Linval Thompson Ride On Dreadlocks 1975-77

Bunny "Striker" Lee strikes again. Ride On Dreadlocks is another in a series of Striker productions reissued by Blood and Fire. Linval Thompson is a fine singer who remains lesser known than Cornell Campbell and Johnnie Clarke (two Lee-produced singers who have been the subjects of two recent B & F reissues), but went on to have a more enduring career after his association with Lee. In this beginning phase of his career, it's no accident that he sounds like a cross between Clarke and Campbell, with his vocal melismatics and dread-full lyrics closely following the hit-making style of the time. Thompson's songs were not as huge as some of Lee's other hits, which means that the rhythms represented here are comparatively less versioned. However, many of the songs lack the intangibles that turn songs into standards. Bunny Lee and the Agrovators produced some fine rhythms, but he was no mad, creative genius like Lee Perry or Keith Hudson - he was a hit-maker with a good formula from 1974 to '77, and B & F keep going back for more. Ride On Dreadlocks is neither the best introduction to Lee's productions, nor is it an essential addition to what's already out there. Thompson went on to be a very interesting producer, and three of his initial forays are highlights of this collection. It would have been nice to hear a wider survey of his career than the two years represented here. (Blood and Fire)