King Jammy

Jammy$ from the Roots: 1977-1985

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

AllMusic Review by

Reggae fans will hardly need to read a review of this compilation: all they'll need to see are the name "Jammy's" and the dates "1977-1985," and they'll recognize this two-disc set for what it is: a collection of (mostly) essential reggae recordings made in the studio of King Jammy, one of the music's most revered producers at the cusp of the dancehall era. There are no digital rhythms here: although the backing tracks have that smooth, propulsive feel that all but shouts "here come the computers," they're all played on live instruments by the redoubtable High Times and Aggrovators studio bands, both of whom were rivaled only by the Roots Radics and the Soul Syndicate for the title of Best Reggae Backing Band Ever. Interestingly, there are also almost no DJs: the vast majority of the collection's 32 tracks are by singers, who range from legendary (Sugar Minott, Junior Reid, Frankie Paul) to nearly forgotten (Lacksley Castell, the Fantails). The quality of the material is, predictably enough, slightly uneven, but leans heavily toward the top-notch: "Natty Dread at the Controls" is a great performance by the underrated DJ U Black, Junior Reid's "Higgler Move" is a stone classic (unlike his much slighter "Boom-Shack-a-Lack," also included), and the Fantails' "Name of the Game" is another brilliant obscurity. The Black Uhuru tracks are excellent, as always. Through it all, King Jammy's production style is both distinctive and perfect.

blue highlight denotes track pick