Album of the Week: Wayne Jarrett’s Showcase Vol. 1 (1982)

I’m in California now, so naturally I took a trip to the beach. Amidst seagulls and sunbathers I ducked under my t-shirt for a couple puffs of my one-hitter. Climbing up some rocks with my cooler I settled down at a picnic table to enjoy some iced tea and mellow out. Music was in order and I turned to Wayne Jarrett’s Showcase Vol. 1, which was probably the best decision I made all week.

This shit is magic. There’s a formula of sorts – despite the 80s release date we have here some rootsy, organic reggae songs featuring Wayne’s smooth voice. Then about halfway through each track we get a “version”: each song is dubbed out to glory before our very ears. The first two tracks, while great, have relatively short dubs. But once we get to “Magic in the Air”, which is a great song in its own right, there’s about 3-and-a-half minutes of dubby goodness in the backend.

“Bubble Up”‘s muted hi-hat creates a revolving, hypnotic dub that provides a base for some wicked guitar and flute vamping. “Darling Your Eyes” is a fat lovers rock song and possibly the best track here. At just 6 tracks, the brief album closes with “Holy Mount Zion”, recalling in melody Dadawah’s classic “Run Come Rally”.

In the mid-2000s, Basic Channel undertook a reissue project for the legendary American reggae music label Wackie’s, which originally released Showcase Vol. 1, along with other killer LPs like Horace Andy’s Dancehall Style and Junior Delahaye’s Showcase. If it wasn’t for them, we probably wouldn’t be hearing this album to today, so I’ll end this one on a big salute to Basic Channel.

Listen to Showcase, Vol. 1 here.

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