Various artists album review
Children Of Jah ~ The Chantells & Friends 1977-79
Blood & Fire

Tracking list

  1. The Chantells & U Brown - Children Of Jah / Time To Unite
  2. Lopez Walker - Jah Jah New Garden
  3. Errol Davis - Path I Have Taken
  4. The Terrors - Assemble Not Thyself
  5. Lopez Walker - Send Another Moses
  6. Steve Boswell & Jah Berry - Cool Rastaman Cool
  7. The Chantells - Desperate Time
  8. Lopez Walker - Trial Days
  9. The Chantells - Natty Supper
  10. Lopez Walker - Fly Away
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

The latest release of the highly acclaimed "Blood & Fire" label is a compilation drawn from the catalogue of producer Roy Francis, whose 1977 founded "Phase One" label gained a reputation for quality productions. Especially the songs recorded by the Chantells were very popular and often sold strongly at that time. The Chantells, a superb tri-part harmony group consisting of Lloyd Forest, Tommy Thomas and the late Samuel Bramwell, emerged in the seventies when the Jamaican scene in the roots era saw the rise of many vocal groups. Whereas contemporaries like the Mighty Diamonds made a giant breakthrough the Chantells never managed to reach a broader audience, despite the fact that they scored some major local hits, amongst them the classic "Children Of Jah", which was massive in 1978. But for the most part, the other artists Roy Francis chose to record were unknown apart from Tabby Diamond, Dean Fraser (who also made a vocal for Francis under the name Jah Devon) and the Heptones. Nevertheless unknown singers like Lopez Walker and Errol Davis made superb sides for "Phase One", while the releases of Leebert Bennett, Steve Boswell, Paul Powell, Leroy King, The Terrors and The Untouchables were not far behind.

Although mainly known for their sweetly soulful love songs this compilation features the other side of The Chantells with the outstanding "Children Of Jah" on which they are joined by deejay U Brown, then poised on the treshold of his most successful period, the rootical "Natty Supper" and the wonderful "Desperate Times", the alternative reality vocal to their monster hit "Waiting In The Park". Another vocal trio that is included on this album are the Terrors comprising lead singer and primary songwriter Donovan Brissett, his brother Edmund Brissett and L. Lewis, who both sung harmony. Their "Assemble Not Thyself" is a great cautionary tune, a powerful warning to the youth to stick to the right way. That Lopez Walker is represented with four tunes is justified and fully satisfying as this unknown guitar player and singer with a very beautiful voice proves a revelation. "Jah Jah New Garden" and "Send Another Moses" are both solid efforts across the same riddim, while Trial Days and the excellent Spear-style "Fly Away" are noticeable as well. Errol Davis' song "Path I Have Taken" and the wicked "Cool Rastaman Cool", performed by Steve Boswell who is joined by deejay Jah Berry, maintain the same high quality standard and complete the tracklisting of this truly superlative and essential Phase One compilation set. All tracks are full length "discomixes", vocals followed seamlessly by dubs, that appeared on 12" singles with tracks 2, 3 and 5 being edits of the A & B sides of 7" singles. The riddims - all originals - are laid by the Channel One studio band The Revolutionaries. Highly recommended !!

Teacher & Mr. T.