Tommy McCook – Blazing Horns/Tenor in Roots (1979)

“Saxophonist Tommy McCook is primarily remembered for his role as a founding member of the seminal ska band the Skatalites, who played such an important part in the development and maturation of ska before it morphed into the slower rocksteady genre, and later into reggae. But McCook was no slouch in those later categories of music, either, as this wonderful two-for-one reissue makes plain. The Blazing Horns segment of this disc was originally issued on LP in 1979 on the Grove Music label and consists of nine tracks originally produced by Vivian ‘Yabby U’ Jackson. As one might expect given the producer, the sound is dark and dread, and the album’s title track is presented here in an extended ‘showcase’ version with a dub mix appended at the end of the conventional instrumental track. The program then adds a B-side track cut for Yabby U at around the same time and another one-off track that McCook made for Bunny Lee. All the mixes are courtesy of King Tubby and Prince Jammy, which tells you all you need to know about the sound quality and general ambience. As good as those selections are, though, the remainder of the album is the real treasure trove: it consists of 12 tracks McCook recorded over well-loved rhythms provided by producer Glen Browne and which were released only informally on a white-label album that never received commercial distribution. Those who own the Shanachie label’s brilliant (and now sadly out of print) reissue collections Check the Winner, Boat to Progress, and Double Attack will immediately recognize the backing tracks. McCook makes most of them his own, although on a couple of tracks his playing is almost absent. The Browne material alone would be worth the purchase price, but the first part of the collection is every bit as worthwhile. Very highly recommended.”

“Founder of the Skatalites and leader of Duke Reid’s The Supersonics, Tommy McCook is a notable figure in roots reggae. McCook’s The Blazing Horns / Tenor in Roots compilation is a powerful collection of 1970s instrumental dub and highlights roots reggae’s connections to jazz and ska. As roots reggae has been characterized by politically conscious lyrics, messages of Rastafari and other charged topics faced by the underrepresented and underprivileged, one might wonder what place does instrumental dub have in the genre?”
Dusted Reviews

YouTube: Blazing Horns, Blazing Horns, Tears of love, Tubby’s control, Far over yonder, Gold Street Skank


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: