Freddie McKay – Doin’ It Right (1999)

“Freddie McKay’s gritty, soulful vocal style made him one of Jamaica’s best singers, and right from the start with the late-1960s release ‘Love Is a Treasure,’ recorded for Duke Reid, it was obvious that McKay had an uncommon ability to move his listeners. But his work and legacy (McKay died suddenly under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1986) have been woefully neglected. Although some of his key tracks are scattered across different reggae compilations, albums of McKay material are difficult to find, a situation that this anthology of Alvin Ranglin-produced songs addresses to some extent, since a little McKay is better than none at all. McKay specialized in bittersweet love songs, and while such fare might fall to the maudlin in less capable hands, he had an amazing ability to make it feel as if he was sitting across the table and telling you his story under intimate circumstances. Perhaps his best-known song, the subtle, gorgeous and emotive ‘Picture on the Wall,’ is included here in an expanded version that effectively draws out the telling. ‘How Can I’ and ‘Some a Dem Weh’ are other standouts in a remarkably consistent and cohesive set list. McKay was a subtle singer, and it may take a couple of spins to hear what he is doing with these songs, but when he finally gets to you, you’ll want to listen to the stories he tells again and again.”

YouTube: Love is a treasure, It’s Running Over, Blow Wind


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