Witty Henry

 

(Witty Henry) V/A - Dance Hall Showcase Vol 3 - Mango - 1988. Witty Henry aka The Music Master here working out of the H.C.& F studio in New York, gives us Echo Minott, Robert Ffrench, Junior Wilson and Chakademus over what sound like Tony Asher generated digital rhythms. It's all fresh and crisp, but not radically different from the work of Jammy's and Tubby's. And that is what is needed now. Money spent on using only one or two musicians should be spent on studio time. A bit of work with the drum and bass could be very rewarding musically.

(Witty Henry) V/A Music Master Top Ten - Music Master - 1989. Witty's been known for his good and careful taste in the modern sound; he likes to use the heavy and serious sound of the Firehouse Crew and the tightier Steelie & Cleavie. Of the tracks we have here, there are two big sellers Shelley Thunder's 'Kuff' abd Tinga Stewart's/Ninjaman's 'Take Time To Know'. A great version of the Heptones classic 'I Love You' by upcoming Junior Wilson. Good DJ tracks are Flourgon's pompous 'Jammin' and Chakademus dance hall phrasing on 'Yu Fe Shock Out'.

(Witty Henry) V/A 1RLP - Rhythm One - Justice - 1990

With the popularity of the one rhythm album now well beyond doubt, reggae producers have started to come up with all sorts of ideas in connection with the concept. 2,3 & 4 rhythm album are now with us, and so are all Singers or DJ one rhythm sets, but this one rhythm series from Witty Henry is a very bold step. To put together 6 high quality rhythm albums is a tremendous work. And of the eight outstanding tracks here special mention must go to Anthony Redrose for 'You Send Me' and Sluggy & Nardo Ranking's 'Reunited'.

(Witty Henry) V/A 1RLP - Rhythm Two - Justice - 1990

Another interesting feature of this series is the use of unfamiliar rhythms, it would have been so easy for Witty to line up the old favourites, but instead with the help of some talented musicians who are sadly not named he's built a solid rhythm at the Black Scorpio studio in Jamaica that is remixed throughout the entire album, usually by Phillip Smart at HCF in NYC. Listen out this time for 'King Of The Road' from King Everald and 'Tracy Chap' a DJ/Singer combination tune from Bunny General & Sleepy Wonder.

(Witty Henry) V/A 1RLP - Rhythm Three - Justice - 1990

Although there are some great selections on Vol 3, from great artists like Tony Tuff, Little Twitch and Stone Wall, the best track, the truly outstanding track comes from Gregory Isaacs and his story of 'Freekey Pat'. Gregory as always been at his best explaining in poignant detail the break up (down) of male/female relationship. This time however he excells himself. Bit by bit, slowly but surely he builds up a character profile of 'Freekey Pat', the woman who Gregory will probably never forget.

(Witty Henry) V/A 1RLP - Rhythm Four - Justice - 1990

Out of all the six albums this volume is probably the strongest. Trevor Sparks starts it all off with 'Devoted To You'. His voice as always been a pleasure to listen too, but when you combine it too a really nice song - he's untouchable. The DJ combination cut of this with Little Twitch called 'Count On You' is also well up to standard. Other favourite is the late and great Nitty Gritty's 'Girl Don't Do It'. Other truly good songs and perfomances come from Willo, Echo Minott and Leroy Smart.

(Witty Henry) V/A 1RLP - Rhythm Five - Justice - 1990

Like Rhythm Three in the series, Rhythm Five really makes it on one track alone. Meaning that all the tracks are good, very good in some cases, but one track really does the business. And this comes from the now low profile Courtney Melody. His 'Don't Pick Up' is a remarkable life song by any standard. Using stock lyrical themes employed by everyone from Ska to the present, he nonetheless manages to instill enough originality into the song to make it a modern classic. "You look so unhappy, like you won't see another day."

(Witty Henry) V/A 1RLP - Rhythm Six - Justice - 1990

The balance between Singers and Dj's over the series as been about equal, but without doubt the singers have made a bigger impact, which is unusual considering the current state of affairs in reggae music. Still on this final album of the series, a DJ Papa Biggy - (who goes back at least to the days of Volcano Hi-Power around 83/84) comes forward with a very interesting set of lyrics titled 'Looting No Shooting'. If Papa Biggy's got more lyrics like this, someone should put them on tape and then vinyl.