A coconut tree adorned with festive ornaments dominate the jacket of Reggae Christmas Hits, a new Yuletide album by guitarist Dwight Pinkney.
According to the veteran musician, the tropical illustration reflects the album’s mood.
“We tried to Jamaicanize the songs we grew up on, make them uptempo the way we know how, an’ not dreary,” said Pinkney.
Though he had done Christmas songs, the 16-song set is Pinkney’s first “exclusively Christmas” work. It contains songs previously released on his 2000 album, All Occasions.
Pinkney’s signature guitar sound is complemented by a strong cast. Bass player Keith Francis, keyboardists Ansel Collins and Robbie Lyn, saxophonist Dean Fraser, trumpeter David Madden and drummer Carl Ayton are some of the musicians who played on Reggae Christmas Hits.
Singers Boris Gardiner, Orville ‘Bagga’ Case, Ken Boothe, Bob Andy and Pam Hall contribute vocals. Gardiner is heard on The Meaning of Christmas, a song he wrote; while Case does the chorus on Good Mood Christmas, Pinkney’s take on Mek The Christmas Ketch Yuh In A Good Mood, made popular by Case’s group, Home T.
The album is co-produced by Pinkney, Francis and Grub Cooper, drummer/vocalist with the Fab Five Band.
Pinkney, 71, is one of reggae’s respected musicians. He has played in three influential bands (The Sharks, Zap Pow and The Roots Radics).
Since 1999 when his instrumental album Jamaican Memories By The Score was released, he has recorded a number of similar projects including Dwight Pinkney Picks Marley Melodies and Dwight Pinkney and D P Band Plays the Ventures.
— Howard Campbell