Frankie Paul


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Frankie Paul has been so prolific, it's difficult for most fans to even know where to begin. By the mid-'80s, the singer was cutting hits for a clutch of producers, notably Junjo Lawes, George Phang, and Philip "Fatis" Burrell. The Warning album was overseen by the latter man, who was just beginning his rise to studio stardom. Burrell was obviously serious about building a career, and employed Sly & Robbie, pianist Jackie Mittoo, keyboardists Robby Lynn and Tony "Asher" Brissett, and guitarist Danny Thompson as his backing band. The results are as phenomenal as one would expect, tough rhythms dipped in deep roots, which Burrell's production transforms into dubby, dread-fired pieces. It's the perfect template for Paul's soulful vocals, insuring that Warning was a huge hit, and remains a classic. The album boasts the smash hit title track, with its complex rhythm and demands that the slacker DJs change their ways, and the equally popular "Hungry Belly," which the singer also cut for George Phang under the title "Alesha." That woman had a hankering for hamburgers; Paul prefers the humble "Tato," with which he nices up the scene. There's also the startling "She's a Maniac," an inspired reworking of Michael Sembello's "Maniac" in deepest dub fashion. Of course, the dancers in Jamaica were just as flash, and Paul gives shout-outs to one of them in "Ragamuffin." He easily fulfills the crowd's demands that he "Give We What We Want" with a soulful, romantic-sounding number that celebrates "Ragamuffin"'s success. "Rock You" and "Lady Love" follow in a similarly soulful vein; "Tickle Me" is equally so, but boasts a fabulous roots reggae-esque backing. But even Paul has trouble with his woman, and on "Don't Pressure Me" he gives Alton Ellis a run in the soul stakes. This is not the only early Paul set one requires -- the Lawes-produced Pass the Ku-Sheng-Peng is equally crucial, as is much of the material the singer recorded for Phang, but it still deserves a place in every fan's collection.

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