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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

YELLOWMAN

By Tom Pryor
Published January 20, 2006

Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt
Greensleeves Reggae Classics

EEK-A-MOUSE
Mouseketeer
Greensleeves Reggae Classics

Back in the early ’80s, dancehall reggae was on the ascendant and there was still plenty of room for the outsized personalities that made the genre so irresistible in its heyday. Two of the most flamboyant personalities ever to rock the dancehall were Yellowman and Eek-A-Mouse, two very different performers who were united by the unstoppable production of Henry “Junjo” Lawes and Channel One Studio’s legendary house band, the Roots Radics. Both DJs get their due as Greensleeves Reggae Classics reissues two of their classic albums. Yellowman (a.k.a. Winston Foster) surely needs no introduction, since his domination of the dancehall in the early ’80s was total, generating hit after hit and making him perhaps the second best-known Jamaican export after Bob Marley. Though primarily a singles artist, 1984’s Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt was a lewd, cocky and hilarious ghetto communiqué that showcased a masterful lyrical flow; “Body Move” and the title track still sound fresh today. In contrast, Eek-A-Mouse (a.k.a. Ripton Hilton) played up the comedy side of dancehall, prancing the stage in an array of outrageous costumes while singlehandedly pioneering the “singjay” style that rules the dancehall today. 1984’s Mouseketeer caught him at the height of his fame, three years after he’d already taken the island by storm with hits like “Virgin Girl” and “Wa Do Dem.” Despite this, such lesser hits as “Star, Daily News Or Gleaner” and “How I Got Me Name” still manage to pack a punch.