Reggae Anthology ~ Melody Life
VP Records - Groove Attack
2CD / 2LP
April 20, 2007
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 5|
Marcia Griffiths began her
career as a dancer but became one of the first ladies of reggae music.
Partnering Bob Andy she scored international huge hits as Bob & Marcia.
After the duo disbanded she became one of Bob Marley's backup singers the
I-Threes. During her lengthy solo career she delivered many solid to
excellent albums for different producers and proved herself to be the
quintessential female voice in reggae. Her unique sound has graced many
classic reggae hits in each of these periods and spawned many imitators.
She's celebrating more than 40 years in the business with this excellent
double album spanning that illustrious career. Her first tune ever
recorded (for Coxsone's Studio One) "Walk Out" has never been released,
but soon after the hits started flowing from Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd's
Jamaican equivalent of Motown, here represented by 1967's rare combination
with Bob Marley "Oh My Darling" - on release credited to the
Soulettes in JA and the Summertairs in the UK - , her first true hit
single from 1968 "Feel Like Jumping" with its riddim being the same
as Toots & the Maytals '54-46', and the seminal "Melody Life" and
"Truly" from 1968 followed by the first combination she recorded
with Bob Andy "Always Together" that was also recorded on her debut
album "Marcia Griffiths At Studio One". (In 1998 her second Studio One
album "Truly" was released by Heartbeat Records.)
Then she moved on to Harry Johnson for 1969's "Don't Let Me Down", "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" and the international smash hit (released by Motown in the USA) once more recorded together with Bob Andy "Young Gifted & Black" (with whom she'd also enjoy considerable chart success with "The Pied Piper" and recorded two albums named after these two hits). Her great takes on Ronnie Dyson's "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" (in the reggae world probably much better known for the rendition by Freddie McGregor) and Roberta Flack's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" are probably not her best known tunes, but give great insight in her sheer power as a singer. Marcia then teamed up with producer Lloyd Charmers for her second solo album from which the title track "Sweet Bitter Love" is included here and she recorded a wonderful cover of the Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again" a.k.a. "Precious Moments" for Geoffrey Chung before recording "Survival", Bunny Wailer's "Dream Land", Bob Marley's "Lonesome Feeling", "Peaceful Woman" and "Stepping To Mount Zion" for Sonia Pottinger's High Note label in the mid 70s.
In 1991 came the revival of the single "Electric Boogie" that was written and produced by Bunny Wailer, some eight years earlier, becoming a staple at dance parties and radio presenting Marcia Griffiths with a big international crossover hit. Around that time Marcia Griffiths joined Donovan Germain's successful Penthouse stable, recording "Everywhere" and "Deep In My Heart" for his Germain label in 1989, before recording a string of classic over foundation riddims like "Live On" with Beres Hammond over Studio One's 'College Rock' a.k.a. Jackie Mittoo's 'Freak Out', "I Shall Sing" over the seminal 'Never Let Go' by Slim Smith a.k.a. the 'Answer'-riddim, "Closer To You" over Larry Marshall's 'Nanny Goat', "Half Idiot" with Cutty Ranks joining her over the Penthouse relick of Bob Andy's 'Feeling Soul', the star studded DJ remake of her own Sonia Pottinger tune with and Beenie Man and Buju Banton and Tony Rebel and Cobra on "Stepping" and the 1996 recut of the Heptones 1967 Studio One song "Land Of Love". The last tune is the in 2005 recorded "Wave Yuh Banner" over the relick of the Heptones' 'Equal Rights' for Cocoa Tea's Roaring Lion label, closing an almost flawless 2CD-set that is a real tribute to Marcia Griffiths' musical legacy, elegantly packaged with fine picture and extensive liner notes by Roger Steffens. A REAL great anthology!