Various artists album review
Hidden Treasures
Easy Star Records
22 - 10 - 1999

Tracking list

  1. Sugar Minott - Si Mi Ya   [previously unreleased]
  2. Barrington Levy - Jah Black
  3. Barry Brown - Running Star
  4. Horace Andy - Ain't No Sunshine
  5. Nitty Gritty - Cross The Border   [previously unreleased]
  6. Tony Tuff - Mary Ann
  7. Lloyd Hemmings - Talk Is Cheap   [previously unreleased]
  8. Trevor Hartley - Africa
  9. Garnett Silk - Disrespect
  10. Junior Reid - What They say   [previously unreleased]
  11. Junior Delgado & Sugar Minott - Lovely Woman   [previously unreleased]
  12. Tristan Palmer - Mathematics Love   [previously unreleased]
  13. Tenor Saw - African Children
  14. Echo Minott - Man In Love
  15. Branches - Sand On The Seashore   [previously unreleased]
  16. Michael Palmer - Long Run
  17. Ranking Joe & Cassyman - My Lady   [previously unreleased]
  18. Don Angelo - You Girl
  19. Yami Bolo - Youth Promotion   [previously unreleased]
  20. The African Brothers - Righteous Kingdom
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

The New York based label Easy Star Records has been drawing attention the last year with it's quality releases on several 7" singles and two excellent albums. Their first release as a more than excellent compilation set "Easy Star Volume 1", containing 15 tracks, and three dub versions included as bonus tracks. At the beginning of 1999 they surprised the reggae community with an outstanding set by reggae veterans The Meditations.
Their recent release Hidden Treasures collects 20 tunes, drawn from the vaults Sugar Minott's extensive 'Black Roots' label. The collaboration between Easy Star and Sugar Minott started with the track 'Born In The Ghetto', from 'Easy Star Volume 1'. The bubbling tunes found here were recorded during the period 1980-1989, except The African Brothers' tune Righteous Kingdom, which was recorded in 1971. Sugar is famous for literally hundreds of reggae hits over the last 20 years.
In the eighties Sugar Minott's sound system 'Youth Promotion', alongside his 'Black Roots' imprint, were setting the standards for reggae and dancehall. Yami Bolo's tune Youth Promotion was a special for Sugar's sound system and is one of his earliest recordings. The inclusion of nine previously unreleased Black Roots gems makes this album one of the most interesting releases of the year. The album is a varied mixture of roots tunes and lovers rock songs, with the emphasis on singers. Well known hit tunes such as Tony Tuff's joyful Mary Ann, Horace Andy's reworking of Bill Whither's Ain't No Sushine, Barrington Levy's haunting Jah Black, Barry Brown's heavyweight roots tune Running Star and Trevor Hartley's Africa alternate with splendid unreleased gems like Nitty Gritty's Cross The Border, Lloyd Hemmings' Talk Is Cheap, young Junior Reid's What They Say and a track from an unknown vocalist, Branches, Sand On The Seashore.
Most of these sides remain highly sought-after collectors' items, and were voiced at several studios in Jamaica (Channel One - Promotion Studios - King Tubby's - Tuff Gong - Harry J) as well as in England (Easy Street Studios). Easy Star maintains its high standards with this crucial release, filled with memorable recordings from the past. With this cd you can't go wrong, it will please both the serious collector as well as the occasional reggae buyer.

Sugar Minott article.

Horace Andy picture.

Garnett Silk picture.

Junior Reid picture.

Michael Palmer picture.

Barrington Levy picture.

Teacher & Mr. T.