Earl Sixteen – Shining Star

by Feb 24, 2023Artist, Reviews

Earl Sixteen - Shining Star

Release Info

Burning Sounds Records
Street date
February 24, 2023
Website Record Label

Side 1
1. Some Gone Astray
2. Straying Version
3. Bad Company
4. Rude Boy Version
5. Play Play

Side 2
1. Playing
2. Give Jah Praise
3. Praising Version
4. Shining Star
5. Shining Star Version

Earl Sixteen

Earl John Daley, also known as Earl Sixteen (Earl 16), the UK-based singer who was born in Jamaica, has been around for almost fifty years. He has been able to establish a very special position within the music during that period. Through his songs and live shows over the years, he has amassed a devoted following. Although he had been active on a limited scale since the mid-1970s, it was not until 1981 that he recorded his first album. That initial album, Reggae Sound, was recorded with Mikey Dread in the early 1980s. He has worked with a number of producers, among them Derrick Harriott, Linval Thompson, Augustus Pablo, Clement Dodd, and Lee Perry. He teamed up with top producer Roy Cousins to make two albums – Julie and Special Request. In 1985 Coxsone Dodd issued the Showcase set, which was a collection of older Studio One recordings. In the 1990s, he could often be found in the studios of UK producers Gussie P and Mad Professor. To this day, he remains prolific, both in the studio and on stage.


The producer of this album is none other than Earl Morgan, one of the founding members of The Heptones. He started producing in the early 1980s, including several Heptones’ albums and this album by Earl Sixteen, which came out in 1983. That same year he also released Earl Cunningham’s debut LP. Burning Sounds is bringing out the album once more on vinyl, in its original packaging, forty years after it was first released. In 2019, Burning Sounds issued the CD version of this album paired with Earl Cunningham’s debut record.

Shining Star

Shining Star is a so-called showcase album, where the vocal versions are followed by the dub versions. For this LP, that means there are 5 songs on it with accompanying dub versions. Of course, that says nothing about the quality of the album, which is guaranteed by having the usual top musicians of the time play the riddim tracks. It is a delight how Earl sings fluently and effortlessly over the somewhat raucous riddims, which is certainly also a compliment to the producer. A frequently used practice at the time was to “recycle” riddims, and that obviously happens on this album as well. Some Give Astray, the opening track, faithfully follows the bass lines of Mean Girl, that classic Studio One song by Larry Marshall. The austere arrangement places Earl’s vocals strongly in the foreground, which is a plus. The Morwells’ brilliant 1979 song They Hold Us Down also uses the same backing track, by the way.


The dubs on this album are not exactly earth-shattering but tend toward instrumental versions with minimal effects. Regrettably, no mention of the mixing engineer is made. With some effort, the Love I Can Feel riddim can be heard in the bass line of the title track. It is an uptempo lover’s tune, as is the tune Play Play. The ghetto tune Bad Company aptly outlines the harsh conditions in which ghetto people had to make their way between violence, crime, and poverty. This roots tune is simply worth frequent spinning. “Despite everything, you have to keep praising Jah”, Earl sings with conviction in Give Jah Praise, a very compelling and beautifully arranged praising tune.

Some Gone Astray

Play Play

Rude Boy Version


Where to get it

Buy @ Apple Music

More Earl Sixteen Music

Buy @ Apple Music