In the course of reggae history many great singers managed to release only a handful of singles or so. One of those is former Soul Defenders lead vocalist Vin Morgan, who also played keys and drums with the band. However, Soul Defenders is probably not known for their own material, but for being one of the backing bands at Studio One. And they played on several immortal cuts, including Freddie McKay’s Picture On the Wall and The Abyssinians’ Declaration of Rights.
Vin Morgan resurfaced in 2014 when he cut the single Resilience with bass man Boris Gardiner. And now about 50 years after he started his music career his debut album has landed. It’s not a collaboration with Boris Gardiner though, but with producer and engineer extraordinaire Roberto Sánchez and his Lone Ark Riddim Force.
Give Thanks is another showcase album from the Sánchez and Iroko Records camp. Six vocal cuts are followed by their dub counterpart. Most riddims are known from before if you have the two previous showcase sets – Noel Ellis’ Zion and The Viceroys’ Memories – and they suit Vin Morgan’s falsetto singing perfectly.
His voice sounds remarkably fresh. Expressive and emotive. Just as the dub versions and the horn arrangements. Check the militancy of a cut like Can’t Complain Dub with its smattering percussion, haunting keys and fanfare like horns. Best of the bunch is however the bright and uplifting Gimme the Vibes.
It’s a mystery why Vin Morgan didn’t cut more tunes in the 70s, but luckily Roberto Sánchez and Iroko Records’ Herve Brizec gave him a fresh chance.