Friday, February 5, 2010

Delroy Wilson • Dub Plate Style

An unsung reggae singer during his time, Delroy Wilson's style lies somewhere between '70s reggae and R&B. Being from Kingston, Jamaica, he sang reggae songs and made his way up the ranks to record with stalwart producers such as Bunny Lee. In 1978 Lee helmed a collection of Wilson's songs titled 20 Golden Greats. A showcase for both Wilson's R&B-ified singing and Lee's reggae production expertise, the album stood out (perhaps not for the best at the time) primarily thanks to Prince Jammy's remix. Jammy's dub mix moved the album into the realm of "dub mix with reggae vocals" (typically dub mixes include only sporadic bits of vocal), at the time where some thought mainstream reggae was headed. Alas, it didn't go there. Fast forward…

Dub Plate Style is that same album, released by Pressure Sounds out of the UK last year, under a more fitting title and sympathetic marketing. Using the original master tapes and pressed on high quality 180 gram vinyl (it's also out on CD), Wilson's vocals atop Lee's production and Jammy's remix is a treat to behold. Not as sappy as some straight reggae can be, not as dubby as some of the more far out dubs you usually hear (which were typically meant to be B-sides), these songs are somewhere in between and with a fair dose of soul, something Wilson clearly took in as a young man hearing the typical Motown and Stax records that were played in Jamaica in the '60s. After first listening no one track sticks out for me as the epitome of the collection, but I'll bet as time goes by this will become one of my favorites. And it's just one of Pressure Sounds' many fabulous releases—which should be bought on vinyl to appreciate them to the utmost.
4/5 (Pressure Sounds, UK)

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