Jamaica Festival Countdown 1966-1987
Hal Anthony
Heavy Beat Records
Digital Release
September 9, 2015

Track list
  1. Bam Bam (1966)
  2. BaBa Bum (1967)
  3. Intensified (1968)
  4. Sweet And Dandy (1969)
  5. Boom Shacka Lacka (1970)
  6. Cherry Oh Baby (1971)
  7. Pomps And Pride (1972)
  8. Play The Music (1974)
  9. Hurray Festival (1975)
  10. Big Heel Boot (1976)
  11. Sweet Jamaica (1977)
  12. Land Of My Birth (1978)
  13. Born Jamaican (1979)
  14. All Nation (1981)
  15. Proud To Be Jamaican (1984)
  16. Thanks And Praise (1987)
  17. Unity
  18. Move Up
  19. All Night Till Day Light
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Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Born in Frankfield in the parish of Clarendon, singer/songwriter & guitarist Hal Anthony (real name Hal Anthony Lewinson) is from a musical family. His uncle, Norris Weir, was lead vocalist for the vocal group The Jamaicans, while Jimmy Cliff is a cousin. In the early '60s he started his music career as a member of a vocal group named The Beltones, who scored a major hit in 1968 for producer Harry J with the song "No More Heartaches". They later changed their name to The Fantells and scored with another hit song, "Hooligan", which was produced by Joe Gibbs. He later left the group to perform with the Fab Five band for 17 years. Nowadays he's residing in Florida, where he's still active in music business.

Hal Anthony's new album entitled "Jamaica Festival Countdown 1966-1987" is the follow-up to his 2013 album "The One I Love", which was released on the Most Wanted Record label. Produced by himself in collaboration with veteran producer/musican Willie Lindo and released on the latter's Heavy Beat Records, Hal Anthony delivers an entertaining album with expertly done covers of songs that won the Jamaica Festival Song competition. As a kinda bonus the collection is rounded off by three tracks that weren't among the winners of the competition. It's striking to hear that these tunes perfectly fit the mood and vibe of the cover versions and are on par with them. Some of the original songs became real big hits like for example Toots & The Maytals' "Bam Bam", The Jamaicans' "Ba Ba Boom Boom" and Eric Donaldson's "Cherry Oh Baby", while others became minor hits or even vanished in obscurity. The musical arrangements of the songs included here are simply great and vocally Hal Anthony shows that he's still in very good shape, which makes it a real joy to listen to each and every track.

The older reggae fans will instantly recognise most of the selected Festval songs and enjoy what they hears, but this collection is also a recommendation for the younger people who want to be educated and entertained.