ALBUM REWIND: Dave Barker with The Upsetters “Prisoner Of Love”

Prisoner of Love CoverChatting about the Champions in the last post and mentioning their cover tune “Prisoner of Love” made me think of the classic Dave Barker with the Upsetters release of the same name.

So how did Dave Barker launch his career and just how did he meet Lee Perry and The Upsetters?

Dave Barker, born David Crooks, in 1948 had been singing for a few years with a couple different groups including a brief stint in Winston Riley’s Techniques alongside Riley and Bruce Ruffin. Nothing much came of these collaborations though. He soon meet a fellow named Glen Brown and they formed a duo calling themselves Glen and Dave. They recorded for both Harry J and Coxsone Dodd with Dave working in the pressing plant at Studio One.

Brown soon introduced Crooks to Lee “Scratch” Perry, who was persuaded to record a tune with him. The resulting track was “Prisoner of Love” backed of course by Lee’s studio band The Upsetters. The collaboration worked and this led to Crooks becoming a regular vocalist for Perry.

“Prisoner of Love” was released in 1969, at the height of Lee Perry’s power behind the mixing board, but not before a slight name change. The story goes that Perry decided Crooks should record as Dave Barker – most likley thinking it was a perfect moniker to go with his barking singing style. It was originally found on the Punch label.

Dave Barker Prisoner of Love Punch 45

More great vocal workouts continued such as “Shocks of a Mighty” and “Spinning Wheel”. These hits resulted in a full album of material being released called appropriately Dave Barker Meets The Upsetters –Prisoner of Love on Trojan Records in 1970. So that’s how the album came about.

The full Prisoner of Love album featured 13 tracks of classic Perry style material:
1. Shocks Of Mighty
2. Build My Whole World Around You
3. My Cup
4. Love Me Baby
5. Set Me Free
6. Blowing In The Wind
7. Prisoner Of Love
8. I Was Wrong
9. One Little Lie
10. Skanky Children
11. Never Before
12. The Same Game
13. Runaway Child

Listen to the title track and 4 others in the embedded playlist below:

Oh yeah and in case you had not heard Dave Barker along with Ansell Collins (of “Double Barrel” fame) are performing together for the first time in many many years at the reformed London International Ska Festival!

London International Ska Festival!

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.