Augustus Clarke - Greensleeves 12" Rulers
Greensleeves - #GRELCD 611 - October 08, 2007
Reviewed by Hans on October 16, 2007
If you browse Roots Archive for Augustus 'Gussie' Clarke you will find an impressive listing of his service to reggae music. Gussie started producing in the early Seventies for artists including Big Youth, I Roy and Delroy Wilson. Preceded by Jammy and Tubby, he was one of the producers who jumped in the digital reggae sound in the mid Eighties. In 1988 and 1989 Gussie made hit after hit with his Music Works digital sound. I 'Reggae The Rough Guide' Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton wrote; "...digital instrumentation was compatible with more traditional values in Jamaican music, including those of the roots era. Gussie produced modern, hi-tech counterparts to steppers rhythms".
To give you an impression of the outstanding list of Gussies' production work at that time, check 1988 and 1989 Greensleeves 12 inch 45s at Tapir's site. This latest Greensleeves CD is a compilation of 12 songs. Most of them can be found on this site. Greensleeves have put the cream of the crop of the reggae scene from that era on this CD. I hadn't played my personal collection of these songs for a long time, so I was looking forward to hearing Gussies' sound again.
Gregory Isaacs' 'Rumours' is one of my favourite tunes of that era, especially the extended version on this CD. Don't expect a laid back dubby sound for the second part of this extended version, at that time instrumental rhythms ruled the version. No boring rhythms but powerful reggae music. Included on this CD is Shaba Ranks together with Deborahe Glasgow performing their huge MTV hit 'Mr. Lover Man'. Because of MTV's powerplay of this video this song is still pretty overdone for me. Just like 'Mr. Lover Man' a lot of songs on this CD are done in a 'combination style'. Veterans Gregory Isaacs and Freddie McGregor together with Ninjaman. Or Home T together with Cocoa Tea and Shaba Ranks, their 'Pirates Anthem' is a wicked song. The reggae ladies are also well presented on this release. Along with Deborahe Glasgow you get J.C. Lodge and the less well known Krystal. Shaba joins Krystal with her song 'Twice My Age'. A solid rhythm which also was used by Gussie for the one-rhythm LP of the same name.
'Greensleeves 12'' Rulers' is an album that should surprise everyone who wants to dig into reggae history. If youíve only listened to reggae which is recorded before 1986 then I urge you to read Barrow and Daltonís quote again and give this album some listening time.
Big up Greensleeves! And thanks for revisiting of this great sound.
Hans - Roots Archives, October 2007
Edited by Leggo Rocker