Frankie Paul & Pinchers

Dance Hall Duo

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This superb set is neither a clash album nor a joint effort; in fact, Dance Hall Duo is in actuality a two-fer, bringing together a pair of classic albums from two of Jamaica's greatest dancehall singers on one CD. Both Pinchers' Mass Out album and Frankie Paul's Warning were cut for Philip "Fatis" Burrell in the mid-'80s, two of the earliest albums the producer oversaw. Both were superb sets, and helped establish Burrell's Vena label, the predecessor of his mighty Exterminator outfit. Burrell had ample help on the other side of the console, with backing provided by Sly & Robbie, pianist Jackie Mittoo, guitarist Danny Thompson, and synth players Robby Lynn and Tony "Asher" Brissett. Intriguingly, considering that both sets were overseen by the same producer and feature the same backing musicians, they have distinctly different sounds. Pinchers' set comes across as much brighter, and while both productions are dubby, his has a breezier feel, all the better to emphasize his sweet styling. Paul's album is decidedly heavier, with notably rootsy atmospheres, enhancing his more soulful style. Paul's Warning album boasts the smash hit title track and the equally popular "Hungry Belly," also cut for George Phang under the title "Alesha." Pinchers' Mass Out includes the hit title track, "Grammy," which didn't win one but proved another popular number regardless, and "Nothing No Deh," where he's paired with Paul to much effect over an extremely popular rhythm. Both men would go on to even greater heights with Prince Jammy, but these sets feature some of their most magnificent early work.

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