U-Roy

Versions Galore

Image of U-Roy - Versions Galore
Record Label
Get On Down

About this item

“All of a sudden, Jamaica awoke one morning and U-Roy was everywhere…” So read the original liner notes to this classic reggae LP, which originally hit in 1971 and washed over the island like a grooving tropical storm. U-Roy was a true reggae pioneer, dubbed The Originator for good reason. Bursting onto the Jamaican scene in the early 1970s, he pioneered the vocal approach called “toasting,” which in addition to bringing Jamaican music into a new era, was also heavily influential on an American vocal style also in its infancy: rapping.

This full-length, his first after a string of singles (mostly on the Treasure Isle and other Duke Reid labels, run by the famed producer and studio owner), rolls like a crazy party where a wobbly, but talented, “master of ceremonies” grabs the mic and won’t let go. Speaking over and around songs that already have straight-ahead vocals on them, U-Roy shows the world why he is considered an iconoclast and trailblazer. In all honesty, there are few standouts on the album since they all run a similar course, and all are captivating in their own way. Modern listeners will especially note “Tide Is High,” originally by the Paragons (featuring dulcet-toned vocalist John Holt) and recorded later as a 1980 smash hit by Blondie.

Each track here is a new adventure, and while U-Roy’s approach might take some getting used to, it will eventually capture your ears as it did the entire island of Jamaica in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Sit back, drop the needle, and enjoy. 

TRACK LISTING

A1. Your Ace From Space
A2. On The Beach
A3. Version Galore
A4. True Confession
A5. Tide Is High
A6. Things You Love
B1. The Same Song
B2. Happy Go Lucky Girl
B3. Rock Away
B4. Wear You To The Ball
B5. Don’t Stay Away
B6. Hot Pop

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