Henny Vrienten, Chris Hinze & Kings Of Reggae
1986 / 1984 / 1980
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : -/5||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 3/4||Sleeve : 3/4|
At the end of the 70s of the last century
Dutch flute player Chris Hinze's interest in other, distant and different
musical roots and styles brought him to the Caribbean. In Jamaica he met
multi-instrumentalist Mikey 'Mao' Chung, who introduced Hinze to the music
scene on the island. Immensely impressed and inspired by their musical
ability and way of life he went back to Holland and immediately started to
write some new material. Chris Hinze brought the new compositions with him
on his second visit to Kingston. In the meantime he got acquainted with
Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare and, through them, with the reggae
legend, founding Wailer Peter Tosh.|
Chris Hinze very much wanted to record together with them. When 'Mao' offered to add the reggae rhythm-arrangements, 'Sly' and 'Robbie' also became enthusiastic, and percussionist Uzziah 'Sticky' Thompson was recruited as well. Peter Tosh also composed two songs. After a few days of rehearsals they went to the Aquarius Studios in Kingston. Many local musicians and back-ground vocalists (e.g. Peter Tosh' then current backing vocalists Junior Moore and Carlton Smith of the Tamlins, alongside Winston Morgan) joined in. Chris Hinze brought all this material to the famous Electric Lady Studios in New York. Musicians and background vocalists like Hiram Bullock (guitar), Luther Vandross, Gwen Guthrie and Tawatha (vocals) also cooperated and finally, in 1980, the album "Kings Of Reggae" was released. Initially on CBS Records titled "Word Sound And Power" and later when Chris Hinze started his own Keytone label as both "Bamboo Reggae" and "Kings Of Reggae".
Later in the 80s Henny Vrienten, singer and bass playing frontman of Dutch (pop) ska-reggae band Doe Maar, and back then Holland's teenage girls idol number 1, got hold of the mastertapes and decided to mix the tunes the way he felt Jamaican dubs of these songs should sound. And that extreme hard to find album is the main ingredient for this review, with its completely reconstructed dubs, sometimes with (unknown - even Chris Hinze himself can't recall the name of the DJ - yet authentical Jamaican sounding) DJ-vocals overdubbed, of the instrumental reggae tracks from "Bamboo Reggae" a.k.a. "Kings Of Reggae". "Kingston Rock" is the dub-DJ version of the melodic heavy bass driven "East Kingston", "Politician" the version of the smooth "Soul Reggae" with great slowpaced oldschool deejaying over it, "Now I Know" the dub to the melodic "Thief" with snatches of Chris Hinze's flute melodies kept intact and "Let's Get Together" versioning "Let's Party" with it's funky soul vibe and much of the original vocals and flute riffs on the track preserved in the mix. "Policemen" is a rocking reggae tune featuring an unknown vocalist, my guess is one of the Tamlins' singers, who was claimed (but that was complete nonsense) to be Peter Tosh on the 2003 Junkie XL (of Elvis Presley's "Little Less Conversation" fame) remix "Don't Wake Up Policeman" from his "Radio JXL: A Broadcast From ..." album. It's back to dub territory then for Henny Vrienten's dubs "Listen To The Bop" of "Bamboo Reggae", once again featuring the unknown DJ, and great female backing vocals going in and out of the mix, before Chris Hinze's flute bewitches the tune, the conscious DJ tune "Right" of the very fine "Tell Me When" and the final tune on this rather successful Dutch dub experiment "I And I", the excellent version of the beautiful "Sweet Harmony".
It's a pity that both 'real Peter Tosh' tunes, that not only feature him as vocalist, but also as composer, "Puss And Dog", Peter's answer version to Bob Marley's "Rat Race", about which it is said that its original lyrics were so harsh that the musicians refused to record the tune until Peter toned them down, and "Silver And Gold" as well as "Walking Alone" and the beautiful anthemic "Give Thanks To Rastafari" were left off this edition, but that doesn't stop me from recommending everyone interested in instrumental reggae, dub or 'just' the history of Dutch reggae to try and get this album. It would be more than justified if this album got an official rerelease (preferably as presented here in this 19 track version).