Teenage twins Ruffy & Tuffy deliver an apocalyptic slab of synth drenched rub a dub with what could be the first use of Vocoder in Reggae for 1982’s If The 3rd World War Is A Must.
This release draws from both the original 12” and the master tapes combining the best vocal cut and dub versions.
Though not prolific musicians, many will recognize the twins sparring in matching red Pony track suits in Ted Bafaloukos’ iconic 1978 film Rockers.
Given that to many today Jamaica means reggae and reggae means Rasta, it may be hard to grasp just how feared and despised the Rastafari community was by mainstream Jamaican society in the 60s and even into the 70s, as the representation of everything anti-colonial.
“We wasn’t the first kids …with locs but the first who were going out ‘cause you have other Rasta youth with locs but they were staying at home..we were venturing, going out.. everything is in the street. In those times Rasta never get accepted in society that much (people say) “ Rasta no good.. nothing good came from Rasta ” But everything good came from rasta ‘cause we were the ones teaching them about their culture.”
Raised by their mother as Rastafari from birth, brothers Omar and Otis Newton (Ruffy & Tuffy) were visible symbols of this defiance and were taken under the wing of Kingston's Reggae fraternity and even feared enforcers across JLP/PNP divides such as Claudie Massop, Bucky Marshall, Tony Welsh, Earl “Tek Life” and Froza who ensured they weren’t discriminated against at school and encouraged them to take the path of education.
“Most of the bredren in those times respect us as Rasta youth..They never introduced us to guns..they encouraged us to go to school… they give us money to go to school, buy school gear, buy us books.”
Surrounded by elite reggae musicians from childhood it was nothing unusual for the brothers to be in the presence of elders like Gregory Isaacs, Burning Spear, Augustus Pablo, Jacob Miller and especially Bob Marley at recording sessions and in daily life.
Ahead of its time in almost every way, the lyrics of If The 3rd World War Is A Must dealing with global apocalypse and the nefarious use of technology, sadly seem as relevant now as they did in 1982, though some of the actors may have changed.
In the early 80’s the threat of nuclear war was inescapable as was the cruelty of poverty In Jamaica, apartheid and other global conflicts.
“We as artists at the time weren’t gonna sing about how much girls I love..And through the Rasta faith.. everything entwined.”
If The 3rd World War Is A Must was their first venture into the studio as solo artists in 1982, first at Channel One and then Tuff Gong where Wailers alumni Earl “Wire” Lindo and Tyrone Downie (keys and Vocoder) laid down their space age additions to the track creating a genre bending Reggae /Electro/ Dub concoction that still sounds fresh 41 years later.
The Texas connection
Wire Lindo & the twins took the mastertapes to Texas based mechanical engineer and producer Stephen “Iya” James who ran Marcus Garvey Records and the label African Unity Productions in the unlikely Reggae hub of Houston Texas. The track was not released until two years later in 1984 as a 12” which had a run of only 500 copies and is no easy pull these days.
Both Ruffy & Tuffy are still active musicians, Ruffy migrated to London in 2002 while Tuffy remained in Jamaica.
Under license from Iya and Ruffy and Tuffy.
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