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Jacob Miller EP

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Album Review

Released the same year the reggae singer's life was cut short by a car accident, the 1980 set Jacob Miller Lives On is one of those hastily thrown-together compilations that can't help but succeed thanks to the rich source material. At least that's the way the reggae faithful will see it, since almost everything here is pulled from the 12" releases Miller recorded for producer and label owner Joe Gibbs. The "& Friends" the 17 North Parade label wisely added to their 2008 reissue refers to the DJs, toasters, and dub players who appear on these extended cuts. Big names like I-Roy, Welton Irie, and Augustus Pablo take over after Miller's sweet and powerful voice sings the tunes, and classics like "I Am a Natty," "I'm Just a Dread," and "Keep on Knocking" get to stretch their legs and extend their winning grooves. Since it's not the most artist-centered compilation, it's not the best introduction, either, but collectors will appreciate obtaining these hard to find mixes, especially since the 2000 collection I'm Just a Dread — the same album with bonus tracks, a different running order, and duller sound — has fallen out of print. Even if North Parade's reissue sounds brighter and fuller, the surface noise of the original 12" discs is still very noticeable and, in the case of damaged cuts like "Fly Away," very distracting.


Born: May 4, 1956 in Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

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

"I was born on Rousseau Road/the number was 21A," so Jacob Miller sang on "Killer Miller." In actuality, the star apparently hailed from Mandeville, in the Jamaican hills; however, his single mother sent her son to live with his grandparents in Kingston, and thus he did indeed grow up on Rousseau Road. His date of birth is equally contentious, with claims made for both 1952 and 1955, while one can infer from interviews with Augustus Pablo an even later date, circa 1960. There's no doubt though that...
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Jacob Miller EP, Jacob Miller
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