It’s the kind of concept that any faceless music exec or scenester start-up might be pleased to launch today, but when reggae kingpin Clement “Coxsone” Dodd started remixing his Studio One back catalogue and inviting artists to rename and reclaim them for themselves a rather different motive was at work.
The DJ and soundsystem culture in 1970s Jamaica had given rise to the systematic borrowing, rehashing and recycling of popular riddims, and Dodd was simply doing what he could to pursue continued interest in his own investments.
If Sugar Minott’s vocals appeared lost in the mix on Live Loving, the first album to benefit from the new strategy at Studio One, by the time Johnny Osbourne’s Truths And Rights came along, Dodd had evidently nailed it.
The titular opening track differs little musically from the base material of Al Campbell’s similarly conscious ‘Take a Ride’, but with Osbourne’s rich tones and smooth delivery of profundities over Dodd’s deep and deft chroming of the riddim, ‘Truth And Rights’ is arresting, emotive and timeless.
And like everything in Jamaican music history, it’s not new but improved.
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