Various ‘The Linval Thompson Trojan Roots Albums Collection’ 2CD (Doctor Bird) 5/5

He was not the first artist in Jamaica to make the transition from singer to singer-producer (those before him included Prince Buster, Lee Perry and the mysterious Keith Hudson) but Linval Thompson was one of the prime Reggae artists of the 70s to make the leap in a solid roots direction. Some 40 years on, Trojan Records re-issue some of the finest tunes, over 60 in all, on a 2 CD set called ‘Linval Thompson Trojan Roots Album Collection’, Various Artists.

Where to start with this array of songs produced at the shrine-like Channel One Studios, inevitably the pivot of it all is Thompson’s debut Trojan LP ‘I Love Marijuana’ released in 1978 which if you like is the osmosis of his being. Re-released here in full with music from the Revolutionaries. This is a time when Roots was Roots and bands played instruments, singers sung (without auto tune), mixing engineers became artists in themselves (look no further than Scientist, then a youth on the board) and Producers had to know their stuff inside out. Able to fill all these demanding roles, artist/singer/producer/engineer Thompson, set a path for himself that has endured right up to this day, where he is still developing new, young and talented Reggae singers from Jamaica (only recently he has produced music for Kologne).

Included in this double CD is a family of people, many of whom had their own careers in Reggae, MCs like Trinity and Big Joe, singers like Barry Brown and Pat Kelly, bands like The Revolutionaries and Roots Radics and The Scientist, who is in a category of his own as a Dub Creator. The memories contained in the songs are rooted in realities of oppression, hardship, the celebration of Rasta Culture and good times in dances. These are all standout tracks in themselves, and even if you have many of these songs on dusty vinyl with accompanying scratches (due to 40 years of playing them) it’s worth getting this collection, just for the collection. I do have a few heavyweight likings purchased decades ago on cherished vinyl that have weathered play at many sessions over the decades, such as ‘Mr C.I.D’ by Barry Brown, ‘Follow My Heart’ Trinity and ‘No Pop No Style’ by Linval Thompson, but my personal preferences are what they are, and this is a complete collection, it’s all good, it’s all Roots and available again thanks to the Mighty Trojan label…

Haji Mike

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Various ‘Strong Like Sampson: Linval Thompson presents the 12″ Mixes’ 2CD (Hot Milk) 5/5