Vocal Superstars at King Jammy$
4 CD Box Set
September 29, 2013
DENNIS BROWN – THE EXIT
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 5|
Over the years VP Records has become the major player in reggae music, and boasts what is reputedly reggae's largest back catalogue. In recent times the company has issued several interesting releases from their - and Greensleeves - huge catalogue. Some of their current releases include two 4 cd boxes from the legendary producer Lloyd James, better known as Prince Jammy aka King Jammy. Let's have a look at the box "Vocal Superstars at King Jammy$"
Lloyd James (born 1947, Montego Bay, Jamaica), better known as Prince Jammy or King Jammy, is one of the best known Jamaican producers. He began his musical career as a dub master at King Tubby's recording studio. His dubs were known for their clear sound and use of effects. After earning money from building amplifiers and repairing electrical equipment from his mother's house in Waterhouse in the late 1960s, he started his own sound system. He also built equipment for other local systems. After leaving Jamaica to work in Canada for a few years in the early 1970s, he returned to Kingston at the end of 1975 when King Tubby needed a replacement for his engineer Philip Smart, who had emigrated to New York, and as a result Jammy started working with such in-demand producers as Bunny Lee and Yabby You.
When Tubby recruited Scientist as his new apprentice, it allowed Jammy to gradually move away from engineering and concentrate on production. It was in the second half of the 1970s when he began to release his own productions, including the debut album from Black Uhuru in 1977 and Sugar Minott's 'Bitter Sweet' album. Further noteworthy productions at the end of that decade were Errol Holt's 'Vision Of Africa', Travellers' 'Black Black Minds', U Brown's 'Mr. Brown Something' and Jolly Brothers' 'Consciousness'.
In the 1980s, he became one of the most influential producers of dancehall music. His biggest hit was 1985's "Under Me Sleng Teng" by Wayne Smith, with an entirely digital riddim hook. Many credit this song as being the first digital riddim in reggae, leading to the modern dancehall era. Jammy's productions and sound system dominated reggae music for the remainder of the 1980s and into the 1990s. He continues to work as a producer, working with some of today's top Jamaican artists, including Sizzla and Bushman.
Dennis Brown's 1985 album "The Exit" was originally released as "History" and featured the massive hit Material Girl that used a splendid updated rendition of the 'No Warrior' riddim. The rest of the material sees the 'Crown Prince of Reggae' in fine shape, voicing Jammy's riddims played by Steelie & Clevie. One particular track of that album was one of our favourite tunes for years, I'll Be Waiting, a digital redo of The Heptones' "Love Won't Come Easy".
The second album in the box is Gregory Isaacs' "Come Along". In the 1980s Gregory had become reggae's brightest star through internationally released albums and his output was more than prolific during that period. The digital album, arranged and played by Steelie & Clevie, is a showcase for Gregory's vocal supremacy and features two singles. First there's Give Love A Try. The song was underpinned by Jammy's digital reworking of the "Real Rock" riddim. The second single was You Can Have the Bits aka "Bits & Pieces". Gregory sings an heartfelt tune across Frankie Paul's 'Sara' riddim. The album is still sounding fresh after all these years!
Sugar Minott's album "Bitter Sweet" aka "Give The People" has to be regarded as the gem from this box. It was released in 1979 and it helped push Sugar Minott forward towards undeniable superstardom. The album features several top tunes such as Never Too Young that uses the bassline of 'A Love I Can Feel'. It opens with Sugar's interpretation of Ken Boothe's heart-rending I'm Not For Sale and also includes the hit Give The People. One of Sugar's best albums!
The last album comes from one of reggae's most beloved artists, Horace Andy. His global superstardom brought about by his team-ups with Massive Attack was just around the corner but Horace's work with Studio One and Bunny Lee had already sealed his rightful place in the Reggae hall of fame. His 1987 album 'Haul And Jack Up' was released on Count Shelly's Live and Love label. Horace Andy displays his unique vocal style across the well known digital Jammy riddims of that time. Although this set isn't his strongest effort, it's a satisfying collection of tunes.
Longtime not available, so grab your copy now!