Foundation Skank ~ 1971-1975 Rare Sides By The DJ Originator
U Roy
Sound System Records
June 6, 2009

U Roy - Foundation Skank 1971 - 1975 Track list
  1. Foundation Skank
  2. Foundation Version
  3. True Love
  4. Mr. Warner
  5. Nanny Skank
  6. Nanny Skank Version
  7. Linger You Linger
  8. Real Cool
  9. Real Cool Version
  10. Rhythm Train
  11. The Other Half (Extended Version)
  12. Cool Down Your Temper
  13. Creation Rebel
  14. Love I Bring (Extended Version)
  15. Hudson Affair
  16. DJ Special
  17. Call On I
  18. Dreamland Version
  19. Never Get Away (Extended Version)
  20. Down Deh
  21. Down Deh Version
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Essential -Votes: 6-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 1-
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Total votes : 10
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 4
Though U Roy wasn't the first deejay to put his toasts -- the reggae-birthed precursor to Rap -- on records, he is often referred to as the "Originator" because of the unprecendented popularity of his early singles and the influence of his distinctive style, which caused the 1970s birthed scores of imitators. U Roy's style of toasting over a riddim was radically different from that of people like for example Count Machuki. His rich-toned voice proclaimed sizzling, jive-saturated lyrics rather than simply inserting a few phrases. And besides that he rode the pared-down instrumental track all the way through, rather than interjecting at crucial points.

U Roy debuted on record in 1969 when Keith Hudson produced his single "Dynamic Fashion Way". In the same year he also recorded for Lee Perry and Bunny Lee, but it wasn't until the next year that he started to become successful and well recognized. For Duke Reid's "Treasure Isle" imprint he recorded "Wake The Town", "Rule The Nation", and "Wear You To The Ball", which held the number one, two and three position in the Jamaican charts for six consecutive weeks. His time with Duke Reid brought him a whole heap of hits, all being deejay versions of rocksteady tunes. It was this fruitful period in his career that established his name as a trendsetter in the music of Jamaica. Although he went on to make records with producers like Joe Gibbs, Lloyd Campbell, Winston "Niney" Holness and Alvin Ranglin, he quietly faded from sight. In 1976 U Roy returned to the forefront of reggae music with the brilliant Prince Tony Robinson produced album "Dread In a Babylon". The latter revived U Roy's career and he proceeded to record strong music for Prince Tony and Bunny "Striker" Lee.

Although a notable amount of U Roy compilations has been released on various record labels, so far none of them has filled in the gap between the very successful Treasure Isle and Tony Robinson eras. And now, finally, there's this second volume of music from Sound System Records -- "The Lost Album ~ Right Time Rockers" being the first -- entitled "Foundation Skank", which covers this under-exposed period in his career. This properly licensed release is a truly superb collection of U Roy tracks culled from the original 45's, which were cleaned op by Toby Mountain, the one who handles Heartbeat/Studio One releases and Chris Nuenkirk. "Foundation Skank" compiles many of U Roy's rarest singles sides from 1971 to 1975 and includes self productions and much sought after items.

Getting things started on this packed album is the great title track "Foundation Skank", which utilizes the riddim of The Heptones' "Sweet Talking", and its awesome stripped down b-side "Foundation Version". What follows is mostly U Roy at his very best and thus truly worth of hearing. Standout tracks are the funky "Mr. Warner", the version on Larry Marshall's "Nanny Goat" riddim entitled "Nanny Skank", the excellent "Linger You Linger" which comes across Dennis Brown's "Songs My Mother Used To Sing", "The Other Half", "Hudson Affair", "Dreamland Version", and the awesome "Down Deh". Perhaps with the exception of "Cool Down Your Temper", the rest of the tunes are of good quality and it's a joy to hear U Roy's style of deejaying over some great riddims. Also of interest is the fact that dub innovator King Tubby has dubbed up some of the tracks including "Creation Rebel" and "Cool Down Your Temper".

All in all a very welcome and essential addition to any reggae collection! Get it while you can.