Most Wanted ~ Classic Cuts 1978-1984
Wailing Souls
February 20, 2007

Wailing Souls Track list
  1. War feat. Ranking Trevor (12" Mix)
  2. Jah Give Us Life (Don't Feel No Way) (12" Mix)
  3. Firehouse Rock
  4. Kingdom Rise & Kingdom Fall (12" Mix)
  5. A Day Will Come (12" Mix)
  6. See Baba Joe (12" Mix)
  7. Who No Waan Come (12" Mix)
  8. Up Front (12" Mix)
  9. Diamonds & Pearls (12" Mix)
  10. They Don't Know Jah (12" Mix)
  11. Bounce Back (12" Mix)
  12. War Deh Round A John Shop (12" Mix)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
At last!! Greensleeves Records have rewarded the patience of the avid reggae fan who has been waiting for releases of the label's much anticipated and highly rated 12" cuts and dubs (also known as "disco mixes") in digital format for quite a long time. It's the first release in their brand new 'Most Wanted' series, launched to celebrate 30 years of Greensleeves Records, which collects together a selection of 12" singles -- except inexplicably the momentous "Firehouse Rock" -- from one of the most respected vocal groups that emerged out of Jamaica, The Wailing Souls.

The Wailing Souls' incredible body of work for producers ranging from Coxsone Dodd to singer turned producer Linval Thompson has appeared over the course of more than thirty years by now, but its consistency has largely been down to Winston 'Pipe' Matthews' aching voice and his superb song-writing talent, though fellow members Lloyd 'Bread' McDonald, Rudolph 'Garth' Dennis and George 'Buddy' Hayes have also provided strong songs, and both Dennis and Hayes have sung the occasional lead.

After having recorded "You've Lost The Love" as The Renegades for Merritone in 1967 and then at the end of the 1960s "Gold Digger" and "Things & Time" as the Wailing Souls for Lloyd 'The Matador' Daley, it was their sojourn at Studio One during 1970 and 1971 that established them as one of the island's premier vocal outfits. The Studio One recordings from this formative period are gathered on two essential albums, namely "The Wailing Souls" and "Soul And Power".

In 1976 Garth Dennis of Black Uhuru joined the group and the following year they were introduced to Joseph 'Jo Jo' Hookim at Channel One studio on Maxfield Avenue. Their first recording for Channel One, "Things And Time", went straight to Number One in the Jamaican Hit Parade. The Hookim brothers were the first to release a 12" single in Jamaica ("Truly" from The Jayes & Ranking Trevor). The Wailing Souls realised the possiblities of this new format and soon followed with their first 12" record, "War", which also featured the then very popular deejay Ranking Trevor. "War", backed by "Jah Give Us Life", became the first 12" release on the Greensleeves label in the U.K. in 1978.

The Wailing Souls left the Hookims in 1977 to set up their own Massive label and started to work for Sly & Robbie's Taxi label. In 1980 the group started to work with producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes who mostly used the Roots Radics as his session band. Due to the close working relationship of Junjo and Greensleeves a notable amount of Wailing Souls 12" singles were issued by the London based record company.

This blazing collection includes seven tracks produced by Junjo Lawes, two by Joseph Hookim and the Wailing Souls themselves, and one by Linval Thompson, with musical backing provided by Roots Radics, The Revolutionaries (on the first two tracks) and the High Times Band (on the last track).

"Most Wanted ~ Classic Cuts 1978-1984" captures the Wailing Souls at their very best. Especially those tracks that combine their customary cultural concerns with some of the most brutal and inspired of Junjo's riddims are excellent and reveal classic qualities. The apocalyptic "Kingdom Rise Kingdom Fall" (playing time 10:04!!), the beautiful "See Baba Joe", the wonderful "Firehouse Rock", "Bounce Back" and the hard to find 1984 classic "War Deh Round A John Shop" are true highpoints from their association with Junjo. With their self-produced "They Don't Know Jah", the sublime "Who No Waan Come" produced by Junjo' spar Linval Thompson and the Joseph Hookim produced "War" and "Jah Give Us Life" around as well, this collection of tunes is truly very worthwhile.

Accompanied by some super extensive sleeve notes featuring artwork, images and plenty of words, the twelve tracks included have all been remastered from the original productions. All in all a great Wailing Souls compilation that makes the perfect compliment to Pressure Sounds equally great "At Channel One" set from a few years back, the only crossover with that release being "War" and "Jah Give Us Life".