Shaolin Temple
Barrington Levy
Auralux Records
November 7, 2006

Barrington Levy Track list
  1. Wedding Ring
  2. Moonlight Lover
  3. Bounty Hunter
  4. Skylarking
  5. It's Not Easy
  6. Looking My Love
  7. Shine Eye Girl
  8. Shaolin Temple
  9. Reggae Music
  10. Collie Weed
  11. Stray Away Girl (Extended)
  12. Hammer (Extended)
  13. Shaolin Temple (Extended)
  14. Shaolin Version feat. Jah Thomas
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
Born in 1964 in Clarendon, Jamaica, as a youngster, Barrington Levy formed the Mighty Multitude with his cousin Everton Dacres. They started off playing the sound systems and cut their first single, "My Black Girl", in 1977. All of 14, Levy broke out on his own the next year and recorded his debut solo single, "A Long Time Since We Don't Have No Love". It didn't have much of an impact, however the teen's appearances in the dancehalls were eagerly awaited events. It was at one of these that Levy met former singer turned producer Junjo Lawes and New York-based producer Hyman "Jah Life" Wright. The pair took the youth into Channel One studio, accompanied by the Roots Radics, and recorded a clutch of cuts. The first fruits of this union were "Ah Yah We Deh", quickly followed by "Looking My Love", "Englishman", and "Wedding Ring Aside". Success was immediate, but it was the mighty "Collie Weed" that really cemented the teen's hold of dancehall. Utilizing old roots rhythms revitalized by the Radics, and giving the songs a hard, but danceable edge, Lawes and Levy together helped establish a whole new dancehall sound. 1980's Robin Hood merely affirmed what everyone in Jamaica already knew: That Levy was now the biggest star on the island, with a talent that was unbeatable.

"Shaolin Temple" is an alternate version to an album elsewhere known as "Bounty Hunter" or "Shine Eye Gal", and while all three share some tracks, each had a notably different mixdowns, different track lengths, even lyrics. This nice edition also includes three bonus tracks originally issued on Jah Guidance 12 inches at the same time.

He can stake a firm claim as the founding ruler of rub-a-dub style and yet there's so much more to Levy's inimitable style. With a lot of great producer sounds: Junjo, Scientist & King Tubby's studio sound, Shaolin Temple represents the singer's auspicious beginnings, and still sounds fresh over two and half decades later. It highlights the voice and delivery that were to bring the singer international acclaim. The album opens in fine style with Wedding Ring on the "Love Is Not A Gamble" riddim followed by the lovers tune Moonlight Lover a rerun of the classic Treasure Isle riddim of the same name. It is always a joy to here the great Bounty Hunter tune... a classic in every way! And also Looking My Love over the sweet "Real Rock" riddim is worth of hearing. Levy really excels on Shine Eye Girl, a tune that uses the great "Get In The Groove" riddim. Also present here is Collie Weed, one of Levy's carrier making tunes on the timeless "My Conversation" riddim.

The album also features 12" versions of Stray Away Girl, Hammer as well as Shaolin Temple, these versions make you enjoy Levy's tunes much more. My favourite tune here is the 12" version of Stray Away Girl.

A real killer set.