1/  Jamaica Nice/Take Me Home Country Roads    (Foster/JN,Danoff,Denver)     5.07
  2/  Strong Me Strong                           (Foster,Laswell)              3.48
  3/  Mi Believe/Summer Holiday                  (Foster/Bennett,Welsh)        4.07
  4/  Wha Dat                                    (Foster)                      3.22
  5/  Moving On/Keep On Moving                   (Foster/Marley)               4.46
  6/  Disco Reggae                               (Foster,Laswell)              3.28
  7/  Still Be a Lady/Girls Can't Do What Guys Do(Foster/Reid,Clarke)          4.36
  8/  Reggae Calypso                             (Foster)                      4.04
  9/  Coh We/Sea Cruise                          (Foster/HP Smith)             4.17
  10/ If You Should Lose Me/You'll               (Foster/Ozen)                 4.18
          Lose a Good Thing

          Tracks 2 and 6 recorded at Evergreen Studio and RPM Studio
          Produced by Jimmy Wynter
          Tracks 2 and 6 produced by Material
          Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk, NYC
Yellowman: lead vocals; THE SAGITTARIUS BAND (except 2,4 & 6) - Derrick Bennett: bass guitar; Desmond Gaynor: drums; Simeon Stewart: keyboards; Colin Nelson & Wilmot Dawes: trumpet; Michael Irving: lead guitar; Philbert Badresingh: trombone; Roots Radics (4): all instruments; Sister Nancy (4): guest vocals; Bill Laswell (2,6): bass guitar; Michael Beinhorn (2,6): DMX, synthesizer; Cleon Douglas (2,6): guitar; Daniel Ponce (2,6): congas, bells; Chops (2,6) : horns.

          1984 - CBS (UK), CBS 25922 (Vinyl)
          1984 - Columbia/CBS (USA), PC 39301 (Vinyl)
          1984 - Columbia/CBS (USA), CK 39301 (CD)
Note: The UK vinyl substitutes "Bloodstain" for track 4. Track 5 does not contain "Keep on Moving" and track 7 does not contain "Still Be a Lady".


Yellowman is no stranger to vinyl; avid bin-burrowers can probably track down a score or more of his albums on various Caribbean labels. King Yellowman is the albino reggae rapper's first release on a major American label and may represent the first mass-marketing in the U.S. of "toasting" - largely improvised raps spoken or half-sung over a spare, sultry, bass-heavy backing. The result sounds better and more varied than any of Yellowman's early records that I've heard.

Yellowman butters his toasts with testaments to his own virility, snippets from other songs, political ruminations, whatever. For example, he cleverly insinuates Toots Hibbert's skanky reworking of "Take Me Home Country Roads" into his kickoff track, "Jamaica Nice," an examination of the various climates - weather and political - of England and Jamaica, while the languorous "Ooh We" features a wholesale cop from "Sea Cruise."

"Strong Me Strong" breaks out of the format a little, dazzling with crisscrossing rhythm lines, courtesy of such players as Material's Bill Laswell on bass. Elsewhere, hard-core fans may lament the lack of Yellowman's more lubricious lippery, though "Mi Believe" ain't too stuffed-shirt ("When it comes to girls, I get them with ease/No bumping, no boring, I don't get no quease"). And those familiar with hip-hop will tap into the party exhortations of "Reggae Calypso."

But Yellowman turns out to be more than a Toastmaster General; he has quite a way with a straight love song. And though, unfortunately, Yellowman has a circumscribed view of women ("You can't do what the guys do"), his erotic, slightly sad "Still Be a Lady" might be reggae's most romantic track since Bob Marley's "Is This Love." "You be the wife, I be the husband/'Cause Yellowman a nice obsession." True enough. Joan Mondale is among those who've already lauded Yellowman's art. I hope he plays at the inauguration. (RS 424)

4 out of 5 stars

Christopher Connelly (courtesy of the Rolling Stone website)


Yellowman's jump to a major label might have had some reggae purists gasping, but the one album that resulted introduced many listeners to the rich world of dancehall music and its cadre of talented DJs. Before he cut this 1984 record for CBS, Yellowman had already hit the peak of his fame in Jamaica, waxing some stellar sides for the supreme early dancehall producer, Henry "Junjo" Lawes. And while King Yellowman doesn't match the quality of such Lawes discs as Mister Yellowman, it does boast enough solid tracks to stave off the cut-out bins. Sporting some commercial-friendly funk and pop touches here and there, the mix boasts highlights like "Jamaica Nice/Take Me Home Country Roads," "Sea Cruise," and "Strong Me Strong." Lawes' deft touch is certainly missed, but the Roots Radics' presence certainly keeps things aboveboard. Not an essential Yellowman title, but one that's enjoyable enough to warrant more than just a few spins on the turntable.

Stepehn Cook (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)