Linval Thompson and Friends & The Revolutionaries Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
2 x LP
September 29, 2023
Linval Thompson – Dreader Than Dread
Ranking Dread – Natty On The Rock
The Revolutionaries – Africa Love Dub
Linval Thompson – I Love Marijuana
Ranking Dread – Marijuana In My Soul
Big Joe – Smoke Marijuana
Linval Thompson – Africa Is For Blackman
Ranking Dread – Africa
Linval Thompson – I Love Jah
The Revolutionaries – Wicked Dub
Dawn & Christine – Holy Mount Zion
The Revolutionaries – Shockin’ Rock
Linval Thompson – Never Push Your Brother
Trinity – Freedom Style
The Revolutionaries – Roots Man Dub
Linval Thompson – Love Is The Question
Big Joe – Love Can Conquer
Ranking Dread – Poor Man
Linval Thompson – Stop Loving
Linval Thompson – Lion And Tiger
Trinity – Easy Does It
The Revolutionaries – Seventy Nine Rock
Linval Thompson, born on October 12, 1954, in Kingston, is a highly esteemed and widely recognized Jamaican artist and producer. His musical journey started in New York, where his first song, titled No Other Woman, unfortunately did not achieve success. Upon returning to Kingston, Thompson recorded multiple tunes for Phil Pratt, but they remained largely on the shelf. However, his collaboration with the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry on the track Kung Fu Man did manage to attract considerable attention. Through his longstanding friendship with Johnny Clarke, Thompson was able to win over the esteemed producer Bunny “Striker” Lee, who produced his debut album, Don’t Cut Off Your Dreadlocks, in 1976. This marked the start of Thompson’s career as a producer, as he went on to release his self-produced album I Love Marijuana in 1978, followed by Rocking Vibration.
From then on, Thompson continued to release a myriad of high-quality singles and albums, and also established the record labels Thompson Sounds and Strong Like Sampson. However, his productivity began to decline in the mid-1980s. In his capacity as a producer, he achieved remarkable success working with renowned artists including The Wailing Souls, Freddie McGregor, Eek-A-Mouse, Johnny Osbourne, The Viceroys, Barrington Levy, and deejay Trinity. His often heavyweight productions, continue to be revered even today. Moreover, he showcased his adeptness in the lovers genre, further expanding his repertoire. Several of his productions served as the foundation for esteemed dub albums, featuring prominent engineers such as Scientist and King Tubby.
Heavyweight undiluted rootical sides
Linval, in collaboration with Roberto Sánchez from Spanish Lone Ark, has released two albums featuring productions from the later years of the 1970s, primarily in the roots genre. While most experienced reggae fans might already be familiar with the tunes, these two sets are truly covetable albums. They showcase Linval’s exceptional abilities as both a singer and a producer, along with the impressive musical skills of The Revolutionaries who truly shine here. The tunes were recorded at Channel One and mixed by King Tubby. These albums are not for the faint-hearted; they carry substantial heavyweight, undiluted rootical sides, powered by a bassline that is both penetrating and relentless, making escape nearly impossible. Only one track on the second album showcases Linval’s more romantic side.
Beginning with the latter, the song Stop Loving showcases Linval’s heartfelt lament for a lost love. The underlying melancholic riddim, which we also hear in It’s Gonna Take A Miracle by Ken Boothe, creates a matching atmosphere. Building upon this riddim, Lion And Tiger offers a similar backing with subtle differences. Trinity, in his song Easy Does It, maintains the moody frame of mind of Stop Loving, and the accompanying dub – Seventy Nine Rock – skillfully reconstructs the tune, incorporating enticing horn accents. Dreader Than Dread, also known as Jah Jah Dreader Than Dread, takes on an apocalyptic tone as Linval passionately criticizes those who fail to live in accordance with Jah’s rules, with Ranking Dread’s version adding to the intensity. Additionally, I Love Marijuana, a ganja-themed track often regarded as Linval’s signature tune, remains astonishing even after more than four decades. Immersed in a resounding echo backdrop, Ranking Dread shares his personal encounters with the sacred plant. Meanwhile, Big Joe’s lick exudes a fiery intensity with its razor-sharp delivery.
War Is Not The Answer, Only Love Can Conquer
Africa Is For Blackman was a song featured on the 1978 LP titled Love Is The Question. This particular song by Linval depicts his deep yearning for Africa and serves as a call for repatriation. The overall tone of the track is somewhat lighthearted, but that shifts with Ranking Dread’s deejay version. In Dread’s version, titled Africa, the backing is modified to create a heavier sound by placing more emphasis on the bass and incorporating additional effects. Two tracks from the 1979 album I Love Jah are also included here: the title track and Never Push Your Brother. I Love Jah is a typical praise song that showcases Sly Dunbar’s impressive double drum technique, followed by the dub fest Wicked Dub, which is aptly named. In Never Push Your Brother, Linval expresses his frustration with the lack of love between people in a compassionate manner. Trinity echoes this sentiment in the lively Freedom Style, stating that “War Is Not The Answer, Only Love Can Conquer”.
Unbeknownst to us, Dawn & Christine recorded the roots tune Holy Mount Zion for Linval in 1978. The youthful vocals, though charming, do not completely align with the theme of the song. However, the distinctive style of The Revolutionaries shines through in the powerful dub version titled Shockin’ Rock. As mentioned earlier, this collection includes the title track of the album Love Is The Question. The catchy organ riff adds a light-hearted touch to this somewhat moralistic song. Following that, there are two energetic deejay tunes, one of them being Poor Man by Ranking Dread, which vividly depicts his struggles in the ghetto.
Dreader Than Dread
Marijuana In My Soul
Dawn & Christine
Holy Mount Zion
Love Can Conquer