Various artists album review
We Are Getting Bad ~ The Sound Of Phase One
Motion Records
CD / Double Vinyl
23 - 01 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Untouchables - Help Us Jah
  2. Chantells - Sister Fay
  3. Barnabas - Sister Fay Version
  4. Chantells - Hey You
  5. Steve Boswell - I Am Getting Bad
  6. Version I Am Getting Bad
  7. Jah Berry - Daily News
  8. Version Daily News
  9. Untouchables - Sea Of Love
  10. Chantells & Jah Berry - Waiting In The Park
  11. Tabby - Takes A Miracle
  12. Dean Fraser - Takes A Magic Dub
  13. Jah Berry - Sister Jacqueline
  14. Version Sister Jacqueline
  15. Unknown Deejay - The Sons Of Man
  16. Heptones - Deceivers
  17. Paul Powell & U brown - Gena
  18. Prince Mohammed - Lightning & Thunder
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5

This album is fine collection of some of the best material from Roy Francis' 1977 founded Phase One label (JA) with the addition of two previously unreleased DJ cuts. Roy now runs the perpetually buzzing Mixing Lab, one of Kingston's most respected and in-demand studios.
Fiercely independent in character, and wonderfully individual in product, the Phase One record label is among the more revered imprints to surface in Jamaica during the late 1970s. Though the company's catalogue remained relatively small, what it lacked in quantity was more than made up for in quality, as the readily identifiable sound of Phase One has brought some of the most inspired platters of the roots era. Especially the songs recorded by the Chantells were very popular and often sold strongly at that time. The Chantells, a superb tri-part harmony group consisting of Lloyd Forest, Tommy Thomas and the late Samuel Bramwell, emerged in the seventies when the Jamaican scene in the roots era saw the rise of many vocal groups. Whereas contemporaries like the Mighty Diamonds made a giant breakthrough the Chantells never managed to reach a broader audience, despite the fact that they scored some major local hits, amongst them the 1978 classic Waiting In The Park, here in the 12" Mix, featuring Jah Berry on the deejay excursion. But for the most part, the other artists Roy Francis chose to record were unknown apart from Tabby Diamond, here present with a cream of the crop cover of the Laura Nyro song It Gonna Take A Miracle, a song made famous by Ken Boothe in the early 70's when he recorded the tune for Leslie Kong, Dean Fraser who provides the instrumental piece Takes A Magic Dub for the Tabby vocal cut, and the Heptones who deliver the killer tune Deceivers. Unknown singers like Lopez Walker and Errol Davis made superb sides for "Phase One", while the releases of Steve Boswell, I Am Getting Bad, and Paul Powell, Gena, were not far behind. The Untouchables were a harmony group whose particulars remain obscure. Here they are present with two fine efforts : Help Us Jah, which happens to be a killer roots tune and Sea Of Love, which is a cover of a pop song by The Twilights.
Essential stuff from the past, so ignore at your peril!

Teacher & Mr. T.