Album review
Dancehall Days 1976-1984
Joseph Cotton

Tracking list

  1. My best girl ~ Part 1 (featuring The Paragons)
  2. King Selassi I live
  3. Ali Baba featuring John Holt
  4. Drifter featuring Dennis Walks
  5. Stay a yard and praise God
  6. Girl I've got a date featuring Brent Dowe
  7. My best girl ~ Part 2 (featuring The Paragons)
  8. Reggae music
  9. News
  10. Dub sister
  11. Freedom sound
  12. Survival
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5

Jamaican sing-jay Joseph Cotton, son of the legendary Count Ossie, started his recording career in 1976 under the influence and guidance of U Roy, U Brown, Prince Jazzbo and Big Youth. He became known as Jah Walton and recorded numerous sides for an array of producers. In 1987 he cut 'No Touch The Style' for Fashion Records, the result being their biggest seller of 1987. 'Half Slim' was another hit for Joseph Cotton and these hits won him the accolade as Top Dj of the year in an Echoes poll. In the 90s he recorded an excellent version of Justin Hinds' 'Rub Up Push Up' for the same label. Nowadays Joseph Cotton, nicknamed "The Best Dressed Jamaican In Town", is predominantly living in Berlin. Besides Ranking Joe and U Brown he is the current house dj of The Blood & Fire sound system which has been touring Europe.
This retrospective sampler comprises some of his best deejay sides for producers such as Carlton Patterson, Bunny Lee, Sonia Pottinger, Harry Mudie and Trevor Elliott. The album kicks off with Joseph alongside The Paragons in the Duke Reid classic My best girl-Part One, a wonderful combination ! King Selassie I Live is his rendition of the Studio One 'Never let go' riddim, done in early 80s Channel One stylee. One of the outstanding tracks has to be Ali Baba, a Bunny Lee production, featuring snatches of John Holt's voice. The track starts with a slowed down speed intro, where a sack of ganja plays its own part !
More classic riddims on the two following tracks, both produced by Harry Mudie : Dennis Walks' Drifter and The Ebony Sister' Let me tell you boy. The former alongside Dennis' vocals, the latter in an extended mix. In Brent Dowe's version of Alton Ellis' Girl I've Got A Date the original vocal cut is followed by Joseph's deejay delivery. The same goes for the next track, My Best Girl Part Two.
The disc closes with 5 tracks backed by the Roots Radics, featuring the following riddims : 'Love Is Not A Gamble', 'Psalms of Dub', 'Pick Up The Pieces', 'My conversation' and finally 'Please Be True', one of Studio One's most enduring riddims.
To my knowledge is this the first album containing early recordings from Joseph Cotton. It's a magnificent showcase of one of the most underrated deejays in reggae music. The sleeve and liner notes in the accompanying booklet have an equally high rank as the Blood & Fire releases. This is an essential purchase for reggae revivalists !
The German record company Moll and the Selekta Reggae Shop from Hamburg have set up this particular label - Moll-Selekta - for releasing reggae music, and their first release is without doubt a promise for the future..dreader than dread, heavier than lead..wicked !

Teacher & Mr. T.