August 26, 2018
Johnny Clarke | Creation Rebel
TITLE: Creation Rebel
LABEL: 17 North Parade
VP Records, the group of labels started by Vincent “Randy” Chin, owns the deepest catalog in Jamaican music. From this wellspring comes a selection of 30 collaborations between singer Johnny Clarke and producer Bunny “Striker” Lee. Their sessions started in 1974, when backup singer Clarke pinch-hit for lead singer Earl Zero on a retracking of “None Shall Escape The Judgement” (track 23); the song was a smash hit, making Lee famous for his “flying cymbal” production and putting Clarke’s deeply conscious singing at the top of the Jamaican charts for the first time. This set also includes two excellent alternate versions of “Judgement,” tracks 24 and 25. Another highlight is the inclusion of three 12-inch single versions (essentially the single and the dub mix together on one side): 1 and 2 from 1979 and 15 (my personal Clarke-Lee favorite) from 1978. These extended mixes show off Clarke, Lee’s band The Aggrovators and remixer Prince Jammy at their respective finest. Also don’t miss three of Clarke’s deepest roots cuts (10, 17 and 29) and one retro outlier (30). So, so much good stuff here, some of the best that roots reggae has to offer.
TOP TRACKS: 1 2 10 15 17 23 24 25 29 30
ALSO RECOMMENDED: many of the rest of them