Socialist Roots Sound System

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Socialist Roots Hi-Fi was a prominent[1] Jamaican reggae sound system and record label owned by Tony Welch (aka Papa Roots) in the 1970s and early 1980s.[2] It was originally named King Attorney (and before that Soul Attorney).[2] The name changed in 1976 when Welch bought the set. Regular deejays included Ranking Trevor, U Brown, Jah Mikey and Nicodemus,[3][4] alongside the regular selector Danny Dreadlocks.[5] They received dub cuts from Bob Marley & The Wailers.[6] After 1981, the group was known as Papa Roots Hi-Fi.

The sound system was strongly aligned with the Jamaican Peoples National Party and was instrumental in organizing local communities and attempting to promote peace at a time when Jamaica was racked by political violence. Socialist Roots record label released several records. The most successful was "Train to Zion", released in 1976, featuring U Brown and Linval Thompson. The peace song was one of the first 12" 45s issued in Jamaica.


  1. ^ Veal, Michael E. (2007). Dub: soundscapes and shattered songs in Jamaican reggae. Wesleyan UP. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8195-6572-3. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b Katz, David (2003). Solid foundation: an oral history of reggae. Bloomsbury. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-58234-143-9. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  3. ^ Kenner, Rob (December 2003). "Boomshots". Vibe. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  4. ^ Moskowitz, David Vlado (2006). Caribbean popular music: an encyclopedia of reggae, mento, ska, rock steady, and dancehall. Greenwood. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-313-33158-9. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Veteran bemoans today's selectors". Jamaica Observer. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  6. ^ Masouri, Jon (2008). Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley's Wailers. Music Sales Group. p. 453. ISBN 978-0-85712-035-9. Retrieved 22 January 2012.