Release of VP’s Reggae Christmas Classics album today
Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas has been a Yuletide staple on Jamaican radio for over 50 years. It is one of the songs covered on VP Records’ Reggae Christmas Classics album, scheduled for release today.
There are two takes of the song on the 11-song set — the vocal rendition by Nadine Sutherland and an instrumental by veteran keyboardist Robbie Lyn.
“It was recorded for vocals, but while in studio listening to the playback with Nadine Sutherland’s vocals, it was Clive Hunt’s idea to have both vocal and instrumental interpretations on the album. He contacted VP with the suggestion and it was agreed on. So I was given the track and I did the instrumental lead parts at home,” Lyn disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Hunt and Dean Fraser co-produced Reggae Christmas Classics which hears artistes such as Christopher Martin putting a reggae flavour to standards like Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas. Thriller U does Feliz Navidad, while Lukie D and Nikki Burt duet on I’ll be Home For Christmas.
Lyn said it was not difficult doing a reggae take on Stevie Wonder’s sombre seasonal favourite.
“It is a straightforward melody, so I just listened to Nadine’s vocals as a reference to play the right melody notes. Most carols are repetitious in melody, with just the lyrics changing, so my approach was to use sounds that were different at particular parts of the song with the piano being the focal sound,” he explained.
Lyn is one of Jamaica’s premier musicians. He started his recording career in the late 1960s at Studio One and in the 1970s was associated with influential bands such as Now Generation; Peter Tosh’s Word, Sound And Power; and Sly and Robbie’s Taxi Gang.
The laid-back Lyn is not big on Christmas celebrations, describing the season as “over-commercialised”, but has a liking for some songs — Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas being probably top of the list.
“I also like The Christmas Song, although we don’t have chestnuts roasting in Jamaica,” he said.