The Viceroys – Brethren And Sistren

by May 24, 2024Artist, Reviews

The Viceroys - Brethren And Sistren

Release Info

Label
Thompson Sound
Format
LP
Street date
May 24, 2024
Contact
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Tracklist

Side A
1. Girl It’s Over
2. Brethren And Sistren
3. Ain’t Nobody Love Nobody
4. My Love
5. There Is Hopes

Side B
1. United Nations
2. You Can Hear All
3. Over Hills And Valleys
4. Please Stop Them
5. Ya Ho

Initially released on UK’s CSA label, Linval Thompson has finally reissued the Viceroys’ 1983 album in Europe on his Thompson Sound imprint, which is a blessing for all roots reggae lovers and vinyl collectors. A copy of the original LP has been used for mastering this repress as unfortunately the original master tapes are lost forever.

Viceroys’ Legacy

The Viceroys’ legacy can be traced back to 1967 with initial tracks done at Studio One including Lose And Gain, Fat Fish, Last Night and Ya Ho. The core of the group, founder Wesley Tinglin, and Daniel Bernard and Linval Williams, recorded for numerous producers and under different group names (Truth Fact & Correct, The Inturns, The Interns, The Brothers, The Hot Tops, and The Voiceroys). After Linval Williams had left the group, Tinglin recruited Neville Ingram as a replacement. Since then, the group started to record as both the Interns and the Voiceroys. In 1978 they recorded the Detour album for Phill Pratt under the name The Interns. Shortly after this, the group adopted the name the Viceroys, and the line-up stabilised with lead vocalist and songwriter Wesley Tinglin being supported by harmony singers Neville Ingram and Norris Reid. In 1982, they recorded the LP We Must Unite for Linval Thompson which attracted a lot of attention. The group and producer followed up that LP with Brethren And Sistren, which became their biggest selling record to date.

Reality

Similar to a group like Cultural Roots, lyrically the Viceroys emphasize reality while vocally they brighten up times of suffering. “Such a negative vibe, I wonder how they survive, I’ve got to ask myself, ain’t nobody love nobody anymore”. Set to the mournful melody of the horns of Dean Fraser and Nambo, the song Ain’t Nobody Love Nobody reflects how one half of the world is thinking, while the other seems to be intent on destroying the whole world. Please Stop Them is a plea for someone to stop the senselessness of the gunman. But while there is life, there is hope. That’s the difference between those who accept the situation. Their fatalistic approach is almost as bad as those who are causing the trouble. The Viceroys can’t take that. There Is Hope is an anthem for the upful way of living. You can’t play Babylon’s game. It’s clear, a new way of living is needed. That awareness is now there. All that needs to be done now is for that awareness to be put into a working alternative. Things are not going to get better if they keep getting worse. People of the earth can’t let a small group of ignorant and senseless people take away the only thing that has kept the whole going for generations – hope. They now have the power over life and death and if they take that away, that hope, we are left with nothing.

Reasoning

The Brethren And Sistren LP is full of such reasoning. Slowly but surely, it will draw you into thinking about the situation in the world today which doesn’t differ that much from the days the tracks for this album were recorded. The purpose of music in this context is to reinforce the lyrics. The urgency of Please Stop Them is set to a fast, almost reggae riddim, as if lead vocalist Wesley Tinglin was shouting his plea. Other songs are calmer, so the riddim cools down. Here, praise must go to Linval Thompson, who again extracts outstanding works from all members of the Roots Radics, who once again prove that they are not just a riddim machine capable of only re-cutting old riddims. Just as they did on We Must Unite, the trio embraces the sweet harmonies formula with vocals layered over more edgy and aggressive riddims than in their 1970s recordings. Recorded at Channel One and Harry J. Studios and mixed by Soljie at Channel One, Brethren and Sistren is a great album that should not be missing from any reggae collection.

(Note: Parts of this review are written by Ray Hurford | Read Peter I’s interview with Wesley Tinglin here)

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