January 7, 2017
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Despite having scored many hits including his signature tune "Cuss Cuss" (1969), "Fire Fire" (1974), and "Rocky Road" (1977) and "Red Bum Ball" (1968), which he did with singer Devon Russell as Lloyd and Devon, Lloyd Robinson never did a full length album. It lasted until 2015, actually two years after he died in Kingston Public Hospital at the age of 68, that Watch Fire Records put out a 19 track album entitled "Legendary Lloyd Robinson In Person", only available in the USA in MP3 format. And now there's "Candi Girl", which in fact can be regarded as his real debut album.
Born on 3 November 1945, Lloyd Altemont Thomas Robinson aka Lloyd Robinson began recording in the mid-1960s as half of a duo with first Glen Brown (Lloyd & Glen) and then Devon Russell (Lloyd & Devon). In the late 1960s he embarked on a solo career and encoutered his first big success outside Jamaica with the 1968 Harry J produced single "Cuss Cuss", which was voiced at Studio One over one of the most covered riddims in reggae music. Around 1978 Lloyd Robinson recut the song for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, which was followed by recuts for Henry "Junjo"Lawes' Volcano label in 1982 and Sly & Robbie's Taxi Records in the early 1990s.
The now released "Candi Girl" album also features a worthy recut of "Cuss Cuss", just like the other tracks (including a few other recuts), recorded at Channel One in 1982 for fledgling producer Roy Sweetland, who since the mid-1970s had covered the reggae scene as a photographer. The original recordings were done by studio engineers Cedrica "Soljie" Hamilton, Hopeton "Scientist" Brown and Donovan "Peter Chemist" Thompson with the riddims laid by the Revolutionaries band consisting of Sly & Robbie (drum & bass), Robbie Lyn (keyboards), Willie Lindo (lead guitar), Winston "Bo Pee" Bowen (rhythm guitar) and Everald & Everton Gayle (horns). Thirty years after the recording sessions were done, the master tape was digitized at the Art Institute in Boston MA by engineers Andrew Lipss and Eric Welsh, while the tracks were mixed and mastered at Boston's Chill House Recording Studio by engineers Nathan Sabanayagam of Naya Records and Will Holland.
The album opens with a real fine recut of "That Girl", originally a rocksteady song done together with Glen Brown in 1967 for producer/singer Derrick Harriott. It's followed by a worthwhile next version of the crucial "Cuss Cuss", on which the singer with so much soul in his voice sings his heart out. Also the legendary "Red Bum Ball", Lloyd & Devon's hit song for Derrick Morgan's Hop Records, is refurbished to full effect. This also goes for the 1974 released single "Fire Fire" on the Duke Reid imprint; a strong message tune with a call for unity. The same theme comes to the fore in the matching "Want No War". Next comes the solid "Freedom Is A Must", a song he co-wrote with Roy Sweetland. One of the highlights here is the powerful "Rougher Than Rough", while the soulful title track "Candi Girl", with horn section overdubs done by Brian Thomas (trombone), Michael O'Conner (tenor saxophone) and Louisa Ann Gelfuso (trumpet), is candy for the ears.
"Candi Girl" is a perfect album to fully experience the great talent of an underrated singer.