Dancing Time
Phillip Fraser
Silver Kamel Audio
December 15, 2007

Phillip Fraser - Dancing Time Track list
  1. Dancing Time
  2. Work Is Over Dub
  3. I've Got Sunshine
  4. Sunshine Dub
  5. I Need A Fat Girl feat. Double Ugly
  6. Come Give Me Your Loving
  7. Give Me Your Loving Dub
  8. High School Girl
  9. Far Away
  10. Laser Beam feat. Joe Lickshot
  11. Them A Gun Man
  12. Badness No Pay Dub
  13. Give Me Sensimena
  14. Inna Chalwa Dub
  15. Don't Close The Door
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Total votes : 5
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
Jah Thomas became one of the most popular deejays in the second half of the 1970s after he had topped the Jamaican Charts in 1976 with the GG Ranglin produced tune "Midnight Rock". More local hits followed in the next two years and in 1979 he went into self-production, working with Flabba Holt's band, The Roots Radics, at about the same time they took on the name that was to be synonymous with dancehall. From then he started to release his songs on his "Midnight Rock" label, obviously named after his initial Jamaican hit. After a while he also started producing other deejays an singers including Early B, Ranking Toyan, Michael Palmer, Barrington Levy, Little John, Barry Brown and Triston Palmer, to name a few.

Phillip Fraser, born in the Whitfield Town area of Kingston, Jamaica, on 12th February 1951, is best known for the material that was released on labels like Bertram Brown's "Freedom Sounds", Don Mais' "Roots Tradition", Michael Chin and Tyrone Hailey's "Cornerstone" and his own "Razor" imprint. Probably lesser known are the recordings he did under the watchful guidance of Nkrumah "Jah" Thomas. The latter not only released alot of his production works on his own label during his heydays in the early 1980s, but from the mid-1990's on also licensed much material to quite a few companies worldwide in order to get it reissued on a wider scale.

Thus it's quite amazing and also astonishing to find out that "Dancing Time" (the follow up to the 2004 released "Blood Of The Saint" set) almost completely consists of previously unreleased tracks from Phillip Fraser. Only the album opener and title track "Dancing Time" along with the second track, "Work Is Over Dub", have appeared earlier as they were included on Silver Kamel Audio's compilation set "Roots Dancehall Party" and the 1993 released VP compilation "Total Recall Vol. 7". The reason why most of the tracks on this compilation have not been released before is explained in the liner notes.

"Singers and toasters (deejays) would go from one studio to the next to check out what the musicians and producers were working on. If they liked what they heard and had a song that fit the beat it would be laid down on tape. Session after session would go like this and the top songs of the days would be sent to press. Many a good song was put on the shelf and forgotten as the next wave of beats came and the dancehall crowd moved on. It was in this time that Jah Thomas was enjoying a demand for his beats, and he and Phillip Fraser came together."

This collection features songs recorded between the early dancehall days and the start of the computerized dancehall era in the mid-1980s, which makes this set not only varied in sound but also in quality. The rootsier dancehall riddims driven by a heavy drum & bass sound fit the vocal style of Phillip Fraser far better than the riddims that carry a 'robotic' sound. Thankfully only few of the riddims that underpin the tunes gathered here have that kind of sound, namely "Far Away" and cover versions of The Temptations hit "My Girl", here re-titled "I've Got Sunshine", and The Heptones' Studio One classic "Fatty Fatty" ("I Need A Fat Girl").

It's obvious we prefer to hear Phillip Fraser's vocal delivery underpinned by the old skool dancehall sound of The Roots Radics, which is present in very enjoyable tracks such as "Come Give Me Your Loving", "High School Girl", the excellent "Them A Gun Man" and its dub version "Badness No Pay Dub", and the wicked "Give Me Sensimena" with its dub companion "Inna Chalwa Dub".

Despite some weak efforts this set is worthwhile checking out, not least because the underexposed Phillip Fraser deserves to be heard by anyone who likes to listen to vintage dancehall.