Finatic Records’ “3-IN-1” compilation boasts an impressive list of some of Reggae’s finest vocalists.
The album is divided into four parts. The first three parts are continuous vocal mixes on top of three individual instrumentals–about five songs per instrumental. The fourth segment of the compilation is comprised of two songs by Apple Gabriel, formerly of Israel Vibration, and include dub versions of those songs. The seasoned Reggae listener will know what I am talking about, but for those who are wondering, let me elaborate.
In order to trace the history of this type of album we must go back to the 1960’s. Instrumental or “Dub” reggae tracks were created by dropping the lyrics out of the final mix and occasionally flavoring the instruments with reverb and delay. At this time, Jamaica had several mobile sound systems that battled it out for the largest following, all led by a personality-rich assortment of deejays who sang/rapped or “toasted” over the instrumental “versions” of popular songs. Respect must be given to the great U-Roy, a deejay whose collaboration with King Tubby pioneered a style that has since been imitated in dancehall and rap. The deejay style proved infectious and it’s popularity grew exponentially-virtually every 45 single produced included a B-side instrumental version, forever changing the sound of Jamaican music. Today there are many producers and bands that specialize in the production of instrumental reggae tracks or “riddims” for vocalists and deejays to sing and “chat” over.
The “3-IN-1” compilation follows in the tradition of vocalizing over a pre-recorded track. The CD kicks off with Mikey Spice’s “Got To Be You,” sung over the mellow lover’s rock instrumental, the “Paradise/Queen Majesty” riddim, that dominates the first six songs, followed by Glen Washington’s “All My Love” with his trademark soul-style vocal with which to swoon your lover. Luciano gives this riddim a spiritually inspirational twist in his “Dream of Paradise” segueing into Screwdriver giving “thanks and praises” with “What a Joy.” Just when you thought the riddim couldn’t get any sweeter, the Crown Prince of Reggae, the late Dennis Brown, gives us some of his best on “You Have Caught Me Baby.” Dancehall veteran Admiral Tibet takes us into the next riddim with the song “Hide and Seek,” with other lover’s rock tunes following suit to carry out the riddim. Introducing the “3-In-1” riddim with his unquestionably unique, spiritually uplifting vocal, Freddie McGregor’s golden voice teaches us to “learn to love one another” with his “It’s So Nice” track. Everton Blender condemns Babylon’s brutality with “World In Need” while Admiral Tibet invites us to join him in “Coming Home.”
Overall, “3-IN-1” showcases some of the finest singers in Reggae atop three crucial Reggae riddims. Where in some cases I might not recommend a disc that repeats the same riddim, “3-In-1” is an exception. After perusing “3-IN-1’s” all-star vocal line up, the CD not only kept my interest, but also inspired me. To check out more of what Finatic Records has to offer, visit www.finaticrecords.com and maybe you’ll become a “Finatic” too.