Living Heart Vol. 1
March 15, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
In celebration of Xterminator being 25 years part of Jamaica's popular music, and also to pay tribute to Phillip 'Fatis' Burrell, whose untimely death on 3rd December 2011 shocked the reggae fraternity, his son Kareem Burrell has unleashed a compilation set called "Living Heart Vol. 1". It's actually an album shared by father and son, symbolizing a passing of the baton from one generation to the next.
1994 was the time when Phillip 'Fatis' Burrell, founder of the Xterminator label, numbered among Jamaica's top ten producers. This was ten years after he produced and released his first single on his short-lived Kings & Lions imprint, Sugar Minott's "More Dogs To The Bone". Since then he has produced most of the etablished singers including Cocoa Tea, Sanchez, Thriller U, Frankie Paul and Gregory Isaacs, and has been responsible for launching the careers of such as Lukie D, Pinchers, and fast-talking deejay Daddy Freddy, to name only three. By the 1990s he was in full swing with his Xterminator label (at first Exterminator) and was the driving force behind Luciano and Sizzla, who under the watchful guidance of 'Fatis' Burrell became major figures in the development of Jamaica's new roots movement during the second half of the 1990s.
Fatis' son Kareem 'Remus' Burrell, head of the XTM.Nation record label, oversees the Xterminator company his father operated and is a well-respected producer in his own right, now works with former protégés of his father, Jesse Royal and Kayla Bliss, as well as other artists including Cali P, Mikey General, Richie Spice, and Lymie Murray. XTM.Nation has the same roots and message as Xterminator and also in terms of sound it stays close to what made the production works of 'Fatis' Burrell so distinctive and outstanding.
"Living Heart Vol. 1" features some new material as well as tunes that have never been heard and released before. Luciano shines on the album opener, the previously unreleased "Part Of One Big Family", a solid soulful song in which he sings about universal brotherhood. A real surprise here is the inclusion of a Lee 'Scratch' Perry track produced by 'Fatis' Burrell at his own studio in Stony Hill. In his own inimitable style, the legendary 'Scratch' Perry delivers a nice rendition of Ken Boothe's classic hit song "When I Fall In love" called "Stand In Love". Pressure Busspipe's superb cultural piece "Shield And Guide", a previously released single, is one of the standouts here. A big tune with nice saxophone play from Dean Fraser, who was Xterminator's musical director during its heydays in the 1990s. Also outstanding is Ini Kamoze's "We Pop It Off", while Buju Banton's captivating acoustic track "Oh My Father" is simply beautiful. Of course, also Sizzla appears her, but although the previously unreleased "Daylight" isn't one of the best efforts he recorded for Xterminator, it makes a decent impression.
St James-born Jesse Grey aka Jesse Royal, one of the last discoveries of 'Fatis' Burrell, is part of Jamaica's roots-reggae revival movement. He's an artist who still needs to achieve his international breakthrough, but with tunes such as "Long Days And Short Nights", "One Eye Open" and "Talk To Me", he has shown potential and attracted the attention of reggae connaisseurs. Here he is present with two songs, a solid collaboration with deejay Jahman called "Show Them How Fi Blaze" (a personal tribute to 'Fatis' Burrell), which revisits Tony Tuff's "Deliver Me", and the awesome "Little Did They Know". The latter comes across a relicked version of Dennis Brown's "Halfway Up Halfway Down". Also worth hearing is Beres Hammond's "Do It Now", in which he pays a fitting tribute to his old friend, and Nadine Sutherland's heartfelt ode to Garnet Silk entitled "Pair Of Wings".
Not all the tunes featured on this compilation set are winners, but all in all this very enjoyable collection of tunes is worth checking out.