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Mr. Budy Bye

Johnny Osbourne

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Album Review

This sumptuous collection of Johnny Osbourne's work for the Jammys label across the 1980s, rounding up 19 hits, crucial singles, and the occasional album track. Of course, this includes the singer's break-out smash "Water Pumping," which wowed the sound systems in 1983, but even before that, Osbourne was unleashing a steady stream of potent numbers, and thankfully a number of them are featured here. "Folly Ranking" dates from 1980, and its smack down of a notorious Kingston gang thrilled fans at home, and was the title of an album. Incidentally, it utilized a version of a rhythm Osbourne rode for the Junjo Lawes-produced "Fally Lover," which too titled a full-length.

But such was the singer's standing that he had always commanded top rhythms from the producer. "Lend Me Your Chopper," for example, versioned "Real Rock," a rhythm that had still to lose its shine. Of course, it helps that Jammys had some of the island's top talent laying down the backings, initially the Roots Radics and Earl "Chinna" Smith's Hi Times Band, and once ragga took hold, Steely & Clevie and Mafia & Fluxy all whipped the sound systems and dancehalls into a froth with their seminal sounds. The title track pays tribute to King Jammy and his indispensable Casio organ, for as Osbourne insists "No Ice Cream Sound" for him, only the best will do, and Jammy complied. The album boasts a clutch of classic sound system anthems — "In the Area" (here retitled "What a La La"), "Lend Me Your Chopper" (shortened to "Chopper"), "Rock and Come In," and "Rewind." But Osbourne wasn't just a rabble rouser, he was equally adept at culture, with "Jah Can't Leave Us Alone," "Fire Down Below," and "On the Right Track" all religiously themed, while "Terrorist" and a sizzling recut of his 1969 hit "Warrior" both condemn violence. Beyond the cultural realm is the superb "Mr. Walker," a track from Fally Lover, and the equally stellar "Trench Town School," an autobiographical number where Osbourne sweetly celebrates his success.

There are a couple of numbers that haven't stood the test of time very well, and a few notable omissions that would have been welcomed inclusions, but with a set this strong, that's nit-picking. Osbourne was cutting equally crucial songs for other producers, so this is not a definitive greatest-hits set, but it comes close.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic

Just hit play and let it go. One of those classic reggae albums from track 1 to 19. For true Reggae lovers!

Biography

Born: 1948 in Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '80s, '90s

A 25-year career that shows no sign of letting up, from soulful reggae to a massive dancehall catalog. With his warm voice filled with conviction and yearning, he's one of the island's best, especially on standards like...
Full Bio
Mr. Budy Bye, Johnny Osbourne
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