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Tribulation: Down In Jamdown 1974-1979

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Album Review

When Bim Sherman died of cancer in 2000, the reggae world lost one of its most distinctive voices. Not a smooth-voiced crooner like Cornel Campbell or Johnny Clarke, Sherman instead sang in a voice that ached with vulnerability and floated like a ragged gossamer scarf in the breeze (the fact that it occasionally floated only approximately around the intended pitch just added emotional depth to his interpretations). Those who have heard his recorded work have mostly come across it on compilations from the On-U Sound label, or have heard him as one of the featured vocalists with Singers & Players. This collection brings together recordings made early in his career, when he was writing songs with his friend Bob West and producing the sessions himself, releasing the songs as singles on his own label. The sound quality ranges from acceptable ("Love Forever") to quite good ("Tribulation"), and several of the songs will be familiar to On-U Sound fans — "Ital West" is built on the "Danger" rhythm (an early version of "Danger" is included as well), "Love Forever" was covered by the New Age Steppers, and "Weak Heart Men" was later re-recorded several times by Sherman himself as "My Whole World." His later work would benefit from more consistently from expert production, but these early tracks show the singer working at the peak of his interpretive power.


Born: 02 February 1950 in Westmoreland, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

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

One of reggae's most enduring cult figures, Bim Sherman was also among the most highly regarded singers of his generation, with his sweet, wistful, and unmistakable voice acclaimed by scholars as one of the purest ever to emerge from the Jamaican music scene. Born in 1950, he first attracted notice with his 1974 debut single, "One Hundred Years in Babylon"; the Kingston studio circuit soon beckoned, but Sherman instead went his own way, refusing to perform any material except songs that he wrote...
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Tribulation: Down In Jamdown 1974-1979, Bim Sherman
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