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Dub Plate Style

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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.


Born: 05 October 1948 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Delroy Wilson was one of Jamaica's most soulful vocalists, and over a 40-year career the singer unleashed a flood of hits and a multitude of masterpieces. Born on October 5, 1948, in the Kingston neighborhood of Trenchtown, Wilson's phenomenal talent would be his ticket out of the ghetto, and his discovery by producer Coxsone Dodd in 1962 would change the path of Jamaican music. His first recording for Dodd, "If I Had a Beautiful Baby" did little, but the producer stuck by his prodigy, and his follow-up...
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