Album review
The Missing Link
Fred Locks
VP Records-Walboomers Music

Tracking list

  1. Rastafari Rule
  2. Wheat And Tears
  3. Hurry Brings Worry
  4. I Know
  5. Rastaman Time
  6. Child Of The King
  7. Gun Court Affair
  8. The Only One
  9. The Only Dub
  10. Judge Not
  11. The Key Of Life
  12. The Key Of Life (Accapella)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4

The title of this album refers to a compilation of thoughts and expressions recorded by Fred Locks in 1978 as a follow-up to "Black Star Liner", his classic roots album from the seventies. The singer and his producer Jah "Shoes" Bootie of "Jahlovemuzik Productions" had planned to release these recordings on an album entitled "Rastafari Rules", which was scheduled for 1979. However, it never happened, due to serious problems with the royalties for the "Black Star Liner" album. At that time the artist and the producer didn't get any money for that album. "Vulcan Records" - which released "Black Star Liner" in 1976 - folded and then the various labels that subsequently sold the album to the four corners of the earth did not pay the royalties either. Both Fred Locks and Jah "Shoes" Bootie became that frustated that they put the "Rastafari Rules" project on pause. Thanks to their relationship with VP Records of New York (the company re-released "Black Star Liner" on CD in 1995 and payed a small royalty) the "Rastafari Rules" project was re-activated, however one half of the original recordings had disappeared and the other half had crystallized and could not be restored. The album was given up and considered doomed.

Then the missing half suddenly surfaced in Jamaica, also crystallized due to improper storage and age. Thanks to modern technology and the brilliant skills of Wayne Chin the tapes were salvaged, transferred digitally, and ultimately restored. Several tracks were damaged, including "Key Of Life" of which only the voice, lead guitar. and repeater drums, were saved. The riddim was simulated and redone along with new harmony vocals. Most of the tracks, however, are untouched except for digital remixing. Listening to this roots reggae music, recorded more than two decades ago, one can only confirm that all efforts and hard work to make the release of the "Missing Link" from Fred Locks' repertoire possible, have been truly well worth.

Backed by the same musicians (Bagga Brownie, Steelie, Pablove Back, Malawi, Sangie and the crew), recorded in the same studio (Harry J), by the same producers as the "Black Star Liner" set, "The Missing Link" is an excellent delivery from the youthful Fred Locks. On this 12 track album the singer with the soothing yet spiritually enlightening voice addresses such serious issues as injustice, gun violence and imposters with lyrics like the awesome "Judge Not", the solid "Gun Court Affair" and the impressive "Wheat And Tears" over appealing, original rootsy riddims. Other roots gems on this set are "Rastafari Rule", "Rastaman Time", "Child Of The King", "The Only One" and "The Key Of Life".

Teacher & Mr. T.