Various artists album review
Darker Than Blue ~ Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980
Blood & Fire
26 - 07 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. The Boris Gardiner Happening featuring Leslie Butler - Ghetto Funk
  2. The Chosen Few - Collie Stuff
  3. Carl Bradney - Slipping Into Darkness
  4. Ken Boothe - Is It Because I'm Black?
  5. Freddie McGregor - Get Involved
  6. Al Brown - Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
  7. In-Crowd - Mango Walk
  8. Ken Boothe - Ain't No Sunshine
  9. Milton Henry - Gypsy Woman
  10. Junior Murvin - Give Me Your Love
  11. John Holt - For The Love Of You
  12. Alton Ellis - It's A Shame
  13. Jimmy London - I'm Your Puppet
  14. Delroy Wilson - Get Ready (12' mix)
  15. Lloyd Charmers - Darker Than Blue
  16. Tinga Stewart - Why Can't We Live Together (extended)
  17. The Tamlins - Baltimore
  18. Welton Irie - Hotter Reggae Music
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Since the release of the first album "If Deejay Was Your Trade" in 1994 UK-based Blood & Fire Records have established themselves a name as one of the best re-issue labels around. This record company - led by Steve Barrow and Bob Harding - fully deserves its fame as it pleases reggae fans all over the world with releases of mainly hard-to-get gems from the past presented with the best sound quality possible, excellent artwork and great sleeve notes. Blood & Fire's latest release - already their 36th - is no exception to it as it turns the spotlight on Jamaican covers of US soul tunes which were recorded during the period 1973-1980.
This 18-track compilation of (for the most part) Jamaican covers of US soul tunes also contains two originals, Ghetto Funk by Boris Gardiner and Hotter Reggae Music by Welton Irie, the latter being the deejay version of the Tamlins' hit Baltimore, a tune written by 'redneck' Randy Newman. The Chosen Few tackle the ultra-funky Kool & The Gang tune 'Funky Stuff' and renamed it Collie Stuff. Lee Perry contributes a nice production as he lets Carl Bradney cover the War anti-violence song Slipping Into Darkness. Ken Boothe is present here with two of his strongest covers ever, the thoughtfull Is It Because I'm Black ? and Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine. Freddie McGregor scored some of his biggest hits covering soul standards. Here he teams up with the Soul Syndicate for George Jackson's Get Involved. Al Brown was a cover version specialist, he enjoyed his biggest hit with the Al Green cover 'Here I Am Baby'. Here he does over the Bobby Bland hit Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City. A very yardy version of The Impressions' Gypsy Woman is delivered by Milton Henry. John Holt is another artist who is well known for covering soul tunes and his interpretation of the Isley Brothers' For the Love Of You is an outstanding cut and the same goes for Alton Ellis' do-over of the Spinners' It's A Shame. Delroy Wilson's version of Get Ready was released on a Channel One 12" single and expertly produced by Joseph Hookim. The title track -Darker Than Blue is an excellent cut by Lloyd Charmers, and matches the 1970 Curtis Mayfield cut.
Blood & Fire's "Darker Than Blue" is a must-have for all revival fans !

Teacher & Mr. T.