Vernon Buckley, aka Vernon Maytone, returns with another solid set for France’s Uniteam Music. In the Mood is the follow up to the excellent On the Right Track, which was released about three years ago.
Both sets have been mixed and mastered by Manu Genius – previously one half of acclaimed Dutch production duo Not Easy At All – and have largely the same smooth sound.
Vernon Maytone was lead singer in 70s roots duo The Maytones and his rural voice remains intact some 40 years after his debut recordings with fellow Maytone-singer Gladstone Grant.
In the Mood is slick with an edge and it comes with relicks of a number of classic riddims, including a scorching cut of the mighty Cuss Cuss riddim. Vernon Maytone sings passionately and emotionally about life and losses.
Another warm and charming album from one of Jamaica’s many unsung musical heroes.
Can’t say I had heard much about veteran Jamaican deejay Ricky Chaplin until listened to Vernon Maytone’s latest album On the Right Track, released last year. On his album they teamed up for the uplifting and encouraging Straight to the Top.
That set was produced by Mr. Chin for Uniteam Music and he has now produced and recorded an album together with Ricky Chaplin along with a number of other notable reggae artists.
Chap Them Chaplin collects twelve tracks, of which two are dub versions and eight are combinations with Kiddus I, Big Youth, Echo Minott, Patrick Andy, Prince Alla and Vernon Maytone. A gang from way back when sound systems ruled the dances and deejays were the order of the day.
Manu Genius from Dubshelter has mixed the album. He was formerly one half of Not Easy At All Productions, and their sound is certainly recognizable. The syncopated riddims are rolling and tough, yet smooth and melodic. It’s vintage dancehall with a flair.
Ricky Chaplin is a deejay in the U Roy tradition. He has a rhythmic and melodic flow and rides the riddims with grace. The highlights are many, but most memorable are Time to Unite with Big Youth and My Sound with the youthful Patrick Andy. These two tracks relicks two of my favourite riddims – Cuss Cuss and Drifter respectively.
Chap Them Chaplin is available on CD/LP via Uniteam and soon also through Ernie B’s Reggae.
Jamaican harmony duo The Maytones is one of several unsung groups in the reggae industry. The duo’s rural and unsophisticated approach may not have been successful when trying to reach a global pop audience, but they managed to put out some passionate and heart aching roots, including Madness, Boat to Zion and One Way.
The duo split up in the early 80s when lead singer Vernon Buckley relocated to Canada. He has put out a few albums under his own name. His latest effort is On the Right Track, a set recorded and produced together with France’s Mr. Chin and Uniteam All Stars.
The album features twelve tracks and is partly presented in a showcase style. The versions are not dubwise though, but deejay cuts where the late Prince Jazzbo along with U Roy, Lady Ann and Ricky Chaplin have lended their talents to the disc.
Vernon Buckley’s voice sounds like it did 30 years ago. It’s raspy, soft and straightforward and floats nicely over the thumping riddims.
The album is mixed by Dutch producer and engineer Manu Genius, known for his work with fellow Dutchman Marc Baronner under the alias Not Easy At All. And the set very much sounds like a Not Easy At All production. Especially highlights such as Gonna Make It and Foreign Life.
On the Right Track is yet another strong effort from one of Jamaica’s many unsung heroes.
Remember the great vocal duo The Maytones? They recorded some great tunes with producer Alvin Ranglin in the 70’s. Songs such as Boat to Zion, Madness, Zion Land and Money Worries, also featured on the Rockers movie soundtrack.
Anyway, lead singer Vernon Buckley, aka Vernon Maytone, is nowadays living in Canada and runs his own label – Music Life Movements – together with his cousin Everton Phillips.
Last year the label collaborated with Dutch producers Manu Genius and Marc Baronner from Not Easy At All, the same producers responsible for acclaimed albums from Chezidek, Earl Sixteen and Apple Gabriel. The result was an album titled Foundation Compilation – Reggae Series vol.1 with performers such as Ken Boothe, Leroy Sibbles and the late Sugar Minott.
Their collaboration obviously worked out fine since they have teamed up for the album Words of Wisdom. This album is almost a solo album from Vernon Maytone.
It collects 15 tunes, where of three are duets with Linval Thompson, U Roy and Vernon Maytone’s son Dillon Buckley, who turns out to be an above par rapper.
The U Roy duet was featured on Foundation Compilation, Show us the Way was originally put out in 1979 on the One Way album and some of the riddims have been heard on other Not Easy At All productions.
Words of Wisdom is however a well-produced modern roots reggae album. Vernon Maytone’s heartfelt singing is just as great as it was in the 70’s and suits the polished live-played riddims nicely.
I’ve been a long-time fan of The Maytones and I’ve previously praised Not Easy At All’s productions. So don’t get fooled by the gangsta hip-hop album sleeve and check out Words of Wisdom.