Yami Bolo

He Who Knows It Feels It

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In the '80s, Yami Bolo was one of the few voices singing out of a cultural wilderness, and his recordings were sparse and scattered. However, as the decade drew to a close, collaborations with producers Junior Delgado and Augustus Pablo significantly raised the singer's profile.

The cultural tide slowly began turning as the '90s dawned, and Bolo's fortunes with it, first with this 1991 Niney the Observer produced set, quickly followed the next year by Up Life Street. The latter album, overseen by Trevor Douglas, overshadowed He Who Knows It Feels It rather unfairly, because this is a thoroughly enjoyable album. Critics, of course, preferred the far more cultural Street. Feels It, in contrast, is heavily weighted towards matters of the heart, with only the powerful sufferer's title track and the utterly infectious, praises-of-Jah themed "King's Birthday" falling into the cultural realm. In contrast, it was the party numbers like "Get Up and Dance" and "Turbo Charge" that were destined for 45 rpms. Three versions of the driving "Dance" appear on the set, while the equally upbeat "Turbo Charge" would also entitle a Niney compilation that appeared on Heartbeat this same year. In a similar party vein is the irrepressible hooray-for-reggae of "Dance Hall Music." The rest of the set is given over to romance, with highlights including the bouncy plea of "Let Me Be Your Man," the sweet yearning of "Your Love Is Amazing," the impatient "The Timing Is Right," and the sultry "Lady in Love." Less successful, but still of interest is the dancehall version of the Platters' romantic classic "Twilight Time."

As always with Niney productions, the militant rhythms are to the fore, with the riddims themselves laid down by the Roots Radics and a clutch of other top-notch talent -- the set boasts seven keyboardists alone. Even so, the heavily dancehall inspired backings are of less interest than Bolo himself, who shines throughout this set.

blue highlight denotes track pick