Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boris Gardiner- Guiding Light/Sledgehammer (1975)

An extra special scratchy treat from Jamaica courtesy of Botched Surgery. If you're a fan of 70s reggae you probably already know the name of Boris Gardiner (or Gardner, as here- as noted earlier Jamaican pressings have a flexible take on standardized spelling). Gardiner is probably best known as a bassist, as he anchored the low end of the Upsetters after the departure of Family Man Barrett and was present on several seminal Black Ark releases from the late seventies. If you're not especially obsessive about the roots rock, you may know Gardiner's name from his oft-anthologized killer "Melting Pot," a staple on dancefloors for 30 years, and still going strong. What you may not know, however, is how talented an arranger/bandleader/musical impresario Boris Gardner is.

Take a look at the lineup on these sides. With the exception of the vocalists almost everyone is an unknown, to me at least. Regardless, under Gardiner's guiding light they could easily give any other group of the time a run for their money. Side A is a sweet and soulful vocal piece with some very pretty three-part harmony, but it's the flip that really shows how talented these cats are. "Sledgehammer," a rough take on "Shaft," is a nice mid-tempo instrumental stepper, with some great horn solos. Why these guys (particularly Frank Aird on trumpet and Fitzbert Martin on sax) didn't record more is baffling.

At any rate, get it while it's hot!

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