Barry Brown Rich Man Poor Man 1978-80

Moll-Selekta has been doing a great job compiling artists who generally aren't on the first tier of reggae singers, but who have put out many worthy releases. Barry Brown certainly fits this description. This period between 1978 and ’80 was his heyday, at the dawn of dancehall, and his smooth delivery is comparable to Barrington Levy riding the best of the Agrovators, Revolutionaries, Hi Times and Roots Radics bands. Producer Black Beard took some of the best rhythms of the era, including several Gregory Isaacs cuts, and voiced Brown at King Tubby's studio. One thing Tubby doesn't get as much credit for is the influence of the vocal and non-dub mixes recorded at his studio. Hard-sounding, soaked with quick tape delay settings, these mixes gave new angular prominence to where vocals fit in with the faster rhythms of dancehall. Brown's topics are mostly cultural: not persecuting Rastas, praises to Jah and calls to justice. And smoking herb — lots of herb smoking. The rhythms are rock solid and the re-mastering has loads of bass, so it's a great listen. Throw this one on back to back with Ranking Joe's Zion High and turn back the clock to 1980. (Moll-Selekta)