Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

The Roots Lover 1978 To 1983
Sugar Minott
Moll-Selekta
2CD
December 30, 2005

Track list
Disc 1:

  1. Leggo The Dread
  2. Dance Hall Style
  3. A Slice Of The Cake
  4. African Girl
  5. Waiting For Your Love feat. Sister Ester
  6. No Vacancy
  7. Hold On
  8. Love Life
  9. In A Dis Yah Time
Disc 2:

  1. Rome Rome
  2. Superstar feat. Ranking Dread
  3. Three Wise Men
  4. Sandy
  5. Thirty Pieces Of Silver feat. Yabby You
  6. Careless Ethiopians
  7. Africa
  8. Dub On The Pressure
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
With the sources for (quality) reissues from the 70's and 80's drying up fast -- reggae lovers are grateful for the efforts of Blood and Fire and Pressure Sounds, Moll Selekta and so on, even if the results are sometimes flawed as is the case here.

Admittedly, it would be hard to define this collection as utterly indispensable -- but it certainly has its intense, powerful moments, featuring some excellent songs, with a little filler. The only annoying thing is that two or three of the tracks have irritating intros gratuitously tagged on the start (and one of the tracks sounds suspiciously like a contemporary engineer has craftily spliced in a 2005 style heavy handed digi steppers drum beat into the tune -- But the latter is no more than instinctive speculation -- listen and decide for yourself).

However -- these are relatively insignificant complaints -- this is a strong collection of atmospheric, thoughtful and creative discomixes recorded between 1978 and 1983.

The real pleasure is the fact that this is a double cd set, and we are given almost ten minute extended versions of these tunes, so the listener can get drawn into these heated, swirling, cerebral mixes, most of which are also heavy as a boxer's punch. And there is an obvious striving for difference in the mixes which is pleasing to hear when compared with this present time, when imitation in reggae seems to be the relentless cul de sac norm rather than the exception.

Lyrically too, Minnot has powerful insight -- check out "A Slice Of The Cake" in which he outlines his frustration at making sincere effort and having his rewards taken from him, or having the "rules of the game" shifted and altered before he can get his just rewards as he deserves -- This is something so many of us will have experienced, and typically, reggae lyricists just seem to have this power to put these sentiments to music without sounding self indulgent or sorry for themselves. It is sounds and poetics of reality, as only reggae can create so tersely and eruditely. Headley Bennett's backing on this tune is a pleasure too; pure Impulse/Blue Note jazz dynamics as heard on his "35 Years From Alpha" album.

This is more a thoughtful, slow burn collection rather than a pounding, obvious "in your face" selection -- which is its beauty and strong point rather than a criticism. Some of the DJ tunes and a dub or two included seem pointless, and one wonders why they are here anyway, and one or two tracks pointlessly recycle old rhythms we surely do not need to sit through again -- but over all this is going to prove very popular with those of you who have religiously collected the more low key yet no less impressive rare Channel 1 discomixes over the years. The inner sleeve art too, is beautifully put together.