Jah Thomas ‘Stop yu loafin’ (Greensleeves) 4/5

Classic reggae re-issues have been a little thin on the ground in recent times. Thus when a genuinely excellent one such as this surfaces, it is good news indeed. The original album came out in 1978 and has all the hallmarks of the roots era. It is a Channel One production under the leadership of Jo Hookim and is backed by the Revolutionaries in their prime which means Sly and Robbie are at the helm to supply the solidest of bass and drum grooves. Although there are no bonus cuts, the music speaks for itself with wonderful interpretations of riddims that will be immediately familiar to anyone with a basic underlying knowledge of reggae music history. Jah Thomas was of couse not only a DJ, but a producer in his own right and for those interested in his productions on the Midnight Rock label they should immediately turn to the Greensleeves 12″ Rulers series which brought out a collection of his extended singles. However, the reason why this new re-issue is especially memorable is that Jah Thomas belonged to a select number of DJs who were able to cut their own interpretations of Channel One’s most enduring rhythms and others included Trinity and Ranking Trevor. Highlights include a title track which has the ‘Skywalkin’ riddim that became a Horace Andy signature tune, ‘Black Star Liner’ which uses a famous Ken Boothe Studio One riddim and ‘My Jamaican Girl’ which uses Barrington Levy’s ‘Shine eye girl’ as the underyling rhythm. The sparse accompaniment of bass and drum allied to the lovely organ playing makes for a thrilling ‘Send me the pillow’. Full marks to Greenlseeves for reproducing in the pull out inner sleeve the graphics to the orignal cover in larger print. This imagery conjurs up the era and daily life like no other art form and significantly enhances the listeners enjoyment. Tim Stenhouse