A: I Roy - Knotty Knots
B: Mighty Two - Knots version
Three years after the impressive range of songs from the courtroom that Derrick Morgan laid down for various producers, I Roy revisits the format on the most superb recording he ever made for Joe Gibbs. Just like the Derrick Morgan tunes, Knotty Knots starts off with a bickering between a barrister and a rastaman, the latter detained for the possesion of ganja. But that's where the similarities end. Where Morgan's suspects are trembling with fear for the honorable men in court, I Roy's accused puts up a fight. He's a proud man with a different view on life. He's a righteous rastaman. A natty.
Just like Jacob Miller, who's impeccable "I'm a Natty" (Stop Point, 1975), provides the backingtrack and the canvas for I Roy's heartfelt and conscious lyrics. Where Morgan's tunes were campy and somewhat playful, although still a protestsong in every way, Knotty Knots is anything but whimsical. Riding Bob Marley's Soul Rebel riddim to full effect, I Roy lays down a seriously deep tune in which he tackles topics such as way of life, religion and death. The result is simply smashing.
The flip is also interesting. The intro is different from the vocal side, although the message is the same, and the dub has I Roy proclaiming his message acapella at one point. For all its greatness, it's a shame Knotty Knots isn't featured on any good compilation albums. Maybe, with the resurgance of Blood & Fire, that issue will finally be dealt with, because this killer tune deserves a wider audience.