Barrington Levy - 6 Albums
Levy was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. He formed a band called the Mighty Multitude, with his cousin, Everton Dacres; the pair released "My Black Girl" in 1977. Levy established his solo career the following year with the release of "A Long Time Since We Don't Have No Love"; though the single was a failure, the fourteen-year-old was a popular performer at Jamaican dancehalls. In an August 2014 interview with Midnight Raver, record producer Delroy Wright revealed that it was his brother Hyman Wright who first met Barrington Levy in the mid-1970s through Wade "Trinity" Brammer. According to Delroy Wright, Hyman Wright recorded a host of tracks with Barrington Levy prior to introducing him to Henry "Junjo" Lawes. These tracks would eventually appear on the album Bounty Hunter, which was released on the Jah Life record label. Both record producers recorded several singles with the Roots Radics, including "Al Yah We Deh", "Looking My Love", "Englishman", "Skylarking", "Wedding Ring Aside" and "Collie Weed", all of which became hits and established Levy's career. Levy's next few singles were similarly successful, including "Shine Eye Girl", "Wicked Intention", "Jumpy Girl", "Disco Music", "Reggae Music", "Never Tear My Love Apart", "Jah", "You Made Me So Happy" and "When You're Young and in Love". Levy then recorded several duets with Toyan, Jah Thomas and Trinity, and appeared at Reggae Sunsplash in 1980 and 1981. Although albums were not terribly important in Jamaica at the time, Levy released four albums before 1980: Shaolin Temple, Bounty Hunter, Shine Eye Gal (United Kingdom) and Englishman, a critically acclaimed record. His success led to many earlier studio and sound system performances being reissued without his consent, releases he described as "joke business".
Barrington Levy - 6 Albums
Taking a break from albums, Levy then released a series of hit singles, including "Mary Long Tongue", "In the Dark", "Too Poor", "I Have a Problem", "Even Tide Fire a Disaster", "I'm Not in Love", "You Have It", "Love of Jah", "Under Mi Sensi", "Tomorrow Is Another Day", "Robberman", "Black Roses", "My Woman" and "Money Move". He began working with Paul "Jah Screw" Love and toured the UK in 1984, where he enjoyed a big hit on the reggae charts with "Under Mi Sensi", which was followed by the crossover hit "Here I Come", which reached number 41 in the UK Singles Chart in 1985. He returned to LPs with Lifestyle and Money Move, followed by a British hit album called Here I Come; Levy received the Best Vocalist prize at the British Reggae Awards in 1984. The late 1980s saw Levy, now in his twenties, slow down his recorded output, though he continued to perform and record regularly, and played at Sunsplash every year from 1987 to 1995. His fortunes were revived by two cover versions of Bob Andy songs - "My Time" and "Too Experienced", both produced by Jah Screw, and he was signed by Island Records in 1991 for the Divine album. In 1991 he returned to the UK chart with "Tribal Base", a single by Rebel MC featuring Levy and Tenor Fly, which reached number 20. In 1993, Levy tried to break in the United States with the Barrington album, produced by Lee Jaffe, Andre Betts and Sly & Robbie, but it failed to give him the breakthrough he wanted and his relationship with MCA Records was short-lived.
In September 2013 he released the single "Love the Way She Love", a collaboration with Mr. Vegas, and announced an acoustic album featuring new songs and reworkings of old songs such as "Prison Oval Rock" and "Black Roses". His album, Acousticalevy, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2016.
Unlike the 64th Grammy Awards, where the Best Reggae Album was won by SOJA, who had the only fully-Reggae entry, and bested five other Jamaicans, this year the possible top contenders could again be mainly Jamaicans, but this time, those with authentic Reggae/Dancehall albums.
Though not entirely Reggae/Dancehall, Gifted with 10 solo tracks, five of which were produced by the 2019 Grammy Award winner herself. With tracks spanning the history-making Lockdown, West Indies, Pull Up, Shine, x10, Lonely and Gifted, it was one of the exceptional albums from a Jamaican in 2022 and could put Koffee back in contention, once again.
Biggest of the bunch is New York rap loon Busta Rhymes, last heard collaborating with Q-Tip on their The Abstract and the Dragon tape; expect rapid-fire wordplay and two decades worth of radio rap hits. Dancehall royalty Barrington Levy is also confirmed to appear, pulling from 30-odd albums worth of material, and dubstep progenitors Digital Mystikz will be providing the bass weight.
Levy was discovered as a fourteen-year-old by producers Junjo Lawes and Hyman Wright. He was prolific in the eighties, releasing 14 albums in the five year span that this album covers, on top of numerous singles. This two-disc set collects forty songs that he released between 1979 and 1984.