Various Microphone Attack: Niney The Observer 1974-78

Niney the Observer (so named for his nine fingers) was one of the premier producers of the '70s, frequently collaborating with Lee Scratch Perry and King Tubby. He was adept at producing both singers and deejays but is best known for his work with Dennis Brown. Anyone who's bought a bargain bin Dennis Brown collection is likely to be familiar with many of these rhythms. As well, anyone who's a fan of the Blood and Fire imprint may already own their retrospectives of I Roy and Big Youth, whose verses make up more than three quarters of this disc. Not that the songs themselves are weak, Big Youth's phased out version of Brown's "Cassandra" and I Roy's "Step On the Dragon" will move any crowd. As usual, it's great to hear these rhythms remastered immaculately. There's just not much of a theme to this disc: there are better, more diverse compilations of Niney's work on Heartbeat Records, and for those who already have the I Roy and Big Youth sets, these tracks are solid additions to your collection, but not life changing. Surely there are more obscure producers, artists and LPs that deserve the deluxe treatment that Blood and Fire can provide. (Blood and Fire)