4 CD Box Set
September 25, 2010
Disc One: Fally Lover
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
'Reggae Legends' is a nice (and friendly priced) Greensleeves series, reissuing classic albums of one artist in a 4 cd box. The first highlighted the works of Shabba Ranks, the second one focused on the late great Sugar Minott and now another reggae legend is being presented in a '4-inna-box stylee'. It's the man with the warm voice, the Studio One veteran Johnny Osbourne.
During 1967 Johnny Osbourne became lead vocalist of The Wildcats, and recorded for producer Winston Riley, although nothing was issued. His debut single 'All I Have Is Love' was released that same year. He subsequently joined Bobby Davis, Jackie Paris and Buster Riley, collectively The Sensations, applying his tender soprano voice to noteworthy singles such as 'Born To Love You', 'A Thing Called Soul' and 'Warrior'. In 1969 he recorded an album, 'Come Back Darling', again for Winston Riley. On the day that he completed the album, Osbourne emigrated to Toronto, Canada, to join his family. In 1979 he decided to return to Jamaica. Shortly after returning, he recorded "Forgive Them" and "Jealousy, Heartache And Pain" for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label. Through late 1979 and early 1980 he recorded extensively for Dodd, with these sessions culminating in the release of the classic set 'Truths And Rights'. His single 'Folly Ranking' topped the UK reggae charts in the summer of 1980 and by the end of that year such fine albums as 'Truth And Rights', 'Fally Ranking' and 'Fally Lover' had become best sellers.
Greensleeves was the company that unleashed the 'Fally Lover' (disc 1) album in Europe, while in Jamaica the Jah Guidance label did the same. It was produced by one of Jamaica's upcoming producers, the legendary Henry 'Junjo' Lawes. It contains classic tunes such as Ice Cream Love, Fally Lover and Man Of Jahoviah. Most tunes were released as singles or disco 45's and were extremely popular. The excellent backing was done by the Roots Radics. A truly classic album!
The success of this album and singles made him one of the most in-demand vocalists on the Island, and a glut of material was released, including the albums 'Warrior', 'In Nah Disco Style' aka 'Nightfall' and 'Never Stop Fighting', between 1980 and 1982. 'Never Stop Fighting' (disc 2) was the second album for Johnny Osbourne produced by then ace producer Henry 'Junjo' Lawes. The album is a fine collection of roots tunes and love songs backed by the Roots Radics. The mix is done by a young Scientist, which gives it a little extra twist. In Jamaica the album was released as 'Yo Yo' with a different mix and track order on the Arrival imprint, including the immortal track 'Yo Yo'.
That same year singer/producer Linval Thompson released an album from Johnny Osbourne called 'Nightfall' (disc 3). The original album was released in Jamaica (1981) on the Jah Guidance label. VP Records released the album in the USA. In Europe the album got a release on the Cha-Cha label, renamed "In Nah Disco Style". At the end of the 90s the Dutch label Majestic Records put out an extended version of the album called 'Nightfall Showcase'. The riddims on the album are strictly hard driven, mixed in the early eighties dancehall style : splashing and dashing in King Tubby's echo chamber with a solid bass as the foundation. At the mixing board we meet Scientist once more, who did a top job when mixing Kiss Somebody, here in an extended mix. The same goes for the heavy mix of Nightfall and Trying To Turn Me On.
In 1983, Johnny Osbourne began the year with two big hits, 'Yo Yo' and 'Lend Me A Chopper', and later in the year he enjoyed further success with Water Pumping, an adaptation of Hopeton Lewis' smash hit 'Take It Easy'. That year an album of the same name was released. 'Water Pumping' was done in a production by Prince Jammy and backed by The High Times Band. The title track was a massive hit, but the album as a whole is somewhat disappointing. The most memorable tracks are Purify Your Heart, Fire Down Below and Na Look Nobody.
The hits continued with 'Get Cracking', 'Check For You', 'Rewind' (1984), 'Buddy Bye', 'No Sound Like We' and 'In The Area' (1985). In the late 1980s he was particularly successful when recording for King Jammy and Bobby Digital, and had hits with 'Good Time Rock' (1988) and 'Rude Boy Skank' (1988), both of which are included on his 1989 album, 'Rougher Than Them'. Throughout the 80s he continued to record for Coxsone Dodd, King Jammy, Ed Robinson and singles included 'Keep That Light', 'Unity' and 'A We Run Things'. Since then he remains a popular artist, without releasing a lot of albums.
Good value for little money!