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Jammys From The Roots

Jammys From The Roots

Jammys From The Roots

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Jammy's early productions are well celebrated here.


Lloyd “Jammy” James is now famous as the king of digital dancehall. But, as one of the alumni who apprenticed under King Tubby, he also produced a formidable body of roots/early dancehall releases.

A variety of these vocals dubs and deejay versions are gathered on Greensleeves’ new compilation 'Jammys From The Roots (1977-1985)', all bearing the ultra-clear, digital-anticipatory sound that was his trademark. Some, such as grim gangster warning Fally Ranking by Johnny Osbourne and Junior Delgado's Love Tickles Like Magic have been reissued several times by Greensleeves. Others, like Earl Zero’s hefty stepper recut of his Lewis brothers-produced flyers tune Please Officer, and Lacksley Castell’s evocative eschatological hymn What A Great Day, will be familiar to 7 inch repress buyers. But many, such as Wayne Smith's Barbara Streisand cover Life Is A Moment In Space, and appearances by Waterhouse harmony groups the Travellers’ (whose Jah Gave Us This World appeared on Pressure Sounds reissue of their doomed concept LP Black Black Minds) and the Jays (Jah Do Love Us) are rather pleasant surprises. The selection runs right up to the rub a dub era with a series of masterful Jammys reworks of others’ rhythms: Half Pint’s One Big Ghetto on Letter From Zion; Dennis Brown’s Africa on a relick of his own Niney production No More Shall I Roam; and Junior Reid’s thumping Boom Shack A Lack updating Sly and Robbie’s World A Music.

The careful choices give a real sense of what made Jammys polished productions so distinct. Meanwhile, Pressure Sounds has simultaneously released unusual versions to some of the vocals (Hugh Mundell’s Jah Jah Fire Will Burning, Natural Vibes Life Hard A Yard and Fantails Name Of The Game) on their excavation of Jammy’s 'Strictly Dub' album – a nice counterpart to this double disc.

The mix of the rare with the popular is a winning one (including all the dubs and deejay cuts would have been too much to ask). And, vitally, the sound quality is pretty good for a producer for whom this was a key selling point. Jammy, the most successful and controversial of the Tubbys engineer acolytes, is well celebrated here.

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