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Darker Than Blue

by Devon Russell

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Arpad Okay
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Arpad Okay perfect voice for a curtis tribute. there's a hint of urgency in the delivery that suits the songs and the singer. incredibly nuanced production. the funky soul influence throws it back to both sides, early moonstomp like the uniques or the pioneers, and old school american rnb like the tams. easy skanking. the hits are pretty hard despite the overall vibe being total soft breeze sunshine, so big head bob factor. score points with the raise Favorite track: Darker Than Blue.
Robert Bloemkolk
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Robert Bloemkolk Great reggea tribute to maybe the most underrated soulgiant. Really, you can't hear enough Curtis. It heals the soul. Favorite track: Darker Than Blue.
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  • Cassette + Digital Album

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  • Limited Edition Vinyl LP
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

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Move On Up 03:55


Launching new DINTE sub-label 333 (focusing on reissues of rare and foundational digi, roots & soul) with a first-time vinyl reissue for the late veteran reggae artist Devon Russell's Darker Than Blue LP - limited to just 333 copies.

Put together as a tribute to the great Curtis Mayfield, the LP was first issued in 1993 but features material originally recorded as far back as 1979. The collection includes a cast of prominent players across it's 10 tracks - featuring musical contributions from Sly Dunbar, Aston "Family Man" Barrett, Earl "Wire" Lindo, Dean Fraser, Bobby Ellis, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Prince Lincoln Thompson and many others - plus production & arrangement from Earl "Chinna" Smith, Sly Dunbar & King Tubby's Firehouse Crew, as well as Russell himself.

"The concept for Darker Than Blue dates back to 1979. Returning from South Amerrica with my partner (in duo Lloyd & Devon) Lloyd Robinson, we did "Red Bum Ball" which had been a massive hit in the 60's. It was around this time that Earl Chinna Smith (of The Wailers and Soul Syndicate fame) approached me with the idea of re-making some Curtis Mayfield songs. "Darker Than Blue" was the first track we did, followed by "Move On Up" in 1981, both of which received great reviews.

On returning to Jamaica from a UK tour in 1986, my good friend King Tubby had taken on five men from my school of music from which the Firehouse Crew were born. Within 3 years they had matured to become Jamaica's No.1 instrumental band, winning the Rockers award. Then in the spring of 1990, together we managed to record the album "Money, Sex & Violence", during a tour of the UK & France, on which we did Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love". The track was played to Steve Barrow who suggested we do more Curtis tracks.

Sly Dunbar and I have known each other for as long as I can remember. We grew up in the same hood and used to jam regularly in our youth. I told Sly about the further Mayfield tracks I wanted to do and he agreed that it would be a good idea. So Sly, myself and The Firehouse Crew went to work at the Leggo Studios in Kingston, Jamaica and created the remaining tracks for the Darker Than Blue LP, a tribute to Curtis Mayfield.

We grew up on the sounds of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions. Everyone in Jamaica loved them. His death was a terrible thing, but while there is life, there is hope."
- Devon Russell, 1994.

333, under license from Prestige Elite Records Ltd.


released November 19, 2022


all rights reserved



Death Is Not The End London, UK

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