DANCEHALL mainstay Barrington Levy is recording an acoustic album, the first of his career. The 12-song, vinyl-only project is scheduled for release in December on the singer's Black Roses label.
Levy says his management approached him with the 'Unplugged' concept after observing a number of artistes playing acoustic sets on the European festival circuit.
"They said, 'yuh need to do a acoustic album wid yuh classical songs dem'," Levy reported. "I said, 'yeah, dat's a good idea' but I don't want to just do the classical song dem, I want to do song dat neva release."
The album is produced by Handel Tucker, whose credits include Maxi Priest's platinum-selling Bonafide album. It includes songs that have made Levy a dancehall legend, such as Murderer, Under Mi Sensi, Prison Oval Rock and Living Dangerously.
The first release, however, will be Things Friends a little-known song he recorded three years ago.
Lamont 'Monty' Savory of the C Sharp band does most of the guitar work on the still-untitled album. Students from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew are also part of the recording sessions.
Levy is the latest reggae artiste to record an acoustic album. Last year, singers Richie Spice and Tarrus Riley released similar projects.
The 50-year-old Levy is one of dancehall's enduring performers. He has been making hit songs since the late 1970s, getting his break as the flagship act for rising producer Henry 'Junjo' Lawes' Volcano Records.
With the Roots Radics Band in tow, Lawes and Levy cut several impressive songs at Channel One studio that announced his prolific talent. Among his early hits were Prison Oval Rock and 21 Girl Salute which not only made him a star in Jamaica but in the United Kingdom, where there was a growing dancehall market.
Levy says his acoustic album will be released in regions where there is still a demand for vinyl, such as Europe, Japan and the United States' west coast.