Survival Is The Game
Winston Jarrett & The Righteous Flames
Young Tree Records
January 30, 2006

Track list
Disc One

  1. Armageddon Dub Style
  2. Up Park Camp
  3. Easy Come, Easy Go
  4. Should Have Been Me
  5. Writing On The Wall
  6. Country Woman
  7. Fear Not
  8. No War (Survival Is The Game)
  9. Survival Is The Game (Girl Like You)
  10. Do You Hear I
  11. Babylon Burning
  12. Dub On Natty
  13. Must Be A Revolution
  14. Humble Yourself
  15. Your Love Is Heaven
  16. Your Dub Is Heaven
  17. Humble Dub
  18. Should Have Dubbed
Disc Two

  1. Wiseman
  2. Rocking Vibration
  3. Sleeping In The Park
  4. Come Down Zacchius
  5. Satisfy My Soul
  6. Ishen Galore
  7. Tired Of The System
  8. True Born African (1972 Version)
  9. True Born African (1991 Version)
  10. Haile Selassie Is The Chapel
  11. Too Many Boundaries
  12. Selah
  13. Roots Rock Reggae
  14. Solid Foundation
  15. Dread Natty Reggae
  16. Judgment
  17. Zacchius Dub
  18. Badness
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 5
A decent compilation of the works of reggae veteran Winston Jarrett has been long overdue, but the long wait has been worthwhile thanks to the release of this beautifully packaged dbl cd set entitled "Survival Is The Game".

It was the legendary Alton Ellis who recruited Winston Jarrett (born in 1944) and Eggar Gordon in 1965 to form a new harmony group, Alton & The Flames. The group auditioned at Duke Reid's studio and won the enthusiastic endorsement of Leroy 'Cuttings' Cole, Duke Reid's number one selector. They were soon recording a series of classic rock steady anthems, and went on to score an extraordinary number of chart hits. After recording many tunes for Duke Reid, the group was lured away by Coxsone Dodd who produced more hits. In 1969, Alton Ellis moved to England and Winston Jarrett reformed the group as The Righteous Flames with harmony from Eggar Gordon. Since then, Winston has recorded hundreds of titles under his own name, as well as a number of pseudonyms. In addition, he has backed up vocalists like Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths and Winston Francis. He also worked with Enid Cumberland and Larry Marshall as the Freedom Singers.

"Survival Is The Game" is an above par collection of tracks culled from a career that spans over four decades by now. Despite having released a notable amount of great tunes Winston Jarrett has inexplicably been an overlooked and under rated artist throughout his enduring career. Listen to excellent tracks like for example "Up Park Camp" (later covered by John Holt), "Easy Come Easy Go", "Should Have Been Me", "Fear Not", "No War (Survival Is The Game)", "Do You Hear I" and "Survival Is The Game (Girl Like You)", all produced and engineered by Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, and wonder why this reggae pioneer hasn't gotten the wider recognition and acclaim he deserves.

Further proof for Jarrett's undeniable talent are stand outs such as the biting "True Born African (1972 Version)", "Must Be A Revolution", "Humble Yourself", the vocal to Jackie Mittoo's recently repressed "Ayatollah" 12inch, the Pablo-esque "Your Love Is Heaven", the wicked 1979 Roy Cousins productions "Wiseman, Tired Of The System", "Badness" and the fearsome ganja anthem "Ishen Galore". Also check out "Dub On Natty" and enjoy the turbulent Tubby's hi-pass filter mix to the elusive 1975 minor classic "Ride On Natty" (unfortunately not included here), which is worth the purchase of this set alone. The Flames' apocalyptic vocals, Earl 'Chinna' Smith's acid slide guitar, Tubby's test tone... truly awesome!

Even though the more recent Heartbeat and RAS tracks are less compelling, overall opinion is that this is a very good purchase for fans of classic roots reggae.