Various artists album review
Uptown Top Ranking (Joe Gibbs Reggae Productions 1970-1978)
21 - 03 - 1998
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 3/4||Sleeve : 4|
"Uptown Top Ranking (Joe Gibbs Reggae Productions 1970-1978)" is the follow-up to two other Trojan releases "Get On Up !" (Joe Gibbs Rocksteady 1967-1968) and "The Reggae Train 1968-1971". This compilation features some of Joe Gibbs' best-known productions from the 70s, the most fruitful era in his illustrious career. During this period he produced an array of hits including international chart-toppers such as "Love of the common people", "Uptown top ranking" and "Money in my pocket". Of course the hitsongs are present on this set, but praiseworthy Trojan has also included a number of rarer releases from the decade, some of which have remained unissued outside Jamaica until now.|
Joe Gibbs could not play an instrument but he knew what he was about. He picked only the best musicians to work in his studio and selected some very talented men to engineer the recordings he financed and distributed. After Lee "Scratch" Perry left Gibbs' employ to launch his own Upsetter label mid-1968 Joe Gibbs employed Winston "Niney" Holness. Studio-engineer Errol Thompson stepped in after Niney's departure and was eventually to become half of the Mighty Two to whom all the productions on the Joe Gibbs group of labels came to be credited. For the next few years the hits came thick and fast, a phenomenal success enjoyed by Gibbs and Thompson in the last half of the decade.
This solid compilation opens with Nicky Thomas' "Love of the common people" - one of the first reggae recordings to feature orchestration, however, this version is the original Jamaican release, bereft of any over-dubs - followed by four nice tunes, before we get three versions of Peter Tosh's "Maga dog". The alternate version of the song is included on this collection, along with two further tracks utilizing the same riddim. Then the album runs through mostly well-known gems with some lesser known songs included as well (e.g. Eddie Ford's "You wrong fe trouble Joshua", a fine example of early roots music.).