Starts kind of respectful, even mechanical, but quickly assumes its own character and style. Jimmy Lindsay’s recording of the Bill Withers original brings hints of African drums, rock & roll (that sax solo!), and his nascent rasta consciousness.
A lot of reggae covers (including some on this site) come off as bound to or hindered by the original recording in an almost postcolonial sense. This artist however takes the slow-danceable, heavily-orchestrated original released to US audiences in 1967 and turns it into a whole new piece of art: one that preserves the essentials of the song (melody & lyrics) but turns them up for the hip-shaking audiences of 1969 Trenchtown.
Say you wanna be loved
But you won’t let me love you
Say you want someone to trust in you, baby
Can’t you see that’s what I’m tryin’ to do?
With a backing band like The Upsetters there’s no way this 1971 cover of the 1970 King Floyd original wouldn’t have a world-class skank. Journeyman reggae vocalist Dave Barker (perhaps better known as half of the duo of Dave & Ansell Collins) does a creditable job recreating the bright, evocative vocals of the original track.
You’ve become a sweet taste in my mouth, now
And I want you to be my spouse
So that we can live happily, nah-nah
In a great big ol’ roomy house
And I know you’re gonna groove me, baby
Gonna’ make a man if it takes all night
A plaintive, slow-rolling version of the 1975 original by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, this cover lacks a lot of the typical punch & urgency of Big Youth’s music but the message is spot-on with the original.
The world won’t get no better
if we just let it be
A not entirely unexpected reggae arrangement of the 1972 classic soul tune by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Groovy in the sense of the original song, but lacking all of Teddy Pendergrass‘ bombast and the fantastic string orchestration of the original.
If you don’t know me by now
you will never never never know me…
Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” was released in 1973 to instant critical acclaim, followed by an era of serious American investigation into the making of sweet, sweet love to its ever-smooth melodies, the title track becoming the metronomic groove-finder for couples coming together anywhere there was a hi-fi. Lloyd Charmers –a veteran ska & reggae singer from Trench Town– recorded this trippy, ethereal, groove-heavy cover in 1974.
If you believe in love, let’s get it on…