Invisible Music
Junior Delgado
Incredible Music
April 9, 2005

Track list
  1. Invisible Music
  2. No War
  3. Ark Of The Covenant
  4. None Shall Escape
  5. Cry Of The Destitute
  6. Thief Of Baghdad
  7. Church And State Get Captured
  8. For The Love Of Money
  9. Fully Legalise
  10. Don't Go Chasing Rainbows
  11. War Widow
  12. WW3 (Armageddon)
  13. Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
  14. Movin On Up
  15. Earth Bursts
  16. Help Is On The Way
  17. Rwanda feat. Dawn Penn
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Junior "Jux" Delgado - real name Oscar Hibbert - is one of the great survivors of that formative period of Jamaican music in the seventies when Reggae came to the forefront of popular music. It was seminal producer Lee Scratch Perry who produced Delgado's first recordings - "Reaction" and "The Twenty Third Psalm" - as a member of the group Time Unlimited in 1973. "Rasta Dreadlocks" was recorded as a solo track for Rupie Edwards in 1974 on the producer's "Skanga" rhythm, under the name the Heaven Singers, but "Run Baldhead" was released under his own name. Delgado left Time Unlimited for a solo career when sessions with Total Sound and Tommy Cowan did not materialise. In 1975 he recorded tracks for Larry Lawrence and Winston "Niney" Holness, including a version of Ken Boothe/Garnet Mimms' "Thinking" and "Every Natty". He then collaborated with Dennis Brown on the same year's "Tichion", produced by Soul Syndicate/Aggrovators guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith. Between 1976 and 1979 Delgado recorded several tracks for DEB, including "Devil's Throne", a version of the Heptones' "Love Won't Come Easy", the ever popular "Trickster", "She Gonna Marry Me", "Warrior" and "Famine", as well as making "Taste Of The Young Heart". During this period he recorded for different producers, including "Sons Of Slaves" for Lee Perry, "Armed Robbery" and "United Dreadlocks" for Joe Gibbs, "Away With Your Fussing And Fighting" and "Blackman's Heart Cries Out" for Augustus Pablo. He produced his own "Fisherman Row" and "Jah Stay", which used the "Tichion" riddim and appeared on his own 'Incredible Jux' label in Jamaica. The result of this work was a reputation as one of the most exciting roots singers of the seventies reggae scene. In the eighties he delivered such notable tunes like "Fort Augustus" for Sly And Robbie, "Illegal Gun" for King Jammy and his biggest hit during this period, the 1986 released "Raggamuffin Year". The nineties were a relatively quiet time for Junior Delgado, but the artist did re-emerge at the end of the decade with the well-received album "Fearless" (1998). The following year he teamed up with Adrian Sherwood to record "Reasons" and his first release of the new millennium saw the singer tackling the Dennis Brown songbook in a touching tribute to the late artist. In 2003 Adrian Sherwood started his new On-U Sound subsidiary label called 'Sound Boy', and the first release has been the Junior Delgado retrospective "Original Guerrilla Music", which is filled with Junior's classic hits and rarities from seventies to eighties.
The association with Adrian Sherwood continued until today, as he's involved in producing this brand new album titled "Invisible Music". The latter has a variety of moods and sounds, but above all it's Delgado's distinctively expressive vocal delivery that can evoke an emotional impact when listening to this collection of tunes. At times his voice is really dynamite and he definitely has one of the most soulful roars ever heard from Jamaican artists. No matter what theme he touches, he's got your ears, both vocally and lyrically. Except for the album opener "Invisible Music", and also "Movin On Up" (both belonging to the 'let's have a reggae party' kinda tunes that should be avoided by any artist who has proven that he can write decent, meaningful songs) this set contains enough tracks worth of hearing. "No War" is a solid do-over of his own classic "No Warrior", while "Ark Of The Covenant" is a deep roots tune over a heavyweight riddim with wicked horns. It's followed by the thumping "None Shall Escape", a moving tune produced by Adrian Sherwood, Mark Stewart and Junior Delgado. The powerful "Cry Of The Destitute" shows us Junior Delgado at his very best and belongs to the stand outs. The same goes for the wonderful "Thief Of Baghdad", the spiritual "Help Is On The Way", and the awesome steppers tune "Earth Bursts". "Rwanda" rounds off this solid album in fine style.

(Two days after we'd rounded off this review, we received the sad news that Junior Delgado had passed away. May he rest in peace.)