Veteran Jamaican singer I Kong aka Ricky Storm started his career in the 60s as part of vocal harmony group The Jamaicans. He left and started recording with Yabby You’s harmony group The Prophets, followed by sessions with Lee Perry and future Third World singer Bunny Rugs under the name Ricky & Bunny.
His first album The Way It Is dropped in 1979, a set that included the title track, which was an underground hit at the time. Since the release of his debut album I Kong has only recorded sporadically and his new showcase album A Little Walk is his sixth set and his first in eight years.
The effort collects ten tracks, of which four are dub versions and two are extended mixes. It was recorded in Kingston with Swiss band Najavibes accompanied by percussionist Scully Simms and guitarist Dalton Browne. The riddims are powerful and the backing has a sweet and melodic richness. This is effective roots mixed by Spanish maestro Roberto Sanchéz.
I Kong’s voice may be a little thin, but it’s emotional and original, yet sounding a lot like one of his contemporaries – the late Prince Lincoln Thompson of The Royal Rasses.
A Little Walk collects highlights like the up-tempo Groovy Feeling, with a dub version including razor-sharp guitar, album opener Guiding Light with a fanfare-like horns and the uplifting Live as One.
I haven’t heard much that I Kong has recorded previously, but it’s nonetheless great to have him back on the scene. There is certainly something special with vintage Jamaican singers.