Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tarrus Riley 'Contagious' Review

"The reason I called it 'Contagious' is because I would like everyone to catch it.....I represent reggae, live music, and I want everyone to catch on to its positive, good vibes." That's what Mr. Riley himself said in reference to the title of his third and latest album 'Contagious'. What an appropriate title for this collection of tunes from Tarrus. Listeners will definitely 'catch' what Mr. Riley was hoping to infect them with. An trus' me now: No one will be looking to cure themselves of this contagion. Only Tarrus himself will be able to come up with an album that's more infectious.
The album opens with the telling 'Living the Life of a Gun', a denunciation of gun violence in Jamaica over a booming one-drop riddim. Tarrus truly has a flow like no other and he shows it off here.
On the title track 'Love's Contagious' he makes Marley's 'Coming in from the Cold' riddim all his own with a dynamic melody and beautiful hook. 'Some'in a go roun''s contagious. Some'in a go roun''s the sweetest sickness... I don't need to be cured.' No doctor or pharmacist necessary. Yes, indeed. Pure Niceness!
The album is packed with BoomTunes. 'Superman' and 'Human Nature' are better than the originals. (Aren't reggae covers always?!) Tarrus really puts his heart and voice into the tracks. The production is flawless. 'Young Hearts' is a nice throw-back, lover's rock song. The Shane Brown produced 'Start A New' is a soulful outcry for battered women to get out of abusive relationships. 'Don't Judge', 'Soul Mate', 'Stop Watch', and 'Why So Much Wickedness?' are classic reggae anthems over earth shattering, bass-forward, one-drop riddims.
As 'She's Royal' was the signature piece on Parables, 'Good Girl Gone Bad' will be the same for Contagious. Tarrus' blistering deejaying will give any dancehall artist, past or present, a run for their money. He and Konshens go together like ackee and saltfish. Anytime the opening words 'Blak Soil Russian' blast from a soundsystem they will, no doubt, be followed with shouts of 'Forward!' for many years to come. Pull up dat!! Hitch it up my selecta!
'Contagious' is a truly WICKED album. It is a MUST HAVE for everyone's collection. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better reggae album. Tarrus Riley is definitely one of the most innovative and creative reggae musicians to come along in many years. He is quickly establishing himself as the voice of a generation. With the brilliant 'Contagious' he has proven, yet again, that he is here to stay.

Track Listing:

1. Living the Life of a Gun
2. I-Sight
3. Love's Contagious
4. Human Nature
5. Soul Mate
6. Superman
7. Young Hearts
8. Start A New
9. S-Craving
10. Why So Much Wickedness?
11. Let Peace Reign featuring Etana and Duane Stephenson
12. Don't Judge
13. King Selassie
14. Stop Watch
15. Herbs Promotion featuring Demarco and Vybz Kartel
16. Good Girl Gone Bad featuring Konshens
17. Mankind
18. It Will Come

Tarrus Riley - Contagious

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rebelution Set to Release 'Bright Side of Life'

Santa Barbara-based reggae band Rebelution announced that their long awaited sophomore full-length album “Bright Side of Life” will be released in stores nationwide and digital worldwide on August 4, 2009.
The album follows up their award winning debut album “Courage to Grow,” which garnered mass downloads and radio play on monster radio stations such as San Francisco’s Live 105 where their single “Safe and Sound” was played on heavy rotation, with spins on San Diego’s 91X, and Los Angeles’ KROQ.
The album was also selected as iTunes Editor’s Choice for Best Reggae Album of 2007, and has been in the top 10 iTunes Reggae album sales since its release two years ago. In addition, “Courage to Grow” remained in the Billboard Top 10 Reggae Chart for 36 weeks, and peaked at #4.
Now for the summer of 2009, the band is ready to unleash 12 new signature tracks blending their cohesive mix of reggae, rock, and hip-hop influences in a calliope awash of front man Eric Rachmany’s Santana-esque guitar flurries, Marley D. Williams’ solid and attacking bass lines, the psychedelic and tasteful piano, keyboard and Hammond b-3 styling of Rory Carey and the jazz rock fusion of Wesley Finley’s finesse drumming and percussion.
Of the new album, Rebelution shares, "After the positive response from fans and critics for 'Courage to Grow' and touring in support of it for the last few years, we are glad to finally reveal our new material to the fans who have waited so patiently. We've played many of the new songs live, but the recorded versions will have that 'studio magic' from all the time we've put into them, and there are surprise songs that people haven't heard yet.”
The release of “Bright Side of Life” marks the first release under Rebelution’s newly founded record label, 87 Music in association with Controlled Substance Sound Labs and Silverback Music, the California based music collective, which is also home to artists Slightly Stoopid and Pepper, and their respective artist imprints. The band notes that their second album will show their growth in maturity musically, with a more polished sound with flares of new styles that fans and future fans have yet to hear.
Look for the Album Review Soon Come.
Purchase on I-Tunes

