"I originate, so you must appreciate, while the others got to imitate," brags U-Roy on this set's opener, "The Originator," and there's no denying the accuracy of his boast. This exhilarating album bundles up a dozen songs the DJ cut for producer Bunny Lee in the latter half of the '70s, all fabulously backed by the Aggrovators and mixed down by King Tubby. Rock With I has a decidedly party atmosphere, not surprising as a number of the songs celebrate the Jamaican Independence Festival, the annual gala dedicated to the island's arts and music. Among them are "Jump for Joy" and "Heavy Duty Festival," the latter a version of Cornel Campbell's smash hit "Gorgon," which also supplies the rhythm for the equally strong "Gorgon Wise." Lee handed over several more of the singer's singles to U-Roy, including his heartfelt "I Shall Remove," which the DJ adamantly turns into "I Shall Not Be Moved." That number provides U-Roy with the inspiration for a devotionally themed toast, but he reaches an epiphany on "Feel Jah Spirit," one of the strongest songs on the set. "Too Much War" continues down cultural paths, while "Joyful Locks" urges Rastas not to cut their dreadlocks. Back in party mode, Lee dug back into his archives for the exhilarating "Musical Vision," with Ansel Collins' organ chirping cheerfully across Max Romeo's "Wet Dream" while the DJ enthusiastically winds up the crowds. Elsewhere, band, DJ, and producer pay the dubmaster a well-earned tribute on "King Tubby's Skank." An exuberant cover of Bunny Wailer's "Rock With Me" (aka the Wailers' "Rock Sweet Rock") brings the set to a vivacious close, as the DJ sets the whole studio rocking with him. A stellar album: The rhythms are superb, Lee's production militant, and Tubby glosses it all with a dubby edge that further
fires up the sound.