Shadow - Sweet Sweet Dreams CD/LP
30-plus years after its release on his own small label, the Mighty Shadow’s mutant soca album “Sweet Sweet Dreams” is finally getting its due. By this year’s end, as many as three labels will have reissued material from this record, so coveted are the strange and intoxicating jams it contains. Analog Africa, with its equally excellent track record in paying original artists/estates and collecting the fascinating visual ephemera that enhance the listening experience, gets the nod on their release in my book, especially for including the 1980 island disco bomb ’D'Hardest’ as a bonus track. Releasing records throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Shadow, aka Winston Bailey, was one of the driving forces of soca, an island sound that turned up the bass and the tempo on traditional calypso, electrifying festival audiences the world over. “Sweet Sweet Dreams”, from 1984, with its strident keyboard work and heady, cosmic disco leanings, got passed over by critics upon its initial release. In a 21st century that finds DJs, dance heads, and musical connoisseurs alike scouring the earth for bygone pop mutations, this strange and funky blend makes entirely too much sense. One listen to the floor-torching “Let’s Get Together” will help your understanding.