Top positive review
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To Be A Lover - this album still rules!
on 15 June 2012
At last - it's available on CD at an affordable price! Not quite sure why it's been retitled "Super Eight" (originally "To Be A Lover [Have Mercy]"), but eight truly super tracks running to forty-two minutes are indeed contained herein.
This is one of the greatest reggae albums ever made, from the choice of material, the musicianship, smooth, smoky & seductive vocals and the unmistakeable genius evident in the Black Ark production by Lee "Scratch" Perry.
I discovered this album decades ago, and always had "faith" that it would receive due recognition. Finally, 35 yearslater, that can now happen - thanks to this 2012 Trojan/Island reissue. It's a bargain at a fiver or less on here.
The 12" singles taken from this LP are amongst my most cherished vinyl artefacts. Put on this record and be gently but quickly transported to a strange and wonderful technicolour world of sound. Around four minutes into the inspired fusion of "Midnight Hour" & "Ya Ya", George yelps out "I'm gonna wait 'til the midnight hour" a couple of times with echo, the phasey organ swirls, guitar & drums chop and tumble. Wilson Pickett & Mr. Dorsey would have wide grins when hearing it.
"So Fine" is just fantastic - play it LOUD to reach into the depth of the swirling, dubby production. Towards the track's end, George puts out a series of uh's, whoa's and yelps that gives Scratch a feast of new sound to scatter around in his inimitable style.
Elsewhere, heavenly muted brass and backing vox (courtesy of assorted Meditations & Mighty Diamonds)drift in and out, heavyweight reggae icons including Ernest Ranglin, "Chinna" Smith, Sly Dunbar and "Deadly" Headley Bennett combine to embellish George's soul-drenched lover's rock voice.
Put it on when you feel bad, or when you've had good news, on a sunny day or a bath night, or when you just want to convert the formerly uncovertible to the real value of reggae, performed and produced by people at the peak of their form.
Five stars ain't enough - you might say I thus recommend this record!