Various Artists

What One Riddim Can Do

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One of the first of the Jamaican one-rhythm albums, What One Riddim Can Do was originally released in 1992 as a sort of answer to Beres Hammond's huge Jamaican hit "What One Dance Can Do" from 1985. The rhythm that producer Willie Lindo provided for Hammond's original song has been reproduced here by Donovan Germain in ten different mixed versions (only nine are listed -- there is an unlisted hidden track), and several artists take their turn creating new melodies and approaches over it, including Sugar Minott's pass at it as "Cool Down," saxophonist Dean Fraser's instrumental version as "Pressure on the Sax," and Audrey Hall's direct and spunky response to the original Hammond song, "One Dance Won't Do." The rhythm itself is simple and infectious, if maybe a little maddening when heard over and over again, but this set gets it right by keeping things short and sweet, exiting before the rhythm can burn itself out. Germain fundamentally understood the importance of not overdoing things in these kinds of collections, a lesson unfortunately often unheeded by subsequent one-rhythm anthologies, which can include too many versions to keep the rhythm sounding fresh and vital.

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