Grammy Award for a remixed version of the group's album, 'Anthem'.
However, when Sly & Robbie worked with Chaka Demus and Pliers, even greater success followed. The Ryddim Twins were influenced by Pliers earlier Pioneer production that condemned abortion. As previously mentioned, the song was originally called 'Murder We Wrote', but for the updated version, cut inna bhangra stylee, 'we' was substituted for 'she'. The combination of Chaka's interjections over Pliers' singing of Maxine's predicament, led to the unprecedented success and a host of 'bhangramuffin' hits. The song's rhythm was known as the 'Santa Barbara' and led to a glut of versions utilising the beats. These included a notable remake of 'Rivers Of Babylon', by Brent Dowe of the Melodians and the aforementioned 'Bam Bam' by Pliers himself. Inspired by the success of the duo, Island Records secured the release of the album, 'Tease Me. The title track was lifted from the album and subsequently hit the number three slot in the UK chart in June 1993.
This was followed by a version of Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions hit, 'She Don't Let Nobody', which peaked at number four three months later and more recently featured on the hugely popular Trojan compilation 'Reggae Love Songs' (TDSAN001).
By Christmas 1993, the Dancehall posse could only gape in amazement when the duo recruited Jordan 'Jack Radics' Bailey to perform with them on a version of the Isley's, 'Twist And Shout', which subsequently topped the chart in January 1994. Incidentally this song and 'Tease Me' can be found on 'The Ultimate Reggae Party Album' (TLSAN006).
Following the duo's three consecutive hits, Island decided to remix and re-release, 'Murder She Wrote', with the new version going on to peak at number 27 in March 1994. On this compilation we have featured 'Sweet Sherene', the title track of an album released by the Spanish Town producer, Dennis 'Starr' Hayles. The song finds Pliers reminding 'Sherene' that while flattered by her tempting proposals he was the singer of 'Murder She Wrote'.
Whilst the duos' fourth pop hit did not reach the top twenty their fifth release, 'I Wanna Be Your Man', which had originally been recorded by Pliers take sans Chaka in 1991, peaked at number nineteen in June 1994.
The pop hits continued and in August 1994 the duo were back in the UK Top Twenty with our title track, 'Gal Wine'. This version featured a sample of Dave & Ansel Collins' famed hit over Ossie Hibbert's original production, which was, subtitled the 'Double Barrel Mix'. The song has been revisited several times throughout the duos' career, with notable contributions from Jah Screw of Time One namely 'Gal Wine Wine Wine' and the self-productions on the 1994 six track re-issue. Sadly the song also marked the end of their continued run of prestigious hits on the UK pop chart although they continued to enjoy a high profile in the reggae arena.
As you will no doubt have noticed this compilation features a number of lesser-known tracks that are equally as engaging as those global hits that kept the duo at the top of the peak in the mid nineties. Aside from the previously mentioned tracks, we have featured a number of recordings that followed in the latter half of the nineties. Just prior to recording these hits with Bunny Lee, the duo made a brief appearance on the UK Top Fifty in August 1996 with a sadly overlooked version of 'Every Kinda People', which also featured a continuation of the 'Murder She Wrote' saga, entitled 'Murder Story'. The song preceded Bunny's productions on this set by a year when the duo performed inna lover's style for the sublime 'When I Get Your Love'.
Drawing from their Dancehall experience, the duo performed the self-explanatory 'Every Man Want a Slice', while they maintained their pop profile with a version of the Police hit, 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'. The song sat outside the UK Top Fifty at the same time that Bunny produced the inviting 'Come On Home' and our featured track, 'Step Up', with Yellowman alongside Chaka Demus.
Inspired by their success with the duo, Sly & Robbie recruited Spanner Banner who released the album, 'Chill' that featured Chaka Demus and Pliers on the cool smoocher, 'Slow Motion'. It was also at this time that the duo appeared on the soundtrack to the movie, 'Dancehall Queen', starring the highly talented Audrey Reid as Marcia, a street vendor who aspires toward a better life outside of the ghetto. The story follows Marcia as she liberates herself and her family from the evil clutches of Uncle Larry played by Carl Bradshaw and Priest played by Paul 'Third World Cop' Campbell. As the Mystery Lady, Marcia enters a batty rider contest, dancing to hits from Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, alongside Chaka Demus and Pliers, to win a cash prize as the ultimate Dancehall Queen.
Following their involvement in the movie, the duo concurrently pursued solo projects. Chaka Demus formed his own 'Bright Star' label that was established with his solo release, 'Walk Away', while Pliers formed 'Bonner Brothers Productions' with his siblings. The brothers consisted of Pliers, Spanner Banner, Richie Spice and Knight Snatcher, who released, 'Go For It', 'Man a Foundation', 'Ballroom Floor' and 'African Woman', respectively.
Whilst their solo projects were moderately successful, there was never any doubt that the duo would continue working together. And after what seemed like a four-year break they embarked on sessions with Sly & Robbie. These sessions commenced with the new millennium, which resulted in the come back strong RAS album, 'Help Them Lord', which proved that the duo's career was far from over, as you will hear on the title track, alongside the self-explanatory 'It Hot', 'Pon Mi Guard' and 'Lap Top' - and I'm sure you will be familiar that particular rhythm. Also lifted from that wicked set are 'Walk Away From Trouble', 'A Little Love' and inspired by Spanner Banner's version of the song with Winston and Kurt Riley, Laura Nyro's 'Love On The Carpet'. However, one of the most surprising tracks is a version of Elvis Presley's 'Don't Be Cruel' that I'm sure would have got the thumbs up from the self styled King Creole. The song might seem to be an unusual choice to do-over but believe me if you listen to it with an open mind you will rewind and come again.
Since that time other albums have followed' including 'Dancehall Dons' and 'Dangerous', alongside the acclaimed 'Ultimate Collection' - and believe me they 'caan dun'.