The Roots Lover: 1978-1983


The Roots Lover 1978 - 1983 is the first collection of Sugar Minott's best maxi-singles with extended versions (plus two additional intros). Lincoln "Sugar" Minott played a major role in the story of Jamaican music as a singer, songwriter, producer, label man and sound system instigator. His singing voice was as sweet as honey (hence the nickname) and graced both roots and lover's rock compositions in equal measure. Born Lincoln Barrington Minott in 1956 in West Kingston, Jamaica, his career actually began as part of the vocal trio African Brothers in 1970. After departing with the group in 1976, Sugar signed a solo contract with Studio One, and Sugar set about writing his own lyrics over the classic riddims of Jamaica's most famous label, as well as penning his own songs. Sugar's way of working on covers laid down the foundations for the later coming dancehall movement, and his debut album Live Loving can lay claim to being the very first dancehall album, with Roots Radics or the Revolutionaries, top class musicians in their own right, accompanying Sugar on many of his songs. His uniquely sweet, almost hushed vocal style became his trademark. Bob Marley loved it and declared Sugar to be one of his favourite singers in Jamaica. Three albums (Live Loving, Showcase, More Sugar) and a number of singles later, he set up his own Black Roots Production and Youth Promotion Company labels in 1978, along with the Youth Promotion Soundsystem, which was a springboard for ghetto kids to get to work in the studio. In 1980 he moved to London, where the UK was under the spell of lover's rock, which Minott took full advantage of whilst masking the fact that he was equally at home in Jamaican roots. Sugar would later go back to his roots in Jamaica scoring a hit with the ganja hymn "Herbsman Hustling" -- one of the founding elements of rootical dancehall. In 1988 he turned increasingly political and his African Soldier album (1988) is dedicated to the freedom fighters in South Africa opposing Apartheid. Throughout much of the rest of his career, he drew attention to Africa's rich history, its culture and perception of Ethiopia as the promised land of Zion. Venturing away from conventional reggae into crossover territory in the '90s, he started to address themes of love and cultural awareness, showing himself to be a singer who moved easily between the poles of roots reality and the poetry of love. Here is the ultimate roots reggae collection, chock full of unearthed extended versions to round off a portrait of Sugar Minott which confirms him as the greatest Jamaican protagonist of roots and lover's rock, captured at the most important moments of his musical story. Limited stock.