Devon Russell - Darker Than Blue LP
Devon Russell - Darker Than Blue LP (Soulgramma/Italy)
Notes: Falsetto reggae tributes to Curtis Mayfield that slay, records that contain a whose who of musical contributions including Sly Dunbar, Bobby Ellis, King Tubby productions, Dean Fraser, Aston "Family Man" Barrett and more, smooth soul that began with a single in 1979 and snowballed into a collection of songs by 1993, and collections finally reissued in a very limited quantity.
Mood: Power to the people island style.
A proper reissue of this stone-cold, soul-reggae classic, originally released in 1993. Although published in 1993, the first session dates back to 1979. It was around this time that Earl "Chinna" Smith (of The Wailers and Soul Syndicate fame) approached the singer with the idea of re-making some Curtis Mayfield songs. "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue" was the first track generated during the meeting, followed after a couple of years by "Move On Up". Devon Russell's birthplace and date are as much a mystery as the gaping holes in his recording career. He began with the Tartans, a mid-60s rock steady vocal group comprised of himself, Prince Lincoln Thompson, Linbergh "Preps" Lewis, and Cedric Myton; they disbanded after their 1967 hit "Dance All Night" (Federal Records). It is no mystery Jamaicans loved Motown soul, but this tribute was an epiphany on its own. With a crew comprised of eclectic master drummer Sly Dunbar, the album was completed at the Leggo Studios in Kingston, Jamaica with The Firehouse Crew on board. A mission accomplished ten years after the first foundation stone was laid. Devon Russell's "Move On Up" and "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue" appeared on the Soul jazz compilation Disco Reggae Rockers (2022), now the whole package is here. Fully licensed.