Winston Jarrett
September 24, 2014

Track list
  1. Never Love Again
  2. Wise Man
  3. Pyaka
  4. I'm A Hurting Inside
  5. Sleeping In The Park
  6. Rocking Vibration
  7. I Shen Galore
  8. Tired Of The System
  9. Mash Down Babylon
  10. Badness
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
Winston 'Flames' Jarrett recorded the "Wise Man" album with producer Roy Cousins (of Royals fame) back in 1979. The original LP on the Tamoki-Wambesi imprint has eight tracks, while its 1989 vinyl re-issue and then this 1999 released cd features two more songs: "Sleeping In The Park" and "Badness". Furthermore on the first release, the track "Wise Man" is featured in original version, while on the second it's the maxi version (not extended).

Born in 1940 in Lime Tree Gardens, Saint Ann Parish, Winston Jarrett grew up in the Jones Town area of Kingston, where he was taught to play guitar by Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis. His introduction to the music industry was as a member of Alton Ellis' backing band The Flames in the early 1960s. While with Ellis he wrote songs such as "Sunday Coming" and "True Born African", although he was not always credited as such. In 1967, Jarrett parted ways with the UK-bound Ellis and formed The Righteous Flames with Edgar "Egga" Gardner and Junior Green. The trio recorded for Arthur "Duke" Reid's Treasure Isle label and then for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One label. In 1969 they also recorded for Lee "Scratch" Perry (the excellent "Zion I Love You"). In the late 1970s Jarrett embarked on a career as a solo artist and recorded the LP "Wise Man" (in 1984 re-appearing as "Rocking Vibration").

The tracks for the "Wise Man" album were recorded at Channel One and King Tubbys' studios by Crucial Bunny, and features riddims played by the Forces Of Music and the Roots Radics. Things get started with the album's weakest effort, "Never Love Again", which sounds like it was written for Alton Ellis. But luckily next comes the first killer tune, the anthemic title track "Wise Man", one of Winston Jarrett's standout efforts. It's followed by two decent covers of the Wailers: "Payaka" (aka "Bus Dem Shut") and "I'm Hurting Inside". Then there's the awesome dread song "Sleeping In The Park" on the "Operation Radication" riddim, worth hearing over and over again. This also goes for "Rocking Vibration" and most definitely for "I Shen Galore", a killer which celebrates the miracle of herb. "Tired Of The System" is a solid social commentary, followed by "Mash Down Babylon" which is a matching cut. This album started off with a weak effort, but is rounded off in a strong way by "Badness", a song that benefits from the backing of the Roots Radics.

All in all this is a worthwhile set from a seriously underrated singer!