When people think of dancehall these days they tend to think of the DJ-style of rapping that caught fire in the mid-80s and continues to enjoy wide popularity. The guy who helped break that style wide open was Barrington Levy, a deeply soulful singer who churned one out classic record after another for a good decade. In 1979 he hooked up with what become the dominant dancehall band, the Roots Radics, and with production from the likes of Henry “Jungo” Lawes and Jah Screw he went on to build a monster discography that still sounds killer. In the mid-90s he was embraced by the current generation of dancehall stars, collaborating with folks like Beenie Man, Cutty Ranks, and Lady Sawon on Barrington Levy’s DJ Counteraction, and he later made records with everyone from Snoop Dogg to the Long Beach Dub All-Stars. Although Levy’s productive days seem long behind him, his golden voice remains something special. He headlines the Caribbean Festival in Union Park on Saturday.
Secos & Molhados, 73/74 (Continental)
The Four Levels of Existence, s/t (Lion)
Lura, M’bem Di Fora (Times Square)
Torbjörn Zetterberg, Krissvit (Moserobie)
Various Artists, Echoes of Africa—Early Recordings (Wergo)