Half Pint Recollection

Slowly but surely, popular reggae artists of the '80s are getting their due. Half Pint was among the most popular singers of the decade, and is known for the Stones' cover of his hit "Winsome," which appears here. This collection showcases Half Pint's talent as a singer and songwriter. His voice typifies the thinner, alto style voice popular at the time, as with Sugar Minott and Gregory Isaacs. The absolutely killer Sly and Robbie riddims are as important as Half Pint's own contributions. This is the sound of "bionic" reggae. Mostly produced by George Phang, these songs feature gallingly cheesy '80s effects and keyboard sounds, but combined with the brilliant metronomic playing of the Rydim Twins, the sum of its parts is hypnotic. Maybe it's just because I grew up during this period of reggae, but it still sounds like some of the most progressive and funkiest electronic music produced in the '80s. Not every track reaches that balance of elements, but when they do, they make for truly infectious pop. Half Pint has vocal hooks galore, and it's easy to see why songs such as "Level the Vibes" and "Greetings" became hits: you'll be singing them, too. Don't let the cover art put you off, this disc contains Sly and Robbie and the Roots Radics (the other killer studio band of the time) at their finest. (Cornerstone R.A.S.)