Skylarking Rhythm
Slam Records
December 18, 2006

Track list
  1. Stand Up Firm - Horace Andy & Ras Brando
  2. Love Triangle - Anthony B
  3. Dancehall Fever - Anthony Malvo
  4. Rub A Dub - Chrisinti
  5. Vanity Girl - Omar Scott
  6. Let There Be Love - Wayne Passley
  7. Tailor Made - George Nooks
  8. Thug Life - Platinum
  9. No Corruption - Anthony Red Rose
  10. Keep Your Head Up - Singing Melody
  11. Judgement - Sizzla
  12. Rise - Flourgon & Sugar Minott
  13. Discipline - Trinity
  14. Sky Larking - Horace Andy
  15. Version
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Horace Andy recorded his seminal "Skylarking" at Coxsone Dodd's legendary Studio One studio in 1972, the riddim has been used over and over again and Horace Andy revisited this tune several times over the last 30 plus years. Now Sly & Robbie's manager and (former?) Tabou 1 Records labelhead Guillaume Bougard is the executive producer of this one-riddim album using 'Skylarking' laid by Sly & Robbie together with Dean Fraser, with strong backing vocals by Pam Hall, Fiona Robinson & Calibe Thompson, mixed by Lynford 'Fatta' Marshall and the producer of the riddim Albert 'Burro' Blackwood for his Slam Records.

Following Harvel 'Gadaffi' Hart's Annex Records' 'Summerbounce'-riddim on which Mixing Lab's Albert 'Burro' Blackwood was the engineer in 2004, 'Burro' took the production credits himself just months later for the 'Kasablanca'-riddim, before 'disappearing' again from public attention and now returning with both the 'Ritz Carlton'-riddim and this great relick of 'Skylarking' in typical Sly & Robbie (syndrum) style, distributed by All Access Entertainment.

"Stand Up Firm" is the excellent combination of Horace Andy's unique voice with the rough voice of Fatta protégé Ras Brando a.k.a. Marlon Brando a.k.a. Brando for a great singer/DJ take on "Skylarking", followed by Anthony B's "Love Triangle" which indeed tells about a menage a trois and not about the divine trinity and Anthony Malvo's great old school dance tune "Dancehall Fever". Sweet voiced Chrisinti contributes the fine "Rub A Dub", before Omar Scott a.k.a. Omar Silk, Garnett Silk's younger brother, with his - despite his 30 years - very youthful sounding voice contributes the beautiful "Vanity Girl" and Wayne Passley - the actual name of the singer known to the reggae world as Tanto Metro's partner Devonte - with "Let There Be Love" both deliver very strong efforts. George Nooks your love is "Tailor Made" is a flawless lovers tune and then great sounding Platinum (who already impressed more than 2 years ago over Pow Pow's 'Blaze'-riddim) gives us the magnificent "Thug Life" before both veterans Anthony Red Rose, sounding at times like Ini Kamoze in his prime, and Singing Melody keep that same high quality level with "No Corruption" and "Keep Your Head Up".

Sizzla, about whom I've been rather critical in the past, has been one of my favorites on nearly every one riddim album that I heard him on recently and I thought that was because of his smoother lovers tunes and falsetto delivery, but even his rougher voiced delivery seems to impress me much more than a couple of years ago, as his "Judgment" is an extremely impressive tune across the 'Skylarking'-riddim. The second combination on this set is as impressive as the first one, as veteran Studio One singer Sugar Minott pays tribute to the ghetto youths (taking the ghetto uptown) in combination with DJ Flourgon in "Rise". Veteran DJ & producer Trinity a.k.a. singer Junior Brammer returns to his roots here, deejaying his "Discipline" in true U Roy early 70s style.

The album closes with Horace Andy's inspired solo version of "Sky Larking" and its "Version to round off a selection of great tunes over a excellent relick of a brilliant riddim, so ignore at your own risk!