Two decades on, this set packs a punch.
Angus Taylor 2008-07-30
Having devoted a sizeable share of their best of and reissue releases to the 'rub-a-dub' era, Greensleeves are now marching forward to 1986 and the digital age. And while mainstream music critics still tend to be suspicious of this period for its supposed 'crudeness' of both rhythm and lyric, the passage of time has - miraculously! - made these productions safe for all but the most luddite reggae fans' ears.
King Kong is surely one of the dancehall's supreme vocalists. In 2K7 he was sampled for Ghetto Life on Pressure’s Love & Affection album to splendid effect, proving his sound is at home in any setting. But it all started with Trouble Again, his 22 year old debut long player for Greensleeves - recorded at King Jammy's with Steely & Cleevie making the beats - where he more then holds his own atop a variety of pedigree rhythms. First track Mash It Up Already is Vin Gordon and the Sound Dimensions' Heavenless; Mix Up uses Stranger Cole & Lester Sterling's Bangarang as its basis; the politically conscious title song updates Johnny Clarke’s Bunny Lee produced classic King In The Arena; and Kong even rides a transposed take on Mungo Jerry's seasonal irritant In The Summer Time – recast as Follow Me.
Besides the original album cuts, Greensleeves have added some bonus material. Move To The Top works over a cheerful Steely & Cleevie relick of Real Rock and fits in just fine, whereas the heavy steppers, Bubblers Computer Stars track creation Paro Them Paro (and its dub) are something of a departure from the other tunes, yet nevertheless make for a strong ending to the cd.
King Kong's fluid melodious voice is such a striking instrument that he could lend it to pretty much anything and come up trumps. Two decades on, this set packs a punch, and should help prove to the doubters that though reggae had indeed changed at this point, it was still in rude health.