John Holt

The Hit List

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A rather misleading title this has, for few of these numbers would turn up on most fans' lists of John Holt hits. As one of Jamaica's best loved and most prolific vocalists, Holt has had hits galore across the decades, however, this compilation is drawn exclusively from songs recorded for producer Bunny Lee in the early/mid-'70s. The singer notched up a number of successful singles with Lee, and some are found here, but not under their original titles. One of the biggest was "Stick By Me," which is indeed included, as is "No One Can Tear Us Apart." Holt's superb cover of "Riding for a Fall" is also tucked away under an unrecognizable title, "Somebody Will Make You Cry," while an equally sublime take on "Rainy Night in Georgia" is veiled as "It's Raining All Over the World." But beyond the twisted titles, the listener can luxuriate in 11 love songs, many of which are covers of old favorites, lovingly crafted by Lee and his Aggrovators, and delivered with deep emotion by Holt himself. Even at the height of his flying cymbals sound, the producer insured that the song was never overwhelmed by the beats, and the songs beautifully capture moods and atmosphere, utilizing lush strings, atmospheric keyboard passages, and charming guitar lines to evoke emotions. Holt was so prolific that his vocal performances did suffer, but here delivers the goods. Thus Hit List may not be a buffet of his greatest hits, but is still an enjoyable candle-lit meal.

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