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Marlon Burrell

Did You Know?

By Marlon Burrell—-

Did you know that George Phang’s Power House record label originally belonged to Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare? According to Phang, the famed “riddim twins” urged him to get involved in production. In addition to their Taxi label, Sly & Robbie had also been releasing hits on the Power House label. Among them were Junior Delgado’s “Merry Go Round,” Dennis Brown’s “Have You Ever” and “Hold On To What You Got,” and General Echo’s “Drunken Master.” Phang said in a 1986 interview with journalist Beth Lesser, that they handed  the label over to him and that the late producer Clive Jarrett also used the label prior to him. Additionally, authors Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton wrote in “The Rough Guide To Reggae” that the label and unused riddims were given to Phang by the duo in return for a favor involving Phang’s political connections.

The first production by George Phang was a song called “Tribulation” by Eek-A-Mouse.  Phang stated that after doing the recording, he learned that the artist had done the same song for another producer, and even though the other version was not yet released, he decided to pull the record back because he did not like an artist to record a song for him, that he already did for another producer. Phang’s first hit record was Little John’s “True Confession.” The hits just kept on coming after that for George Phang on Power House, such as Sugar Minott’s “Buy Off The Bar,” Barrington Levy’s “Money Move,” Michael Palmer’s “Lick Shot,” Josey Wales’ “Undercover Lover” and Half Pint’s dancehall anthem “Greetings.” Phang continued to release quality tunes through the second half of the eighties by artists like Yellowman, Freddie McGregor, Sanchez, Admiral Bailey, and Tiger, and British DJ Dominic. Now, just about everything you can find on that label is a gem. But what would have happened if George Phang wasn’t urged to get into music production? The course of eighties dancehall music would have been altered forever and there a lot of classics that we know today, would not have existed as we know them.


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