Bim Sherman - Tribulation (Down In Jamdown)
Pressure Sounds - #PSLP 57 & PSCD 57 - October 22, 2007
Bim's Love Forever
Reviewed by Seb on October 01, 2007
The Pressure Sounds label is really showing itself to be prolific in this end of year. Only a few weeks have passed since the great release 'Rockstone' (PSCD 56) and they are back at it again! They've given us a beautiful new surprise compilation of Bim Sherman - 'Tribulation - Down In Jamdown 1974 to 1979'. This singer is known mostly for his work with producer Adrian Sherwood and his On-U Sound label. However, he has been recording since the early 70s in a more underground way as the release notes show us :
« After moving from the rural parish of Westmoreland to Kingston in the early seventies [Bim Sherman] managed to scrape enough money together to finance small runs of seven inch forty fives that he wrote with his friend Bob West. Together they created a superb series of records that were released on Sherman's own Scorpio, Sun Dew and Red Sea labels. A selection of these songs were later re-mixed and re-voiced with different vocals whenever Sherman could raise the necessary finance. »
You could hardly make something more rootsy than this release: combining quality vocal lines with rhythms which usually don't use any tricks... DRUM AND BASS FORWARD! Most of the tracks are accompanied by their dub versions - it sounds logical for a seven-inch compilation but is still rare today (some record companies should be inspired by this idea). For example, you'll even find 2 great DJ cuts by Jah Woosh and Big Joe with 2 alternate vocal versions. It would be difficult to choose between 'Ital West' vs 'Danger' and 'Love Forever' vs 'Tribulation'.
Moreover, after a few listenings, it soon becomes clear there is no weak point to this compilation. Each of the 23 songs is a killer, showcasing roots reggae at its best. A few have been re-issued before, on other compilations, but these latter have long been obsolete and were far less complete, regardless.
'Tribulation - Down In Jamdown 1974 to 1979' will be issued on CD (PSCD 57) as well as on LP (PSLP 57). Some people may object that the audio quality varies on this release. In my opinion it would be failing to appreciate the difficulty of restoring these Jamaican pieces, as beautiful as they are rare.
In brief, Pressure Sounds Strikes Hard Again! In this time of the Rugby World Cup, one may say it's a try between the posts with the bonus point. It's a chance for those who don't yet know him to discover Bim Sherman at his best and for others to lay their hands on some great rarities and B-Sides. This label takes the lead in the small reggae re-issues market while Blood & Fire and Trojan are going through difficult times.
Go buy 'Tribulation' and why not 'Rockstone'... if you haven't already, you won't be disapointed.
Seb - Roots Archives, October 2007
Edited by Ritu Kashyap