April 16, 2021

Manley Augustus Buchanan (⋆ 19 April 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica), is a Jamaican DJ (reggae toasting and early singjay). Big Youth started toasting for a sound system in 1970. Inspired by the first toaster who was successfully recorded and released – U-Roy – Big Youth developed his own, unique style. His work with producer Gussie Clarke resulted 1972 in ‘The Killer‘ (version of Horace Andy‘s ‘Skylarking‘) and ‘Tippertone Rocking‘ – his first big Jamaican hits. 1973 the first and legendary album Screaming Target was released.

During 1974 and 1975 Big Youth continued to record for other producers, as Glen BrownThe Abyssinians (‘I Pay Thee‘, ‘Dreader Than Dread‘), Yabby You (‘Yabby Youth‘ – later known as ‘Lightning Flash (Weak Heart Drop)‘), Bunny Wailer (‘Bide’/’Black on Black’) and Joe Gibbs (‘Medecine Doctor’). His LP, Dread Locks Dread, was released 1975 and produced by Prince Tony Robinson.

However, Big Youth had also started releasing his own self-produced recordings on the “Negusa Nagast” and “Augustus Buchanan” labels in Jamaica. His first self-produced LP was Reggae Phenomemnon in 1974. His self-productions continued with the 1976 albums Natty Cultural Dread and Hit The Road Jack, using his own musicians, usually the Soul Syndicate band. Now Big Youth changed his deejay style to be more of a singjay than a toaster; even if his vocal range was never the greatest, his singing sides continued to improve in musical quality, and began to become as common as his DJ tunes. He signed to Virgin Records’ Frontline label in 1977, and his first release on the label was the Isaiah First Prophet of Old album, and he also appeared in the feature movie Rockers. Together with U-Roy, I-Roy, Dennis Alcapone, Prince FarI, and Dillinger, Big Youth is one of the immortal early Jamaican reggae toasters which have inspired generations of following Jamaican dancehall deejays and American rappers.

The name of the band Sonic Youth is in part a tribute to Big Youth.

“Yes, me come inna de music as Rasta, me a de original rastaman who enter it.” Big Youth, Italy, 2001

“Deejays were closest to the people because there wasn’t any kind of establishment control on the sound systems”. Big Youth in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music


* Chi Chi Run – Fab 1972 (including just three Big Youth songs)
* Screaming Target – Trojan 1973
* Reggae Phenomenon – Augustus Buchanen 1975
* Dreadlocks Dread – Klick 1975
* Natty Cultural Dread – Trojan 1976
* Hit the Road Jack – Trojan 1976
* Isiah First Prohphet of Old – Nicola Delita, Caroline 1978
* Progress – Nocola Delita 1979
* Rock Holy – Negusa Negast 1980
* Some Great Big Youth – Heartbeat 1981
* Chanting Dread Inna Fine Style – Heartbeat 1982
* Live at Reggae Sunsplash – Genes 1984
* A Luta Continua (The Struggle Continue) – Heartbeat 1986
* Manifestation – Heartbeat 1988
* Jamming in the House of Dread – Danceteria 1990
* Higher Grounds – JR, VP Records 1995
* Save the children – Declic 1995
* Reggae Gi Dem Dub – Nicola Delita
* Natty Universal Dread 1973–1979 – a 3-CD-Box-set with Big Youth’s major works during the 70’s, released in 2001.

Source: https://www.last.fm/music/Big+Youth

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