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Too Much Iron In the Fire

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Album Review

Rodguel "Blackbeard" Sinclair, older brother of Tapper Zukie, is one of the most unassuming of Jamaica's great reggae producers, and he continues to issue occasional singles on his Mr. Tipsy label some 30 years after he began as an apprentice to Bunny Lee. Blackbeard productions feature solid singing and bright, dub-like textures, and while there is nothing particularly innovative or experimental about them, their consistent high quality is a trademark of sorts in the here today and gone tomorrow world of the ever-shifting Jamaican music industry. This double-disc collection from Sanctuary/Trojan is the first extended release of Blackbeard's work on CD, and it shows a producer who knows his performers well, and always puts the spotlight on the song itself. Among the standout tracks here are Barrington Levy's bright, accomplished "You Say Me Say," Johnny Clarke's fine cover of Dennis Brown's "Wolves and Leopards," Ronnie Davis' "Inna Dis Yah Time," and the beautiful vocals of the Mighty Diamonds on "Jah Jah Bless." There are a few straight dub tracks scattered through the set, but Blackbeard's A-sides have such a dub feel in the first place that they seem to blend right in, giving this anthology the seamless feel of a bright summer's afternoon.

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Too Much Iron In the Fire, Blackbeard
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