Wake the Town

Composed by Ewart Beckford

Song Review by

This is it, the single that rocketed toasting to the top of the Jamaican charts and swept in the reign of the DJs. "Wake the Town" was not the first time a toaster was placed on wax, nor was it even U-Roy's debut, he'd fired up the grassroots scene with a handful of cuts for Lee Perry and Lloyd Daley earlier in 1969. But it was "Wake" that roused the Jamaican mainstream from its slumber. Producer Duke Reid set the DJ loose on the musical backing track from Alton Ellis' classic hit "Girl I've Got a Date," entirely stripping off the vocals and leaving U-Roy to do as he would. This early on, the DJ didn't so much toast as exhort his listeners with a stream of "scabadoobadays" and enthusiastic exclamations to excite the crowds, interspersed with a laid-back patter. In hindsight, it doesn't seem like much, but at the time it was a revelation, and U-Roy sounded the alarm bell, waking the town and telling the people that the DJs had arrived with style. Once awakened, Jamaicans set the single rocketing to the top of the chart.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Version of Wisdom 1990 Virgin 2:27
Treasure Isle Meets Tip Top 1993
Various Artists
Sonic 2:29
The Story of Jamaican Music: Tougher Than Tough 1993
Various Artists
Mango 2:27
Three From the Frontline: Natty Rebel/Rasta Ambassador/Version of Wisdom 1994 Caroline Distribution 2:27
Super Boss: The Great Treasure Isle Collection, Vol. 1 1994 Culture Press 2:41
Your Ace from Space 1995 2:29
Dub Reggae Essentials 2000
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:26
Classic Reggae: The DeeJays 2000
Various Artists
Music Club Records 2:28
Reggae Hits, Vol. 3 [St. Clair] 2001
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:42
The Rightful Ruler 2002 Recall (UK) 2:29
Babylon Burning: The Mighty Songs of U-Roy 2002 Fuel 2000 / Varese 2:26
Treasure Isle Showtime 2002
Various Artists
Heartbeat / Heartbeat 2:47
Reggae Hits, Vol. 3 [Castle Pulse] 2003
Various Artists
Castle Pulse 2:42
Trojan Story [UK Import] 2003
Various Artists
Metro 2:43
The Reggae Masters 2007 Creon / LM 2:42
blue highlight denotes editor's pick