Various artists album review
Heroes Of Kingston
Jamdown UK
16 - 12 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Winston Francis - Wake Up Call
  2. BB Seaton - Somebody To Love
  3. Alton Ellis - Time Of Decision
  4. Owen Gray - Tear It Up
  5. Derrick Morgan & Friends - King Of Ska
  6. Dave Barker feat. Dennis Alcapone - Keep Your Head Down
  7. Alton Ellis - Sooner Or Later
  8. Rico Rodriguez - Wareika Vibes
  9. Derrick Morgan - Let It Slide
  10. BB Seaton - Invisible Man
  11. Dennis Alcapone feat. Dave Barker - Dance With Me Baby
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

The compilation set "Heroes Of Kingston" is the result of an interesting musical project which was initiated by London-based JA-13, actually a writing, production and remix unit working in Dancehall, Rocksteady, Hip-Hop, Dub, Roots, Ska and Lovers Rock styles. JA-13 are Richard Drury and Keith Finch. Richard Drury emerged in recent years and is regarded as one of the most promising songwriters in the UK. Keith Finch, a successful musician with various bands, has always harboured a love for early Jamaican music, inspiring Keith to lay down the foundation of the tracks featured here. The pair first met at Stanley House Studios (a state of the art studio complex with 10 studios, bar, restaurant and roof terrace in the heart of West London), where they have since combined their respective skills in the production of this album. With "Heroes Of Kingston" they have produced an album that has to be regarded as a tribute to the absolute talent and power of legendary names from the early days of Jamaican music.
Listening to the tracks featured on "Heroes Of Kingston" is definitely hearing something a little way different. Besides the fact that every single piece is fresh and original, it's the crisp and clear production quality of the tracks, the inspired sounding performances of the veteran artists involved and the crossover potential that instantly attract one's attention. Studio One vet Winston "Mr. Fix It" Francis delivers the album opener "Wake Up Call", a wicked full sounding tune complete with great live horns. BB Seaton, composer and singer of many Jamaican classics, contributes two tunes: "Somebody To Love" and "Invisible Man". Both pieces have their own merits and fully display BB Seaton's fine vocal skills. Also two cuts from one of Jamaica's living legends, Alton Ellis. The Ska flavored "Time Of Decision" is a solid tune, actually containing a sample of his own Treasure Isle classic "Dance Crasher". Although Alton Ellis' second appearance "Sooner Or Later doesn't match "Time Of Decision" it's well worth listening to the true musical master's vocal delivery. Then multi-instrumentalist and former child prodigy Owen Gray, who delivers the impressive standout "Tear It Up" atop a reworked "Some Like It Hot" sample. With his first piece, "King of Ska", Derrick Morgan shows that he fully deserves to be called the undisputed 'King of Ska' as he excels in this truly infectious, hot steaming Ska tune. Derrick Morgan brings a different feel and mood on his next tune "Let It Slide", which happens to be a nice danceable tune. However, in the end this cut fails to make a serious impression. This doesn't go for the legendary trombonist Rico Rodriguez, whose awesome "Wareika Vibes" can be counted among the standouts. The remaining two cuts of this compilation set are from the duo Dave Barker and Dennis Alcapone. Dave Barker achieved worldwide recognition as one half of the chart-busting duo Dave & Ansell Collins, while the high prolific Dennis Alcapone gained fame as one of Jamaica's most popular toasters. Here they combine forces and their efforts are well worth hearing. Especially "Keep Your Head Down" proves a great delivery, actually a track with the most classic feel and vibe of all tunes included, but also "Dance For Me Baby" is above par and thus a fitting close of this very enjoyable and entertaining "King Of Heroes" project.

Teacher & Mr. T.