Johnny Osbourne

Warrior

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Over a decade after Winston Riley had launched him as a solo artist, Johnny Osbourne returned to the ex-Techniques' side for another string of sensational singles. A quick synopsis: after cutting a slew of hits for the Techniques' founder, Osbourne emigrated to Canada, just as his stellar, Riley-produced debut album Come Back Darling hit the shelves. The singer returned to Jamaica at the end of the '70s, reactivating his island career at Studio One. Osbourne's dance card filled quickly, as the singer took spins around the studios with Junjo Lawes, the Hookims, and Prince Jammy, yet still he found time for a further fling with Riley. Backed by Sly & Robbie and the Roots Radics, Osbourne recorded a clutch of songs for his old mentor, which Riley bundled together onto the Warrior album, a set titled after a re-cut of Osbourne's first hit for Riley back in the '60s. Oddly though, his arguably most crucial number from this period, "Purify Your Heart," wasn't included. However, you do get many other cultural greats, including the blazing "What a Fire," the sparkling "Love Is for Jah," the adoring "Jah Jah Live Forever," the scathing "Mr. Politician," and the raging "Inflation." A trio of equally strong romantic numbers round out the set. As always, Riley's productions superbly showcased the singer, with even the most incendiary riddims doused in melody, with the set's gorgeous harmonies supplied by Ernest Wilson, the Mighty Diamonds' Donald "Tabby" Shaw, and Riley himself. Osbourne garnered bigger hits elsewhere, but few that sounded as sumptuous as the songs found here.

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