Little Harry – Revolution

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Little HarryA reassuring collaboration that results in a powerful statement upon one catchy riddim. Tom Chasteen’s Los Angeles-based Dub Club project, with Tippa Lee sharing the engineering duties and Stones Throw handling the distribution, aims to unite under-appreciated veteran vocalists with roots-inspired productions.

This track comes from the 2013 LP Foundation Come Again – which is exactly that – with legends including Josey Wales, Ranking Joe, Tristan Palma, Lone Ranger, Dillinger, Brigadier Jerry, Big Youth, and the recently departed Prince Jazzbo (on one of his last recorded voicings). Kalbata & Mixmonster have likewise developed a similar approach with their recent project Congo Beat The Drum. It’s definitely wonderful news for reggae as a whole to see past stars being not only rightfully recognised but also then involved in fresh recordings.

Little Harry, well-known for his live work throughout the 80s with sound systems including Volcano and King Sturmars Hi Fi, was an early collaborator with Yellowman as well as a peer (and 1983 LP clash partner) of fellow child deejay Billy Boyo. Beyond that supposed battle on wax – more accurately a short-lived Greensleeves marketing ploy (which was re-released with an additional set from Nicodemus in 2007 as DJ Clash: 3 The Hard Way) – by the late 80s Little Harry’s recording output had slowed, with 1987’s “Anarexol Body” a final highlight (now a somewhat rare 7″).

Fortunately the former youth star’s swagger has aged well, so “Revolution” finds him projecting with vehemence on the urgent need for socioeconomic change. The groove – led by the drums but dominated by the walking bass – leaves ample room for his fiery rhetoric: “what a revolution, big revolution; tell the society set to find some solution” and later in the chorus it’s “tell Babylon fi stop living a illusion.” Warning the youth of the dangers of corruption and to steer clear of distractions and violence: this embodies the strength – and potential – of grassroots knowledge.

High Smile HiFi has also recently featured Little Harry on their tune “Hard Life” [Check the NiceUp review], so hopefully “De Youngest Veteron” will continue making such vibrant vocal contributions as he moves into his fourth decade as a recording artist.

“Revolution” is currently available via Stones Throw on Foundation Come Again [vinyl/CD/digital] or as a single download. The video, directed in Jamaica by Steve Hanft, showcases street life juxtaposed with appropriate (yet perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek) stock footage and energetic live performances from Little Harry.

The Groove Thief
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