A great introduction to the late Sugar Minott

The late Lincoln ”Sugar” Minott is a pivotal figure in the history of Jamaican music.

He started his career as one third of vocal harmony group the African Brothers in the mid 70’s.

The group split up after a few years and Sugar Minott went solo and started a new career at Studio One, where he became a pioneer in versioning the label’s riddims, originally recorded in the 60’s and early 70’s. His recordings resulted in the two masterpieces Live Loving and Showcase and earned him the title Godfather of Dancehall.

But Sugar didn’t stay at Studio One. He left and started a long and fruitful career as a producer, singer, songwriter, sound system operator and label owner responsible for finding talents such as the late singers Tenor Saw and Garnett Silk.

Sugar Minott’s career spans over more than three decades and he has an enormous amount of albums and productions behind him.

Now reggae giant VP Records’ subsidiary 17 North Parade has given it a try to portray him on the three disc compilation Hard Time Pressure. It collects 36 tracks from almost ten different albums from the late 70’s to mid 80’s and also includes a DVD of Sugar Minott live at Japansplash in 1986.

The majority of the album is made up of self-productions that have Sugar Minott’s emotional and honied voice flowing smoothly over laid-back roots riddims.

But producers such as George Phang and Sly & Robbie also turns up on dancefloor fillers Buy off the Bar, Devil’s Pickney and Rub a Dub Sound.

Included are also some rarer tunes. One of those is the weird Christmas Time with its off-key children choir. It should have been left in the drawer.

It’s also a bit unfortunate that it doesn’t include any material from his sojourn at Studio One.

Despite one or two shortcomings Hard Time Pressure is an excellent introduction to one of Jamaica’s greatest and most important artists. But to get a more comprehensive picture of this maestro I suggest that you also get yourself a copy of the album Sugar Minott at Studio One.

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