Linval Thompson – Ganja Man

by Jun 21, 2024Artist, Reviews

Linval Thompson - Ganja Man

Release Info

Label
Irie Ites Records
Format
LP / CD / DR
Street date
June 2024
Contact
Website Record Label
Bandcamp Record Label

Tracklist
1. Ganja Man 3:13
2. Ruff & Tuff 4:00
3. What Time Is It 4:01
4. Conscious Man ft. Eek-A-Mouse 3:37
5. Pol-Ice Man 4:38
6. Trod Along 3:44
7. Get Ready 3:34
8. Ghetto Youth 3:36
9. Tune In ft. Trinity 3:48
10. Marcus Garvey Says 4:08
11. Ruff & Tuff Dub 4:14
12. Time To Dub 4:00
13. Get Ready Dub 3:27
14. Ganja Dub 3:14
Linval Thompson

Born in Kingston, Jamaica on October 12, 1954, Linval Thompson is a celebrated artist and producer who left his mark on reggae music. Following his debut single, No Other Woman, Thompson found success collaborating with Lee “Scratch” Perry on the well-received track Kung Fu Man. Through his friendship with Johnny Clarke, he connected with producer Bunny “Striker” Lee. The result was Thompson’s landmark debut album, Don’t Cut Off Your Dreadlocks, released in 1976. This marked a turning point for Thompson, launching his dual career as a singer and producer. He went on to showcase his production skills with the self-produced albums I Love Marijuana and Rocking Vibration, solidifying his place in the reggae scene.
Thompson’s creative fire kept burning. He released a steady stream of singles and albums, while also launching the labels, Thompson Sounds and Strong Like Sampson. Though his singing presence lessened in the mid-80s, his production prowess soared. He became a go-to producer for reggae royalty like The Wailing Souls, Freddie McGregor, Eek-A-Mouse, Johnny Osbourne, The Viceroys, Barrington Levy, and Trinity. His heavyweight productions, known for their robust sound, remain influential today. He also showcased his versatility with smooth lovers rock tracks, and several revered dub albums by icons like Scientist and King Tubby. A true reggae veteran, Linval Thompson continues to be a force in the genre, both behind the mic and at the production helm.

Ganja Man

Linval Thompson joins forces with France’s Irie Ites Records, a label known for its string of high-quality reggae releases, for his latest album, Ganja Man. This potent blend of old-school vibes and conscious lyrics is a must-have for reggae purists. Available on both CD and LP, Ganja Man boasts 10 vocal tracks that harken back with conviction to the time when the Roots Radics were the leading band, with songs that could easily be situated in 1980. The CD edition gets an extra treat with 4 dub versions for instrumental exploration. Thompson assembled a dream team of musicians for this project, including members of the legendary Roots Radics, West Finga, Med Tone, The Ligerians, the Irie Ites All Stars, Naram & Art, Nambo Robinson, and Dean Fraser. They all add their talents to the mix, resulting in a sound that seamlessly blends classic roots reggae with a modern edge. Delivering heartfelt and soulful vocals, Linval tackles critical themes like social injustice, his love for ganja, global inequality, oppression, and corruption. Rounding out the package is a solid mix courtesy of Spanish reggae icon Roberto Sánchez, Calvin ‘So So’ Francis, and Jérémie Nonorgue.

Righteous Anger

The opening salvo, the magnificent Ganja Man, makes it abundantly clear: this album is a love letter to authentic reggae. Played by flesh-and-blood musicians, it’s a potent dose of vintage vibes, untainted by digital trickery. Ganja Man is one of those tracks that burrows into your soul, demanding repeat listens. This is just the first taste of the authenticity that permeates this entire collection. A shift in mood arrives with Ruff & Tuff, a lament that paints a stark picture of life’s struggles. But despair gives way to righteous anger in What Time It Is, a call to action that urges us to confront the world’s ills. This anthem is further elevated by a fine horn arrangement. Linval rekindles his creative flame with Conscious Man, a renewed collaboration with the legendary singjay Eek-A-Mouse. Their voices intertwine in an ode to Jamaica’s “sacred herb,” leaving no doubt about their shared passion.

Depths Of Roots Reggae

The message of Pol-Ice Man is more confrontational, decrying police brutality against roots reggae fans at dances. Tune In, crackling with energy, is a vibrant celebration of a thriving dancehall, featuring the late, great deejay Trinity. Their voices weave together seamlessly over a pulsating riddim – a fine rework of Johnny Osbourne’s Water Pumping riddim from 1983. The message takes a more serious turn on Ghetto Youth, where Linval delivers a potent dose of reality over an irresistible riddim. Marcus Garvey Says delves into the depths of roots reggae, anchored by flawless instrumentation and Linval’s vocals soaring effortlessly. The roots reggae journey continues with Trod Along, where heartfelt lyrics perfectly complement the mid-tempo groove.

Dubs

The CD edition continues with four dub versions that explore the album’s core elements. Ruff & Tuff Dub is a prime example, stripping away the vocals and allowing Linval’s voice to float ethereally above the captivating riddim. Get Ready Dub exemplifies classic dub production, with Linval’s interjections punctuating the deep, pulsating organ. Time To Dub takes the vocal version and transforms it into a revelation. A bubbling organ weaves through the track, perfectly complementing the horns and Linval’s haunting, echoed vocals. Finally, Ganja Dub dissects and reassembles Ganja Man with surgical precision, offering a fresh perspective on the original.

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