The real glory days for keyboard king Jackie Mittoo were the late '60s and early '70s, when he played with the Skatalites and, later, appeared on dozens of sessions for Studio One -- many of them his own solo-billed LPs. The Blood and Fire collection Champion in the Arena 1976-1977 obviously dates from a later era, when he was re-recording some of his early classics but still indulging in a vision of sunny, pastoral reggae that has gained him legions of fans (many more than when he was still living). Though most of the re-records -- "Ram Jam," "Darker Shade of Black," "North of the Sun" -- don't equal their original versions, Mittoo handled the dawn of synthesizers quite well, integrating the new technology into his sound very well.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush