Born For A Purpose
Doctor Alimentado
May 15 - 2004

Track list
  1. Born For A Purpose/Reason For Living
  2. Chant To Jah
  3. Return Of Muhammed Ali
  4. Sons Of Thunder
  5. Dreadlocks Dread
  6. Call On Jah
  7. Careless Ethiopians Repent
  8. Oil Crisis
  9. Sitting In The Park
  10. Marriage License
  11. Still Alive
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
Doctor Alimantado was born James Winston Thompson in Kingston 1952. He grew up in the ghetto of the city's west side, an area notorious for its poverty and violence. In his early teens Winston became interested in the Rastafarian faith, grew locks and ran away from home but was soon re-captured by his parents who lost no time in trimming his dread. On leaving school and drifting between jobs he soon realized that music was a good escape from the dead end of life in Kingston. Winston's talent was in deejaying and he listened and learnt from the master and originator of the art, the great U. Roy.
He then set about getting his foot in the door of the record business hanging round the studios waiting to be given a chance. In the end 'Upsetter' Lee Perry gave the budding star a break, first just chanting a few lines on the version side of Junior Byles' massive hit 'Beat Down Babylon'. The Upsetter then went on to produce three more sides with him under the alias of Winston Prince, 'Piece of My Heart', 'Macabee the Third', and 'Place Called Africa Version 3'. Winston Prince became Winston Cool, then Ital Winston as he continued his career. By 1973 Winston had a fair bit of experience of the Kingston music scene. Despite the fact that none of the records he'd cut for other producers had sold all that well, he decided to start his own label and produce himself. So his label Vital Food and Dr. Alimantado were born that year with his first release, 'Just The Other Day'. Tado's next records all dealt with social and Rastafarian themes, 'Ride On', 'Plead I Cause', 'President Nyrere' and Oil Crisis which uses the same riddim as 'Best Dressed Chicken'.
All these tunes sold respectably on the local JA market and the copies that reached England as pre-releases were beginning to establish Alimantado as a strong underground artist. But still the Doctor was without a really strong seller that would mash up the radio station charts. He didn't have to wait too long. Towards the end of 1974 he went into Lee Perry's then new Black Ark Studio and cut what is one of the most unusual reggae records of all time, 'Best Dressed Chicken'. Using the rhythm track of Horace Andy's 'Ain't No Sunshine' and drawing inspiration from a well known poultry advert on the radio, Tado and Perry created three minutes of musical madness. The song is echoed, reverberated and equalised, tapes are speeded up and down until the whole thing becomes a whirlpool of sound. Although 'Best Dressed Chicken' proved very popular in JA it was in England that the record became hailed as a cult classic and Alimantado became not just another good artist to look out for but a legend.
Tado's career made steady progress throughout 1975-76 with records like 'Weak Heart Is Babylon', 'I Kill The Barber', 'Poison Flour' and 'Gimme Mi Gun'. Then on Boxing Day 1976 the Doc's fortunes changed for the worse. While walking up Orange Street after an early morning dip in the sea Tado was struck down and nearly killed by a bus. He was out of action in hospital for some time with his legs badly injured. He eventually managed to recover and although penniless got a free session at Channel One Studio during which he recorded a passionate song that told the story of his accident, Born For A Purpose. In the song he tells of how the bus driver was intent on running him over for daring to wear his dreadlocks in the street - Tado pleads in the song "If you feel that you have no reason for living, Don't determine my life." The same riddim he aslo used for the song Still Alive.
In 1978 Greensleeves released his first album, Doctor Alimentado's superb album 'Best Dressed Chicken In Town'. The album 'Born For A Purpose', also known as 'Sons Of Thunder' sees the Doctor in the same extraodinary style, chanting and toasting over well known riddims from the period 1973 to 1977. Favorite tunes here are the boom versions of Johnny Clarke's 'Stealing' - Call On Jah- and Slim Smith's 'Blessed Are the Meek', here called Chant To Jah.
Great stuff !