Presenting Larry Marshall
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Presenting Larry Marshall (Heartbeat, 1992 [orig. released 1973])

Although he was an integral part of the rock steady and early reggae scene, Larry Marshall doesn't seem to get the notoriety that, say, an Alton Ellis does.  Perhaps this is because he was simply less prolific or perhaps because he wasn't as energetic a showman as Ellis.  Regardless, he produced some seminal material in the late '60s and early '70s -- indeed, his classic rocking "Nanny Goat" was one of the first truly "reggae" (as opposed to ska or rock steady) tunes back in 1968.  Presenting Larry Marshall collects his hits from '68 to '71, all carrying a similar late rock steady/early reggae rhythm.  Aside from "Nanny Goat," "Throw Me Corn" might be his best-known song, but I prefer the old-fashioned romantic melody of "Thelma" and the inspirational, airy "Keep On Pushing."  Just about every song is good here, though.  As with most rock steady and early reggae, the focus is on love songs, with a particularly strong influence from American R&B.   Marshall's soulful voice is as adept as Ellis', but not as distinct, which may have hurt his staying power.  What stands out most, however, is the top-quality songwriting, which, throughout Presenting, is as good or better than most of Ellis' tunes.

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Track Listing
1. Thelma
2. Set Me Free
3. Mean Girl
4. Where Has Your Love Gone
5. Be My Guest
6. Throw Me Corn
7. Keep On Pushing
8. Together Now
9. Get You Off My Mind
10. You Don't Care
11. Wonderful World with Alton Ellis
12. Nanny Goat
13. How Can I Go On
14. A Wonderful Version

Presenting Larry Marshall
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I Admire You in Dub (Motion, 1975)

I was almost put off buying this album with the Tom Jones-style crooner cover. However, the King Tubby connection kept me interested enough to buy it. Calling it a King Tubby production is a slight issue give that he, Phillip Smart, Pat Kelly and Professor all produced different tracks. The original version of this album was created in 1975, and this dub version was born a little later. Larry Marshall was born as Fitzroy Marshall and was introduced to vocals by his mother at a young age.  The vocals appear sparingly on this album, but the album manages to stay song focused. Its highly danceable and very funky for a dub album and has only a little light thunder to add to the mood. This is a solid and original dub album that makes you want to seek out the original album. The backing musicians include members of The Mighty Cloud Band as well as The Wailers, and there are nice melodica and Nyabinghi moments.  Albums that infer rare or recently unearthed dubs are often very poor quality cut and pastes of weak material that was rightly deleted from final albums. Not this one, however.

- ragudave

Track Listing
1. Watergate Rock
2. Thelma Dub
3. Fire in Town
4. Is Whey Deh Money Dub
5. Dub Is My Woman
6. Still In Pressure
7. Locks of Dub
8. Come on Baby
9. Give Thanks to Jah
10. Downtown Rock
11. Oh Jah Dub
12. You Lie Version
13. Heavy Heavy Load
14. Oh Girl Dub
I Admire You in Dub
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