October 2006

John Holt - I Can’t Get You Off My Mind: 18 Greatest Hits
Heartbeat 11661-7794-2
Format: CD
Released: 2006

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

Few Jamaican singers can match the harmonic, soulful sounds of John Holt. Though best known for his involvement in the Paragons, Holt has continued with a successful solo career since the disintegration of that band in 1970. While dedicated fans may have followed his career throughout the '80s and '90s, most audiences may not be familiar with his prolific body of work. Enter the newly released I Can't Get You Off My Mind: 18 Greatest Hits! -- a collection of Holt highlights on one disc, many of which are previously unreleased studio versions.

Soulful renditions of "Darling I Need Your Loving" and "I Can't Get You Off My Mind" reveal Holt at the height of his solo career. His voice is silky and confident, recalling a time when love songs ruled the airwaves and Jamaican labels like Studio 1 did their best to match the Motown sound. "Fancy Makeup" is a Holt hit that brings out the roots-reggae side of his talent, while the inclusion of three Paragons classics, including "Change Your Style" and" Have You Ever Been in Love," serves to round out the sampling, giving a more complete picture of Holt legacy.

This disc is the latest in a series of Heartbeat Records releases featuring Studio 1 material from the archived arsenal of legendary producer Clement (C.S.) Dodd. True reggae fans should be informed of two other recent releases in this series: Version Dread - Dub Hits from Studio 1 and The Best of Delroy Wilson, both of which are impressive collections of rare dub and reggae. The John Holt release, however, is easily the best of the three. Each of its tracks stands as a rock-solid, rock-steady gem.