Roots Pool Frontline 1 (At Sandringham Road Hackney In 1985)
Collins Music
September 20, 2012

Track list
  1. Sugar Minott - I Love You
  2. Sugar Minott - Roots Pool Rock
  3. Roots Pool All Stars - Sir Collins The Peacemaker
  4. Carlton Newman - Frontline
  5. R.P.A.S - Gary Dubbing
  6. Sugar Minott - Sticks And Stones
  7. R.P.A.S - Can't Break My Bones
  8. Sugar Minott - Children Of Africa
  9. R.P.A.S - Bread For Youth
  10. Jennifer Lara - I Gave You My Heart
  11. Gene Rondo - No One But You
  12. Gary Collins - Because You Nice
  13. Wayne Marshall - I Never Knew
  14. Edi Fitzroy - Pressure
  15. R.P.A.S - Don't Pressure Me
  16. R.P.A.S - Come Together Now
  17. Keith Drummond - Motherless Children
  18. R.P.A.S - Help The Youth
  19. Sugar Minott - Kelly
  20. "Chinna" Smith, Wayne Marshall & Keith Drummond - Come Together
  21. Sugar Minott - Open The Gate
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
When a Reggae Ambassador passes onto Zion, numerous tribute albums come forward. Lincoln "Sugar" Minott is one of these legends whose time on Creation was cut short--raspect due! One of the most obscure and satisfying tributes is "Roots Pool Front Line 1"; an all star release courtesy of one of Reggae Musik's unsung producers, Sir Collins; straight outta England.

Sir "Charlie Dalston" Collins has been around for decades. He emigrated from Jamaica to London in 1957 and quickly became a prolific MC and operator of Sir Collins Down Beat System. This tireless and giving man comes from a family whose musical lineage goes back 150 years! His father taught trumpet at the famed Alpha Boys School and played in The Collins Brothers And The Aces; instrumental in the evolution of the island's music. Sir Collins' reputation continued to grow in the Hackney Empire of south London and produced some great "Golden Age" albums ("Sir Collins Music Wheel Chapter 1-3") with the likes of Alton Ellis, Owen Grey, Delroy Wilson and Roy Shirley. Reminiscent of Studio One works; except across the pond. He opened up a Reggae club that attracted the likes of Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.

Tragedy struck in the dawn of the 1980's when a fire burned 13 youths to death; including one of his sons. This fueled his personal flame to help the community in any way. In 1984, he opened up his own community centre that drew applause from Princess Diana, Scotland Yard and the many famous musicians that passed through. He had become great friends with the likes of Bunny Lee, Sugar Minott, Dennis Bovell, lee Perry and Dennis Alcapone to name a few. This album is a result of sessions that took place at his Roots Pool studio from 1985-2010 to wicked effect.

This release was engineered by Sir Collins, his son Gary and Wayne Marshall. The backing musicians (Roots Pool All Stars) are the influx of bubblers that passed through -- Jah Bunny, Dennis Bovell, Keith Drummond/Ras Elroy Bailey from Black Slate and "Chinna' Smith to mention a few. The opening track, "I Love You" by Sugar Minott, is arguably THE best track that he ever laid down. Throaty vocals dripping with emotion touched off with a wicked horn section and Chinna's guitar will bring tears. His "Roots Pool Rock" is wicked Dancehall with a raw studio feel that is rugged and versatile. The accompanying version works; no fancy overdubs, just pure music skills. The underrated Carlton Newman shines well with "Front Line" and the version is an ital experience. Sugar is wicked again with "Sticks And Stones"; a proclaimation of confidence. "Can't Break My Bones" is the version and is utterly amazing.

Mr. Minott's "Children Of Africa" and version is clearly Sugar at his best but the musical backbone of Black Slate members Drummond and Bailey will sharpen the Roots lovers ear. Out of nowhere, the late Jennifer Lara offers up "I Gave You My Heart"; an absolute heartwrenching rendition of Studio One work -- this one is off the scale of greatness. R.I.P Queen of Zion. Sounding eerily like Alton Ellis, the crooner Gene Rondo slices a piece of killer Lovers Rock with "No One But You". Outstanding syndrums and basswork here. Sir Collins' son, Gary, offers up accomplished youthman skills on "Because You Nice", in front of a drum and guitar workout with "Chinna" and drum wizard Jah Bunny. Dancehall stalwart Wayne Marshall puts forth his best work here with the Dancehall tight "I Never Knew"; utilizing a singjay style and an engaging riddim (new raspect for Wayne!).

The legendary Edi Fitzroy passed through Roots Pool Studio and voiced the monster "Pressure". This is his best song since "Youthman Penitentiary" days. This is razor sharp storytelling that cuts like a knife. The version, "Don't Pressure Me", is riddim tight with great organs and drum and bassie. The next few songs are wicked versions of some of the aforementioned tracks. Black Slate frontman Keith Drummond is potent with "Motherless Children", showing an incredible command of the mic -- sounds like a "rasta fiesta". "Kelly" is another Sugar masterclass that just oozes emotion and soul power; where has this song been all these years? A bubblin' musical landscape and a CLASSIC. We get treated to a harmony of Wayne Marshall/Keith Drummond and "Chinna" on "Come Toghether" -- a very rare and authentic track that harks back to the Golden Age. Sugar finishes out this album with the rootsy "Open The Gates".

This album is a rare and fitting tribute to one of Reggae Musik's most beloved and influential figures. These are stunningly good works with a raw and undiluted approach. There is so much soul and power that the listener will be awestruck. This is some of the best work that Sugar and company have ever released! This is a must for the serious collector; a treasure chest of greatness that must be sought out. Highest recommendation!!!