Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Who Do You Think I Am?
Milton Henry
Wackies - Indigo
CD
February 9, 2007

Track list
  1. Who Do You Think I Am?
  2. Let The Sunshine In
  3. No Dreams
  4. Send Me That Pillow
  5. Sweet Melody
  6. Good Old Days
  7. What Am I To Do
  8. Them A Devil
  9. You Donít Have To Know Me
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
This CD presents "Who Do You Think I Am?", an album released in 1985 on Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes' Wackies label, yet another great rerelease in the string of classic Wackies albums that have been (re)released by Berlin dub-techno duo Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus a.k.a. Rhythm & Sound, as part of their rerelease program of the complete Wackie's catalog, (more on Rhythm & Sound's own releases, whether technodub on Basic Channel or their Rhythm & Sound label can be found at the Basic Channel website).

Milton Henry has had a long and varied career, that began in the rock steady age with The Leaders, a vocal group also featuring the future Prince Allah. Henry later fronted Max Romeo former group, The Emotions, whilst simultaneously playing guitar with The Hippy Boys. This brought him into Lee Perry's orbit, for whom he cut "No Bread And Butter" as Milton Morris, "This World" as King Medious and "Follow Fashion" both over the Upsetter's 'Fever'-riddim while at a later date, he cut scintillating singles for Rupie Edwards like "What Can I Do" and "Gypsy Woman" and for Bertram Brown's Freedom Sounds the great "Cornbread & Butter".

With such a pedigree, it's no surprise that Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes was keen to get Henry into his studio in the eighties, where he was soon fully involved in day-to-day, allegedly becoming one of only few people even being granted the near mythical privilege of owning a spare pair of studio keys..., resulting in this superb 1985 album, opened with its excellent title track "Who Do You Think I Am?" over the roots rockers adaptation of a rocksteady riddim, followed by "Let The Sunshine Shine In", where his soulful voice, at times switching to falsetto is giving us together with its riddim a hybrid of seventies R&B and the slow shift of the Wackies towards the starker more digital style that was sweeping the contemporary dancehalls.

Sly Dunbar, though never setting foot in the studio nor did Robbie Shakespeare, gets a credit for having his slowed down rockers take on 'Rockfort Rock' recycled as the riddim underpinning the true story of "No Dreams", about how Milton Henry was sleeping in the attic above the studio when the rough drum and bass track came on to the desk, waking him, pulling him to the mic, completely in sync musically and lyrically with the style ruling in the rockers era in the dancehalls.

"Send Me The Pillow" is Milton Henry's doo-wop flavored magnificent take on Hank Locklin's classic early fifties Country tune, completely made his own, followed by the beautiful "Sweet Melody" on which Milton's great vocal performance is topping a riddim closest to the digital sound as coming out of Wackies studio then, whereas "Good Old Days" remembers times shared, written for a poorly Junior Byles, in a brilliant blast from the past dubby way with once more excellent vocals (and lyrics) on top.

"What Am I To Do" is a wonderful take on the Techniques' 1968 Winston Riley produced tune with an uncredited Sonia 'Love Joy' being his duet partner for some wonderful lovers vibes. "Them A Devil" is not only a great rockers inspired tune over a rockers riddim, but as well a statement accusing certain producers passing off the singer's property as their own, before the last track on this album, that features not only Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes himself but also such legendary singers as Max Romeo and Sugar Minott as backing vocalists, gives us the best recommendation for this album ever possible "You Don't Have To Know Me" to love my music.

Although completists may try to find the 1998 Bala/Wackies UK release that adds 3 bonus dub/instrumental tracks and resent not seeing the 1988 album "Babylon Loot" album added as a bonus (like the earlier combination of 2 John Clarke albums for the "Rootsy Reggae / Visions Of John Clarke" release), this is a splendid example of backings that are magnificent, Barnes's production being a dream, and Milton Henry being sublime. His performances throughout are superb, and his lyrics, ranging from the cultural to the romantic equally so. Twenty years on from his start in the musical world, Henry was still reaching new heights, delivering a classic album that hasn't seen any of its power vanishing another 20 years later. Must have!