Jacob Miller & Ray I - Natty Christmas
17 North Parade - #VPCD 2366 - October 23, 2007
Collie herb for Christmas
Reviewed by Hans on October 28, 2007
For a brief impression of Christmas in Jamaica, read the next quote(*) from Caribbean.com: "The Christmas season in Jamaica is the most festive time of year, filled with non-stop celebrations, special treats, entertainment, parties, festivals, and happy gatherings of friends and family. Although the island has never seen snow and its houses do not have chimneys, Santa Claus and his gifts are very much a part of Jamaica’s tradition, as are Christmas carols, such as “Oh Holy Night” and “Silent Night” - some can even be found in a reggae version." The average reggae listener probably knows the Christmas compilations released by Heartbeat, Trojan, RAS and MC Productions or the Christmas recordings of Dobby Dobson, John Holt and of course Jacob Miller.
VP Records has reissued Jacob Miller's album 'Natty Christmas' on CD. Jacob Miller recorded this album together with dj Ray I in 1978 for producer Errol Myrie. According to the cover this CD is different: Jacob Miller and Ray I featuring Red Rat and Turbulence ...... uhhhhhhhh, pretty suprising to me. DJ's Red Rat and Turbulence both became popular in the reggae scene in the late Nineties. Nowadays Turbulence is still making recordings for producers like Cousins and Twilight Circus.
The CD offers five extended songs and opens with 'Whish You A Merry Christmas' on a solid rhythm by Fatman Riddim Selection. The keyboard especially brings the Christmas vibe on this song. Although the melody of this traditional song is a bit boring, Jacob Miller is singing full force and the razorblade-cut is immediately followed by Ray I in an oldschool dj style on 'Ahameric Temple'. On 'Silver Bells' the short intro is by Turbulence followed by Jacob demonstrating his well known singing style after that - I love it. This song is longer than the original LP track and offers a contrast as it also features singing from Turbulence. The vibes of both 'All I Want For Ismas' and 'Deck The Halls' are the same as the first song: solid rhythms, full force vocals and old school dj-ing. Both Jacob and Ray I are asking for collie herb on 'All I Want For Ismas' - wicked. Red Rat is announced in 'On The Twelve Day Of Ismas'. This last song has the same pattern as 'Silver Bells': Jacob Miller singing, guest vocals from Red Rat on the lengthened part and Ray I dj-ing at the end.
Allthough i'm not convinced of the added value of Turbulence and Red Rat on this reggae Christmas CD, the rhythms and vocals are so solid that it is a true reggae album.
Hans - Roots Archives, October 2007
Edited by Ritu Kashyap