King Jammy King at the Controls

King Jammy King at the Controls
VP continues to mine territory ripe for reappraisal in reggae, and strikes gold with this essential portrait of King Jammy. Jammy single-handedly revolutionised dancehall with his production of Wayne Smith’s "Under Mi Sleng Teng” in 1985, by using nothing more than a very cheap Casio keyboard and syndrums. About two-thirds of this disc covers the period of 1985 to ’89, collecting some of the very best singles and dancehall favourites in an era that produced few classic albums. Some of the best tunes are Admiral Bailey’s extra-blue "Punanny,” John Holt’s majestic reading of "If I Were A Carpenter” and Junior Reid’s "Boom Shack A Lack,” which was a much earlier version of the "World-A Music” rhythm made famous by "Welcome To Jamrock” last year. The remaining third of the disc gives more classics from the years preceding the 1985, when he was known as Prince Jammy, apprentice to the great King Tubby. There’s Black Uhuru’s first big hit "I Love King Selassie,” the tough-as-nails dancehall bounce of Half Pint’s "Money Man Skank” and the inimitably gruff Nicodemus pointing the way to the future with "Father Jungle Rock.” But the CD is only half the reason to buy this; the DVD is an hour-long portrait of the man, and the Waterhouse neighbourhood in which he work. (VP)