|Inturns - Consider Yourself
Jah Ho Jah
Nothing Is Impossible
Get To Know
Do We Have To Fight
Sing A Good Song
Nothing Is Impossible (12" Mix)
Detour (12" Mix)
|American rhythm & blues had a profound effect on Jamaican music and maybe one of its biggest influences was on the art of vocal harmony singing. The links began in the 1950s and continued to the late 1970s. It's sad that this tradition has waned in more recent times.
The Jamaican vocal harmony tradition runs deep through reggae music. The Viceroys, who were also recorded under the name The Inturns, are part of that tradition. The group has recorded under several different names since its mid 1960s inception.
The pivotal member of the group is Wesley Tinglin, who is the one consistent member and the driving force behind the bands longevity. Wesley Tinglin had learned harmony singing in Trenchtown from the great Joe Higgs. He had become familiar with some of the island's top singers while hanging out at Joe Higgs' Trenchtown yard. Ken Boothe, Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis had all been regulars around at Joe's informal harmony classes.
After forming the original Viceroys group with Daniel Bernard and Bunny Gayle, Wesley Tinglin did the rounds of the usual studios and producers in the Kingston recording scene. First stop was Duke Reid's Treasure Isle. A couple of sides were recorded but seemingly never released. Next stop was Studio One where their early sessions resulted in the songs 'Lose And Gain', 'Last Night' and 'Ya Ho'. Later Rocksteady recordings followed for producers Derrick Morgan and Lloyd 'Matador' Daley. Bunny Gayle, real name Linval Williams, has claimed in some interviews to have written the song 'Ta Ho'. He decided to move on and go solo in the late 1960s. Daniel Bernard also decided to leave after Bunny Gayle and the first chapter of the Viceroys came to a close.
Before the name change to The Inturns in the mid 1970s, the group recorded the brilliant 'Babylon Deh Pon fire' for Lee Perry at the Black Ark under the name of Truth Fact and Correct. Clearly frustrated at the lack of financial rewards coming their way as the Viceroys, The Inturns - now consisting of Wesley Tinglin and a neighbour Neville Ingram - began recording the album 'Consider Yourself' for Phil Pratt at Channel One Studios in Maxfield Avenue. Ingram and Tinglin were also workmates at L.A.N. Jewellers in Kingston, so music was something that was pursued in their spare time.
The recordings began around 1976 according to Phil Pratt. This seems about right, as by the sound of the album it seems to have been recorded by the time Channel One had perfected their 'rockers'-style drum sound. Engineered by Bunny Tom Tom (real name Anthony Graham), aka Crucial Bunny, the Channel One signature drum sound is clear to hear.
Excellent separation on the drums and close attention to the way the drums were tuned and then microphoned up was the key. It was not unusual to spend many hours perfecting the drum sound. This process sadly seems to have become a bit of a lost art. Once the correct drum sound had been achieved it was often the case that the recording of the rest of the musicians took place fairly quickly. In-house sound engineer Bunny Tom Tom was very important at Channel One during this period and the album still sounds crisp and well recorded to this day.
Neville Ingram was a revelation as a lead vocalist and its his distinctive tones that identify the Viceroys from the mid 1970s onwards. Wesley Tinglin's songs were also now concise and full of insightful references to Kingston life. It was a dynamic combination. It's worth mentioning that Phil Pratt at this time was at the top of his game and was an experienced producer. The song 'Nothing Is Impossible' had also been recorded by Winston Riley for his Techniques imprint, and was later re-recorded with the Roots Radics band for producer Linval Thompson. All three recordings are excellent in their own way, but Pratt's version is powerful and has more of a steppers feel than the other versions. Noel Donlan is credited as playing the drums, but it's also possible that Sly Dunbar played on some of the tracks. Although he is not credited on the original 'Consider Yourself' album, Phil Pratt seems to remember Sly being present for at least some of the recordings, probably including 'Nothing Is Impossible'.
The song 'Ya Ho' was also re-recorded and renamed 'Ja Ho' for the 'Consider Yourself' set. This is perhaps Wesley Tinglin's most well known song and was inspired by Pirate tales in the 'The Caribbean Reader' journal that were popular at that time in Jamaica. It's a catchy song and has many different recordings spread over 20 years from the mid-1960s original at Studio One to Linval Thompson's version in the 1980s. A high quality song that always seems to work well, it's also been covered by vocal harmony groups The Gladiators and The Jayes. There is also an excellent version of 'Ya Ho' from around 1971 recorded by Bunny Gayle for Keith Hudson and appearing on his Mafia label.
Phil Pratt's hand in the making of 'Consider Yourself' extended to having himself included on the cover shot of the album - unusual for Pratt as he is notoriously camera shy. It's Phil Pratt on the left of Neville Ingram and Wesley Tinglin on the right. The photograph is situated at Hope River in Kingston and Pratt himself chose the location. The black and white feel of the cover is similar to Horace Andy's 'Get Wise' sleeve and it's likely that it was made at the same manufacturer.
'Consider Yourself' was re-released in the 1980s on the CSA label and came with the addition of one track from the later Linval Thompson sessions. The album was also given a new title 'Ya Ho'. As far as we are aware there are no dubs on any of Phil Pratt's various dub albums of the 'Consider Yourself' sessions, which is a pity as the rhythms are exceptionally strong. Pratt maintains that he never quite got around to mixing dubs from the original masters. There was a 12" mix of 'Nothing Is Impossible' and 'Detour' released on Chanan-Jah, but that was as close as Phil Pratt got to mixing dubs.
'Consider Yourself' is up there with some of Phil Pratt's best productions and The Inturns, although essentially operating as a duo rather than the usual three part harmony, turned in an excellent album. Later on, when some of the songs were re-recorded for Linval Thompson, they went back to being a trio with the addition of Norris Reid, and returned to using the name The Viceroys once again. Their work with Pratt as a duo as The Inturns has stood the test of time remarkably well. 'Consider Yourself' is now available again. It's a quality record and it's re-release has been long overdue.
|All material © Copyright Pressure Sounds|