I was late to this record. Having discovered reggae via punk rock, I avoided a lot of “roots” reggae of the 70s for many years instead sticking to the ska, rocksteady and skinhead reggae side of the reggae coin. But, as any reggae fanatic out there knows, once you get a taste for Jamaican rhythms, it’s hard to stop.
After I’d satiated myself on Trojan and Studio One…I started to love the sweet harmonies, warm production and squishy organ sounds of mid-70s roots like The Mighty Diamonds and Bim Sherman. It seems that as I get older, it’s the 70s roots stuff that I keep returning too more, the ska stuff less. Don’t get me wrong, the moonstompers are still high on my list but the production was leaps and bounds beyond the 60’s records and they still sound so good on vinyl.
You could argue that this was reggae’s peak since dancehall quickly killed roots and modern reggae ends up, often times, being a lame attempt to revive roots reggae’s bloated corpse. This record truly captures a golden time for Jamaican music when musicians and singers, trained in the ska big bands and rocksteady vocal groups, started growing their dreads, slowing down the beat and really exploring what their voices and recording studios could do.
And yeah, it’s been named “One of the Five Reggae Records You Cant’ Live Without” by PopMatters but fuck those guys…..we all know that there’s way more than five reggae records you can’t live without.
Here’s more on this incredible record.