Album review
The Tide Is High ~ Anthology
John Holt
2 CD
02 - 06 - 2001

Tracking list - Disc 1

  1. Forever I'll Stay
  2. Happy Go Lucky (Paragons)
  3. On The Beach (Paragons)
  4. Only A Smile (Paragons)
  5. The Tide Is High (Paragons)
  6. Wear You To The Ball (Paragons)
  7. Talking Love (Paragons)
  8. My Best Girl (Paragons)
  9. Silver Bird (Paragons)
  10. Memories By The Score (Paragons)
  11. Left With A Broken Heart (Paragons)
  12. Got To Get Away (Paragons)
  13. My Satisfaction (Paragons)
  14. I'll Be Lonely (with Joya Landis)
  15. Tonight
  16. Equality & Justice (with Tyrone Evans)
  17. Ali Baba
  18. Never Hurt My Baby
  19. Share My Rest
  20. Have Sympathy
  21. Don't Break Your Heart
  22. Fat Girl Sexy Girl
  23. Stealing Stealing
  24. A Love I Can Feel
  25. Sometimes
  26. Let's Linger Awhile
Tracking list - Disc 2
  1. My Heart Is Gone
  2. Strange Things
  3. Sister Big Stuff
  4. Let's Build Our Dreams (with Leroy Sibbles)
  5. Riding For A Fall
  6. Sick By Me
  7. Pledging My Love
  8. Looking Back
  9. Stagger Lee
  10. Anymore
  11. Land Of Ecstasy
  12. Don't Break Your Promise
  13. The Further You Look
  14. Help Me Make It Through The Night
  15. Dusty Roads
  16. In The Springtime
  17. Let The Wicked Run Away
  18. Up Park Camp
  19. Ghetto Girl
  20. Don't Fight Your Brothers
  21. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
  22. Rock With Me Baby
  23. I'm Just A Country Boy
  24. You Are Everything To Me
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

Altough reggae veteran John Holt has delivered many beautiful songs throughout his more than three decades spanning career and his influence on the work of others has been massive he never achieved the kind of respect and appreciation he really deserves. His many covers of pop standards, soul ballads and evergreens might be the reason John Holt is underrated amongst more snobbish reggae fans. Nevertheless it's his songwriting ability and the warmth and love he expresses through the songs he performs which has kept his name in entertainment circles from the very first start of his long career.
This double cd set is subtitled "Anthology ~ 1962 to 1979" and contains fifty tunes, starting off with his first 45, the ballad Forever I'll Stay, a tune produced by Leslie Kong. The next twelve tunes are some of the Paragons' greatest hits. The Paragons (John Holt, Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett) were the ultimate rocksteady band and their productions for Duke Reid are still regarded as classics. In 1968 the trio formed their own Supertone label and released some noteworthy tunes such as Got To Get Away, Memories By The Score and their superb rendition of the Four Tops' classic Left With A Broken Heart. After Howard Barrett left the group the duo cut some excellent sides for Lloyd Daley : Equality And Justice and 'You Mean So Much To me'. By the end of 1969 is was all over for the Paragons. As a solo artist John Holt recorded the popular Tonight and a duet with Joya Landis called I'll Be Lonely. Further sides for Duke Reid included Ali Baba and Stealing Stealing. For Keith Hudson he cut Never Hurt My Baby. A Love I Can Feel proved to be his most popular tune he recorded for the Studio One label, and for Phil Pratt he voiced Strange Things and My Heart Is Gone.
In the first half of the seventies he teamed up with British manager/producer Tony Ashfield. The result was the release of the pop/reggae album 'The Further You Look'. The songs on the album were embellished with vocal, string, horn and flute overdubs by Ashfield. The critics were quick to dismiss the style, accusing the singer of selling out in a bid for wider commercial appeal, but the style proved popular with the British public at large. On the other hand he also cut some fine slices for Bunny Lee such as Adam Wade's Rain From The Skies, the Tams' Riding For A Fall and the still great sounding Stick By Me. His recordings for the Channel One/Hitbound label pleased most roots reggae fans, for tunes like Up Park Camp, Ghetto Girl and Don't Fight Your Brothers were excellent roots sides.
With 50 tunes, spanning the period 1962 to 1979, this double cd provides a noteworthy overview of John Holt's career.

Teacher & Mr. T.