Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Curly Locks - Best of Junior Byles & the Upsetters 1970 - 1976
Genre: World Music
In Byles, producer Lee "Scratch" Perry found a vocalist that could match him in insanity, although this isn't always reflected in his hits, such as the title track (heard in three versions), and "Beat Down Babylon," which ... more »
In Byles, producer Lee "Scratch" Perry found a vocalist that could match him in insanity, although this isn't always reflected in his hits, such as the title track (heard in three versions), and "Beat Down Babylon," which were massive in Jamaica in the early seventies. But listen to the previously unissued "Are You Leading Me On," in which his slow, slurred singing degenerates into mumbling over the rock steady rhythms. Aficionados might be horrified, but the kids prefer this stuff. Since the death of Haile Selassie in 1975, Byles has been a loose cannon, although he occasionally ignites recording flurries. This hits-and-sods collection also highlights Perry's Upsetters (a.k.a. the Wailers, more or less) who were the only game in town, as always. --D. Strauss
A creative partnership
Derrick A. Smith | USA | 07/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of all the vocalists recorded by Lee "Scratch" Perry, Junior Byles came closest to matching the producer's idiosyncracy: both delighted in silly/surreal wordplay, both combined rudeboy attitude with roots sentiments, and each had a crisis period, Junior's in 1975-76 upon hearing of Selassie's murder, and Perry's at the end of the 1970s, when he burned his Black Ark and fled the country.For several years, however, the two were writing on the same page as a true creative partnership (although it's not known to what extent Perry shared the financial rewards,) with Perry often co-writing lyrics or drafting entire songs, even giving his children vocal duties on the raucous "Thanks We Get." Like much of Lee Perry's work, these tracks exceed the dogmatic, self-righteous moral tone of the more mundane roots reggae songs; tunes such as "The Long Way", "A Place Called Africa", and even "Curly Locks" touchingly place condemnations of Babylon within personalized narratives that come to life through the interaction of Junior's vibratoed baritone, the Upsetters' funky-melodic riddims, and Scratch's subtle mix effects.In later years Lee Perry would speak highly of his works with Byles, and that respect is reflected by the mixes: often simple but never careless, with attention given to Byles' voice (hear the sublime double-tracking on "Curly Locks") and a notable lack of effects-for-effects'-sake."
An underappreciated shining star of reggae music 4.s atars
williedynamite | 10/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Enigmatic, idiosyncratic possibly mentally ill and extremely talented is the legacy that seems to follow Junior junior Byles. After listening to Curly locks I'd have to add another adjective; underapperiated to the mix. Curly locks: the best of junior byles is an sincere attempt to capture the career of this talented and troubled reggae star. It succeeds with flying colors mostly because of the talent of Byles and the genius of Lee perry. First of all the talent (songwritng and singing) of junior byles is at times astounding. His voice sounds so sweet and touching without being sappy. (Especially on fever, A place called africa and fun and games) His falsetto voice exudes sincerity and humility. His songwriting is strong if you listen to the words on uplifting a place called africa the political when will better come (beat down babylon) and the humurous got the tip shows the range in songs Byles was capable of. One cannot forget the production whic was handled by the imortal Lee perry. His riddims mesh perfectly with byles voice. It's easy to see why the two of them worked so well together. This compatibility is never more evident than on the title track Curly locks. There are three different version of it. Yes three! The first is the immortal original, which is folloed by a vey different virtually accapella version and rounded out by a drum and bass version of the song. These are a colectors dream. One of my favorite Reggae albums that I own. It's too bad more people aren't aware of this unapperciard star of reggae music."