Nitty Gritty had a short career spanning over about six years – from the mid 80’s to his too premature death in 1991. His debut album Turbo Charged was produced by Prince Jammy and put out on Greensleeves in 1986. It included early digital tracks such as Gimme Some a Your Something and Hog in a Minty, on a version of the huge Tempo riddim.
Now the relatively new reissue label Dug Out has found an obscure gem from this flat voiced singer. General Penitentiary is a showcase album with four vocals and four dubs. It was produced by Ibo Millington and mixed by Bunny Tom Tom aka Crucial Bunny and originally released on NYC-based label Black Victory in 1987.
General Penitentiary is contrary to many other tunes by Nitty Gritty only semi-digital and features both live instrumentation and computers. And it is very well executed. The riddims are just as deep and tough as you can expect from players such as Errol Walker and Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson. Just listen to the hardcore monotonous bass line in Tell Me Whata Gwaan and its version Gwann Dub.
Nitty Gritty – and his contemporaries Tenor Saw, King Kong and Anthony “Red” Rose – has a very odd voice that may be tough coping with for a full length album. This album is therefore perfect for a singer such as Nitty Gritty.