Robert Ffrench - Wondering LP
Death Is Not The End's 333 sub-label follows the reissue of Devon Russell's Darker Than Blue LP late last year with a first-time reissue of a veritable reggae-dancehall holy grail - Robert Ffrench's 1985 LP Wondering.
Pioneering artist and producer (and cousin of the late, great Pat Kelly) Robert Ffrench was born in central Kingston in 1962, recording his first records in 1979 at the age of 17. Coming out off the back of a slew of roots & early dancehall-style 45s cut with a wide range of producers thoughout the early '80s, the Wondering LP followed closely after two acclaimed LP sets (Showcase produced with Lord Koos & The Favourite for Ossie Thomas' Black Solidarity label - plus a split showcase LP with Anthony "Gunshot" Johnson for Jah Thomas' Midnight Rock label).
Ffrench would write and produce the Wondering LP himself in it's entirity, laying down the tracks at Herman Chin-Loy's Aquarius & Michael Carroll's Creative Sounds studios with the help of engineer Christopher Daley. Representing the sound of an artist first confidently sriking out on his own, the album elegantly mixes a classic rub-a-dub & lovers rock-inspired sound with nascent digi-esque flourishes. It boasts an enviable list of contributors too, incl. Sly & Robbie, Dwight Pinkney, Robbie Lyn, Nelson Miller (Burning Spear) and Ronald "Nambo" Robinson among others, with Beres Hammond also providing backing vocals in places.
Following the release of Wondering, Ffrench would continue to write and produce, soon after releasing two further self-produced LPs for Edgar White's Parish label - and founded his own France label in the late 80s, through which his productions would start to hit big, most notably alongside Courtney Melody on "Modern Girl," and with US rapper Heavy D on the track "More Love." Robert's productions released through later label Ffrench would go on to boast the cream of the crop of dancehall artists throughout the 90s and early 2000s, and he is often credited with discovering Buju Banton (producing his first single "Ruler" on the Stamina riddim). Ffrench is still actively producing music of his own to this day, having released singles "Everyday of My Life" and "Black Is a Colour" in late 2022 and Feb 2023 respectively, available through all digital platforms now.