Far And Distant
Willie Lindo
Wild Flower / Dub Store Records
Vinyl LP / Digital Release
March 30, 2016

Track list
Side One
  1. Drum Song
  2. Darker Shade Of Black
  3. Midnight Train To Georgia
  4. Samba Pati
  5. Chopper
Side Two
  1. Hear I Am Baby
  2. Charmers Mood
  3. Mystic Mood
  4. Breezing
  5. Holly Holy
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Lead Instrument : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
Willie Lindo is best known for his work as a producer, but he started out as sideman for Sonny Bradshaw and later as a session player for producers such as Lloyd Charmers and Derrick Harriott. His most prolific period was during the '70s into the '80s when he played on albums from The Meditations, Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths, Culture, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott just to name a few. In the mid-1970s he teamed with Beres Hammond. Together they produced a large body of high-quality work including Beres Hammond's 1977 album "Soul Reggae". His Miami based production company Heavy Beat Records is known for its crisp yet smooth sound and is specialised in producing soulful and melodic tunes, with lots of crossover potential. He has released outstanding productions with several artists such as Tinga Stewart, Tyrone Taylor, Wayne Wade and Maxi Priest. The label's "Nice & Ruff" two riddim series is highly popular throughout the reggae community. The Lindo dynasty has featured heavily in the reggae industry: Earl Lindo played keyboards in the Wailers, the singer Hopeton Lindo has enjoyed many hits, the producer Jack Ruby was born Lawrence Lindo and Willie Lindo's sibblings Kashief and Nikesha are successful vocalists.

In 1974 producer Lloyd Charmers recorded an instrumental reggae album called "Far And Distant" with Willie Lindo for a new label called Wild Flower. In the wake of the growing popularity of reggae in Jamaica, Federal Records launched the Wild Flower subsidiary in 1974 under the authority of Paul Khouri and Richard Khouri. The set features high quality "easy listening" instrumental versions (no strings overdubs!) of reggae and pop/soul classics, with a slight jazzy feel. Willie Lindo's guitar flows nicely across a smooth backbone provided by top musicians like Lloyd Parks (bass), Paul Williams (drums), Lloyd Charmers (keyboards and percussion) and a horns section called Federal Soul Givers. The first two tunes are Jackie Mittoo Studio One classics: "Drum Song" and "Darker Shade Of Black". The intense soul classic by Gladys Knight & The Pips "Midnight Train To Georgia" is performed complete with subtle backing vocals. Santana's "Samba Pa Ti" gets a truly fine reggae lick here! The self pinned "Chopper" is followed by Al Green's uptempo soul hit "Here I Am Baby", a tune that was very popular in Jamaica. Lloyd Charmers wrote "Charmers Mood". Willie switches to a more rock influenced performance on "Mystic Mood". Very jazzy tinged is Willie's do-over of Gabor Szabo & Bobby Womack's 1971 original (George Benson did a nice recut too!) "Breezing". The album closes with Willie's interpretation of Neil Diamond's "Holly Holly", also with some vocal backing.

The reissue is done by Dub Store Records out of Japan. The company is the major Japanese ska, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall reissue label run by the eponymous Tokyo based record store. The label aims at accurately covering the 50-plus years of Jamaican music. Dub Store Records has so far issued recordings from labels and artists such as Studio One, Federal Records (Federal, Kentone, Merritone), Jammys, Bunny Wailer's Solomonic, Derrick Harriott, Kiddus I, Redman International, King Tubby’s Firehouse, Fam's, BMN and much more to come.

Excellent reissue!