'uptown top ranking' is a brilliantly iconic single, a classic, and among the best records ever to attain the no.1 position in our nation's charts! said! however, believing for whatever reason, that the album was most likely to be a 'cobbled together' vehicle for the single, i never paid it any attention, or went out of my way to listen to any of it. wrong! (again!). recently, tho', when idling around youtube, i let it run on from another clip and let it play, and soon realised that my pre-conception had been ill considered. a look at the line up would have told me this - sly, robbie, chinna, skully, tommy mccook, vin gordon - and made me feel even more foolish! so now, very sheepishly, i can safely (and now correctly) say that there's not a sniff of a filler present here, it's an excellently realised and somewhat unique album when you factor in the vocals - whilst obviously not gifted singers, althea and donna were nonetheless very effective ones, their distinct message stamped upon every song here. i can't but help equate the concept to some of the uk punk female artists/bands that were operating at the same time - the likes of the slits, raincoats, etc, and in my book, that's high praise!
the above mentioned revolutionaries are at the top of the game here, and provide 10 tracks of the finest roots/rockers rhythms, varied and vibrant, and this suits the girls' voices perfectly. again, great credit, as their voices are not the strongest (hey, they were teenagers!), but history has shown (me, for certain!) that they possessed some of the most recognisable tones in the genre. each track is as good as the last, or the next, and the album has a very 'complete' feel to it. the version of the single is much deeper and rootsier than the one that topped the charts, and maybe inclusion of the single mix as a comparative extra would have been a bonus. that said, after this album, that was about it for althea and donna, as apart from less than a handful of other single releases, this is all there is! and probably, given the quality here and the potential for progress, that's a real pity!
By: Tech XXIII