The serious return of Johhny O
Johnny Osbourne - First Choice - Black Wacks.
Ever since Johnny Osbourne burst back into the business in 1980 with the Studio One set 'Truths & Rights' he's made some great music for a wide variety of producers. Many of them could have pushed him out to a wider audience - the breakthrough never came. It was said he was working on a fantastic album with Augustus Pablo, which is still unreleased. One set of people he's never worked with until now are Youth Promotion and Wackies. This Black Wacks album changes that. This set a hugh step forward for all concerned. It's traditional dancehall - but with enough touches on it to make sure you know you are dealing with the year 2000. Lyrically its very much the same. Sugar Minott, Lloyd Barnes and most of Johnny O must be well pleased with this!
Johnny Osbourne - Truths & Rights - Studio One
In the late seventies Johnny Osbourne long time resident of Canada returned to his native Jamaica. And it didn't take him long to returned to his making ways. And that process was started at Studio One. Coxsone Dodd knew that the recent change in the music - the advent of the dance hall style was something he take advantage - after all he had originally cut some of the most popular dance hall rhythms. Yet he needed good singers/songwriters enter Johnny Osbourne. Who along with a few others put Coxsone back on top.
Johnny Osbourne - Fally Lover - Greensleeves
Around 1979/80, within a short space of time, less than six months. It was clear that a new production force had emerged in Jamaica - Henry Junjo Lawes. Junjo could have just concentrated on his main talent Barrington Levy. Instead he started to work with
a wide variety of talent including Johnny O. It was a perfect combination. Johnny quickly adapted to Junjo more though rhythms. His lyrics became rougher, more direct, but still enjoyable. Listen out for 'Mushroom' and 'Ice Cream Love' as good examples.
Johnny Osbourne - Folly Ranking - Jammy's
The success of his albums for Coxsone and Junjo, was all that was needed for other producers to either issue their own Johnny Osbourne productions or record the man. One such producer was the then Prince Jammy. Who to be fair to the man, was trying very hard to set up himself. Yet nothing happens before it's time, and Jammys time was to come. Still 'Folly Ranking' was and is a very good album. Lyrically it's a lot like 'Fally Lover'. Production wise it had a more rockers feel to it. The title track being the best example of this.
Johnny Osbourne - Dancing Time - Londisc - 1984
In the early eighties Johnny Osbourne quickly had a number of albums in the record racks. Each of these albums took Johnny to greater heights of popularity. And of course they also overexposed him. Since then Johnny as consistently put out great music with a variety of producers. Yet this album takes Johnny back and forward from 1980. A 7 track album which includes a the big hit - 'Get Cracking' and other great songs like the 'Show Must Go On' a great version of Alton Ellis's 'A Fool'.
Johnny Osbourne - Johnny Osbourne - Lix
This album gives us a chance to listen to what Johnny can do when he sits down behind the board in a studio. Naturally his efforts are excellent. Showing a complete knowledge of current studio techniques. And in fact introducing one or two new ones to the music. The most interesting to be found is on 'Reasons'. Here Johnny double tracks his voice through some sort of vocorder to very pleasant effect. It would be good to hear more done with such a device. Congratulations to Rap Rose as well as co-producer of the set.
Johnny Osbourne - Rub A Dub Soldier - Jammys
The last Jammy produced Johnny Osbourne album the very disappointing 'Water Pumping' was enough to have turned me off of checking any new works from the artist and the producer altogether. Yet with Jammys back in good form it's a real pleasure to report that this is a corker of an album. Like most of the recent Jammy album productions, it's a showcase. And that for me doubles the enjoyment of listening to the likes of 'Rewind' 'Biddy Bye No.1' and 'In The Area' as well as the title track.
Johnny Osbourne - Smiling Faces - Blue Mountain - 1989
Bobby Digital's move into production in the late eighties provided a lot more studio work for King Jammys regular artists, Johnny Osbourne included. This set is than more interesting from a Bobby Digital angle than a Johnny Osbourne angle. Digital's rhythms are truly inspiring. Interesting recuts of some lesser known classics. While Johnny's lyrics include 'Smiling Faces' and 'Pretty Blue Eyes'. Aside form those two, Mr.O works his way through his usual selection of dance hall lyrics.