Sylford Walker’s dread and eerie debut album Lamb’s Bread was recorded in the late 70s for producer Glen Brown, but never issued until 1990 when Greensleeves picked it up at a time when ragga was started to running to show.
Needless to say it sank into obscurity until Blood & Fire reissued it as Lamb’s Bread International ten years later to wide critical acclaim. That reissue was paired with Welton Irie’s Ghettoman Corner, an album with cuts voiced over the same riddims used for Lamb’s Bread. Lamb’s Bread International was a bomb, but it has been unavailable since its release.
Luckily, Greensleeves has picked up the album once again and once more its paired with Ghettoman Corner. This time both full-lengths are collected in their entirety. Only on the CD version though.
The se glorious sets collects some exceptional, militant and uncommercial roots music with prophetic warnings and apocalyptic messages. The CD version comes with killer cuts like Sylford Walker’s Lamb’d Bread, Chant Down Babylon, Give Thanks and Praise to Jah and Cleanliness is Godliness along with Welton Irie’s own Lamb’s Bread International, Ghettoman Corner, Stone a Throw and Wicked Tumbling.
Sylford Walker can be compared to Burning Spear, but his singing style is even rougher and the soundscape Glen Brown created for these recordings is far more haunting than anything The Spear has recorded.
Reggae powerhouse VP Records’ subsidiary Greensleeves has reissued three superb compilations of cuts produced by Glen Brown, a singer, instrumentalist and producer that made some of the most uncompromising reggae music ever to be put on wax.
Glen Brown started as a harmony vocalist singing with Lloyd Robinson, Hopeton Lewis and Dave Barker, later of Dave and Ansell Collins fame, and recorded with several top producers in the late 60s, including Coxsone Dodd and Harry J.
In the early 70s he tried his hand at producing and he was – just like his peer Keith Hudson – an innovative and idiosyncratic producer. He was a rebel, not afraid of cutting downright uncommercial music with false starts, vocal interjections and eerie sonic landscapes with earth-shattering bass lines and minor key melodies.
His productions were pressed in tiny quantities on a broad variety of labels and hard to come by back in the days. And these three reissues – originally put out in 1989 – were highly sought after since they collected rare recordings on Glen Brown’s Pantomine label by some of the finest Jamaican singers, deejays and instrumentalists, including performances by U Roy, I Roy, Prince Jazzbo, Big Youth and Tommy McCook. Featured are also Prince Hammer’s Daughter a Whole Lot of Sugar Down Deh, his first recording, and one of Gregory Isaacs’ earliest tracks – One One Coco.
But Glen Brown wasn’t only a truly original producer, he was also ahead of his time when he recycled his riddims for various performers. These three compilations – Boat to Progress (vocal cuts), Check the Winner (instrumentals) and Dubble Attack (deejay outings) – contain largely interpretations of the same deadly riddims. All in all 46 killer tracks showcasing the essence of dread. For a dubwise shower of Glen Brown’s music seek out Blood & Fire’s Termination Dub.
UK’s Fashion records had such a diverse output when the label was alive and kicking. Dancehall, roots and lovers rock as well as jungle and hip-hop mixes are for example presented on the second volume of Fashion in Fine Style – Significant Hits. A majority of the 20 tracks still sounds excellent, even though some of the plastic synths are very dated and downright painful at times.
Lovers rock was one of the label’s strongest cards and as with volume one, this genre is well-represented with a number of tracks from crooning and honeyed singers like Barry Boom and Michael Gordon. Included are also a few dancehall-tinged lovers cuts from, for example, General Levy and Philip Leo & C.J. Lewis.
When I wrote about the first volume about a year ago I called for Nereus Joseph’s huge 1985 hit Sensi Crisis and a tune or two from producer and melodica player Glen Brown. And my call was heard. The skanking Sensi Crisis is now included, so is Glen Brown’s swirling and echoing Detrimental Music.
There is a good amount of significant hits on this album. And the two volumes together collect a healthy 40 tunes of essential UK musical history. You get all the hits and more. Much more.