Love Comes & Goes
September 13, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 4|
Produced by John Rubie, Lion Youth's one and only official released album "Love Comes & Goes" from 1981 is finally available on compact disc, which is a good thing as this superb album deserved to be reissued.
Lion Youth, real name Clarence Williamson, was born in North West London on November 11, 1963. At the tender age of 11 he began to show interest in singing. In the summer of 1973 he migrated along with his parents to their homeland Jamaica, where he lived for six years till he decided to return to England, where he thought he would stand a better chance of succeeding as a singer. On returning to England, it didn't take him that long to find out for himself that it would be useful to take a substitute career, and thus he attended full time college for electronics. Following the riot which took place in St Paul's, an inner suburb of Bristol, in 1980, Lion Youth got a strong urge to concentrate on his song-writing instead of studying electronics. Only months after the riot he went into the studio for the first time to record the song "I've Got The Go", which was released on C. Parara's Time label. However it failed to create much of an impact on the reggae record public. Due to worse production and terrible pressing quality (it was a demo recording taken from a C 60 cassette) his next single for C. Parara, "Chant In A Dance", also failed to gain large sales. Disappointed by Parara's behaviour, Lion Youth teamed up with producer John Rubie who released a proper version of "Chant In A Dance" on the Freedom Sounds subsidiary label Virgo Stomach. From there things were getting better and with the success of "Rat A Cut Bottle", Lion Youth had finally built a staunch following.
Lion Youth, who is expertly backed by rather unknown musicians like Ringer (drums, percussion), Michael Francis (bass), Donald Benjemen (guitars), Patrick Mason (piano, organ) and Michael Dawkins (percussion, backing vocals), is a singer who sounds very much like Gregory Isaacs. However, to call him an Isaacs clone wouldn't do this artist justice, because he simply isn't as is showcased on this collection of tunes. The album opener and title track, "Love Comes And Goes", instantly rocks you off your socks and that's just the beginning! Also the tunes that follow this great opener have the same effect when they leap off your speakers. Lion Youth delivers lovers tunes as well as songs based on social comments and fully shows he's equally at home with both. There's no weak tune around, enjoyed playing all of them with in particular the aforementioned "Love Comes And Goes", "I Want A Girl", "Natty Bring De Cochi", Chant In A Dance and "It's A Shame" being our favourites.
Added to the 10 tracks of the original album are the 12" single "Rat A Cut Bottle" and its 1982 follow-up "Three Million On The Dole" plus its dub versions. "Rat A Cut Bottle", a killer tune about hardship that hit the Thatcher battered streets of England in 1981, was actually Lion Youth's most successful release as it topped the UK reggae charts for three consecutive weeks and got rated as one of the most outstanding roots tunes of the year. Also "Three Million On The Dole" is a big tune in which Lion Youth refers to the horrendous UK jobless total of the day:
...It is a posse of three million on the dole
See some from high school, some from college,
some from university
They're still waiting for the chance
but there's no opportunity
School leavers in job centers searching with no surety
What a situation on the nation, what a policy
A zugi zugi zugi zu
Besides the vocal cut, it's also good to have its dub version, "Three Million Posse Unemployed In A Dub", included here (although, just like "Rat A Cut Dub", it's not credited on the sleeve). Although the other material is definitely worth hearing, the bonus tracks alone make this cd worth adding to your collection. Ignore at your peril!
Lion Youth's "Love Comes & Goes" can be purchased via the Muzik Tree website.