What we have here is a full showcase-style dyed in the wool stormer. Ruby is the infamous producer linked to the Ocho Rios – Sound of Saint Anns, best known perhaps for his production associations with Burning Spear around the start of their Island career, Justin Hinds of the Dominoes, as well as numerous high calibre artists, think The Gaylads, Big Youth, King Tubby, Errol Thompson and some of the artists featured here, Ken Boothe, Black Disciples and his long term studio associates.
Hi-Fi is an album originally appearing on Brooklyn’s little known but genre-breaking Clappers label, “a weapon without compromise” as their chairman once put it, a label which ushered the transition of reggae into early New York dancehall and beyond, spawning early crossover hip-hop classics from the likes of Brother D and Silver Fox.
Here Ruby focusses on four vocals segued into four full length dubs: Ken Boothe’s voice has to be one of the most divine instruments in all music if not reggae, “Peace Time” rides a delicious guitar line – Boothe is in fine form on a lyric for universal peace , and the whomping “Khomeini Skank” version establishes this somewhere at the turn of the seventies. Lennox Miller’s take on Delroy Wilson’s all time big one “Better Must Come” is a belter – lively drummatical version and a wicked Jah Coller deejay version, 12 minutes plus of sublime reggae. Usual high quality Auralux job, mastered from vinyl, but this has resulted in the fantastic warmth and intimacy of these timeless recordings.