LEROY SMART (b. 1952 - )
DREAD HOT IN AFRICA
* * * /1975-1978 - Makasound - studio - discs:1
Leroy "The Don" Smart (born in 1952), not only musically speaking, grow up at the Alpha Boys Catholic School in Kingston. An orphan since the early age of two, Leroy learned to sing, to play drums and to dance at the famous school. His musical debut came in 1969 with the single "It Pains Me". One year later he cut "Pride & Ambition" for the producer Gussie Clarke, and soon after he cut the single "Ethiopia" with Big Youth. But his real first hit came in 1973 with "Mother Liza" produced by Jimmy Radway. In 1973 Leroy also started his musical collaboration with the producer Bunny Lee cutting the single "God Helps The Man". Another hit cut for "Striker" Lee was "Wreck Up My Life". In 1976 "Ballistic Affair" hit the dances. Around 1977 - 1978 Smart started to produce his own material. Tracks as "Ghetto Girl" (produced with Big Youth), "Stop Criticism", "More Than A Million" and "She Loves It In The Morning" (distributed by Salomonic by Bunny Wailer) established his reputation. Inside a thirtyfive albums career so far, the present set "Dread Hot In Africa" was self produced in 1977. The original set (totally reproduced here) presented twelve tracks: "Jah Jah Forgive Them", "Beautiful Rainbow", "Africa", "Babylon Wicked", "I Love You Girl", "Love In My Heart", "African Woman", "Give Jah Praise", "No Love", " Love Everyone", "Just Tell Me" and "Mr Smart" (produced by Jimmy Radway). This set was recorded at Joseph "Joe Joe" Hookim's Channel One. Blacka Morwell, King Tubby and Joseph Hookim engineered. The house band, The Revolutionaries, famously known for their "Rocker's sound" provided the music. This stronger than strong band was centered around Sly Dunbar (drums), Robbie Shakespeare (bass) and the keyboards of Ossie Hibbert, Ansel Collins or Errol "Tarzan" Nelson (these keyboardists also played with Bunny Lee's The Aggrovators). Other members of The Revolutionaries were also: Radcliffe "Dougie" Bryan (guitar), Robbie Lynn (keyboard), Uziah "Sticky" Thompson (percussions), Tommy McCook, Vin Gordon and Herman Marquis (horns). Sometimes Bertram "Ranchie" McClean substituted Robbie Shakespeare on bass. This re-release adds four bonus tracks: "Man Is So Great", "We Want To Go Home", "Let Your Heart Be Pure" (based on the Abyssinians' immortal "Decraration Of Rights") and "Walk Away From Trouble". The first three songs come from the "Superstar" set (1977). This set was produced by Bunny Lee, with Prince Jammy and King Tubby engineering. The set was recorded at Channel One, with The Revolutionaries and The Agrrovators as backing bands. The fourth bonus track is a rare 12" from a different source. "Dread Hot In Africa" re-release from Makasound, even considering the added material, deserves a three and a half stars since Leroy Smart demonstrates his stature as an artist to be fully included in the golden era of Reggae. Not all the material is that interesting but in any case here you will be finding some real good Roots gems.