The Wire - p.71
"One of the many under-recorded reggae soul singers, he possessed a versatile vocal style ranging from a rich, deep tenor, through to a doo-wop-style near falsetto."
Personnel: Owen Stewart (guitar, keyboards, drums); Jerry Harris (guitar); Fabian Cook (keyboards, drums, percussion); Jackie Mittoo (keyboards); Sly Dunbar (drums); Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes, Max Romeo, Sugar Minott (background vocals).
Recording information: Channel One, Jamaica; Wackies, NY.
Milton Henry has had a long and varied career that began in the rocksteady age with the Leaders, a vocal group which also featured the future Prince Alla. Henry later fronted Max Romeo's former group, the Emotions, while simultaneously playing guitar with the Hippy Boys. This brought him into Lee Perry's orbit, while at a later date, he cut scintillating singles for Rupie Edwards. With such a pedigree, it's no surprise that Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes was keen to get Henry into his studio in the '80s, resulting in this superb 1985 album. Even at this late date, the producer continued to create lavish roots rockers versions of rocksteady riddims, although Wackies' slow shift to the starker, more digitized style that was sweeping the contemporary dancehalls is apparent on this set as well. Henry's excitement over Barnes' riddims is obvious right from the get go, as he throws himself head over heels into the opening title track, ravishing the rocksteady riddim made so gloriously anew. Further in, the veteran beautifully delivers up a cover of the Techniques' classic "What Am I to Do," the perfect showcase for his soulful vocals, then soars into falsetto for the romance strewn, doo wop flavored "Send Me That Pillow." That number features a much sharper rhythm and a dubbier production, while "Them a Devil" musically and thematically slides straight into rockers, and "No Dreams" slips even deeper into roots, as Henry celebrates the drum and bass that drove that style, which is interwoven with '70s- styled R&B on "Let the Sun Shine In." With all these wonderful blasts from the past, it's no wonder that the singer is waxing nostalgic over the "Good Old Days." But changes are a coming, and a starker style is now all the rage, as can be heard on an indeed "Sweet Melody," which Henry breathes soul into over a digitized (by Barnes' standard) riddim. The backings are magnificent, Barnes' production a dream, and Henry sublime. His performances throughout are superb, and his lyrics, ranging from the cultural to the romantic equally so. Twenty years on from his start in the musical world, Henry was still reaching new heights. ~ Jo-Ann Greene