Dance Hall Showcase Vol. II
Wackies - Indigo
10" Mini-LP & CD
February 29, 2008
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
Legendary Studio One graduate and singer and
producer for his own Black Roots and Youth Promotion labels Lincoln 'Sugar' Barrington
Minott fully justified carries the title 'Godfather of Dancehall'. In the
second half of the 70s he went to Studio One and layed classic vocal tracks
over the original Studio One tapes from the 60s rather than using a live band,
to precede the revolution in the sound of reggae eventually evolving into
dancehall. Sugar Minott started his musical career through forming his own
soundsystem Black Roots, still existing as his own record label, which
eventually developed into Youth Promotion and recorded as founder member in
the African Brothers alongside Tony Tuff and Derrick 'Bubbles' Howard - most
of this group's classic tracks are collected on the excellent "Want Some
Then Sugar Minott went to Studio One in the second half of the 70s to begin his well-documented solo career that apart from his classic Studio One sets resulted in several classic albums from the early dancehall days. Sugar's major contribution to the period was threefold: as an extremely individual and popular singer, as an accomplished producer and as a very successful soundsystem operator. Furthermore he was also a tireless promoter of fresh singers and deejays - invariably youthful strugglers from the same tough ghetto background as himself - through his Youth Promotion activities, nurturing the talents of Tenor Saw, Nitty Gritty and Junior Reid.
And now this CD presents "Dance Hall Showcase Vol. II", a 10" mini-album released originally (with a picture sleeve and carrying the dedication special dedication to all dancehall fans on his own Black Roots imprint in 1983, recorded at Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes' NYC studio after he teamed up with him for "Wicked A Go Feel It", this is yet another great rerelease in the string of classic Wackies albums that have been (re)released by Berlin dub-techno duo Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus a.k.a. Rhythm & Sound, as part of their rerelease program of the complete Wackie's catalog, (more on Rhythm & Sound's own releases, whether technodub on Basic Channel or reggae on their Rhythm & Sound label can be found at the Basic Channel website).
Opening this album is the brilliant classic "Informer", in true showcase style followed by its corresponding dub "Informout" and like on many of his other releases during those days in his inimitable style he switches without a problem between the ghetto reality of this tune, cultural and lovers topics into the great sweet "Genuine Lover" and its massive corresponding heavy bassline and horns driven "Genuine Dub". Most of these riddims were coming from Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott's Youth Promotion camp, overdubbed and remixed at Wackies with Sugar Minott alongside Lloyd Barnes at the controls, sounding as strong as any good 80s Studio One backing, which is of course no surprise with Earl 'Bagga' Walker and Jackie Mittoo on board, as well as the Riddim Twins Sly & Robbie, whose Channel One approach of Studio One style riddims is very clear as well, especially on the magnificent take on a version of Bob Andy's seminal 1972 Studio One 'Feeling Soul'-riddim "A So We Love It", with its beautiful dubmix "A So We Dub It".
The last powerful Sugar Minott vocal is the rootical "Dreadlocks A Mi Idren", with its melodica accents very prominent in the mix followed by its companion dub mix "Dreadlocks Rock", though his singing is featured prominently on the first bonus track, Jah Batta's "Informer", a different mix of his take on the 'Informer'-riddim from the "Informa (Watch It)" version included on his "Argument" album in the 12"-version including its dub reworking. The then only twelve years old Little John contributes the second bonus track over this riddim with his stunning "Tear Down The Dancehall", that is also paired with Jah Batta's tune on last month's 12" Wackies-rerelease of "Informer". This is a phenomenal album - from which you can hear the audio samples here - in the ongoing series of Wackies rereleases from Basic Channel that belongs in every reggae and dub collection.