Winston McAnuff

Diary of the Silent Years: 1977-2000

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This album is aptly titled; Winston McAnuff remains an obscure figure from the roots-and-culture reggae period, and although he recorded for the likes of Derrick Harriott and Bunny Lee during the 1970s and 1980s (and filled in for Jacob Miller as Inner Circle's lead singer following Miller's untimely death in 1980), McAnuff's releases never had much impact outside of Jamaica and have been unavailable for years. Diary of the Silent Years: 1977-2000 compiles nine tracks from his first album, Pick Hits to Click, along with various other recordings from the 1980s and 1990s; it then adds one alternate acoustic version and eight modern dub remixes of those original songs (plus one hidden track, "Repatriated Souls"). The earlier material is the best; McAnuff is a fine singer with an urgent and energetic delivery that serves the lyrical material well on songs like "Fear" and "Malcolm X." The dubs are fine, but not exceptional -- they suffer a bit from an astringently clean digital sound that renders them somewhat bloodless. Recommended overall.