• max romeo A Dream (CD, £11.95)

    Maxie Livingston Smith became Max Romeo through his concerted courtship of a local beauty. After a difficult childhood that saw him run away from home following the breakdown of his parents’ relationship, Max became lead singer of The Emotions harmony group, with Lloyd Shakespeare, brother of future bass wizard Robbie, during the rock steady era. Following the demise of the group, in 1968, at the request of Bunny Lee, Max wrote the suggestive “Wet Dream”, inspired by the rude ditties of the lewd American r&b singer, Blowfly, but then found himself forced to sing it in the studio after rejections from better-established peers such as Slim Smith, Derrick Morgan, Roy Shirley and John Holt. Despite a BBC ban, the song topped the British charts, spawning the debut album, A Dream. Tracks like “Wood Under Cellar,” “Wine Her Goosie” and “The Horn” continued the rude theme, though songs such as “Far Far Away” and “Love” were more traditional ballads, the latter made more outstanding through vibrant Rastafari-influenced percussion; “Club Raid” speaks of Max’s survival of a punitive police bust.


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