Leaps & Bounds
Singers & Players
Cherry Red
February 14, 2010

Track list
  1. Moses feat. Roydel Johnson aka Congo Ashanti Roy
  2. Make A Joyful Noise feat. Roydel Johnson aka Congo Ashanti Roy
  3. Alla La Dreadlocks Soldier feat. Prince Far I
  4. Autobiography (Dread Operator) feat. Mikey Dread
  5. Breaking Down The Pressure feat. Roydel Johnson aka Congo Ashanti Roy
  6. Dog Park feat. Prince Far I
  7. Vegetable Matter feat. Mikey Dread
  8. Striving feat. Bim Sherman
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
After having worked for UK distributor Carl Palmer in the mid-70s, 1958 born Adrian Sherwood started running the Hitrun label in 1978 on which he released Jamaican-recorded music by the likes of Bobby Melody, Carol Kalphat, Prince Far I to name three. Two years later, in 1980, the young record producer formed his own On-U Sound label which enabled him to put out production works of his own. By fusing elements of reggae with rock, dance and funk influences he soon achieved a coherent and individual production style. One of his first projects was Singers & Players, which intended to bring together a loose collective of vocalists, deejays, musicians and engineers. Part of this collective were people like Bim Sherman, Prince Far I, Jah Woosh, Mikey Dread, Roydel Johnson aka Congo Ashanti Roy, Tony Phillips, Clifton "Bigga" Morrison, Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie, and Style Scott.

In contrast to the first three Singers & Players albums, which were produced by Adrian Sherwood, their fourth (and also last) album, "Leaps & Bounds" on the Cherry Red label, is produced by Mikey Dread. The latter used the usual suspects Bim Sherman and Prince Far I as well as guest vocalist Congo Ashanti Roy and himself for voicing riddim tracks laid by musicians such as and Style Scott, Eskimo Fox, Errol "Flabba" Holt, Eric "Bingi Bunny" Lamont, Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie, Tony Phillips and Deadly Headly.

The "Leaps & Bounds" album gets started in a meditative mood with two spiritual tracks from Congo Ashanti Roy with first "Moses", a truly beautiful tune with great harmony vocals, and then "Make A Joyful Noise", which perfectly matches the album opener. A complete different vibe comes from the weird Prince Far I tune "Alla La Dreadlocks Soldier". It's a somewhat 'out of place' track compared to the other, more roots-oriented material on this album. Next are re-recordings of Mikey Dread's self-reflecting "Autobiography (Dread Operator)" and Congo Ashanti Roy's excellent "Breaking Down The Pressure". Lyrically Prince Far I's "Dog Park" is very much in the same vein as his tune "Autobiography" from the "Staggering Heights" set. It's followed by Mikey Dread's solid "Vegetable Matter", and the real nice "Striving" by Bim Sherman.

In both sound and core personnel "Leaps & Bounds" is the last of the "original" Singer & Players albums, actually a solid collection of tunes dedicated to Prince Far I who had been brutally murdered at his Jamaican home on the 15th of September 1983. This tragic event was to profoundly affect Adrian Sherwood, who for several years after produced very little reggae-flavoured output.