Roots, Vibes & Vision
October 12, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 4/5|
Roy Cousins was the founder of The Royals, one of best vocal groups of the 70s and best known for their Studio One classic "Pick Up The Pieces", a song they re-recorded later for his own Tamoki Wambesi imprint. He had a regular job at the parcel post division of the Jamaican Post Office and he realized that the only way he could survive in the music business was to finance and produce his own recordings through his work at the Jamaican Post Office. The mid seventies proved to be a peak of artistic creativity for Roy Cousins & The Royals and they established a faultless body of work that few could ever hope to match, using Roy's distinctive lisping vocal technique to its fullest. Roy Cousins had to undergo intensive eye surgery to save his sight, threatened by severe cataracts. He left The Royals and was replaced by King Tubby's brother, Lloyd 'Scunna' Ruddock and he then increasingly concentrated on producing other artists.
Throughout the eighties he worked with an incredible amount of singers and deejays from his neighborhood including many of his long time associates such as Winston Jarrett, Devon Russell, Cornell Campbell, Prince Hammer, Gregory Isaacs, Prince Far I, Don Carlos, Winston Francis and The Gaylads, and many up and coming stars of reggae music including Sturgav deejay Charlie Chaplin and youth singer Earl Sixteen. Roy Cousins eventually moved to Liverpool, England, and he has made the city his home where he opened his shop 'Cousins Cove'. He continues to market his extensive back catalogue and is still active in a business that has yet to fully realize or appreciate the genuine qualities of his highly polished output.
The compilation album "Roots, Vibes & Vision" is a collection of tunes he recorded for his label during the 70s, 80s and 90s. The disc kicks off with "Coronation Market", a tune by Prince Hammer he recorded in the 90s in the UK. The tune is also included on the Prince Hammer set "Respect I Man". Next comes the well known classic tune "Skanky Producer" by Junior Reid, Charlie Chaplin & Don Carlos. The riddim was also used for Prince Far I's "Jerry Doghead". The original trio the Gaylads was formed in 1963 by vocalists BB Seaton, Delano Stewart and Maurice Roberts. Years later Maurice Roberts, the lone remaining original member, selected brothers Randell and Hopeton Thaxter to carry on the Gaylads name. For Roy Cousins they recorded the album "Understanding", which included the awesome tune I.N.R.I..
Roots stuff comes from deejay Jah Stitch. He made name and fame by deejaying with the Lord Tippertone and Black Harmony sound systems. He had several hits working with producer Bunny Lee, with deejay versions of songs by Johnny Clarke. Two solid tunes here, first there's the uptempo "Beggar Man", but our favorite tune must be "Life In The Ghetto", Jah Stitch's deejay cut to Knowledge's "Rasta Don't Take Bribe". The lovers tune "That Love" by Earl Cunningham also appears on the 1980 album "Don Carlos vs Earl Cunningham - Prison Oval Clash". Next comes a fine romantic tune by Winston Francis called Never Love Again, his rendition of Alton Ellis' classic rocksteady hit... good job! George White brings "Prophecy", an unknown roots gem that appeared on the 1981 set "Sunsplash Showcase". From 1983 comes Neville Mitchell's "So Much Love" that can be found on the LP "Flowers In The Desert". Reggae veteran Ken Parker contributes the song "Forbidden Love", a tune across the "Operation Radication" riddim. For good measure Roy included the immortal "Pick Up The Pieces" here.
A decent compilation of Roy Cousins produced tunes.