|The Rhythm Directory collates many of the tracks that have appeared by artists on On-U Sound releases and other labels associated with Adrian Sherwood's 'home' production work. It is designed as a way of cross-referencing tracks of similar basis in a way that is independent of artist, label, track name or mix name.
Given the nature of especially the early On-U Sound releases, basic rhythms were often re-used, sampled, overdubbed and remixed by the same collective of artists under different names and with variant or completely different titles. This has lead to the On-U catalogue being awash with multiple re-works of the same basic track with little way of associating them. Thus the Rhythm Directory was born.
The first version of the Rhythm Directory was painstakingly researched and compiled by Richard Davies back in 1992 and together with updates by Culf in 1993-4 was once available along with his discographies by FTP - but sadly no longer. This re-incarnation maintains Richard and Culf's original classification system, brings it more or less up to date and adds further new Rhythms I have allocated. My corrections and updates are to a July 1994 paper copy of Richard and Culf's original with brand new Rhythm additions to it comprising all Rhythms above 92 and B39. My thanks go to them both for letting me develop their creation further and for doing much of the hard work on which the information within is based.
2: What Is A 'Rhythm'?
A Rhythm in the context of this directory is given a wide definition in the absence of any other suitable term I can think of. It's taken to mean any underlying pattern within a track that is clearly reproduced in more than one recording. This pattern may be one or a combination of lyrics, tune, drum loop or recurring bassline sequence. While every track therefore consists of elements on which a Rhythm can be based, the Rhythm Directory deals mainly with those Rhythms that have been re-used in such a way that a change in track name and / or mix name and / or artist name has occurred that makes the common link between them non-obvious. That said, the Directory is not a completely exhaustive list.
3: What Is A 'Version'?
In the table header of each Rhythm is a column marked Version. In this context a Version is a distinct recording which contains a Rhythm in question. i.e. Every edit, remix, dub, re-recording etc etc is considered to be a separate Version. Generally speaking there are at least two Versions of each listed Rhythm known. The names for Versions I have used are purely of my own derivation and are designed to descriptively differentiate them from each other. In particular, Versions called "Original" do not necessarily mean "very first recording", but probably more accurately "suspected first recording of those Versions listed". Perhaps confusingly, from time-to-time, the name of a Version is given as 'Version'. When used as a name, 'Version' is simply taken to mean 'variation' or 'difference'.
Please note, these definitions are my own, and though they are intended to be in line with those originally used by Richard and Culf to create the Rhythms and Versions I have subsequently added to, I cannot be completely certain that mine and their criteria completely conform.
4: Why Are There Two Types Of Rhythm?
Historically the Rhythm Directory has separated Rhythms primarily associated with Bim Sherman material from the remainder. This is probably because of their number and perhaps for ease of cross-reference purposes. While most Rhythms are listed in the format [Rhythm xxx], Bim Rhythms are denoted in the format [Rhythm Bxx]. The demarcation is not absolute though and tracks / versions featuring Bim also crop up in the main Rhythm numbering scheme. The actual number assigned to a rhythm means nothing other than to provide an indication of the order in which they were first identified and catalogued.
5: Rhythms 144, 146, 236 and B12
When I updated the Rhythm Directory for inclusion in 'On-U Sound In The Area' for the first time in 2002-2003 [Rhythm B12] (as was) was merged into [Rhythm 2] leaving the former redundant. The [Rhythm B12] classification has since been re-allocated to a completely different Rhythm.
A May 2009 correction to the Rhythm Directory saw the former [Rhythm 144] become redundant. [Rhythm 231] (as was; the highest numbered riddim in the Rhythm Directory at the time) was re-numbered as the new [Rhythm 144] to fill the gap maintain the unbroken numbering sequence. The [Rhythm 231] classification has since been re-allocated to a completely different Rhythm.
A May 2010 correction to the Rhythm Directory saw the former [Rhythm 146] merge with [Rhythm 12]. [Rhythm 236] (as was; the highest numbered riddim in the Rhythm Directory at the time) was re-numbered as the new [Rhythm 146] to fill the gap maintain the unbroken numbering sequence. The [Rhythm 236] classification has since been re-allocated to a completely different Rhythm.
6: What Does A Typical Rhythm Listing Look Like?
In addition, if a white circle icon appears instead of a Left or Right Arrow button then there is either no previous or next Rhythm to show, i.e. one end of the Rhythm series has been reached.
The Version column as mentioned above lists all the known or pertinent Versions of a particular Rhythm. The Notes column provides any details of interest relating to each Version - such as vocalist names or names of artists to first record that Rhythm. The columns listed under Appears On... detail on which releases each Version is found, the name given to the track on each release and a link to the discography featuring the release. If a Version appears on more than one release then each known release is listed separately (for example the 'Original' Version in the example above).
Due to the nature of the Discography section, releases often appear in more than one discography - for example African Head Charge's 'Songs Of Praise' LP appears in both the African Head Charge act discography and the On-U Sound Records label discography. It is therefore Rhythm Directory policy that links from it to releases in the discography section occur preferentially to the corresponding act discography. Only in the absence of a suitable act discography are references made to releases in the label or the non-act / non-label discographies.
Wherever possible On-U Sound, Century, Blanc, World, Green Tea, Hitrun, Pressure Sounds etc catalogue numbers are quoted - otherwise the release's name is used in brackets. The name of the cover artist(s) or group(s) for the release is also given either using it's name AND/OR one or more of a series of common artist abbreviations:
||AHC||African Head Charge
||LA||Little Annie Anxiety
||BS||Bim Sherman/Shieman etc
|CEF||Charlie "Eskimo Fox"
||GC||Gary Clail (w or w/o On.U S.S.)
|JLN||Jeb Loy Nichols
|JD||Junior Delgado / Jux
||LASM||Little Axe / Skip McDonald
|MS||Mark Stewart (w or w/o Maffia)
|NAS||New Age Steppers
||NHD||Noah House Of Dread
|PFI||Prince For/Far I
||RDW||Revolutionary Dub Warriors
|SP||Singers And Players
||THFC||Tackhead or Fats Comet
||VOA||Voice Of Authority
7: Nightmare Dub
The title of Culf and Richard Davies' original Bim Sherman discography borrowed for this heading neatly summarises the collective experience of everyone who has been responsible for assembling this Rhythm Directory. While the research behind it has been thorough, often involving hours of audibly comparing tracks from different sources, checking, re-checking, cross referencing and cataloguing, there are likely to be gaps and mistakes in the listings simply due to the enormity and difficulty of the job.
By the very nature on On-U's past free-for-all approach, resulting sometimes in identical tracks carrying different names on different releases or even given a different 'responsible' artist, identifying Rhythms and differenciating Versions from hundreds of source tracks has been (with few other information sources) a labour of love. Releases by Bim Sherman and especially on his Century Records label are in particular strewn with track re-recordings, remixings and apparent re-namings, mis-namings and play order scramblings - making Rhythms associated with him particularly bewildering to un-pick.
As with the rest of this website, your comments and corrections to the Rhythm Directory would be much appreciated - especially as I do not own many of the releases containing the tracks and Versions listed here. As usual you can reach me via my Contact page.