Big Youth — Screaming Target (1972, Jaguar)
Don’t use the rules, they’re for the fools and you’re a fool if you don’t know that.
The nice thing about Marginal Brevity, in all of our beautiful irrelevance and obscurity, is that no one gives a damn about us. Though some might find such profound disinterest demoralizing, that misses the bigger picture. Instead, in our self-contained world, we’re feeling pretty liberated. We make up our own rules. Maybe we want to proverbially flog a dead horse. Maybe we’ll have and eat our cake. Maybe we want to put in our two cents on a record that has been written about to death. No, this ain’t Sgt. Pepper’s or some Velvets live cut. It ain’t even some classic mono release. Tonight, we revisit the explosive Screaming Target by that titan of toast himself, Big Youth. Toasting over K.C. White, Dennis Brown, Leroy Smart, Gregory Isaccs, and other grand slam cuts from the early 1970s, Mr. Manley Augustus Buchanan, following in the steps of his fellow countryman U-Roy, does his bit to put deejaying on the musical map. Literacy, love interests, and skylarking are among the topics of debate, with soulfully saturated production courtesy of one Gussie Clarke and the heavy, heavy patois courtesy of one Big Youth. A quintessential Saturday afternoon record. It doesn’t matter if the sun is doing its thing or the rain is doing its, Big Youth is bound to blast you outta’ there. Whilst his back catalogue is pretty solid, none of Big Youth’s subsequent work has the rawness or immediacy of Target. No surprise, the grooves are well worn on the house copy. I’ve listened to this record at least hundred times, and like a fine wine, it gets better with age.