Better Must Come

: Delroy Wilson
: LP
: Radiation Roots

RROO 343

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Delroy Wilson was one of the best/beloved vocalists in the history of reggae. Born in 1948 in the infamous slum of Trench Town, Wilson is regarded as Jamaica's first child star, having signed a contract with future Studio One founder, Clement ir Coxsone' Dodd, at the tender age of thirteen. Wilson was blessed with a mellifluous voice and his strong range and expressive tone made him a natural for recording equally excellent with originals and able to make any cover tune his own, young Delroy made an impact from the start. 
Early singles "Emy Lou" and "If I Had A Beautiful Baby" were jaunty ska love songs, yet much of Wilson's most significant early work took the form of recorded taunts aimed at Coxsone's rivals, most notably Prince Buster, the target of "I Shall Not Remove" and "Joe Liges." Debut album I Shall Not Remove caused a sensation on release in 1964 and as Jamaican music evolved in the mid/60s the hits kept coming reconfiguring The Tams' "Dancing Mood" as a cool rock steady seemed to define the genre, while "Here Comes A Heartache" and "Never Conquer Me" were among the more sizeable hits. 
Delroy's second album, Good All Over, was another landmark release of the early reggae phase, although he had already begun recording for other producers, most notably teaming with Bunny Lee for a smash rendition of The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart Of Mine." As Jamaica geared up for an era/defining general election, Delroy Wilson and Bunny Lee captured the public's imagination with "Better Must Come," which topped the charts in 1971. The popularity of the song was such that leftist candidate Michael Manley adopted it as his campaign theme, leading to a landslide victory the following year. The Better Must Come album was recorded at Dynamic Sounds, then the best/equipped studio in the Caribbean region, with Bunny Lee in the producer's chair and Sid Bucknor and Carlton Lee as resident engineers. 
In addition to the opening title track, there is a range of classic Delroy here "Better To Be Loved" puts his soulful delivery over a creeping ohn Crow' organ skank, "Can't Explain" describes the passionate allure of his new lover, while "It's You I Love" grafts Delroy's soulful tenor atop a sparse reggae riff, before "Dance With You" recalls a missed opportunity on the dancefloor. The determined "Try Again" is delivered in heavily accented patois, before Delroy drifts into reggae-funk territory with a killer cut of The Isleys' "It's Your Thing", "Keep An Eye" warns of deceptive friends with ulterior motives and the organ-heavy "Drink Wine" salutes the uplifting qualities of fermented grapes, before closing things off with an alternate reading of Shep and The Limelights' "Stick By Me." Adding to the appeal is an individual drum sound, lively guitar picking and variations on the organ skank, keeping things interesting throughout.



Tracklist

A1.  Better Must Come 
A2.  Better To Be Loved 
A3.  Can't Explain 
A4.  It's You I Love 
A5.  Dance With You 

B1.  Try Again 
B2.  It's Your Thing 
B3.  Keep An Eye 
B4.  Drink Wine 
B5.  Stick By Me



Notes

Liner notes by David Katz.