Compilation originally released in 1989 on Greensleeves Records, fortunately reissued 27years after, on the same format - LP.
"Boat To Progress" is the last of the three reissue classic compilations of music produced by the mythical, however obscure, singer / musician / producer Glenmore Brown, all put together by Chris Lane, in this particular case dedicated to the singers. Lord !
Released originally on 7'' singles in Jamaica through Brown's own Pantomine label, and a few only in UK through labels such Green Door and Techniques, this have been and still is a revelation compilation to many of Brown's fans.
From the longtime deleted Gregory Isaacs "One One Coco" classic, passing by my ALL TIME favourite Glen Brown song "Away With The Bad Forward The Good" (also not be misssed on the same riddim Sylford Walker "Eternal day" !), this is such compilation ! Lord !
Always using the best of the best in terms of musicians, Carlton Barett, Aston "Family Man" Barrett, Tommy Mcook, etc, and securing final mixes, and dub mixes by King Tubby himself, this is an absolutely CRUCIAL 2016 reissue !
7 Stars !
PS: Thank you Greensleeves / VP Music Group for bringing back this Gems !
Article by: David Katz
The outsider quality of Glen Brown’s music may account for his relative obscurity.
Like the creations of his erstwhile peer, Yabby You, Brown’s distinctly leftfield productions were rooted in the Rastafari creed, but had a good deal more humour about them, and since he always had more ideas than ready finance, much of his output was issued in limited pressings of very small number, making most of his work very hard to find at its initial time of issue. Brown maintained a close working relationship with both King Tubby and Tommy McCook, which resulted in superb examples of instrumental roots reggae releases and sublime dub B-sides, and he had an innate feel for deejay music as well, nurturing some of the form’s best-known exponents. The most distinctive quality that defines his output is partly down to Brown’s deep appreciation for jazz music, and his actual involvement in the Jamaican jazz scene, which allowed a jazz sensibility to permeate almost all of his work, much of which made good use of expressive horn sections.
Glenmore Brown was born in 1944 on the eastern edge of downtown Kingston. Raised in various parts of southeast Kingston, he became fascinated by the Skatalites in the era of Jamaica’s independence, with saxophonists Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso making a particular impression. Ken Boothe, Joe White, and the Techniques were all making an impact in Kingston then, but Glen took his greatest vocal inspiration from Alton Ellis, spending much time in Alton’s yard with other aspiring young singers like Delroy Wilson.
Most reggae fans know Glen Brown for his roots productions of the mid-70s, but his professional career actually dates to the tail end of ska. While still in his teens, Brown was given a guitar by a certain Mr Wong, proprietor of the Wong Brothers’ television repair shop in Cross Roads, where Brown did casual work behind the counter; patrons and friends made note of his abilities with the instrument, which he quickly mastered. He soon forged a singing duo with Lloyd Robinson (known variously as Lloyd and Glen or Glen and Lloyd, depending on who sang lead), patterning themselves after US soul giants, Sam and Dave, though Robinson had to do battle with Tony Brevett of the Melodians in order to gain access to the piano at the rehearsal space they frequented off Spanish Town Road.
In 1966, the duo felt ready to record and passed a successful audition at Duke Reid’s studio, yielding a late-ska adaptation of Sam Cooke’s ‘Little Girl’, led by Robinson, and the rocksteady gem ‘Jezebel’, led by Brown. The excellent ‘Rudies Give Up’ followed for Lindon Pottinger, which called on the ‘rude boy’ street gangs to cease their wanton violence, as well as the soul-styled ‘Live And Let Others Live’; as their reputation grew, they performed with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires at the Ward Theatre. As well as recording a number of subsequent rocksteady and soul sides, backed by Lynn Taitt and the Comets, and the gospel number ‘Praise Him’ for Clement Dodd, Lloyd and Glen achieved considerable success with the sensual ‘That Girl’ for Derrick Harriott, and they sang harmony on Harriott’s classic ‘The Loser’ too, all of which helped them to eventually gain a foothold on the hotel scene, leading to guest spots with the house band at the Sheraton. On their days off, the duo used to go to check Tommy McCook’s Sunday sessions at the Dingo club in Rockfort, and they later did a little guest spot with Tommy at the Bournemouth club too; all the while, Glen was furthering his skills on guitar, bass, and melodica, which helped him to compose more original material.
