You don't seem to be complaining about not reaping any rewards out of
the music. Why is that? "I can't bawl like some other men do. I tried
from pretty early to know the business and I've done well. I made some investments
out of it . . . a house, land, assets . . . the trick was that I produced
a lot of the hit songs that I made and I produced other artists as well,"
the man who produced Freddie McGregor's definitive song, "Big Ship,"
"Most of my songs were released in England through Greensleeves Records. Right there was the lick; that's how I made the money . . . I saw the importance of foreign exchange. So instead of doing something here and getting little or nothing, I tried to conquer the foreign market then returned to Jamaica to do business," he said simply.
However, things weren't always smooth with him; he had to make sacrifices.
"In the 1980s, the business got to be a way where dancehall was the in-thing, and I couldn't deal with the computer thing, because it never gave me the right vibes. So I just eased off and deal with publishing and collecting my royalties," he explained.
That hiatus in which he "got his business together" paid off because even though Linval's last major hit was "Baby Father" in 1981, he has a thriving business based on the repressing of smash hits of the past on vinyl for markets throughout Italy and Japan.
He has an iron-clad publishing agreement with Greensleeves and a Dutch company, Munich Records, leases his vintage catalog. "During those days, I traveled a lot, mostly in Europe, to hunt down my publishing, and in between I would record songs on tape. But I never released them 'cause it wasn't the right time," Linval said.
'Now' appears to be the right time as he is preparing to jump start his solo career once more with the release of Lump Sum on his own Thompson Sound label. The record will be distributed by Dynamic Sounds.
"The only major disappointment I have is that I never got a big deal with a major foreign company like Virgin or Columbia, but back then, it was never about ego or money so it wasn't a problem. I just give thanks for music, because if it wasn't for it, I don't know how I'd live. Now, I don't have to sing for my supper, I do it now because I choose to, and because I love it," he said.
Linval Thompson fans can catch him at the "Dancehall Style" affair at the Caymanas Polo Club on Saturday, August 1, featuring King Stur Gav along side artists such as Josie Wales, Brigadier General, Inspector Willy, Charlie Chaplin, and U Brown.
Thompson Sound Seven Inchers
Linval Thompson interview
Linval Thompson Discography in progress
Linval Thompson, "Well Wicked" by Steve Milne