Mr. McGregor

by: Freddie McGregor

The impact of Freddie McGregor's debut album Mr. McGregor would be lessened just months after its release thanks to the appearance of his classic sophomore effort Bobby Bobylon. Thirty years later, VP's expanded reissue -- by way of their 17 North Parade imprint -- makes a great argument that these sides cut for Niney's Observer label deserve better. Offering a solid opening argument is "We Got Love" featuring a Tower of Power influenced horn section underneath McGregor's tale of love conquering all. The classic "Rastaman Camp" combines muted horn and an earthy, Nyahbinghi-like chorus for one of producer Niney's deeper constructions, but the lightweight fare is equally welcome as the easy strolling and not too sugary version of "Brandy" displays. Taking a cue from the Heartbeat label's 2006 reissue of Bobylon, VP's Mr. McGregor is greatly expanded with remixes and versions. The difference here is that the bonus tracks are basically the 1981 album Showcase, an Observer release which collected all the loose ends, although with massive tracks like "The Overseer" included, it was no stale set of leftovers. Its inclusion enhances this reissue, making this a great overview of McGregor's early days in Niney's workshop. ~ David Jeffries

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