Six Babylon is another is a series of strong late-'70s LPs by Linval Thompson. The album's co-producer, Brad Osborne, proclaimed him "the Dance King right now" in his original liner notes, and indeed this was the case. Thompson enjoyed a great deal of success both in Jamaica and England during this fruitful period of his career, and, as evidenced by the material on this record, it was for a very good reason. Thompson, like many other Jamaican singers of his time, employed the vocal techniques of popular American soul singers. His smokey, high voice and laid-back, confident demeanor gave him one of the more warm and sexy tones of the roots scene. Even when singing about disagreeable employers ("Mr. Bossman") or the mistreatment of the Rastafari by the state ("Six Babylon") he avoids sounding militant and instead exudes a playful yet impassioned tenderness. All is clearly not well in many of these tunes, but somehow it's difficult to keep from dancing. In this sense, probably not unlike Marvin Gaye's What's Goin On, some listeners may choose to ignore the political content in favor of the seductive and funky rhythms underneath. After all, the Revolutionaries, Thompson's band for this session, make this a very attractive temptation. Much has been written about the misinterpretation of reggae as fun, party music, especially in the states where it so often occurs. Still, one shouldn't be too surprised to find one's self dancing around the house to a song about the Jamaican police state. While not an essential volume in his catalog, Six Babylon is a very enjoyable record, with five great A-side/B-side extended dub versions as well. ~ Brandon Burke, All Music Guide
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