Here's an excerpt of what I wrote about Jama Rico from my book The Duff Guide to 2 Tone:
Recorded both at Joe Gibbs Studio in Kingston, JA and in London, with various tracks produced by Dick Cuthell and Jerry Dammers, Jama Rico featured some of the finest Jamaican and British musicians around, including Tommy McCook (tenor sax), Felix "Deadly Headley" Bennett (alto sax), Ansell Collins (organ), Winston Wright (piano, guitar), Earl "Chinna" Smith (guitar), Jah Jerry (guitar), Sly Dunbar (drums), Robbie Shakespeare (bass), and other top performers—plus several members of The Special AKA: Jerry Dammers (organ, piano), John Bradbury (drums), Sir Horace Gentleman (bass), and Dick Cuthell (cornet, flugel horns, funda drums).
Ska fans who love Rico and The Special AKA's "Jungle Music" will immediately take to the stunningly evocative ska and reggae of "We Want Peace," "Jam Rock," "Love and Justice," "Some Day," "Do the Reload" (which is a cover of Rico's dear friend and mentor Don Drummond' awesome "Green Island"), and "Easter Island" (written by Japanese saxophonist Sado Wattanobe)—all of which follow the expected song structures for this genre of music. Those open to more musical paths less traveled will enjoy the jazzier, looser experimental takes on Jamaican music on "Destroy Them," "Distant Drums" (with Rico on vibraphone and funda drums!), and "Java."
According to Paul "Willo" Williams in his fantastic biography of The Specials (and 2 Tone Records) You're Wondering Now: The Specials from Conception to Reunion, Rico's "Jungle Music" single and the Jama Rico album failed to gain any traction and climb the charts due to the rise of the New Romantics in the UK (Ultravox, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, etc.). It was all a matter of unfortunate pop-culture timing (one can't blame Rico's material or the performances, as they're brilliant). The UK record-buying public's massive infatuation with ska music was over by 1982."
2 Tone is also reissuing The Selecter's Too Much Pressure on April 23, 2021 (read all about that deluxe reissue here) and a half-speed remaster of The Specials' Ghost Town EP on June 4, 2021.
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