537 Essential Rock albums – Michael Smith – Mi Cy-aan Believe It – A reggae Dub gem


This is one of my favourite reggae albums – full of fire and brilliant. It has variety, great songs and a brilliant voice. This poem is superb.

  1. Michael Smith – Mi Cy-aan Believe It

It is a great injustice that this album is not available on CD. It is one of the best reggae albums ever made.

Michael was an outspoken, political Dub-poet from the early seventies. He was an inspiration for the likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Legend has it that Michael was stoned to death by an angry mob after speaking out at a political rally. Jamaica was a scary place.

Michael had the most amazingly rich voice which was highly emotive and his poetry was so original. There are poems and songs. It starts with the short poem ‘Black ‘n’ White’ which melds into ‘Mi feel it’ with its hypnotic and highly original bass line. The Reggae music is heavy and dense with rhythm and power and would be incredible on its own. When married to words of this quality it goes up another notch. It was truly outstanding.

This album has the fabulous poem that is the title track but it also has amazing tracks like ‘Long time me no have no fun’, ‘Picture or no picture’ and ‘It-a come’. It was brilliant reggae with great poetry and political sentiments.

How can something of this quality remain unreleased?


20 thoughts on “537 Essential Rock albums – Michael Smith – Mi Cy-aan Believe It – A reggae Dub gem

  1. Jamaican record labels were a joke. They had zero idea how to store tapes to secure longevity and have destroyed so many due to excessive heat and humidity. The masters will have been long gone.

    1. It was Island Records who recorded him. They were quite together. The masters will be with Chris in England. It’s a mystery why they aren’t released.

      1. Who ever told you that? Island had a disaster of a record for keeping tidy records of tapes. When they moved out from Basing Street, they skipped loads because they just couldn’t be bothered sorting through them.
        Hence why a lot of recordings on their “Deluxe Edition” series CDs are forced to use copy tapes.
        Unless an album was a good seller, Island generally could not cared less. It was all beans cans as far as Blackwell was concerned.

      2. Really? I had high hopes that the master tapes were sitting there in pristine condition waiting for someone to be bothered.
        None the less they could still do a copy from vinyl and clean it up. The technology is there to do a good job. I’d lend them mine if they needed it!

      3. I know you’ve said before you weren’t in the business of buying expensive bootlegs personally, but there was a time when Olympic studios upon being sold on emptied their store rooms of tapes into skips on the street outside. Tapes that hadn’t been collected or paid for by various record companies down the years.
        Anyway, a few keen collectors salvaged these skips and one guy was able to sell back to Jimmy Page his own Zep outtakes from LZ1. Or at least not until he’d given the bootleg fans like me a chance to buy them first.
        This was where all the Olympic Rolling Stones outtakes from 1967-70 came from, too. I bought all these boots for good money as they are 1st generation quality tapes.

        They only make CDs with a minimum sales guarantee. I’m afraid this guy has no chance.

      4. Reggae died when Marley died. It if had any kind of foothold we’d hear a lot more about it. It’s over, gone, forgotten and represents the antithesis of everything commercial today.
        The music industry completely sucks now.

      1. What about the Greensleeves label from UK?
        John Holt?
        or Virgin – Prince Far I?
        Bellaphon – Dillinger?
        There’s loads actually and Island was by no means any beacon of centre point.

      2. I’m talking, as you said, post Marley. I like the early Blue Beat, Reggae and Ska. But it all came to fruition with Marley and after that it was very sparse. There were a few that I really liked – Misty in Roots and Lee Scratch Perry’s – Time Boom and de Devel Dead come to mind.
        I like Island because of the way it developed Marley into such a major force. It added to his sound and gave him a Rock feel. Then there was Linton and Michael. I ike Prince Fari and Dillinger and I’m partial to a bit of Toots as well.

      3. But I didn’t like at all the way in which Island watered Marley’s production down. After album #2 Burnin’, they sucked the fire out of him. They should’ve left Perry just to get on with producing him but didn’t.

      4. I like most of Marley and I didn’t mind the Island production. I thought the early stuff sounded a lot weaker. He was such a personality and his material was so strong. Such a tragedy that the silly sod didn’t let the surgeon amputate his foot. He’d probably still be with us today.

      5. Hardly real reggae with that sort of production. I’ll have Prince Far I and Dillinger any day. The bass bins just about shattered into bits, no chance of that with Marley’s stuff.

      6. I would agree but I liked the Rock hybrid that Blackwell produced. It wasn’t heavy reggae anymore but Marley brought variety and quality to it.

      7. All he brought really was an Americanised sort of revision of loads of his old 60’s tracks just vamped up. He didn’t take the music into any new territory. He couldn’t due to being stuck with these I-Three’s that popified everything.
        It became Abba with a sun-tan.

      8. That’s harsh!! It conjures up a great image though.
        I can’t believe that you think Bob is in any way analogous to putrid Abba. There was always substance to what he did. I loved it all.

      9. I wouldn’t agree that Abba were putrid. They were quality pop music – and extremely well played with really good choruses. They never pretended to be anything more than pop music. Perhaps why they sold 300 million.
        Marley sold himself short with way too much light-weight stuff like Three Little Birds, Wait In Vain, Is This Love etc. C’mon it was terriible.

      10. Abba were the type of pop drivel I despised. They played it well but I hated it. Liz liked it though and my mate, who has brilliant taste otherwise, adores them. I suggested our next radio show should be Beefheart/Abba. I’d slag off all the tracks he chose and he’d slag off all mine. That would be fun.
        I didn’t mind Bob’s light side. I didn’t think it was atrocious. It was merely commercial. He did enough brilliant stuff to go with it to make it good.

      11. Go through all the albums after Rastaman Vibration, you’re into diminishing returns territory. It takes more than 2 or 3 good tracks on an album to qualify it as a good album.

      12. I think you’re being a bit harsh there. I like four tracks off Exodus and 4 off Survival and the others had a couple on each. But I wouldn’t say they were bad albums – maybe not as good – Rastaman Vibration is by far the best for me and I loved Burnin’ but I do like them all – even the more commercial ones.

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