Willie Williams

Armagideon Time

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A far-from-prolific artist (by Jamaican standards), Willie Williams' international reputation was built on the back of one song alone, his 1979 Jamaican hit "Armagideon Time," which came to international attention when the the Clash covered the song to great effect on the flip of their 12" "London Calling" single that same year. In fact, Williams' "Armagideon Time" was one of a stream of follow-ups to Papa Michigan & Smiley's smash "Nice up the Dance," which revisited the popular Studio One rhythm first brought to life back in 1967 on the Soul Vendors' instrumental "Real Rock." Clement "Coxsone" Dodd had watched with dismay as young guns had grabbed his label's old rhythms and rode them to fame and fortune. By the late '70s, he was fighting back, unleashing his own DJs and vocalists on his studio's classic rhythms to growing success. Thus, after the DJ duo's success with "Nice up the Dance," Dodd had Williams pen and record a vocal version of the same rhythm, which was nearly as popular. Then, in 1982, the producer handed the singer six more classic rhythms; the result was "Armagideon Time." This, however, is not the album as it was, but an enhanced version remixed by Dodd himself, with extended mixes appended to the original tracks and a bonus song, "Burn," to boot. Those expecting an album's worth of "Armagideon Time"-flavored, dubby offerings, however, are in for a disappointment, as the rhythms run the gamut from pop-esque reggae to rich, moody rocksteady, across reggae-fied soul and onto island funk. Regardless, Williams' cultural pen is equally at home in all of these genres, and he brings a dread passion to all his numbers. Not what most expected, but a thoroughly enjoyable experience regardless.

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