Lloyd Charmers

Psychedelic Reggae

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Organist/pianist/singer/producer Lloyd Charmer's lineage stretches back far in Jamaica's musical history. Billed as the Charmers, Lloyd and vocal partner Roy Willis started scoring hits as early as the late '50s, and the duo maintained a high profile through the ska and rocksteady eras under producer Clement Dodd. In addition to his vocal work, Charmers took up the organ and piano in 1966, and, in a few years, became proficient enough to head up the soon-to-be-in-demand Hippy Boys band; before metamorphosing into Lee Perry's early-'70s band, the Upsetters, the Hippy Boys clocked in many hours with producers Bunny Lee, Harry J., Joe Gibbs, and Sonia Pottinger, among others. This fine 22-track collection gathers the band's prime instrumental work from 1969-1970. Also spotlighting the fine talents of drummer Aston Barrett, bassist Carlton Barrett (the sibling rhythm tandem that drove Marley and the Wailers), and guitarist Alva Lewis, Psychedelic Reggae may not actually be one of the most mind expanding albums out there, but it still delivers plenty of the kind of raw grooves that figured nicely in the development of the reggae sound of the early '70s. While not technically as impressive as his keyboard contemporary Jackie Mittoo, Charmers still shows a deft hand at the organ -- his minimal piano lines are even more impressive, revealing shades of the classic pumping-keys sound heard in many a rude boy side. Featuring guest spots by Lee Perry, producer Herman Chin-Loy, and alto saxophonist Lester Sterling -- not too mention a wealth of prime rocksteady and reggae rhythms -- Psychedelic Reggae qualifies as one of best instrumental collections from the music's early years.

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