House Of Singles
Doctor Alimantado
Keyman Records-Greensleeves
July 2, 2006

Track list
  1. No Gwan So
  2. Maccabee The Third
  3. Blessed Is That Land Africa
  4. Chapter Of My Heart
  5. Mary Lou
  6. Ride On Brother
  7. Chu
  8. One Trouble
  9. Teach The Children
  10. Teaching The Teacher
  11. Revenge
  12. Conscious Man
  13. West Man Skank
  14. Dread Natty Dreadlocks
  15. Rasta Train
  16. Reggae Music
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
Doctor Alimantado (aka Doctor Feel-Good) was born James Winston Thompson in Kingston 1952. He grew up in the ghetto of the city's west side, an area notorious for its poverty and violence. In his early teens Winston became interested in the Rastafarian faith, grew locks and ran away from home but was soon re-captured by his parents who lost no time in trimming his dread. On leaving school and drifting between jobs he soon realized that music was a good escape from the dead end of life in Kingston. Winston's talent was in deejaying and he listened and learnt from the master and originator of the art, the great U Roy.

He then set about getting his foot in the door of the record business hanging round the studios waiting to be given a chance. In the end 'Upsetter' Lee Perry gave the budding star a break, first just chanting a few lines on the version side of Junior Byles' massive hit 'Beat Down Babylon'. The Upsetter then went on to produce more sides with him under the alias of Winston Prince : 'Piece of My Heart', Macabee the Third, and Blessed Is That Land Africa. Winston Prince became Winston Cool, then Ital Winston as he continued his career. By 1973 Winston had a fair bit of experience of the Kingston music scene. Despite the fact that none of the records he'd cut for other producers had sold all that well, he decided to start his own label and produce himself. So his label Vital Food and Dr. Alimantado were born that year with his first release, 'Just The Other Day'. Tado's next records all dealt with social and Rastafarian themes, 'Ride On', 'Plead I Cause', 'President Nyrere' and 'Oil Crisis' which uses the same riddim as 'Best Dressed Chicken'.

All these tunes sold respectably on the local JA market and the copies that reached England as pre-releases were beginning to establish Alimantado as a strong underground artist. But still the Doctor was without a really strong seller that would mash up the radio station charts. He didn't have to wait too long. Towards the end of 1974 he went into Lee Perry's then new Black Ark Studio and cut what is one of the most unusual reggae records of all time, 'Best Dressed Chicken'. Using the rhythm track of Horace Andy's 'Ain't No Sunshine' and drawing inspiration from a well known poultry advert on the radio, Tado and Perry created three minutes of musical madness. The song is echoed, reverberated and equalised, tapes are speeded up and down until the whole thing becomes a whirlpool of sound. Although 'Best Dressed Chicken' proved very popular in JA it was in England that the record became hailed as a cult classic and Alimantado became not just another good artist to look out for but a legend.

Tado's career made steady progress throughout 1975-76 with records like 'Weak Heart Is Babylon', 'I Kill The Barber', 'Poison Flour' and 'Gimme Mi Gun'. Then on Boxing Day 1976 the Doc's fortunes changed for the worse. While walking up Orange Street after an early morning dip in the sea Tado was struck down and nearly killed by a bus. He was out of action in hospital for some time with his legs badly injured. He eventually managed to recover and although penniless got a free session at Channel One Studio during which he recorded a passionate song that told the story of his accident, Born For A Purpose. In the song he tells of how the bus driver was intent on running him over for daring to wear his dreadlocks in the street - Tado pleads in the song "If you feel that you have no reason for living, Don't determine my life." The same riddim he also used for the song Still Alive.

In 1978 Greensleeves released his first album, Doctor Alimentado's superb album 'Best Dressed Chicken In Town'. Next came the album 'Born For A Purpose', also known as 'Sons Of Thunder' which sees the Doctor in the same extraordinary style, chanting and toasting over well known riddims from the period 1973 to 1977. He kept recordingthroughoutt the 80s, however with limited success. On his own Keyman label his issued several solid albums.
At the moment he's based in Gambia and also spends time in Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone, as well as in Dakar. The idea for this album came up to him in 1984. It was extremely difficult to obtain copies of the singles, and it took him more than 20 years to finish this project. All the tracks have been transferred to master from 7" and 12" vinyl records at the Abbey Road Studios and digitally restored and de-click at the Cedar Studios in Cambridge.

This 16 track collection is a magnificent showcase of Doctor Alimentado's toasting qualities. The first track No Gwan So was released in 1969 under the moniker Winston Cool, although it must have been recorded much earlier. Maccabee The Third is a scarce religious track based upon Max Romeo's popular tune 'Maccabee Version', a Lee Perry production. In a related vein comes Blessed Is That Land Africa. Junior Byles recorded the original vocal cut for Lee Perry and as Doctor Alimentado recalls : "I was in the studio when Junior was recording the original and it immediately appealed to Iman". From the same era and again in conjunction with Lee Perry, but this time more concerned with romantic matters, Chapter Of My Heart is the stylish toasting cut of Hortense Ellis take of 'Piece Of My Heart', a tune that came to hit status in the 60s for Janis Joplin. For more further romantic business check out Doctor Alimentado's cut of Jimmy London's 1971 hit 'A Little Love' retitled here Mary Lou. The self produced cut Ride On Brother makes fine use of a reverb-heavy modulated re-cut of the 'Beat Down Babylon' riddim. From 1974 comes Chu. It's a tune Doctor Alimentado cut in conjunction with Enos McLeod over a riddim McLeod had done with the Maytones. Pop musician Cat Stevens wrote 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' and this popular tune was covered several times. Here Doctor Alimentado takes the KC White version and the result - One Trouble - served as a warning for those that were taking guns and knives for street warfare. Teach The Children and Teaching The Teacher date from 1974 and are based on the Zion riddim, a song he used earlier for his mournful 'Just the Other Day'. The uplifting Conscious man based on Ronnie Davis rendition of Horace Andy's hit tune 'Fever', was cut in conjunction with producer Dudley 'Manzie' Swabes in 1975. The album closes with two extra strong Black Ark productions from 1977 : Rasta Train (Step It Outa Babylon) and Reggae Music (Dis A).

More than excellent compilation, a compelling set of 'lost and found' pieces from Jamaica's musical history.