How about some Reggae today folks? It’s midweek, I’ve been going like crazy, and I need a lickle bit of the sweet stuff to nod my head, and really just relax. I was bumping some Lee Perry all week in the digging mobile, so I figured I’d keep the vibe going. Before I get moving with today’s selection, I’d like to shout out Dave Withers, who passed along a mix entitled Funk and Soul via Connie T. Empress. Dave my man, looking forward to meeting you, the mix was spot on, and I’m gonna be honest, I need to get my hands on a few of those records. Also, shout out to Fats from the ATL, holding it down in the Dirty Dirty, and sending good vibes to the Flea Market Funk. Welcome, welcome. Today’s selection is from a soulful female Reggae singer. It’s none other than Barbara Jones with “The First Cut Is The Deepest” on Top Rank Records, from the 1983 Lp Barbara Jones Sings Hit Songs In A Reggae Style.
Often called “the Billie Holiday” of Reggae, Barbara Jones interpretations of songs of the day, from Lovers Rock to Roots Reggae are all top notch. Reggae music is no stranger to the Soul or R&B cover songs, and neither is Jones. She pumped out a good amount of sides in the 70’s, but really broke through in the 80’s. With covers of Elvis (Suspicious Minds), The Turnabouts, but more well known, Juice Newton (Angel In the Morning), The Carpenters (On Top of the World), The Shirelles (Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow), Jones proves she can handle a wide variety of tunes. Whether it be Lite Rock, Ballads, or Motown, her take on these sides is really incredible. I was fortunate to get this record a bunch of years ago, in fact, over the years The Spot has turned up some good Reggae. All of theses particular records all were marked “Winston”. I do not know who Winston is, but I can assume he brought this gold straight from JA. I’ve got a nice grip of these long players, and Winston if you’re out there, many thanks. If you have some more for sale, I’ll take them all, no questions asked.
This particular record was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica at Dynamic Sounds Studio. Produced by Elon J. Robinson, he assembled a great studio band to back Barbara up throughout the entire Lp. You had the great Sly Dunbar and Mikey “Boo” Richards on drums, Willie Lindo on Guitar, Llloyd Parkes and Derrick Barnett both on Bass, Dean Fraser playing the horns and singing Background, Robert Lyn on Piano, Organ, and Synthesizer, as well as Winston Wright lending a hand on the Organ with Lyn. For me, this is one of her best covers. She takes this Cat Stevens original (not recorded by him until 1967) and puts her entire soul into it. Put on something sexy here people, grab the one you love, make out, make up, or just really enjoy a classic reworking of a truly great song. I’m not taking anything away from others who have covered this side (Sheryl Crow and Rod Stewart please step aside), but to me, this version is simply the best. Special Mention to the Norma Fraser version from the Studio One Soul compilation. I’ll see you Friday with a treat. Don’t forget the March 28th Asbury Park 45 Sessions, with our special guest: Dan from the Budos Band! Keep Diggin’!