A recent box set from VP Records collects four rare and in-demand roots albums produced by Prince Jammy, since the mid 80s known as King Jammy.
The box set is very tasty since it features four stellar albums – Johnny Osbourne’s Folly Ranking (not to be confused with the Henry “Junjo” Lawes produced set Fally Lover), Barry Brown’s Showcase, Hugh Mundell & Lacksley Castell’s Jah Fire and Noel Phillips’, aka Echo Minott, Youth Man Vibrations. The latter set was actually recently reissued on vinyl. A timely and odd coincidence since it has been unavailable since it was originally issued in 1980.
All four albums were actually released in 1980. At the time Johnny Osbourne was at the height of his powers, while the other artists were more up and coming. Well maybe not Hugh Mundell. Even though still in his late teens he had already dropped the majestic Africa Must be Free by 1983.
All four albums are hard, relentless and tough roots reggae with driving bass lines and pounding drums. Johnny Osbourne’s singing is as warm and pleasant as always. The other four singers have an energetic and youthful approach, sometimes reminiscent of a young Barrington Levy.
Rootsman Vibrations at King Jammys comes with a sizzling 33 tracks, of which five are in a showcase style with dub versions that could tear down the walls of Fort Knox. An excellent box set to say the least.