Police In Helicopter EP
John Holt
Tad's Records
Digital Release
November 16, 2014

Track list
  1. Police In Helicopter (Part 1)
  2. Police In Helicopter (Part 2)
  3. Emergency
  4. Sad News
  5. Private Doctor
  6. My Best Girl feat. Bounty Killer
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
When a Reggae artist passes on to Zion, especially when it's a real big artist, record companies start digging into their vaults to see if there's any material to release a 'tribute' compilation. It's obvious this would also happen after the recent passing of Reggae icon John Holt. In an era dominated by releases in digital format it doesn't take that long anymore to come up with such a release. Tad's Records is the first label that puts out a John Holt set and we're pretty sure other companies will follow soon.

This "Police In Helicopter EP" gathers six tracks from the 2010 cd reissue of the "Wild Fire" album (originally released in 1985 featuring solo tracks by both John Holt and Dennis Brown plus their huge collaboration hit "Wild Fire"). Backed by a stellar line-up of musicians including Lloyd Parks, Carlton Barrett, Dwight Pinkney, Willie Lindo, Bo Pee, Robbie Lyn, Mallory Williams, Dean Fraser, David Madden, and Nambo Robinson, the listener is treated to songs that showcase the rootsier side of the singer, whose hits with producers like Duke Reid, Coxsone Dodd and Bunny 'Striker' Lee were already considered classics at the time of these recordings.

"Police In Helicopter", a militant anthem in response to the crackdown on herbs cultivation by the Jamaican police and the CIA in the early '80s, was originally done for producer Henry 'Junjo' Lawes in 1983. Included here are two updated versions of this wicked song, which is still a favourite in a roots dance. While "Police In Helicopter Pt 1" features the backing vocals of Pam Hall and Cynthia Schloss, "Police In Helicopter Pt 2" doesn't come with these backing vocals but has different mix and lyrics. "Emergency" - a great message tune and thus also worth hearing - is followed by the 12" version of "Sad News", which comes across a solid riddim but disappoints due to its repetitive lyrics. Although the EP is rounded off by two tunes with a lovers theme, they're not delivered in a typical Lovers Rock mood. "Private Doctor" is an entertaining effort throughout and when the updated version of John Holt & The Paragons' rocksteady classic "My Best Girl" starts to leap off the speakers it's the guest appearance of Bounty Killer that adds a nice extra.

All in all it's a real pleasure to listen again to songs from one of Reggae's greats.