Freddy McKay - Doin' It Right - Charly
Rhythm and Blues is the main interest of Charly Records - but with Trojan releasing R&B and Soul Jazz releasing reggae - you cannot blame them for wanting a piece of the reggae revive action. This set is a great place to start. Freddy McKay passed on 1985 - after complaining about an headache. He left behind him a true legacy of fantastic reggae music. With big bigh hits for Duke Reid, Coxsone, and Dynamics. This set from 1977 is for Alvin Ranglin - and its a great one! Alvin Ranglin was on a roll then - helping to turn Gregory Isaacs into an international star. And it was the same team of musicians who worked on this album - The Revolutionaries - all Freddy had to do was sing. His training at two great acadamies of music - Treasure Isle and Studio One - made sure of rest. Only 9 tracks but with epic mixes three tracks lasting over five minutes and one lasting over 7 minutes. Quality not quantity.
Freddy McKay - Picture On The Wall - Studio One
Studio One in the early seventies, still had a certain amount of attraction to any upcoming artist. Although Dynamics, Harry J and Federal had better studios they tended to follow trends rather than create them. Coxsone was always prepared to give someone a chance, (Although afterwards most of his artists, wish they hadn't asked.) And With some of the best musicians also hanging around looking for a break, it was very hard for him not to end up with classic albums, and quite simply this is yet another one.
Freddy McKay - A Lonely Man - Dynamics - 1974
When Freddy McKay left Studio One, Dynamics wasn't his first stop, but the studio was almost the next best place for him to be. Freddy's wonderfully gravelly voice was perfect for all kinds of material. And the softer Dynamics production approach seemed to suit him well. Thankfully the producers of this album Warrick Lyn & Neville Hinds were into the music well enough to know that great songs like 'I'm A Free Man' and 'Peace In The Garden' needed to be included, and duly are. A superb album.
Freddy McKay - Best Of Freddy McKay - GG's
Alvin Ranglin's production skills had already brought out the best in Gregory Isaacs. And this late seventies album from the producer employs all the same techniques on Freddy, the thoughtful choice of songs and the careful use of lead instrumentation synths, etc, all makes for yet another very enjoyable album. Freddy's is also in good form vocally and gives us a good version of 'Sweet You, Sour You' here called 'Sweet & Sour', plus a nice vocal version of 'Rome'. Not the 'Best Of', but very close.
Freddy McKay - Creation - Plant
This is probably Freddy's most basic set. In that the production is very minimal relying instead on a collection of rhythms - that at the time were doing the rounds amongest a variety of singers including Leroy Smart and Junior Delgado. Still the choice of songs is interesting. With covers of 'Creation Rebel' 'Here I Come' and 'Rainbow'. Freddy sings all of these songs with enough conviction to make them his own. Yet it you can't help wondering what original Freddy would have come up with, with just a little more time.
Freddy McKay - Harsh Words - Gorgon
The album Freddy would have made with more time available to him is this. And this also seems to be his first self produced set, which was very encouraging. It's never easy for an artist to make that crossover to production, but in the world of reggae music it is often essential if the artist is to gain any real reward from his efforts. Production here tends to be very rootsy, but then these are rhythms built around songs - all written by Freddy. Which the best of include 'Sun Don't Shine and 'Tear Drops'.
Freddy McKay - Tribal Inna Yard - Move - 1985
The dance hall style rhythms of the early to mid eighties was perfect for Freddy. Yet with so much talent around in Jamaica it seemed like he was one of the last people to be produced in the style. And that production comes from Delroy Wright and Linval Thompson who between them produced some of the best albums in the era. As always Freddy's give us another great album which includes many fine songs. Sadly this was one of the last albums he recorded before he died of a brain hemorrhage.