King Fatty Survival Of The Fattest

It’s the next best thing to being back in Kingston during ’70s. Except this is bizzaro Kingston, where the early ’70s never ended, instead getting cleaner as the years passed. Adding to the mystery/authenticity is the presence of such overlooked but well regarded vocalists as Winston Scotland and Little Roy. Like Twilight Circus, except much more orthodox in approach, King Fatty give us wheezy organ, one-droppin’ drums and the lines that are a step or two away from their inspirations, enough so that false memories of back in the day are evoked but the recording balance and performances indicate way more time in a better-equipped studio than would have been possible back in the ’70s. Jackie Mittoo’s bizarro ghost makes an appearance on "Meltdown,” sounding like a continuation of his Bunny Lee workouts. All this cynicism shouldn’t take away from a highly enjoyable album. Taken on a lightweight level, this hits all the right notes: crowd pleasing instrumentals that feature agreeable sax and acid-jazz-betraying guitar solos, etc. This is a party-starter, if not wholly substantial. (Mr. Bongo)