Sunday, August 21, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: VARIOUS - MONEY MAKER
A righteous and rare reggae set which even the passionate of fans would probably not have until now. This was a set issued in Jamaica back in the mid-70s, collecting sound soulful covers done up by musicians hanging around the label then. Mostly these are instrumentals, versions of older hits by the label's stars, including numbers by John Holt, Burning Spear and the like, Now a newer generation, one influenced by popular U.S. soul music was folding that into reggae.
The stars here include Jackie Mittoo, who by that time was living in Toronto, and gets the title billing on three cuts. There's Im and David, responsible for five of the tracks; the lone full vocal number is Lloyd Williams, and the final number is credited to The Boss, who was of course label head and producer Clement Dodd, who got to intone the title line in Great Gu Gu Mu Ga.
But the real star was JA guitar great Ernest Ranglin, whose ringing wah-wah rhythm and lead playing is mixed way up, and provides a whole bunch of funk, even in Williams' vocal cut. He deserves to be a bigger name for sure. And since it's the 70s, Dodd's production techniques are vastly improved, and the mix here is vibrant, the muddiness of the 60s sides gone. Although a little slight at 10 cuts and 30 minutes, this is a beauty of a listen for reggae lovers.