Delroy Wilson

Herbal

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An odd album this, whose front cover and title never suggest that Herbal is actually a compilation, although its track listing makes that perfectly clear. To add to the confusion, a number of the songs within were major hits -- "I'm in a Dancing Mood" and "Never Will Conquer Me" (aka "Conquer Me") -- yet these aren't the original smashes from the '60s, but '70s recuts. So, the situation needs clarifying: here are a dozen numbers all cut by Delroy Wilson for producer Bunny Lee in the first half of the '70s, except for "Put Yourself in My Place," which was recorded during this same period, but for Sonia Pottinger -- which of course is a good thing, for Wilson recorded a flood of excellent numbers for Lee, and a plethora of hits. Unfortunately, few of the latter are here, so what you get are a few of grand slams (notably "Cool Operator"), a pair of interesting covers (the aforementioned "Place" and "I'm in the Mood for Love"), some sizzling makeovers, and a clutch of new numbers -- which may be why the set wasn't identified as a hits set or a best-of, because it really isn't, not even the best-of compilation of Wilson's work with Lee. Regardless, the material is all high quality, and backed by the cream of the Aggrovators' riddims. Whether the singer's conquering the competition or doing his own thing, whether he's in a dancing mood or the mood for love, Wilson is ever the "Cool Operator," even over the jerky, staccato rhythms of the early reggae age.

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