Joe Gibbs

Reggae Discomix Showcase, Vol. 1

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In mid-'70s Jamaica, there was no production team operating on as consistently high a level as "the Mighty Two," Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson. Gibbs was an influential rocksteady producer and was present at the birth of reggae, and made his mark early; when he teamed up with engineer Thompson a reggae powerhouse was born. This is the first disc in a three-volume series of "discomix" collections taken from the duo's work with such legendary singers as Dennis Brown, the Mighty Diamonds, Leo Graham, Cornel Campbell, and Freddie McGregor, as well as a wide array of vocalists who have faded into obscurity since roots reggae's heyday in the 1970s: only true reggae obsessives are likely to be familiar with the work of Madoo, Luie Lepkie, and Beverly Bailey. But Gibbs and Thompson brought out the best in all of them, thanks in significant part to their access to A-list studio bands like the Revolutionaries, the Aggrovators, and the Soul Syndicate. Discomixes took the regular vocal version of a song and appended, without pause, its dub version at the end, usually as a DJ cut with a toaster (or rapper) chatting over the remixed rhythm. This volume features 11 such tracks, most of them stone classics: the Mighty Diamonds, always the sweetest-toned of the classic reggae harmony trios, are featured on the wonderful "Just Like a River" and paired with the excellent DJ Ranking Joe; Enos McLeod offers a fine cover of the Gladiators' "Hello Carol," and the relatively unknown DJ Killer Brown rides the dub version brilliantly. Marcia Aitken is a bit off-key on "My Man," but Leo Graham and I-Roy team up spectacularly on the excellent "A Win Them." This disc is a reggae treasure, as are its companion volumes.

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