The Tamlins

Love Devine

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

AllMusic Review by

Due to the very nature of Jamaica's recording industry, some of the island's greatest artists had few, if any, records to their own names, but their outstanding talent still made them revered for their contributions to the island's music. This includes singers as well as musicians, and, in the case of Carlton Smith, Junior Moore, and Derrick Lara, aka the Tamlins, vocal trios. The Tamlins provided the exquisite vocal harmonies on numerous songs over the years, backing such artists as Peter Tosh, Delroy Wilson, John Holt, and, on one memorable occasion, replacing Israel Vibration when that trio deserted the sessions for their third album, Why You So Craven. The Tamlins did, however, sometimes record on their own. Love Divine was cut in Miami for the SKD label with the Steely Rydim Band, featuring, of course, the inimitable production team Steely & Clevie. Unusually, the pair tempered their more extreme digital excesses to create a dancehall lite sound, burnished with hints of R&B and a slight urban contemporary sheen. It's all a bit slick to really showcase the trio's talent, but, with that said, the Tamlins heavenly vocals soar above the production and occasionally overly poppy song. Even a disposable piece of fluff like "Squeengie Weengie Love" boasts harmonies so absolutely exquisite they'll raise the hairs on the back of your neck, while the rootsier "She Likes It Like That" makes it clear why every other singer on the island was glad they stayed mostly behind the scenes. The title track finds the trio in a soulful mood, and a sultry state it is. "Ting a Ling" moves back into the '50s, and gives every great doo wop band a lesson in sweet singing, while "Hold on to This Feeling" must have made Motown artists turns green. (The fact the Jamaicans didn't become as renown as the Four Tops, et al., was simply down to the fluke of birthplace.) It was by choice, though, that the trio chose to pursue session work over stardom, and top Jamaican solo singers and their producers were exceedingly grateful. This isn't the best way to experience their talent, but it's one of the few available.

blue highlight denotes track pick