Unification: From Channel One To King Tubby's
Willi Williamns
Shanachie Records
CD / Digital Release
October 25, 2014

Track list
  1. Rock On
  2. Home
  3. Daughters Of Zion
  4. Children
  5. Unification
  6. Armagideon Man
  7. Natty Natty
  8. One Destiny
  9. Rally
  10. Righteousness
  11. Free Dem
  12. Any Day
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Very Good -Votes: 5-
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Total votes : 20
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
The 1970's were a magical time in Roots Reggae history. The originality, spirituality and creativity abounded with enduring proportions. Foundation artist WILLI WILLIAMS' work is recognized as some of the best of this golden era. Now it's fully realized with "Unification: From Channel One To King Tubby's". An incredible collection of material produced by Willi and his close friend Vivian "Yabby You" Jackson and released on the ever reliant SHANACHIE RECORDS. The unity between singers, musicians and producers is a Royal gift indeed...

Willi Williams' career spans almost fifty years and his imprint endures continually. After his introduction to C.S. Dodd's Studio One by the legendary Bob Andy in the mid '60's, Mr. Williams wasted no time. His 1966 single "Calling" made an instant impact. By 1969, he established the Soul Sounds label with Bobby Kalphat and produced such greats as Delroy Wilson, The Versatiles and the Barrett brothers (as The Rhythm Force). In 1974, he moved to Canada and divided his creativity between there and Kingston; establishing close bonds with luminaries like Jackie Mittoo, Yabby You (met at Federal Studio; later became Tuff Gong) and Bryan Atkinson. He continued releasing crucial singles all the while. His landmark album "Messenger Man" (late '70's) was received with massive acclaim. In 1979, he voiced the timeless "Armagideon Time" ("Real Rock" riddim) that remains a standard today the world over. It was instantly covered by The Clash and has found its way into popular culture. The album of the same name was released that cemented his natty credentials. He continued to release outstanding sets like "Unity" (1987) "Natty With A Cause" (1992, Jah Shaka) "Jah Will" (1995), "Full Time Love" (2002) and the recent classic "Reggae Can't Done" that features Herb Albert. Most of these classics are released on his Drum Street label. He has numerous projects in the works; including a collaboration with Bobby Kalphat. Willi Williams remains one of Reggae's most humble and resilient statesmen.

Randall Grass' SHANACHIE RECORDS has been a longtime champion of releasing the absolute best Reggae Music for over three decades. The New Jersey based company has released numerous classics by the likes of Yabby You, Bunny Wailer, Culture, Mutabaruka, Judy Mowatt, Boom Shaka, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. Mr. Grass is set to release a three disc Yabby You set by year's end. Huge respect to Randall Grass and his tireless devotion to King's Music and other genres.

"Unification" is a concrete collection of tracks recorded between 1977-79 at Channel One and King Tubby's with production from Willi and Yabby You. Some of these tracks have been limited release singles or appeared on pirated albums. To have these in a format credited to Willi and Yabby You is well deserved! The backing is aptly provided by Sly & Robbie & The Revolutionaries, Gladiators Band, Soul Syndicate, Jackie Mittoo, Bobby Ellis and Cedric "Im" Brooks. Massive engineering by Bunny Tom Tom, Scientist and Soljie Hamilton. Yabby You's involvement in these sessions is paramount. Rock On is a Soul Syndicate backed masterpiece that was released as a single. Willi rolls like gentle thunder over a thunderous riddim with his unique and flowing delivery. Tony Chin's guitar and Scully's percussion add to the magic. Home is sweet in every way. Over a skanking Aggrovators riddim with Jackie Mittoo's bubbling and Carl Harvey's wailing guitar chops, Willi wails triumphantly like a Lion. Superior in every aspect. Daughters Of Zion was recorded in 1977 backed by The Gladiators. Sounding naturally like Don Carlos, Willi gives a powerful message to be upfull and right- "Don't give into vanity...end up in insanity". This masterpiece was revisited on his "Jah Will" album. Classic track. Children continues the power with flowing style. Over a horn rich riddim and ethereal harmonies, Willi is at ease in his conversational style giving a clear message. This is a prime example of King's Music - pure and simple. Unification is amazing! Riding the timeless "Rockfort Rock" riddim, Willi gives a message of the need to unify in the perilous times of the '70's. Great engineering and engaging atmosphere. Armagideon Man is timeless. Riding a riddim that shows the developing style of Sly & Robbie, Willi chants righteousness all the way to Heart and Soul. His songwriting is pure meditation.

Natty Natty is a Roots anthem for all times. A Dread affair that shows true emotion and wisdom. This song was later revisited as "Natty For A Cause" on his Jah Shaka set and has influenced a few other artists. Power and conviction. One Destiny is a slice of Mt. Zion. Over a solid riddim with great bubbling, this Rastaman chants royally and makes you feel right at home. Rally originally showed up as a Black Roots 12" and is a powerful track indeed. Powerful horns from Bobby Ellis and Cedric Brooks open the solid riddim that Willi rides royally. A calling from all Jah children to rally around Jah throne. Solid through and through. Righteousness is a solid skanker. Over a much versioned riddim, Willi chants "gives thanks and praise always". His versatility is undeniable on this solid foundation. "King Pharoah" riddim is a nice choice. Free Dem is Zion in a vision in every way. A Dread atmosphere so clear. This set closes with Any Day. Over a Sly & Robbie backbone, Willi flows like a gentle river that laps heartically. A splendid choice to finish this body of Jah work!

Well oh well! "Unification" is a testament to the true definition of Roots Reggae. The unity of two of our music's most prolific figures proves monumental. It's clear, the vibes at the time of these recordings were well crucial and Willi offers true hope and inspiration amid the turbulence that was surrounding. The musicianmanship and production qualities are flawless. This "lost" album equates to a clear view of the importance of the late 1970's imprint and impact on the development of true Roots sound. A chapter has been opened; read it again and again! DO NOT miss out on the importance on this release. Highest recommendation!! GO DEH!!