CD The Man and His Music [Byron Lee & the Dragonaires] [CD] [1 disc] (CD 6273410),
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The Man and His Music [Byron Lee & the Dragonaires] [CD] [1 disc]
Byron Lee & the Dragonaires
0. DISC 1:
1. Theme from the Apartment
2. Jamaica Ska
3. Oil in My Lamp - (featuring Eric "Monty" Morris)
4. Wings of a Dove - (featuring The Blues Busters)
5. Soon You'll Be Gone - (featuring The Blues Busters)
6. Sammy Dead - (featuring Eric "Monty" Morris)
7. Come Back - (featuring Stranger Cole)
8. Elizabeth Serenade
9. Only a Fool - (featuring Mighty Sparrow)
10. Bam Bam - (featuring Toots & the Maytals)
11. Dancehall Soca
12. Soca Butterfly
13. Soca Tattie
14. Dragon Dance - (featuring Mighty Sparrow)
15. Give Me Soca
16. Tiney Winey
17. Wine Down
18. Empty Chair - (featuring Keith Lyn)
19. Behold - (featuring The Blues Busters)
20. Walk Like a Dragon
21. Donna - (featuring The Blues Busters)
22. 54 46 That's My Number - (featuring Toots & the Maytals)
23. Little Love, A (That's All I Want from You)
24. Redemption Song
0. DISC 2:
1. Tempted to Touch
2. Turn Me On
3. Blackman Come Out to Party
4. Old Friends Do (The Way Old Friends Do)
5. Sandra - (featuring Mighty Sparrow)
6. Soul Ska
7. Holly Holy
8. Green Island
9. Sad Sweet Dreamer
11. Ska Medley: Eastern Standard Time/Carry Go Briing Come
12. Worried Over You - (featuring Pam & Woody)
13. No Love No Money - (featuring Mighty Sparrow)
14. Nice Time
15. Sunday Coming
16. Mambo # 12
17. Moon River
18. Mammy Blue
19. Reggae Love Songs: Let's Put It All Together/Sideshow/Have You Seen Her/You Make Me Feel Brand New/Kiss and Say Goodbye
20. Thinking of You - (featuring The Blues Busters)
21. Maria - (featuring Mighty Sparrow)
22. Nani Wine
23. Carnival Killer
24. Dance with My Father Again
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 4165
Audio Remasterers: Paul Shields; Donald Clive Davidson; Fidel "Twice" Luna.
Liner Note Author: Donald Clive Davidson.
Editors: Paul Shields; Donald Clive Davidson; Fidel "Twice" Luna.
Photographer: Aad Brakus.
If the music of Byron Lee and his band sounds hokey to you, then you're missing the point. Granted, this is Jamaican music at its most tourist-friendly: Lee has always followed the trends rather than set them, which means that he and his band learned to play ska in the early 1960s, when that music was peaking in popularity, then moved with the times into rocksteady, then reggae, and then soca (with occasional forays into mento and salsa as well). His band, which he led while playing bass, has always been distinguished by professionalism above all, and often by a slightly overweening slickness. But there are worse things than professionalism in pop music, and this generous compilation (which surveys nearly 50 years' worth of work) finds Lee and his crew making some genius recordings, along with a few examples of pure, synthesized dreck. The instrumentals tend to sound a bit generic, while the vocal tracks mostly shine: there are brilliant performances here by the underappreciated early reggae singer Eric "Monty" Morris (who provides most of the highlight tracks on disc one), calypso legend the Mighty Sparrow, and even Toots & the Maytals (check out this version of the classic "Bam Bam"). Even some of the dreck is fun: Lee's version of "Moon River" will be an ironic hit at any party, while the exceptionally shlock "Elizabeth Serenade" might be useful as a hint to your guests that it's time to go home. At his best, though, Byron Lee led one of the tightest and smoothest bands through some of the greatest songs and rhythms to come out of Jamaica, and if he did so in a listener-friendly way, well, good for him. (That said, feel free to skip over his tight and smooth version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song.") ~ Rick Anderson
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