Most Wanted cover

Most Wanted pulls together five of Ranking Dread’s most classic Greensleeves 12″ releases along with their B-side versions. The collection contains releases from 1981-82, two of which topped the charts in the UK and added to Dread’s fame.

All the tracks, bar one, were self-produced and feature spots by Sly & Robbie, Roots Radics, Jackie Mittoo and the Scientist.  The title ‘Most Wanted’ reveals the story of Ranking Dread’s life, which was peppered with crime, prison, exile and ultimately murder.

Ranking Dread began deejaying alongside Tappa Zukie in Trenchtown, with the Ray Symbolic Sound System.  Both were arrested for their involvement in the shooting of a police officer and Dread was incarcerated.  He escaped prison and truly became ‘most wanted’. Both escaped to the UK and continued to perform, Dread later becoming a resident deejay for Lloyd Coxsone’s Outernational Sound System in London.

The most famous track on the compilation, Fattie Boom Boom, topped the charts in ’81 and sold over 13,000 copies. To this day, this track has a place in any dancehall and always gets hips shaking. Love a Dub is the biggest hit for me, with it’s layered percussion courtesy of the Roots Radics and Jackie Mittoo on the keys.  The dub is a classic early 80s rub-a-dub soundsystem shaker.  If Nanny Was Here is a sweet melodic tune and My Mammy is a lovely tribute to Dread’s mum. Jean Green, a version of Johnny Osbourne’s Too Sexy showcases his signature deejaying style and rolls nicely into the dub to finish.

Following his success in the UK, Ranking Dread fled to Canada as a wanted man where his application for political asylum was rejected.  He was extradited to Jamaica and imprisoned.  There are rumours surrounding his death but it is widely said he was poisoned in prison in ’96 in retaliation for the many murders he was involved in.

Ranking Dread left behind three deejay albums as well as the dub album, Ranking Dread in Dub. I would recommend this compilation to early-80s dancehall and rub-a-dub fans wanting a taste of five big 12″s in one bite.