Linval Thompson

Rocking Vibration

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Over the past several years, the French Makasound label has been unearthing an impressive amount of obscure but top-quality roots reggae from the 1970s. This particular collection draws on the work of singer, songwriter, and producer Linval Thompson between 1977 and 1979; the songs compiled here were all recorded at Channel One and mixed at King Tubby's studio -- with the exception of the album's real find, a previously unreleased song titled "Natty Pressure Them," which Thompson recorded at the Black Ark studio with Lee "Scratch" Perry. Frankly, that song is of more historical than musical interest; it's not bad, but not terribly exciting either, with unusually restrained and almost lackluster production from Perry. But several other tracks shine quite brightly: "Black Woman" is a fine piece of vintage lovers rock, and "Rasta Children" finds Thompson working in a solid rockers vein. He does a creditable job on the Ken Boothe classic "Just Another Girl," and his one-drop sufferer's anthem, "More Power," is also impressive. A couple of tracks (notably "Jah Jah a Do It") suffer from poor sound quality, but overall this is a welcome contribution to a solid catalog of lovingly prepared compilations from reggae's golden period. Recommended.

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