Louisa ‘Markswoman’ Mark’s debut album, Breakout, is a landmark in the history of British reggae music.
This seminal album is released in its original design and comes with three bonus tracks – two rare single-only DJ cuts with Mark (including the legendary Trinity) and a superb rare dub.
In 1978, Mark was voted top female vocalist in the influential Black Echoes magazine. A few years earlier, her debut single, ‘Caught You in A Lie’, produced by legendary UK soundsystem operator Lloyd Coxsone and featuring music by the great Dennis Bovell had launched a new style of reggae in Britain, Lovers Rock.
After her debut the fourteen-year singer from West London came under the wing of Clem Bushay, then in-house producer and A&R for Trojan Records, who, starting with the classic ‘Even Though You’re Gone’, released a steady stream of hit singles on his independent Bushay label.
The young Mark became an iconic figure for young British black female singers, paving the way for Janet Kay, Caroll Thompson and the many other young lovers rock singers who soon followed in her path.
As the original sleevenotes to the album succinctly put it on her reggae success – ‘five number one songs out of five, all classics and at the tender age of 20’.
For her debut album, Breakout, Louisa Mark and the well-connected producer Bushay brought together some of reggae music’s finest musicians from both the UK and Jamaica. These included superstar guests such as The Heptones, Dave Barker, Owen Gray and The In Crowd as well as relocated legends like Rico Rodriguez and Vin Gordon and the ever-present Dennis Bovell.
Louisa Mark’s young success was short-lived and this album was to be her sole release. She died in Gambia in 2009.
Thirty years on, the rare album stands out as one of the most important reggae albums of its time – a groundbreaking release, which helped define British reggae for a new generation of black British youth.