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Turbo Charged by Nitty Gritty

Turbo Charged by Nitty Gritty

Turbo Charged by Nitty Gritty

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Nitty Gritty gets down to it on a reissue of this 1986 digital classic.

Sampler

Nitty Gritty Turbo Charged 2008Greensleeves pursue their reissue journey into the 80s with this 1986 collection of Jammys 45s by the late Nitty Gritty (plus four bonus tracks). Lower in pitch than King Kong – who also gets a July re-release– this Sugar Minott protégé was distinctive for his slightly sad tone of voice, somehow always buried deep in the mix of each tune he sang.

King Jammy – a man who had produced some of the great (and underrated) albums from the roots era – was a producer with a keen sense of perspective. The digital revolution may have been running rampant at the time, but there was still a need to pay tribute to the past through the classical rhythms. Gritty’s unmistakably contemporary yet meditative sound works perfectly with canonical relicks of Rockfort Rock (Rub A Dub A Kill You), Java (Amazing Grace) as well as a thumping Stalag (False Alarm).

Lyrically, his church is a broad one – but there is often a social issues dimension to even the most dancehall centric themes. Down In The Ghetto (on the Satta Amassagana rhythm) is old school sufferation, Ram Up the Dance asks revellers to “pack up your trials and crosses” and the simple relationship breakup premise of Run Down The World is given added depth by the profound melancholy of his vocals over the inexorable rolling bass and hand clap beats of the backing track.

The digital who’s who behind these Casio creations includes Steely & Cleevie and Wayne Smith. Together with Jammy and his sadly missed frontman, they built a lasting testament to reggae’s ability to stay true both it’s history and the here and now.

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