One In A Million
Up-and-coming DJ Half Pint was fresh out of the sound systems when he hooked up with Prince Jammy. The producer, a protege of King Tubby, had made his mark in the '70s with seminal dub remixes, but had since turned his attention to sound systems. The young DJ was to be his first foray into dancehall production, and the result was a string of hits across 1983-1984, which established both Half Pint as a star and Jammy as a premier dancehall force. Inevitably, a batch of these recordings were bundled up and released as the DJ's debut album, Money Man Skank, titled after one of his many hits. Its follow-up, One in a Million (released only in the U.K.), was also named for a Jamaican smash, and includes another group of Jammy-produced hits. Although the album pulls two of Money's tracks, fans will need both to complete the collection, as Money leaves out the big hits "One in a Million" and "One Big Ghetto." The Hi-Times Band slings the pulsating rhythms that drive the songs. Of course, Jammy brought a dubby, roots sound to the proceedings, but his style is virtually the antithesis of Henry "Junjo" Lawes, the then current dancehall king. The latter preferred a deep, dark, almost dread sound, as can be heard on his work with Yellowman, Eek-A-Mouse, Frankie Paul, et al. Jammy aimed for a lighter style, where the melodies equalled the rhythms, with horns adding a breezy accent to the beats. This worked brilliantly for Half Pint, whose own singsong delivery was melodic enough to match the musicians. Infectious numbers like the title track, "Mr. Landlord," and "Puchie Lou," to name but a few, all have a steady, rocking tempo and, with the punchy brass, are reminiscent of rocksteady. Yet the sound is thoroughly modern, as Jammy slides in subtle reverb and other up to date dubby effects. Even on the occasions when the DJ tackles more cultural themes ("Mr. Landlord" again), there's an easygoing air to it all. Of course, that was precisely the appeal. Half Pint's enthusiastic yet relaxed delivery, the great music, and the fabulous beats spelled success; it's no wonder Jamaicans lapped it up and other DJs immediately began flocking to Jammy's studio in response. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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