Ghetto Living
Linval Thompson
March 29, 2008

Linval Thompson - Ghetto Living Track list
  1. Natty Africa
  2. Ghetto Living
  3. Bad Boys (feat. Warrior King)
  4. Natural Beauty
  5. Bad Friends
  6. Hustler
  7. Jah Jah Is My Father
  8. Roots Princess
  9. Dub Princess
  10. All Is Vanity
  11. Government People
  12. Free Marijuana
  13. Dub Marijuana
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Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 19-
Very Good -Votes: 6-
Good -Votes: 0-
Average -Votes: 1-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 26
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
A Wha dat??????? Instruments, musicians playing live in a studio, no computer programmed riddims???? So hold on, let's take a look. Linval Thompson? Oh yes, this old stuff from the 70s and 80s called Roots Reggae.

Linval Thompson was raised in Queens, New York and his recording career began aged 16. Returning to Jamaica in the mid 1970s he recorded with Phil Pratt, only to return to New York to study engineering. Returning again to Jamaica, he worked with Lee "Scratch" Perry at his Black Ark studio and with Bunny Lee, which resulted in his debut album "Don't Cut Off Your Dreadlocks" in 1976. Although he continued to work as a singer, he became famous as a producer, working with key artists such as Cornell Campbell, The Wailing Souls, Barrington Levy and Trinity. One of his latest big successes was the mighty "Big Ship" with Freddie McGregor. With the increase of digital technology around 1985 Linval drastically reduced his output. Labels like the strongly missed "Blood and Fire" and "Makasound" were starting to re-release his material. There was also a collection of brand new 7" on Thompson Sound around 2002 on the reworked "Gunman" riddim and finally a "In A De Yard" CD around 2005.

Well it looks like Mr. Thompson wants to know it one more time and released a new album after more than 10 years. The tunes on this album were recorded in 2008 between France, where the riddim foundation was created, and Jamaica, where the voicing was done. As mentioned at the start, no computerized riddims are on this album and maybe this is one of the reasons why this album is a strong one. Knowing a lot of recent releases or re-releases, which are just sounding terrible and where the mastering was done only to fit the limited quality of mp3 players or i-pod's, this cd is just well produced and sounds pretty fine.

Musically you find pure roots music, classic one-drop sound with no surprises, but on the other side also with no disappointments. Natty Africa sets the trend for this album and is just a perfect opener. First highlight is definitely the combination tune with Warrior king named Bad Boys, 7 minutes long with a long instrumental part, just in the tradition of classic late seventies 12" releases. The lyrics are switching between real life subject matters, constructive messages and lovers tunes, a well known and good combination. No slackness, no gun lyrics, so if you think that the best way to bleach a skin is with a m16, avoid this release. What really must be mentioned is that the singing of Mr. Thompson on all of the tunes is strong - and when I write strong, I mean it, trust me. Nearly unbelievable, there is no difference to his early releases here. And there is a personal favorite on this album and this is Roots Princess, a perfect catchy tune. Luckily enough the dub version named Dub Princess is also included.

A Wha dat??????? It is Mr. Thompson return and it is a very strong album release. The album took time to listen and is definitely a grower. The final word belongs to Mr. Thompson himself:

“The music from the 70s and 80s is relevant today because it’s positive, is a positive vibes. On Ghetto Living everything is reality. No gimmicks.”

Extremely recommended!