Barry Brown: Rich Man Poor Man 1978-1980

Moll-Selekta, 2003

Rich Man Poor Man 1978-1980 cover

This collection of Barry Brown’s early tracks has grown on me. Brown’s voice is smooth and confident. King Tubby is on the mixing board, while The Aggrovators and other heavy-weights provide thick backing grooves. Brown’s known for his frank lyrics, and even when his Jaimaican accent has me stumped, his vocals are mesmerizing. Some of the tracks have unusual sounds, like “Fire Fire” with its off-kilter piano arpeggios and “We Nuh Run,” with Brown scatting over a wide-range of odd percussion. These are tight compositions showcasing mid- to down-tempo riddims and room-shaking bass. Once again Moll-Selekta provides an intriguing glimpse at an era of classic tunes and pre-electronic innovation.

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