Mike Brooks

The Earth Is the Fullness

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Moll-Selekta continued to unearth the long out of print recordings of Mike Brooks with The Earth Is the Fullness, the second of the label's compilations of the artist's exceptional roots reggae work. Most of the songs here on this 13-track compilation were recorded at Channel One, which alone makes them noteworthy. However, they're also noteworthy for the simple fact that they're great songs -- they not only sound great, with pristine production by Prince Far I, Phil Pratt, Errol "Flabba" Holt, and Brooks himself, but they're also well-written and well-sung songs, with the singer's falsetto soaring heavenly throughout. Highlights are plentiful, among them the album-opener, "Jah Is My Life," a version of "My Guiding Star" by the Heptones; "Moving," which boasts a lively musical backing courtesy of the Roots Radics; "No Compassion," a roots reggae transformation of "Everyday Is Just a Holiday," a rocksteady hit on Treasure Island for the Sensations; "Good Herb," a lovely ode to the "healing" herb, as Brooks describes it, concurring with Peter Tosh's "Legalize It" at given moments ("Singer use it/The doctor use it/The judge use it...."); and "Who Have Eyes to See," an upbeat, joyful song presented here in its six-and-a-half-minute long version. The Earth Is the Fullness closes with the title track and its version, both mixed by Lee Perry at Black Ark in 1972, before the studio was even completed. Only 500 copies were pressed on the Harvest label, so what you have here are some very rare recordings -- some of Perry's first done at Black Ark. The sound quality on these isn't quite as good as on the Channel One songs, but they're nonetheless beautiful songs and serve as a historically interesting conclusion to this excellently assembled collection by Moll-Selekta, which like always is well packaged and is another fine addition to the label's growing number of archival roots reggae collections.

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