Among other notable happenings in 2017, from various album releases to outdoor events headed by the label, Greensleeves Records is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a release of some hard stepping singles from their massive vinyl catalogue. Created using 12” vinyl singles, this is a 30 track collection of foundation Reggae artists, slinging heavy hitting pillars alongside deep cuts that will catch the ear of even the mightiest vinyl collector.
Jah Gumby (bassist for Ooklah the Moc and founder of Father Psalms Studio) was called in to act as selector for this Greensleeves nugget. Known for his craftsmanship as a musician and his extensive knowledge of reggae’s journey through time and forms, Jah Gumby has molded as choice a compilation as one will be able to find. Greensleeves’ 40th Anniversary mix will expertly serve any young lion looking to navigate the deep wealth of Greensleeves Reggae.
Bunny Lie Lie’s “Babylonian” (1981) chants against the corruptive ways of men, before Triston Palma’s own silken voice rings through to tackle “Mr. False Preacher” (1983). Mentioning any of these songs without a deeper dig discredits the giants who participated in their crafting. A look at “Babylonian” serves as a prime example of the quality of personnel involved in virtually every track on this mix. “Babylonian” is a Scientist mixed track, produced under the guidance of the multi-talented Linval Thompson (also on this release with his own hit, “All Night Long”), backed by the legendary Roots Radics. There are few equally-powerful names in the reggae family, and this is simply the norm for the singles found on the 40th anniversary mix.
With the inclusion of session stoppers like Reggae Regular’s “Ghetto Rock” (1984) and “House Party” (1982), Don Carlos’ “Special Request to Everyone” (1983), The Wailing Souls’ “They Don’t Know Jah” (1982), and Half Pint’s “One in a Million” (1984), it’s obvious that Greensleeves Records isn’t holding anything back, laying hit upon hit into the blueprint of this work. This isn’t one of those collections where the fluff outweighs the worthy; on the contrary there’s no fluff in sight.
Every song here is simply FIRE. Pablo Gad (“Fly Away Home” – 1980), Ranking Dread (“Shut Me Mouth” – 1982), Barrington Levy (“Pon Your Toe” – 1984), and Junior Reid (“Old Time Something” – 1984) suffice as final name drops and as a nod of proof to the level of range afforded to the listener.
Imagine being given free reign within a catalogue as vast as what Greensleeves boasts. Jah Gumby yanked some of the original cannons from the armory, and there’s no way to dodge. If you can sit through these tracks without a cathartic swing during the journey, you simply have the volume turned too low. Run it!