Album review
Mr. Fix It / California Dreaming
Winston Francis
Studio One
February 26, 2005

Tracking list

    Mr. Fix It

  1. Same Old Song
  2. Fools Fall In Love
  3. Games People Play
  4. Too Experienced
  5. Eretta
  6. Send Me Some Loving
  7. Love Me Today Not Tomorrow
  8. Don't Change
  9. Venus
  10. Mr. Fix It
  11. Chain Gang
  12. I'll Make You My Own

    California Dreaming

  13. Stand
  14. What Does It Take feat. Alton Ellis & Jackie Mittoo
  15. Never Had A Dream Come True
  16. California Dreaming
  17. Yester Me Yester You
  18. Groovy Situation
  19. Turn Back The Hands Of Time
  20. I've Lost Everything I Ever Had
  21. Angie Girl
  22. There's Always Something There
  23. By The Time I Get To Phoenix
  24. Baby Please
  25. Let's Go To Zion (Radio Edit - Bonus Track)
  26. Let's Go To Zion (Extended Mix - Bonus Track)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3

More great tunes from the vaults of Coxsonne Dodd, featuring all the musicians associated with that studio : Jackie Mittoo, Horsemouth, Ernest Ranglin and Skully. It also features the under rated talents of Headley Bennett, the hornsman that, besides all his countless JA releases, also contributed to all the early Onu Sound releases, from African Head Charge's first three albums to Bim Sherman's first works with Adrian Sherwood.

Two albums are compiled here : "Mr Fix It" and "California Dreaming". "Mr Fix it" is the better of the two albums, featuring "Love me Today and Not Tomorrow" on which Winston Francis sounds like a young Bim Sherman.

Also featured is the existential loneliness and frustration of "The Games People Play", in which Winston recounts an urban tale of cheating preachers, insincere friends and competitive enemies. It's a moving composition, and a stand out track here. "Don't Change" again, has a tone similar to Bim Sherman's plaintive, emotional delivery.

This is not a roots album, neither is it dubwise, but it's a very good example of soul influenced Coxsonne styles, perhaps in the vein of very early Willie Williams releases. It is also clearly influenced by artists like The Neville Brothers, Lee Dorsey, Wilson Pickett and Richard Berry. Most of the vocal styles are firmly rooted in 50's and 60's American harmony groups and even doo wop patterns.

Most of the album is cover versions of soul tunes, but Winston shows off his own considerable song writing abilities with "Let's Go to Zion", the only roots dubwise composition on the album. This is a classic tune, considered by many to be one of the best roots tunes out of Coxsonnes vaults, with its heavy drum and bass, cracking snares, timbale tones and syn drum effects. You get two versions here -- One vocal version, then a second extended discomix, complete with its thundering version clocking in at almost 7 minutes.

Professor Barnabas