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In a Dis Ya Time

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Album Review

Excellent and aggravating all at once, In a Dis Ya Time has a definite purpose — collecting the Itals' recordings with producer Lloyd Campbell — but the bland, greeting card cover art and the lack of any hand-holding liner notes inside are disappointing. Named after the trio's signature song — the one Keith Richards described as "the perfect reggae track" — the set duplicates much of the Nighthawks label's Early Recordings collection from 1984, but by going deeper into the Campbell recordings from this time the set has some desirable alternatives. Most attractive is the extended version of "In a Dis Ya Time" which tacks on the instrumental version from trombonist Vin Gordon and rightfully stretches the classic groove out for a near six-and-a-half minutes. "Rougher Yet " and the trio's take on the Curtis Mayfield-penned "You Don't Care" get the same special treatment, but from where these long takes are sourced isn't mentioned. All these late-'70s tunes cross classic roots reggae harmonies with the Stepping Razor style of Keith Richards' old housemate, Peter Tosh, but the last quarter of the set jumps all the way to the digital age and jarringly adds cuts from Mi Livity, the Itals' 2003 reunion with Campbell. One last curveball comes with the closing "Won't You Come Home," a bounce back to 1975 but still a red hot tune, now with DJs Trinity and Dillinger toasting on the tacked-on version. Reggae fanatics will love the Campbell-through-the-years concept and you can't fault the track list, but this is preaching to the converted. The underappreciated Itals deserve some advocating and with most other releases on the 17 North Parade imprint showing proper respect and care, this missed opportunity is a head scratcher.


Formed: 1975

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '80s, '90s

One of Jamaica's signature harmony groups, the Itals were chiefly responsible for keeping the sound and spirit of roots reggae alive well into the dancehall era. They didn't get as much attention as other great vocal trios from the roots era (Culture, the Mighty Diamonds, the Wailing Souls, etc.), partly because their '70s releases were confined to 45-rpm singles. When they finally made the leap to LPs in the '80s, they attracted highly positive notices from many reggae aficionados, even despite...
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In a Dis Ya Time, The Itals
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