Twelve Tribe Of Israel
October 10, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 5|
Hot Milk, the London-based record label dedicated to re-issuing lost and hard to find roots reggae, dub and dancehall albums from the golden age of Jamaican music, recently issued the compilation set "Strong Like Sampson ~ Linval Thomspon Presents The 12" Mixes", an essential dbl cd featuring some of Linval Thompson's strongest and hardest hitting productions from 1979-1980. Prior to that release, Hot Milk re-issued obscure material from rather unknown Jamaican singer Mr. Spaulding aka Renford Adolphus Ferguson on dbl cd.
Mr. Spaulding, whose name on his records confusingly has been spelt in four different ways (Mr. Spaulind, Mr. Spalding, Mr. Sparling or Mr. Spaulding), was born in 1964 in Verne, Clarendon, Jamaica. Through a friend called Clive Scorpio, Renford Ferguson got involved in sound system sessions. He started singing on the local sounds Santex Hi Fi and Ray Bionic, which were based in Racecouse, Clarendon. It was during this period of learning and developing his skills that he became the artist Mr. Spaulding. That name initially came from Brigadier Jerry who had lyrics along the lines of "Mr. Spaulding, I love your darling" that he heard on a Jah Love Muzik sound system tape, which he decided to build a song around. "Mr. Spaulding", the first tune he did in the dance halls, became his trademark song. It was actually Brigadier Jerry's sister and deejay Sister Nancy who made him call himself Mr. Spaulding.
Whilst singing on the local sounds, Mr. Spaulding began to make a name for himself as a promising newcomer. Budding producer Morris Duncan, over from England and living in May Pen, who was entering the music business and looking for new talent, was told about the young singer and his growing reputation, and after meeting him and hearing him sing, he invited the 19-year-old Mr. Spaulding to come live with him in May Pen. It was from this base that they commuted to Herman Chin-Loy's Aquarius Studios in Half Way Tree, Kingston Jamaica, to record the tracks for the singer's debut lp "Twelve Tribe Of Israel", released in very small quantities on the Roots Rockers label in 1983.
The first disc of this dbl cd features the nine tracks from the original "Twelve Tribe Of Israel" LP, extended with six tracks that appeared on 12" discomixes. From beginning to end the listener is treated to incredible stripped to the bone riddims with ultra-heavy bass sounds and unhurried, undiluted beats, which can be enjoyed in their unaldulterated glory. Sometimes the riddims are garnished with guitar and organ bits, but mostly it's just the drum & bass that literally bounce off your speakers with the bass pounding your stomach. The riddims (played by people like Byron Duce and Chris Meredith on bass, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace and Sly Dunbar on drums, Ernest Wilson on piano alongside a cast of UK musicians) have such low frequencies that, when played at full volume in the night, they will easily vibrate your neighbours out of their beds. On top there's the vocal of a youthful singer whose style is reminiscent of contemporaries like Sammy Dread and Michael Prophet. The album opener, "Unseen Eye", which comes across a stripped-down version of Studio One's "Answer" riddim, sets the tone for the rest of this disc. All tracks are solid conscious efforts with in particular "Mankind", "Raiders Posse", "True The Rain A Fall" and the ode to the Rastafari denomination entitled "Twelve Tribe Of Israel" being our favourite tracks.
The second disc gathers songs from 7" vinyl that appeared on Bunny Roots' Kris Disk label as well as other 12" discomixes from the Roots Rockers imprint, released after he had relocated to London in 1985, where he met up again with producer Morris Duncan. Besides that it includes a couple of songs from the late 1980s and early 1990s, which carry a digital sound, and a song taken from a live Sturgav sound system session on the Negril beach. It turns this cd release in an anthology of almost everything Mr. Spaulding ever recorded. The lovers tune "Sweet Lady" gets things started in a very nice way and what makes it even more nice is the inclusion of the "Sweet Lady Version" (in fact the A and B side of the original 7" single). As also the other vocal tracks, with the exception of the sound system track "Clarks And Arrows" and "Push The Fire", are followed by their versions, this disc comes pretty close to a Showcase album. Just like on disc one, there are enough tunes worth hearing like for example "Plane Fare" and "Fantastic" across a relick of Studio One's "Throw Me Corn" riddim, both recorded at the A-Class studio in London with engineer Gussie P at the controls, "Skank In The Dance" and "Come Now Youthman". The set is rounded off with fine examples of the UK variant of the digital revolution.
The music featured on this dbl cd plus the booklet with detailed sleevenotes unfold another largely unknown piece of reggae history. Highly recommended If you want to hear some pretty hard hitting reggae dancehall stuff!!