Derrick Harriott

Acid Rock

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Like many reggae artists of the day, Derrick Harriott began employing a healthy dose of electronics by 1982. As a result, a number of songs on this LP sound almost completely synthesized. In any case, it is not the psychedelic record the title or trippy, dripping cover art would suggest. Acid Rock features both Willie Lindo and Andy Bassford on guitar, the rock-solid rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, C. "Sky Juice" Burth on percussion, and Franklyn "Bubbler" Waul on keyboards. Also present was a horn section including Dean Frasier (saxophone), Nambo Robinson (trombone), and Chico Hamilton (trumpet), the last of whom should not be confused with the American jazz drummer of the same name. Compared to the other tracks on this record, "Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys," the session's opener, sounds especially American. For this cut, Harriott ditched the two- and four-beat emphasis commonly heard in reggae and replaced it with a rhythm heavy, instead, on the one and three beats. In doing so he produced a number more akin to, say, New York's Sugarhill rap sound than that of Jamaican reggae. The synth-driven rhythm probably helps this effect. Conversely, the two numbers most typical of the standard reggae sound are U.S. soul covers: "Oogum Boogum Song" and "I'm Your Puppet." Of the two, "Oogum Boogum Song" is especially enjoyable, finding Harriott's vocals at their relaxed and soulful best. By no means essential but recommended for listeners who don't mind the early-'80s electronic reggae sound.

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