Ossie Thomas is probably not one of the most well-know Jamaican producers from the dancehall craze of the early 80’s, even though he worked with some of the roughest and toughest talents in that era, including Frankie Paul, Sugar Minott and the Mighty Diamonds. Of course also Triston Palma, with whom he owned the label Black Solidarity.
This imprint is now the subject of a well-deserved compilation on Kingston Sounds/Jamaican Recordings, a label known for their high quality design and vinyl, but with less effort put into mastering, sound quality and liner notes. And this time the label has made a particularly disturbing mistake.
The title of the album is Birth of Dancehall – Black Solidarity 1976-1979. Reggae devotees know that the dancehall genre was born around 1979, and not three years earlier as indicted in the title. These tracks are rather from the early to mid 80’s.
But this bad mistake aside, Birth of Dancehall offers some great vintage dancehall with riddims supplied by the tight backing band known as Soul Syndicate.
The sound quality is generally a little shoddy and varies throughout the album, and it’s a pity that one of the best tracks – Ashanti Waughn’s Police Police – has very poor quality. String Up the Sound System from Michael Palmer, Puddy Roots’ Champion Bubbler and Early B’s Me Want Join the Army have on the other hand both sound and song quality.
Black Solidarity hasn’t been sufficiently represented in the reissue market and hopefully this release will be followed by others.
Birth of Dancehall – Black Solidarity 1976-1979 is currently available as LP and CD, with the latter containing four bonus cuts.