Joseph Cotton – History Of The Dancehall
Higher Mountain Records
Over the last few years, we have had the pleasure of seeing some remarkably good reggae projects that were recorded at the Ancient Mountain Studio and released by Higher Mountain Records from Munster, Germany. Riddims for these projects are inspired by those known from the mid-to-late ’70s heyday of roots reggae and were laid by Martin Musch (drums, percussion, mixing engineer) and Markus Dassmann (bass, piano, Hammond organ, guitar, synth). The latest project coming from Higher Mountain Records is a 9-track album (in showcase format) which features one of the most underrated deejays in the reggae genre, Joseph Cotton.
Silbert Walton spent one year as a member of the Jamaican police force before turning his attention to recording. In 1976, he began working with Joe Gibbs under the stage name Jah Walton. Later, he transitioned to working with producer Harry Mudie and released hit tunes like Stay A Yard And Praise God, the risky Touch Her Where She Want It Most (the title track from his debut album), and Married To A Bank Cashier. In the mid-1980s, Walton changed his name to Joseph Cotton and found success in the UK with No Touch The Style for Fashion Records, which was the label’s biggest seller and earned him a television appearance on Channel 4’s Club Mix program in 1987. He followed up with several more chart-topping reggae hits, including Things Running Slow, Pat Ha Fe Cook, Tutoring, Judge Cotton, and What Is This. Cotton, who was once nicknamed “The Best Dressed Jamaican In Town”, continued to perform and record into the 1990s, 2000s, and the present day.
History Of The Dancehall
After nearly fifty years in the industry, this collection with four vocal cuts by the deejay proves that he still has what it takes to produce great music. All tracks, vocals as well as dubs, exude downright delightful old skool vibes from beginning to end. The opener, Handclapping & Footstomping, garners immediate interest due to its catchy riddim and infectious nature. It’s also a joy to listen to its dub counterpart, which has a few vocal snippets in its mix. Next comes the captivating Mr. Cotton Speaks His Mind, with Joseph Cotton deejaying in a style slightly reminiscent of U Roy. This track that doesn’t allow the listener’s attention to drift away as it is candy for the ears of the vintage level reggae fan. Side B opens with a nicely done reggae rendition of Cornelius Bros & Sister Rose’s 1970 soul classic Too Late To Turn Back Now by the late (Ras) Pacey. The riddim of that track then underpins the title track History Of The Dancehall. In this song, Joseph Cotton mainly comes up with name dropping which is a bit disappointing but it’s the awesome bass line that does the trick here. And thus, because it sounds so nice the dub is played twice (actually even more). Joseph Cotton returns to form with his last vocal effort called Sugardaddy before its dub rounds off in a nice and satisfying way.
History Of The Dancehall