After spending a significant time in Jimmy Cliff’s Jamaican Experience band, performing with the singer at Madison Square Garden in 1976 and featuring on his In Concert album, guitarist and singer Noel Bailey (aka Noel Tempo, aka Sowell Radics, see BB 05 above) fronted a short-lived group called Black Heat Incorporated, but soon found a more hefty niche as guitarist with the Roots Radics, who emerged at the tail end of the 1970s to become the leading set of session players after settling into a residency at Channel One. At the same time, Bailey was still recording the odd single as a lead vocalist, as these two self-produced efforts that surfaced on Trojan’s Attack subsidiary in 1980 attest. ‘Fight Fight Fight’ warns against the discrimination facing a downtrodden sufferer like himself, imploring his fellow citizens to once again lend a helping hand; the bass-heavy dub reveals upfront congas, furious drum rolls, and snatches of sprightly organ. In contrast, ‘Caution’ is a hefty, on-the-edge number with Bailey’s tortured vocal warning of an impending crash; is it a speeding car that may send him over the precipice, an errant lover, pressure from the police, all of the above, or something else? Mid-way through, a toasted portion picks up the pace and shifts focus with a chant about the healing powers of the almighty herb, and there’s a last devotional salute to Jah, before the mind-boggling dub portion unfolds. A definitely different and hugely compelling listening experience!
David Katz ©
LABEL: IROKO RECORDS