Johnny Osbourne Truths and Rights

Osbourne recorded this album after spending much of the ’70s in Toronto, and his Northern excursion accounts for some of the themes and sounds of this record. Not only was the title taken from Toronto band Truths and Rights, whom Osbourne would have heard at the time, but tracks like "Nah Skin Up,” "Eternal Piece” and particularly "We Need Love” show multiple influences of the Philly soul of the era. The album’s durability is in part due to its status as one of the last great Studio One records and the fact that, like Freddie McGregor’s Bobby Babylon, Truths and Rights represents producer Coxone Dodd’s successful bid to enter the dancehall era by voicing new singers on new versions of what by that time were becoming classic Studio One riddims. But it is Osbourne’s suave performance and lyrical vision that really prove to be the album’s engine. Eminently cultural in its scope, whether announcing his credo on the title track or celebrating reggae’s beloved sound system culture on "Sing Jay Stylee,” Truths and Rights feels more like a zeitgeist than an oldies record. Included here as well for the first time are extended versions of three songs and three rare tracks. (Heartbeat)