Niney the Observer

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Niney the Observer
Birth name George Boswell
Born 1951 (age 62–63)
Origin Montego Bay, Jamaica
Genres Reggae
Occupations Producer

Winston Holness, better known as Niney the Observer (born George Boswell, 1951, Montego Bay[1]), is a Jamaican record producer and singer who was a key figure in the creation of many classic reggae recordings dating from the 1970s and early 1980s.

Biography[edit]

Holness gained his nickname "Niney" after losing a thumb in a workshop accident.[1] In the latter half of the 1960s he worked as an engineer at KG records, where he began producing. His first release was his own composition "Come on Baby" issued on his Destroyer label.[1] He moved on to work with Bunny Lee in 1967, then for Lynford Anderson's studio, then working for Joe Gibbs as chief sound engineer, replacing his friend Lee "Scratch" Perry. While working for Gibbs he produced Dennis Alcapone and Lizzy's "Mr. Brown", and played a major role in launching the career of Dennis Brown.[1] After leaving Gibbs' setup, his first major success as a producer was "Blood & Fire" in December 1970, initially released in a pressing of 200 on his Destroyer label, but reissued the following year on his Observer label, and going on to sell over 30,000 copies in Jamaica.[1][2] Inspired by Perry's nickname of "The Upsetter", Holness adopted "The Observer", using the name for his new Observer label, and the name of his house band, The Observers (actually the Soul Syndicate).[1] Several singles followed, some reusing the "Blood & Fire" rhythm, including Big Youth's "Fire Bunn".

In the early 1970s, Holness became one of Jamaica's most sought after producers, with the likes of Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson, The Heptones, Johnny Clarke, Slim Smith, Jacob Miller, Junior Delgado, and Freddie McGregor all using his services.[1] He also continued to record himself, on collaborations with Dennis Alcapone, Max Romeo, and Lee Perry. By the mid-1970s, he was also working with Ken Boothe, Junior Byles, Gregory Isaacs, Horace Andy, I-Roy, and Dillinger.[1] The late 1970s saw him still very active as a producer, but his output in the early 1980s was significantly less after relocating to France. He re-emerged in 1982 with the Ital Dub Observer Style album and returned to Kingston in 1983, taking on the role of house producer for the Hitbound label at Channel One Studios.[1] In this capacity he was one of the first to work with Beenie Man, and also produced Third World and Sugar Minott. In the mid-1980s, he relocated to New York City, returning to Kingston again in 1988, and working with Yami Bolo, Frankie Paul, Andrew Tosh, and Junior Byles. He began an association with Heartbeat Records, working on reissues of much of his back catalogue, as well as new recordings. He continued to produce new material through the 1990s.

In March 2013, he opened his own Observer Soundbox studio on Lyndhurst Road in Kingston.[3]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Bring the Dub Come (1975)
  • Observer All Stars and King Tubby's – Dubbing with the Observer (1975)[4]
  • Nuclear Jammin' (1986)
  • King Tubby's Special 1973–1976 (with King Tubby, Observer All Stars & The Aggrovators) (1989)
  • Space Flight Dub (1989)
  • Freaks (1992)
  • Observer Attack Dub (1994)
  • Niney & Friends: Blood & Fire (1997)
  • Niney Featuring Soul SyndicatePresent Dub (1999)
  • @ Channell One (2001)[5]
  • Station Underground Report (with Lee "Scratch" Perry) (2001)
  • At King Tubby's – Dub Plate Specials 1973–1975 (2002)
  • Dennis Brown in Dub (2002)[6]
  • Head Shot: Reggae Instrumentals, Dubs and Other Oddities (2002)[7]
  • Sledgehammer Dub in the Streets of Jamaica (2003)
  • Niney Presents The Uniques (2007)
  • Channel One Presents: 100 Tons Of Dub (2009)
  • Observer All Stars and King Tubby's – Dubbing with the Observer (Re-Releaase) (2013)

