Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

R.I.P. Errol Thompson

Ryan Moore from Twilight Circus brought this to my attention: the great reggae engineer and dubmaster Errol Thompson passed away this weekend. He was behind the boards on some of the most thrilling roots and dub records like the African Dub Almighty series, Dennis Brown’s Words of Wisdom, Yellowman’s Zunguguzungguguzungguzeng, and Culture’s Two Sevens Clash.

This from Ryan:

“Errol Thompson must have recorded many 1000’s of albums and singles in the 70’s. IMO he was the all time greatest recording engineer of reggae & one of the very best on the mix. Clear, open, FAT and well balanced..

He worked at the legendary Randys studio in the early 70’s and then later at Joe Gibbs studio..

Anybody here who has heard some vintage reggae has heard his work – he worked with everybody.

The last I heard, from a reliable source who was there, ET was working in the supermarket owned by his former musical production partner Joe Gibbs. Thus, no longer in the music business.


posted by @ 5:14 pm | 5 Comments

5 Responses to “R.I.P. Errol Thompson”

  1. Mr. Babylon says:

    I thought Henry “Junjo” Lawes produced Zunguzung…

  2. Mr. Babylon says:

    Oops, read your post again and looked it up. ET mixed it, Lawes produced. Makes you wonder who was responisble for what, especially those great percussion sounds.

  3. Anonymous says:

    At the very least, the engineer was responsible for the final mix-down, if not the entire recording process. Most of the echoes and adding and dropping tracks were the engineer. Some producers, like Lee Perry would do mixing/engineering/effects during the actual recording process, while others would record raw tracks, straight through, and then dub it out and mix with the vocal tracks later. I’m sure there was everything in between too.

    I do wonder how many different mixes of each song would be made, who picked which mix would get pressed, and how much interaction the engineer would have with musicians during the recording session. Maybe some knowledge-able reggae historian knows the answer. 😉 Most of what I know is from just listening to the music and trying some of these techniques on my Tascam.

  4. cherryl says:

    Yo Jeff, This is very sad about Errol T. Folks like him are why I do what I do, and I know you know how this feels…I wish there was some site or some sound archive, something, where *we* could establish a greatest hits of *our* gen sort of thing, or at least do some kind of running history of race music in particular. I use that word *race* in the old vernacular, I’m sure you know. Anyway, this “wait thirty years” thing of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is bullshit, and they are so damn subjective… Wax Po is great but it’s quarterly, and frankly they are kind of limited in what they print as they are mainly for *diggers*. I think it is equally important to get down with big names like Quincy Jones, etc. in terms of interviews as I really don’t think he’s gonna be around in the next five years either. Wouldn’t it be cool it there was one website where writers could contribute to an interactive timeline, with links to historic articles? Everytime folks like ET die it always takes me a couple of days to wake up from it and I feel like somebody I knew died. My heart knew them, and that’s what’s important…especially when it comes to reggae, ie, the whole “heartbeat” nyabinghi thing. OK I’m rambling, but anyway Jeff please answer the email I sent you ASAP. The article I want to interview you for, the deadline is SUPA-tight! Peace.

  5. Anonymous says:

    King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown

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