During a phase when Brown was singing in the house band at the Flamingo hotel, he was approached by jazz pianist Cecil Lloyd, who drafted him into his Quintet, based at the Sheraton’s Junkanoo Lounge. Brown grew close to guitarist Ernest Ranglin during his tenure with Cecil Lloyd and met the soul singer Brenton Wood then too, but Lloyd Robinson opted out of joining the group, marking the end of his partnership with Brown. Then, after performing for an extended period on the north coast with Cecil Lloyd, Glen Brown was approached by Sonny Bradshaw, who recruited him as lead vocalist with the Sonny Bradshaw Seven, and Brown became close to saxophonist Dean Fraser in that group, all the while honing his ability within the jazz idiom.
Somewhere along the way, Glen bucked up on Hopeton Lewis, whom he knew from his days behind the counter at Wong Brothers, and the pair went into the studio to record an emotive rocksteady duet, ‘Girl You’re Cold’, punctuated by chilling choral horn parts. Glen produced the song himself, funded by Wong Brothers, along with a few other tracks, but they all somehow appeared on the Fab label in Britain in 1968, mis-credited as Prince Buster productions — the first of many such disappointments for Brown, involving unauthorised use of his material.
Before rocksteady waned, Brown teamed with Joe White and Delroy Wilson’s brother Trevor for the great ‘Way Of Life’, and then, after a chance meeting, he teamed with Dave Barker, cutting the spirited ‘La La Always Stay’ in the new reggae style for Harry J in 1969, but the vocal partnership somehow didn’t last. Instead, Glen’s solo work began making his Rastafari focus a bit more explicit, first on ‘Collie And Wine’ for Leslie Kong, and then on the popular ‘Love I’ for Derrick Harriott.
1972 was a watershed year for Brown, as he began focussing more concertedly on music production, yielding a number of oddball instant classics right off the bat. Based at High Holborn Street in southeast Kingston, where King Tubby was his neighbour, Brown earned his bread and butter up on the north coast with Cecil Lloyd, but would run sessions every six months or so during a lull from the hotel scene, selling the material from the record shop he opened in the mid-town Kingston business district of Cross Roads. To the end of the decade, Brown released his most noteworthy material on labels such as Pantomine, Southeast Music, Dwyer and Rhythm Master, all marked by his intensely individual sound, whether working with singers, deejays, horn players or just on his own, the dub B-sides from King Tubby a constantly appealing feature. In the years that followed, Brown helped break the careers of singers like Roman Stewart and Sylford Walker, and deejays such as Big Youth and Prince Jazzbo, and he threw the spotlight on brass players such as Carl Masters and Ron Wilson too; spending increasing periods in New York from the end of the decade, he subsequently nurtured the career of Wayne Jarrett and the deejay Welton Irie, just as roots began shifting towards the dancehall style.
Once away from Jamaica, Brown’s output naturally slowed, though he continued issuing sporadic work until the noughties. In the late 80s, a trio of crucial Greensleeves retrospectives led to renewed interest in the man’s work, as well as a surprising string of new albums, including his own Number One Sound: Glen Brown Plays, Melodica Talks; the above-average Plays Music From The Southeast, for London’s Fashion label; and a collaboration with Norway’s Rhythm Foundation, among others. There were a few strong single releases in the new millennium too, including a top notch collaboration with Ras Kush that proved he was still fully capable of producing work worthy of the world’s attention.
The sad postscript to the tale is that Brown was reportedly suffering from a range of serious health issues in 2013, housed in a New York nursing home with a leg amputated due to diabetes, his dreadlocks shorn, and a heart condition, dementia and renal failure among the many challenges he faced. Destitute and somehow deemed ineligible for state medical coverage, he faced an unjustly undignified demise, for someone that has brought us such joy through his music.
What follows are ten of Glen Brown’s most momentous creations, each bearing his unmistakable touch...
1/11 pages, continues here: http://www.factmag.com/2015/10/20/glen-brown-beginners-guide/
1. Richard McDonald & Glen Brown - Realize
2. Roman Stewart - Never Too Young To Learn
3. Ewan 'Ian' Gardiner - Father's Call
4. Richard McDonald - Do Your Thing
5. Glen Brown - Take A Step
6. Glen Brown - Tell It Like It Is
7. Keith Poppin - Get Together
1. Gregory Isaacs - One One Coco
2. Richard McDonald & Glen Brown - Boat To Progress
3. Johnny Clarke - You Really Got A Hold On Me
4. Tinga Stewart - A Brand New Me
5. Glen Brown & Lloyd Parks - I'm Your Puppet
6. Glen Brown - Away With The Bad Forward The Good
7. Glen Brown & Glenroy Richards - Save Our Nation