Culture

The Production Something: The 12" Mixes

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There was a time when harmony trios like the Mighty Diamonds, Israel Vibration and Culture ruled the airwaves and dancehalls of Jamaica. They typically delivered more "truth and rights" songs than lover's pleas, and that may be part of what led to their eventual displacement by the earthier dancehall sounds that predominate today. But many of them are still active, and Culture, led by the charismatic singer Joseph Hill, remains quite productive. Production Something unearths rare and previously unreleased mixes of songs both familiar ("Trod On," "Too Long in Slavery") and obscure ("Dog a Go Nyam Dog"). All are presented in extended "disco mix" versions -- the normal vocal mix of the song comes first, then segues without pause into the dub version, sometimes with the addition of a deejay voiceover. The result is a nine-track disc that lasts almost 70 minutes, and it's 70 minutes of pure roots reggae heaven. Culture's wailing, moaning harmonies recall Marcus Garvey-era Burning Spear, and Errol Brown's production is deep, dark and dread (though sometimes not careful enough of the vocal sound, which is unpleasantly saturated on a couple of tracks). Highly recommended.

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