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Jacob Miller Lives On

Jacob Miller Lives On

Jacob Miller Lives On

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VP's retro arm 17 North Parade reissues Lives On, a compilation of Jacob Miller's recordings for the late Joe Gibbs.


Jacob Mille Lives On 2008

As the original singer with Inner Circle and as a solo artist, Jacob Miller reached incredible heights of popularity in Jamaica during the 1970s before a car crash robbed the world of his talent at the start of the new decade. His trade mark “stuttering” style may not be for everyone, but the boundless energy in his voice marks him out as one of reggae’s larger than life characters.

His posthumously released collection of recordings for the late Joe Gibbs, Jacob Miller Lives On, has now been reissued by VP’s retro arm, 17 North Parade. The tracklisting has been shuffled, and extended “showcase” versions and deejay cuts have been added, but, these changes enhance the overall listening experience - although the option of an unaltered cd issue would be nice.

The album commences with ‘I’m A Natty’, Miller’s dread interpretation of the Wailers’ ‘Soul Rebel’, benefitting greatly from sometime Wackies session man Allah’s ear-catchingly squelchy synthesizer work, before fading into one of I Roy’s finest toasts - Knotty Knots.

Next comes the fierce, militant drumming of Miller’s smash ‘Shakey Girl’, a rebuke to his errant lover, boasting a pugnacious dub from Gibbs and Errol Thompson. ‘I’m Just A Dread’ is another do-over (of Alton Ellis’ ‘I’m Just A Guy’) adding some herb lyrics to the rhythm’s cool shuffle, before a guest appearance by another top ranking deejay, Trinity, to see us out.

In fact, despite Miller’s excellent vocals, it is the toasters who steal the show. U Brown gives an effortless, flowing performance on the back end of ‘Keep On Knocking’, Welton Irie rides the new style heavy dancehall rhythm of ‘Keep On Running’, and Killer Brown’s mellow musings are a fitting end to Miller’s anti-violence anthem, ‘Back Yard Movements’. Three bonus dubs (two by Gibbs, one by Augustus Pablo) bring proceedings to a fragmented but satisfactory end.

These were some of the last tracks recorded before Miller’s untimely death, and are great examples of the level of quality generated by the Gibbs/Thompson partnership. This new, and in some ways improved, VP release is a fitting tribute to them all.

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