Album review
Showcase Vol. 1
Wayne Jarrett
September 20, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Brimstone & Fire
  2. Every Tongue Shall Tell
  3. Magic In The Air
  4. Bubble Up
  5. Darling Your Eyes
  6. Holly Mount Zion
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3/4

This is another superb release 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 their own releases, whether technodub on Basic Channel or their Rhythm & Sound label and also on their classic Wackie's (re)releases can be found here. This 1982 album, made up of tunes recorded allegedly in the same week Horace Andy's "Dance Hall Style", has previously been available as "Bubble Up", but this is the definitive release of this fabulous "Showcase Vol.1" album, recorded between stints with Glen Brown ("Youthman") and Henry 'Junjo' Lawes ("Saturday Night Jamboree", "Chip In"). Wayne Jarrett also recorded a "Mini Showcase"-album as well for Wackies, released together with Naggo Morris and Horace Andy "Showcase" 10" on 1 CD. "Brimstone & Fire" opens this "Showcase Vol.1"-album with the undeniable Wackies sound with its fine bass driven riddim, jazzy accents, and overall fullness comparable to Lee Perry's Black Ark sound while the tune about Moses is sung in a voice very reminiscent of Horace Andy at his best, and that even more applies to the next song, a take on Horace Andy's 1972 Studio One gem "Every Tongue Shall Tell". Both songs get even more powerful because of the showcase format i.e. the dub following immediately after the song itself. In "Magic In The Air" Wayne Jarrett's voice is leaning much more towards the sound of Johnny Clarke singing the upful lyrics about the beauty of Jah's creation over a chugging riddim, that is already dubby in the first - vocal - part of the track, before getting the full dub treatment after the tape edit. "Bubble Up" also has that Johnny Clarke-feel with Wayne Jarrett riding the Clive 'Azul' Hunt flute driven version of the seminal Studio One instrumental "Rockfort Rock", that was heavily dubbed up by Clive Hunt and Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes himself for "Rröckfort Dub" on the album "Natures Dub", before it gets the dub treatment on this album as well. "Darling Your Eyes" is a great lovers tune over yet another Wackies adaptation of a Studio One Heptones' riddim, with again a big contribution on flute to the dub by Clive 'Azul' Hunt. The last tune on this album uses another classic Studio One riddim, the Soul Vendor's 1968 "Drum Song" backs the nice flow of consciousness of "Holly Mount Zion", thus ending a perfect showcase (pun intended) of the power of Wackies dubby riddim production and the strength of Wayne Jarrett's voice at his peak.