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JAMWAX

Bert Innis National Recording Orchestra & Mighty Sparrow

Slave / The Slave

“Slave” is a dark instrumental of Sparrow’s “The Slave” from 1963 by Bert Inniss National Recording Orchestra with backing vocals by March of Dimes Quartet. It was the first release on the National label, which would become Sparrow’s home from 1963 to 1967; Spicy, rhythmic, mournful, classic, full of emotions.

“The Slave” was taken from the same title album released in 1963. This album marks a new era in the matchless career of Sparrow. He could not have launched his National Recording Company on a higher note. “The Slave” is a gem of composition and one of the most memorable works created by a calypsonian in this generation. Maybe it will remain historically significant in the traditional musical development of Trinidad & Tobago for generations. The song is a scathing telling of the fate of slaves in Britain's West Indian colonies. If you've ever wondered where calypso came from this song will tell you. You can actually feel the emotions of the Slaves being expressed in this great Calypso. The genius Mighty Sparrow has taken us back to the plantations so that we can get a front seat view of the hardships of slavery. This narration in song is a must for all students of history in Trinidad & Tobago.

Many of the world's great craftsmen have, at one time or another, created works which were not entirely free from flaws. An astonishing exception in this respect is the greatest calypsonian Mighty Sparrow. From the day he skyrocketed to fame with his composition “Jean And Dinah” in 1956, Slinger Francisco has not made a weak calypso. All of his long-play records have been best-sellers throughout the Caribbean, in the United Kingdom, the United States and even in Europe.

Soweto's Thandi Zulu started her musical career in 1984 with the South African music dream team of Peter Moticoe, Phil Hollis and Attie Van Wyk. "Sugar My Love" and "Are You Ready for Love" were produced and arranged by Attie Van Wyk.
Taking to the Delphon studios, T.Z. Junior rocked the mic right, laying her smooth, soulful and occasionally wild vocals over the a classic bubblegum groove for "Sugar My Love". Not only does this winner work the room with all round grooviness and a killer arrangement, the electrofunk flourishes and mega synth bassline take this one straight to the T O P. Over on the flipside, "Are You Ready For Love" is an uplifting major key masterpiece of SA boogie / proto house, once again featuring slick synth work and Thandi's irresistible vocals. 



STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Boogie goodies via Soweto! Bubblegum grooves for your most intimate dancefloor moments. B Side goes a slightly more disco with a real good bassline taking the main stage. More please!

Jah Mel is a recording artist, songwriter and musician from Jamaica. Beginning his career as a performer on the stage shows of the Twelve Tribes Of Israel of which he has been a member since his youth, Jah Mel made his debut sharing the stage with artists such as Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Freddie McGregor, Sugar Minott, Brigadier Jerry & Denroy Morgan. His writing credits include songs written for Marcia Griffiths, Cecile, DaVille, Itana & Jah Mali for whom he also produced tracks on his debut album "El Shaddai". As you'd expect, Mel has worked with the creme of JA's riddim section: Sly & Robbie, Steely & Cleevie, Earl Chinna Smith, Steve ‘Lenky’ Marsden & Donovan Germaine to who’s Penthouse label Jah Mel was signed.

Seeing himself as a musical bridge between the original reggae sound & the dancehall sound of today, representing what he calls the real dancehall revolution, merging the spirituality of the old school & the energy of the new school. "Guiding Star" and "Stand Up To It" are the perfect examples to reinforce this direction. Both songs were produced by Roydale Anderson and released slap bang in the middle of the 80s on his own, Andy's Records.

"Stand Up To It" pairs a bubbling rub-a-dub riddim to sharp off-beat keys while Jah's sufferers vox is evocative and fluid. The dub pushes all that clean 80s digital instrumentation to the foreground, and isn't a million miles away from the Jammy's dancehall sound only with much looser, wilder dub inflections like flailing tape delay and big reverb splashes.

"Guiding Star" instantly turns heads with its meandering piano line, while Mel sounds empowered and riotous on the vocal version. The dub, or 'Dance Mix' is another skilled display behind the dials, with more expressive tape delay and snappy reverbs creating a shuddering, heady dub that's worth the entrance fee alone.

Originals of this release fetch upwards of £300, if you can snag a copy. Jamwax continue our love affair as they officially license this true holy grail of 80s reggae for us all to enjoy... Get in! 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Jam Wax really do the do here, re-issuing some mid-80's holy grail type shit. Phenominal!

Tony Clarke is from Waterhouse, St. Andrew Jamaica. At the tender age of 10 he started following sound systems like Sir Mike The Musical Dragon with the great toaster Prince Ruff at the controls, and King Tubby's with the legendary U-Roy. Tony Clarke did his first recording in New York in 1971 at Hugh Hendricks recording studio called "Righteous Man" of which he played both bass and lead guitar. The band was later managed by the legendary band leader/trombonist Carlos Malcolm.

Tony Clarke decided to write the song "Going Home" to reference the roots of his music. In those days and even now good reggae music that was being recorded in the United States was not receiving the approbation from home because, in Jamaica they felt that the best reggae music could only come from and be created in Jamaica to substantiate the true feeling of the genre. So he decided to go back to Jamaica and record "Going Home" at Harry J Studio with Sylvan Morris as engineer. The rhythm track was played by Lloyd Parks (Bass), Devon Richardson (Drum), Andy Bassford (Lead Guitar), Winston 'Bo-Pee' Bowen (Rhythm Guitar), Franklyn 'Bubbler' Waul (Keyboard), David Madden & Junior 'Chico' Chin (Horns). He also recorded the cover version to "Hey Little Girl" originally done by Dee Clark. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Jamwax really do us all a favour here by reissuing some proper sunny, island reggae vibes. Swapping the reefer soaked dread for margaritas and white sand, both tracks here sit nice alongside the whole 'Beach Diggin' sound as much as traditional reggae offerings. Tip!


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