I-Roy

Hell and Sorrow

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Picking up where Presenting I-Roy left off, Hell & Sorrow showcases another dozen crucial cuts, both new and old. Among the latter were two Jamaican smash hits, "Monkey Fashion" and "Buck and the Preacher." The former, produced by Roy Cousins, features a slow, intricate beat that the DJ adroitly skims along, the latter, a Pete Weston production, is a musical advertisement for the film of the same name, and just as entertaining as the movie itself. Notable among the new offerings is "Dr. Phibbs," another powerful version of the classic "Sidewalk Killer." The topics the DJ covers are diverse, running from the cultural themes found on "Black & Proud" and "African Descendent," to the religious, and on to the interpersonal discussions on "Deep and Heavy" and "Call on I." Often I-Roy would combine several themes within a single song, but a consistently uplifting message of unity and betterment shoots through most of his toasts, while still mashing up the dancefloor. More humorously, on "Medley Mood," the DJ begins with a cover of "Banana Boat Song" and then nimbly trips off across a toy chest's worth of nursery rhymes. "Learn to communicate, learn to appreciate, you can learn to elaborate," I-Roy advises on "John Lion Jungle," and certainly that was the secret of his success. Few DJs were able to equal I-Roy's ability to elaborate on a subject and communicate it with such panache to his listeners, while still appreciating the classic rhythms he was working. Hell & Sorrow showcases the master at his work.

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