Jackie Mittoo Wishbone

Wishbone is a pleasant but not essential side of Mr. Music’s personality. Keyboardist Mittoo, a key figure in Studio One’s instrumental prowess during the ’60s, was as much an entertainer as a musician. One of the memorable anecdotes from the Champion In The Arena comp a few years back involved Mittoo leading an impromptu sing-along at the piano for the elderly patrons of a British pub. Wishbone is the result of an ambitious series of studio sessions conducted three years after he arrived in Canada. It’s a crossover album in one sense but Mittoo’s enormous versatility makes everything sound totally natural. "Groovy Spirit” revisits his Studio One "Sniper” rhythm with a funk feel and a few quotes from Carol King’s "It’s Too Late” thrown in for good measure. Mittoo’s penchant for the Beatles is indulged with the title track, a cover of "Carry That Weight,” which is fun though less epochal than his cut of "Norwegian Wood” at Studio One — the timeless, still versioned "Darker Shade of Black.” As for the reggae content, it’s at the base of many songs, with "La La Girls and Cha Cha Boys” the standout track. This is the least essential edition of the Jamaica to Toronto series but as always, the liner notes continue to fill in this long neglected story. And like those patrons at the British pub, with a few drinks, it’s all jolly good fun. (Light In The Attic)