August 25, 2009
Pressure Sounds
Reggae, Dancehall, Lovers Rock, Dub, Roots Reggae

Album Review

Delroy Wilson began his singing career as a teenager at Clement Dodd's Studio One (where seemingly everyone in the Jamaican music business appears to have started out), eventually working with nearly every producer on the island, including Sonia Pottinger, Joe Gibbs, Winston "Niney" Holness, Keith Hudson, Leslie Kong, and Bunny Lee. As he matured, Wilson's voice rounded into a hoarse, smoky tenor that was as soulful a vehicle as Jamaica ever produced, and although he isn't as well known as later singers like Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs, his approach and phrasing influenced them all, even Bob Marley. Sort of Jamaica's Marvin Gaye (or perhaps Al Green), Wilson was pivotal in moving the island's music toward its brilliant, skewed, upside-down version of American soul, and his warm, assured phrasing is the equal of any Motown or Stax star. Arguably his peak work came with producer Bunny Lee, who helmed such classics as "Better Must Come," "Cool Operator," and "Here Come the Heartaches." Even at that, this unique 20-track gem is a thing apart in Wilson's recorded legacy. Originally released in 1978 under the title Twenty Golden Greats and aimed directly at Jamaica's dancehall sound systems, this wonderful album consists of remixes by Prince Jammy that feature a deep, raw, and sparse sound perfectly complementing Wilson's fine vocals, freeing them to float intimately over a partially dubbed-out landscape. The original album appeared on the London-based Third World imprint, sold sparingly, and was never actually released in Jamaica, quickly fading from the shelves and becoming a highly sought-after collector's item. This reissue is therefore a treat, and it presents Wilson in the best possible light. Jammy's sonic reinterpretations give songs like "I'm Still Waiting," "Better Must Come," "Here Come the Heartaches," and "Do Good (Everyone Will Be Judged)" a layer of timeless depth, with Wilson's smoky vocals sounding like they're floating out of a sort of dubplate ocean. Thanks to Pressure Sounds for bringing this classic album back to life again.
Steve Leggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. A Bright and Sunny Day
  2. You Have to Get a Beating
  3. I'm Still Waiting
  4. Can I Change My Mind
  5. Find Yourself Another Girl
  6. Ms. Grace
  7. Living in the Footsteps of Another Man
  8. Better Must Come
  9. Rain from the Skies
  10. Joe Liges
  11. I Am Doing My Thing
  12. She Is Just a Play Girl
  13. Love Uprising
  14. Here Come the Heartaches
  15. Who Cares
  16. Mash It Up
  17. Stick by Me
  18. You Are Mine
  19. Conquer Me
  20. Do Good (Everyone Will Be Judged)
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