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • Lloyd Willis / Niney & The Destroyers – Mad Rooster / As Far As I Can See (7") (1970)
  • Niney & The Destroyers – No Money, No Honey / This Message To You (7") (1970)
  • Blood And Fire (1971)
  • Maxie & Niney – Coming of Jah (1971)
  • Blood And Fire (7") (1971)
  • International Pum (7") (1972)
  • In The Gutter (1972)
  • Everyday Music (7") (1972)
  • Niney & Ken Elliott – Honey Baby (7") (1972)
  • Niney & The Observers – Hiding By The Riverside (7") (1972)
  • Niney And Max – Aily And Ailaloo (7") (1972)
  • Hi Diddle (7") (1972)
  • Niney / Niney All Stars – Get Out Of My Life / Get Out (Version) (7") (1972)
  • Wet Panty / Discharge No 2 (7") (1973)
  • I Soon Know (1975)
  • Niney & The Observers – Bring The Kutchie Come (1975)
  • Youth / Observer Strike – 6 Dead Nineteen Gone To Jail / Head Line (7") (1977)
  • Tyrone Taylor / Observer – Sufferation / Shot From The Pistol (7", Single) (1978)
  • Niney & The Morwells – Mix Up (7") (1978)
  • Cornell Campbell, Observer – Stars / Lotion (7") (1997)
  • Carnel Campbell & The Unique / Observer – My Country / Lotion (7") (1997)
  • Freddy McGregor / The Observer – Warn The Nation / New World Order Rhythm (7") (2001)
  • Cocoa Tea / The Observer – Dance Inna Parliament Square / New World Order Rhythm (7") (2001)
  • At King Tubby's – Dub Plate Special 1973–1975 (10") (2002)
  • Christine / Niney, Observer All Stars – Saturday Night (7") (2005)
  • Delroy Wilson / Observer All Stars – Halfway Up The Stairs / Dub Stairs (2005)
  • Dillinger / Niney The Observer – Flat Foot Hustling / Lotion Here I Come Again (7", Single, Re-Release) (2005)
  • I-Roy / Niney & The Observer All Stars – Sister Maggie Breast / Wolf & Lotion (7", Single, Re-Release) (2005)
  • Follow This Ya Sound (7") (2005)
  • Austarr / Observer – We're Over / The Bullett (7", Single) (2005)
  • Thief (7", Single, Re-Release) (2005)
  • Mutiny (7", Single, Re-Release)
  • Razor Blad Dub (7") (2005)
  • Japanese Dub Basket / Observer Punchin' Dub (7") (2005)
  • U-Roy / Niney & Observer All Stars – Train From West (7", Single, Re-Release) (2005)
  • Quiet (7", Single, Re-Release) (2010)
  • Maxie, Niney & Scratch / Jah T. – Babylose Burning / Lion of Judah
  • Niney & Maxie / Niney, Observer – Pum Pum / Reggaematic (7", Single)
  • Niney The Observer, Niney & Maxie – Reggaematic / Pum Pum (7")
  • Power to the King (7")
  • Another Pum / Big Hole (7")
  • Beardmen Feast (7")
  • Pass The Pipe (7")
  • Gray Beard / Preasure Locks (7", Single)
  • You Better Know / Moaner's (10")
  • Maxie – Niney – Scratch / Max RomeoBabylon Burning / Public Enemy Number One (7", Single, Re-Release)
  • Joseph Cotton & The Observer – Fit & Ready / Iron Fist (12", Maxi)
  • The Observers / Observer – Bearded Man Feast / Episode
  • Field Marshall Buckas / Observer Style – Amrbic / Hammering (7", Single)

Compilations[edit]

  • Ital... Observer Style (1983)
  • Observation Station (1990)
  • Niney The Observer Presents The Observer All Stars – Turbo Charge (1991)
  • Truth And Rights, Observer Style (1994)
  • Microphone Attack 1974–78 (2001)
  • Niney & Friends: Blood & Fire (2005)
  • Roots With Quality (2009)
  • Born in Jamaica (2009)
  • Sing It Wicked Style (2012)

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Grievous Angel Vs. Niney The Observer – Blood And Fire (Twist-Up Jungle Mix)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thompson, Dave (2002) "Reggae & Caribbean Music", Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998) "The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae", Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9
  3. ^ Campbell-Livingston, Cecelia (2013) "'Soundbox' booms this Wednesday", Jamaica Observer, 19 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013
  4. ^ Dubbing With The Observer – Discogs
  5. ^ Niney The Observer – @ Channell One
  6. ^ Dennis Brown in Dub – Allmusic
  7. ^ Head Shot: Reggae Instrumentals, Dubs and Other Oddities – Allmusic

External links[edit]