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Artist Profile
Jun 25, 1953 ~
Dillinger, the deejay that brought the sound of Kingston’s dance halls to a worldwide audience in the late seventies…
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Real name:
Lester Bullocks
Place of birth:
Born Lester Bullocks in Kingston, Jamaica on 25th June 1953 Lester was brought up by his grandmother after his mother had emigrated to the USA. After attending Rio Cobre, Greenwich and Boys' Town schools he found his true vocation when he started going to dances and immersing himself in the world of sound systems where his first deejay heroes were King Stitt and U Roy. At this time the art of talking over records was usually restricted to the dance halls and deejay recordings were few and far between; if you wanted to hear these pioneers then you had to hear them live and direct:

"I used to see them in the dance hall. Listen to King Tubby's Hi Fi that U Roy used to play and Coxsone Downbeat... I used to listen to King Stitt." Dillinger

Lester had originally deejayed for a local sound called Prince Jackie where he had been known as Tat but, as he became increasingly involved in Kingston's sound system subculture, his personal favourite now became Dennis Smith who deejayed as Dennis AlCapone on El Paso Sound System. Hoping to emulate his hero he named himself Young AlCapone or AlCapone Junior. Alongside another El Paso follower, Samuel The First, Lester would pester AlCapone for a chance on the mic. but was so enthusiastic that he also involved himself in all aspects of the sound system... including the really hard work.

"Me help to lift the soundboxes onto the truck. But me don't mind that because me love the music." Dillinger

In 1972 Lee 'Scratch' Perry(Lee Perry), The Upsetter, arranged an evening recording session at Dynamic Sounds with Dennis AlCapone and Young AlCapone asked to be allowed to accompany him to the recording studio. Scratch was not slow to realise the potential of Dennis' protégé and he set the tape rolling for the gifted and talented young man. They ended up staying in the studio all night with Lester voicing rhythm after rhythm for Scratch as older tunes such as 'Tighten Up' and brand new Upsetter outings such as 'French Connection' were all given an airing. Scratch's verdict was that Lester was "even badder than AlCapone" and he renamed him after another notorious American gangster of the Prohibition period, John Dillinger, and a new star was born.

"You're not Young AlCapone – you're Dillinger" Lee 'Scratch' Perry

Although they recorded enough material for "about two LP's" only a handful of singles from this marathon session were released, including 'Tighten Up Skank', but none proved to be big hits. Dillinger would return to Scratch the following year to voice "Episode Three of Cloak And Dagger", the classic 'Dub Organiser', where he advertised the genius of King Tubby "the dub organiser" and his Dromilly Avenue studio.

Dillinger discovered that other producers, who had previously ignored his entreaties, were now keen to record him. Over the next few years he recorded for Vivian 'Yabby You' Jackson(Vivian Jackson) ('Freshly'), Bunny 'Striker' Lee(Bunny Striker Lee) ('Commercial Locks' & 'Jah Jah Dub'), Augustus Pablo ('Braces A Boy' & 'Downtown Rock'), Tony 'Prince Tony' Robinson ('Fat Beef Skank' & 'Stick The Beef') and many others with varying degrees of success. But by the time he arrived at Brentford Road he was presented with only the choicest cuts to work on including Horace Andy's 'Fever' and the classic Studio One instrumentals 'Full Up', 'Mojo Rock Steady' and 'Real Rock'. His Studio One long player, 'Ready Natty Dreadie', where his innovative mic. technique was annexed to a selection of some of Coxsone(CS Dodd)'s greatest rhythms, still sounds every bit as exciting as it did when it was first released.

"Most artists grateful for an LP 'cause a 45 like a little slug from a gun but the LP like a rocket launched, long distance missile that shoot far." Dillinger

The art of a deejay is fleeting, best caught either live and direct in a dance or on a seven inch single, and it is paradoxical that a best selling album, released at the height of a deejay's popularity, will ensure their reputation for ever: U Roy with 'Version Galore', Dennis AlCapone with 'Forever Version', I Roy with 'Gussie Presenting I Roy' and Big Youth with 'Screaming Target'. And after Dillinger's long playing debut for Studio One his next move was to Maxfield Avenue where his Channel One album 'CB 200' captured the art of the deejay in the latter half of the seventies in the same way that the aforementioned talk over artists had summarised the first half of the decade.

The title track, a cut to Gregory Isaacs' compelling version of Bob Andy's classic 'Sun Shines For Me', celebrated the Kingston cult of the motorbike in a blatant advertisement for Honda's CB 200. Dillinger enjoyed an unmatched string of hits for the Hookim brothers' Well Charge and Disco Mix labels such as 'Fire Bun', 'Caymanas Park', 'Natty A General', 'Ragnampaiza' and 'Eastman Skank'. Throughout 1976 and 1977 Channel One was the studio, The Revolutionaries were the instrumental band, The Mighty Diamonds were the vocal group and Dillinger was the deejay.

Delivered in almost conversational asides, with a wit and insight that many of his contemporaries lacked, Dillinger concentrated on detailing the daily tribulations of life in the ghetto and the ups and downs of the Jamaican recording business. 'Cocaine In My Brain' was lifted from the album and became a massive worldwide hit for Dillinger. Ironically it bore little relation to his usual style of deejaying and the rhythm was funk based and decidedly different to the trademark Channel One 'militant' double drumming beat. It struck a chord worldwide and Dillinger rapidly capitalised on his success. He toured Europe at the height of the punk explosion where his stage act, developed over long nights on Kingston's sound system circuit, introduced a whole new audience to the art of the Jamaican deejay.

He had learnt the art the hard way at a time before it was even recognised as an art form. One of the last of the old school Jamaican deejays Dillinger was one of the first to introduce that art to an international audience.
Related artist(s):
Dennis Alcapone
U Roy
Big Youth
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Description of item
[All Items] → [LP] → [Roots Reggae] → [Roots Deejay 70s] → [Dillinger]
Dillinger - CB 200 (Ltd. Edition 180 Gram Vinyl)
No Stock
CB 200 (Ltd. Edition 180 Gram Vinyl)
Simply Vinyl UK/Island
¥2980 (US$24.36)
Rating: 1234
Genre: Roots Reggae
Sub Genre: Roots Deejay 70s
Produced by: Joseph Hookim
Approx. year: 1976
Date added: Mar 4, 2000
Date re-stocked: Jun 29, 2006
Country: England
Catalog number: SVLP 188
Music type: Deejay
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>>List all items by Producer: Joseph Hookim
1) C. B. 200
2) No Chuck It
3) Cokane In My Brain
4) The General
5) Power Bank
6) Plantation Heights
7) Race Day
8) Natty Kick Like Lighting
9) Buckingham Palace
10) Crankface
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Dillinger - Truth & Right (Extended Mix)
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This artist's best seller(s):
Dillinger - Truth & Right (Extended Mix)
Truth & Right (Extended Mix) (10")
Clocktower CA
Dillinger - Brace A Boy
Brace A Boy (7")
Pressure Sounds UK/Rockers
Alpha & Omega, Don Goliath, Dillinger - Roll River Jordan
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This producer's best seller(s):
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