Friday, February 27, 2015

Bunny Lion - Red

Late at night after an especially tough week in and out of work, I need pampering.  Pampering calls for good music, preferably good rare music so I can feel special.  And with ten tracks of reggae deejay Bunny Lion toasting over tough rhythms crunched out by top backing band The Revolutionaries, Red fits my needs perfectly.  Bunny Lion isn't a name you will often find on the bountiful reggae discs cut in the '70s and early '80s.  And that is partly because he more often performed subsequently as Puddy Roots for Noel "Papa Jaro" Harper's Killamnjaro Soundsytem (also known for dancehall work by Super Cat, Jim Kelly, Burro Banton and Ninjaman).  His earliest recorded work, Red was recorded and produced in the late '70s by one of the great figures of the era, songwriter, singer, producer, and mentor Linval Thompson, and released in 1979 by London's Starlight Records.  He used the name Bunny Lion for the sessions, although he refers to himself as Puddy Lion several times on the disc.  Despite toasting that rivaled many of the touring stars of the day, excellent rhythms from Thompson (at least some seem to be borrowed from his Marijuana and Love Is The Question albums) and one of the better backing bands in the genre, it failed to attract a big audience and eventually was forgotten.

Fortunately, the album has been unearthed and is now available on CD, vinyl and cassette from Captured Tracks.  The vinyl includes photos and interviews with Puddy/Bunny and Linval Thompson.  For reggae deejay fans such as this writer, Red is a treasured addition to my collection. But it also is a great starter album for music fans interested in dipping a toe, or ear, into the world of deejays toasting over reggae and rocksteady rhythms.  If one is familiar with the genre, one appreciates the master work of Thompson.  His tracks display admirable discipline -- no excessive production frills, and a concise running time.  The deejay and the band are the stars, as they should be.

Captured Tracks order page for Red

For readers interested in a little more information about reggae deejays, here is a post I published a few years ago.  And if you are interested in one of Linval Thompson's finest (in my opinion) songs, check out the last video on this post -- his collaboration with deejay U Brown.

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