Chaplin Chant
Charlie Chaplin
November 2, 2014

Track list
  1. Chaplin Chant
  2. One Of A Kind
  3. Bright Eye Gloria - Rain with Josey Wales (Live)
  4. Diet Rock
  5. Waldo with Josey Wales (Live)
  6. That Ain't Funny
  7. Bird Man Hunting
  8. Peter Popular Dance with Josey Wales (Live)
  9. Electric Skank
  10. Skanky Producer feat. Don Carlos & Josey Wales
  11. Shifta with Sugar Minott & Josey Wales (Live)
  12. Jamaican Collie feat. Winston Jarrett
  13. Youth Man feat. Don Carlos
  14. Pauline - Evening Breeze feat. Josey Wales (Live)
  15. Fussing And Fighting
  16. Jamaican Soca Josie Wales (Live)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
In the history of Jamaica's popular music, the 1980s was first and foremost the decade of the deejay dominance. The plethora of deejays that emerged was presaged at the close of the preceding decade, when a handful of deejay versions were released before the corresponding vocal cuts. This actually wasn't the norm. Deejays tended to have hits after a singer had already made a riddim popular, but that changed in the 1980s. Men like Yellowman, Brigadier Jerry, Josey Wales and also Charlie Chaplin nearly always recorded over dramatically updated cuts of vintage riddims, their contemporary talk bringing them back in favour. Another trend that was witnessed in that decade was the use of sexual explicit or 'slack' lyrics, which reached its peak in the late 1980s. It brought in particular Winston Foster aka Yellowman international stardom. But, even though this wasn't at all fashionable, deejays like Brigadier Jerry, Josey Wales and Charlie Chaplin sticked to a strictly cultural approach.

Richard Patrick Bennett aka Charlie Chaplin aka The Principal began his career in 1981 as a deejay on U Roy's revived Stur-Gav sound system and together with Josey Wales he made it one of the most popular sounds of the time. Charlie Chaplin's popularity on the live circuit led to recording sessions with Roy Cousins, for whom he recorded his debut album "Red Pond" and its follow-up "Chaplin Chant" (both albums released on one cd by Greensleeves in 1991). The "Chaplin Chant" album has been re-released by Roy Cousins, who in addition to the original full-length album has included some live tracks from a Stur-Gav dance from the same era. This the producer also did on his reissues of the "Red Pond" and "Quenchie" albums, and although it's nice to hear artists performing live at a dance - despite the weak sound quality - it doesn't add something that is really essential to this collection. Charlie Chaplin's gift for writing lyrics rooted in everyday life is once again showcased on this album, which opens with the title track, "Chaplin Chant", actually one of the deejay's greatest tunes. Also "Diet Rock", a tune across the appealing "Movie Star" riddim with its driving bass and tinkling piano, turns out to be a real winner. Furthermore there's the wicked collaboration with Don Carlos and Josey Wales called "Skanky Producer" that makes a serious impression, while also both "Jamaican Collie" and the stripped-down "Fussing And Fighting" are standouts.

The sophomore "Chaplin Chant" isn't as consistent as its predecessor, but the highlights of this collection match the standard set by his debut set.