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Channel One Story Chapter Two

Channel One Story Chapter Two

Channel One Story Chapter Two

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A strong compilation of Channel One releases from 17 North Parade.


Channel One Story

In these times of music industry tribulation, back catalogue reissues and compilations seem to be the order of the day. This assortment comes from VP’s retro imprint 17 North Parade - their second to celebrate the Hookim brothers’ Channel One in its 70s pomp - and offers a nice spread of tunes, focussing on the cool vibes plus heavy heavy drum ‘n’ bass equation that made the label’s name.

Dotted in amongst these hallmark productions, however, are some curios that showcase the Hookims penchant for deeper roots. There’s The Wailing Souls ‘Jah Give Us Life’, (one of the few sides of the era that, due to a lack of variation in its admittedly stirring melody, sounds better on 7” version than full length discomix) and the mournful ‘Hog and Goat’, perhaps Don Carlos greatest moment, telling the tale of an army raid over a simple sad piano and horns call and response.

Things truly hot up during part two with ‘In Time To Come’ and the Drifter rhythmed ‘Three Wise Me’n by Earth and Stone, John Holt’s ‘Don’t Fight Your Brother’ and ‘Have You Ever Been In Love’, and Black Uhuru’s robust take on ‘Sun Is Shining’, proving Channel One wasn’t just about feel-good harmonies, snare shots and major keys. The sole shame is that only Jamaican artists are featured; Creole’s seminal ‘Beware Of Your Enemies’ really ought to have been included on the basis of the plethora of versions it inspired alone. Some dancehall songs are clustered at the end of each disc, including Barrington Levy’s forward marching ‘Soldier’ and Yellowman riding the Shank I Sheck rhythm for the languid ludicrous ‘Mad Over Me’.

There isn’t much on here that hasn’t been available in one format or another through the years, but these are largely excellent cuts that show there’s more to the studio than the Mighty Diamonds ‘Right Time’, possibly the most overplayed record of the period. Furthermore, if enough people are to get into reggae to make it commercially viable in the current climate, collections like this are essential. Hopefully then we’ll see the number of contemporary roots releases by big labels rise…

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