Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Sensimilla Island
Prince Hammer
Tamoki-Wambesi-Dove
CD
October 8, 2014

Track list
  1. Prince Hammer - Rise Up
  2. E.R.S. - Wilton Currie
  3. Prince Hammer - Give Praises
  4. Jah Stitch - Double Six
  5. Prince Hammer - Hills Man
  6. Prince Far I - Zacky The High Priest
  7. Prince Hammer - What's A Yardie
  8. E.R.S. - David 'Prince' Mohammed
  9. Prince Hammer - Talking
  10. Gladstone Anderson - 75-77 Waltham Park Road
  11. Prince Hammer - Sensimilla Island
  12. Charlie Chaplin - Sin-Semilla
  13. Prince Hammer - Rain From The Sky
  14. E.R.S. - Norma Laul Lewis
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4/5
Prince Hammer was born Berris Simpson in 1953 and he's one of those names from the classic era that never got the proper exposure and recognition he should have received, despite putting out several classic tunes. The 2001 album "Rastafari Bible 1976-1982" was a successful and near faultless retrospective that every reggae fan should check out.

The first producer who gave him a chance was Glen Brown, with whom recorded two singles "Tel Aviv Rock" and "Sugar Down There". His first stage appearance followed shortly in Kingston with promotor and singer Clancy Eccles. Success in Jamaica and the UK followed with the tunes "King Of Kings" and "Adis Ababa", but it was the song "Ten Thousand Lions" that made him a household name in the reggae community. In that period he scored with the self produced tune "Dreadlocks Ting". His first album was called "The Bible", produced by Blacka Morwell. He also made a name as a producer. Do check out the album "If Jah Should Come Now" by Rod Taylor, now regarded as a classic roots album and Jennifer Lara's murdah tune "Jah Will Lead Us Home".

His friendship with Prince Far I and Adrian Sherwood resulted in the UK in "Roots Encounter Part One", where he performed with roots singer Bim Sherman and Price Far I. The release of his second and third album followed, entitled "Roots Me Roots" and "Vengeance". After a while he began to divide his time between recording and community youth work, setting up the 'Movement Of Youth Project' which encouraged young people into music. During the Brixton riots he recorded the track "Brixton Trial And Crosses" on the Josiah label which went to number two in the Black Echoes chart. In the early 80s he recorded several tunes for Roy Cousins and in 1989 they released the album "Respect I Man".

Earlier this year Roy Cousins unleashed the album "Sensimilla Island". Guesses are that this is the collection of tunes he recorded for Roy in the early 80s. Although credited to Prince Hammer, we consider it a fine 'Various Artists' set, showcasing Roy Cousins' production qualities with Prince Hammer in charge of most of the tracks. The album starts with a jazzy tinged tune called "Rise Up", an awesome roots tune, which is followed by its version called "Wilton Currie". In the same vein is "Give Praises", with a deejay version by Jah Stitch called "Double Six". Charlie Chaplin's tune "One Of A Kind" forms the backdrop for the next tune "Hills Man". Prince Far I's Zacky The High Priest was also known as "Survival". In the biographical "What's A Yardie" he tells us about his youth days and how 'proud he is to be a Jamaican'. "Talking" is his interpretation of The Royals' riddim "Pick Up The Pieces", followed by the instrumental cut from Gladstone Anderson. The tittle track is underpinned by the riddim of Charlie Chaplin's song "Crisis". Adam Wade's pop song "Rain From The Skies" was extremely popular in the Jamaican music scene, with versions by Delroy Wilson, Dennis Brown and John Holt to name but a few. Prince Hammer delivers a nice effort but we surely prefer the Delroy Wilson version.

Fine stuff from the vaults of Roy Cousins!