Iv’e been really into “Pama” releases lately, don’t have a lot of them as they are rare and quite expensive. For those who don’t know it was started in the late 60ies by the Palmer brothers who’s main gig was “real estate”, for a moment “Pama” was very successful but where alwaysin the shadow of the more popular “Trojan” who released similar music.
Anyways, they hooked up with legendary Jamaican producer “Bunny Lee” and released the singer “Slim Smith”‘s first album which i have been lucky to come across in mint condition. It’s a shame he had to die so young as he is probably the best singer to ever come out of Jamaica (who does not have a shortage of amazing singers). All of his output, whether solo or with his group “The Uniques” ( they where the ones doing the classic “My conversation”) is much recommended.
It starts with the title track “Everybody needs love” which was a big, international hit for Slim and is centered around an infectious organ which drives the tune. Here “Slim” tries to convince a woman that she needs his love. He’s known for his “lover in pain” image and while you can find traces of it here it’s a much more positive tune than some of his later, darker songs. I also like “There’s a place in the sun” which is about as upbeat as “Slim Smith” ever will get and very uplifting.
There’s a fair amount of covers such as “Zip-Pa-Di-Do-Da“ (an old Disney movie song) and the often sung “A rose in Spanish Harlem” or “Love me tender” (which at least the cover list as “Stranger on the shore”). These could easily become boring and washed out but Slim put’s his own spin on them and with a voice like his it’s very hard for any song to fail no matter which one it is.
As said Slim is known for his tortured lover persona (that most likely his mental status contributed to) but his first album is rather light and easy going with only traces of the darkness his later material would showcase. If you have not figured it yet this is very much a “lovers rock” title and has that typical late 60ies-early 70ies commercial Reggae sound. It most certainly is not for the Rastafarian revolutionary or repatriation proponent.
I totally adore anything ever recorded by “Slim Smith” and this album is no exception. With that said I should perhaps mention that this is not the ideal album to discover him with as it misses many of the songs most have come to associate him with (no, it does not have “My conversation” which actually was a group effort while he was part of “The Uniques”). To my knowledge this was never re-released and is both expensive and hard to come by but well worth it if youre a fan. This will get regular spins on my stereo for many years to come.