This compilation brings together an odd but excellent variety of tracks from Micron Music, gathered together here for a brand new re-mastered release by Pressure Sounds. Micron Music provided an outlet for Jamaican producers and performers who wouldn’t otherwise be heard, and the range of tracks and styles on this collection, recorded in the mid-1970s, demonstrates the openness of their approach and the risks they took to get this music out. Pete Weston, one of the three people behind the label, also takes production credits on many of the tracks and provides extensive notes to accompany this release. The diversity of what’s included within these twenty tracks is striking. The collection opens with two versions around the basic ‘Satta Dread’ rhythm, first from Jah Stitch then straight into a classic echo-laden dub from King Tubby’s. Elsewhere, more conventional melodic reggae is represented by the Defenders ‘Our Rights’ and its driving instrumental version. Junior Byles offers the old Motown song ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ plus the great surprise of an intriguing version to go with it. Bobby Ellis makes an appearance with ‘Ska Baby’ where it’s unusual to hear the familiar chopping brass of a ska rhythm placed within a deep reggae mix, and even more so on the instrumental version that follows. If ‘Wages of Crime’ by the brilliant Joe Higgs were not enough, it’s partnered with possibly the best version on the album, in classic King Tubby style. The album closes with I Roy in top form with ‘Mad Mad Hatter’ (another link to old Motown) and its manic version ‘Mad Mad Horn’ which is pretty self-explanatory. This album is the perfect answer to people who think they’ve heard all there is to hear from this era.
UK release single CD/double vinyl, Pressure Sounds, 16th June 2008.
Ranking John www.reggaemusic.org.uk