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chezidek- When I think of Love(I Think of You All Day)

The man with the most unique and most beautiful voice in Reggae flows effortlessly over the 'Little Sista Riddim' by the Tune In label. Really nice tune and riddim.

Purchase on I-Tunes

Is Reggae Losing It's Roots?

What do you think? Is it a fair question?

In the current world of reggae it is a very pertinent question. After all, anyone who is somewhat computer savvy can create a 'riddim'. Does this show disrespect for the bygone era of session musicians playing live instruments ? Most traditional reggae fans would, no doubt, always prefer live instruments on a track rather than a digitally generated track, myself included.

However, that preference should in no way discount or discredit what is being accomplished by producers creating 'one drop' riddims using Pro-tools or whatever other program or machine they have at there disposal. The fact is, there are some extremely talented musicians producing top notch riddims using digital methods. Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor, though primarily a dancehall producer, has successfully ventured into the roots world with quality one drop riddims. It takes talent to do what he does! He comes by his nickname honestly. Shane C. Brown of Juke Boxx and Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett of Don Corleone are two more young producers with loads of musical talent that remain loyal to the traditional reggae sound in the digital era. Reggae Legend Winston 'Burning Spear' Rodney was recently quoted as saying 'The Music needs direction'. I agree with that statement. And reggae absolutely needs to find a balance when it comes to traditional recording methods and digital programmimg. Right now, the latter far outweighs the former. There needs to more Jamaican Musicians following the lead of European Musicians. Labels like'Pow Pow' and 'Irievibrations' do a fabulous job of capturing the traditional reggae sound. Why? Because they use live instruments on the riddims they create!! There is definately something to be said for that.

Is reggae losing it's roots?

Not necessarily. The foundation is still alive and well. The artists and producers simply need to remember to strike a balance. Like Bob Marley said "Please gimme a session, not another version." At least every once and awhile.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Queen Ifrica 'Welcome to Montego Bay' Review

Queen Ifrica returns strong with her sophomore album entitled 'Welcome to Montego Bay'. After a Nyabinghi Chant sets the stage the upbeat and wicked title track sets the album ablaze. An trus me now, the Fyah Muma nah let de flame go out! On tracks like ' Lionness on the Rise', 'Far Away', and 'In My Dreams' she showcases her incredible singing voice, reminscent of a Jamaican India Arie.Her singjaying skills are on full display as well. The socially conscious 'Keep It To Yourself' flows beautifully over Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett's 'Secrets' Riddim. The controversial but poignant 'Daddy' definately will raise awareness and let's everyone know that Queen Ifrica is not afraid of tackling even the most sensitive of issues.The social commentary continues on 'Streets Are Bloody', a powerful condemnation of senseless killings and the heartache that results, over a lovely acoustic riddim. The album closes with a 'spanish' version of 'Daddy' complete with a nice uptempo, salsa style riddim. Queen Ifrica is truly one of the best ladies in the business and with this album in her repertoire she can definately hang with the big BOYS of reggae music. Get it. You won't be disappointed.

Track Listing:

1. T.T.P.N.C.
2. Welcome to Montego Bay
3. Coconut Shell
4. Lioness on the Rise
5. Yad to the East
6. Far Away
7. Don't Sign
8. Daddy
9. Keep it to Yourself
10. Calling Africa
11. In My Dreams
12. Streets Are bloody
13. Daddy (Espanol)

Purchase on I-Tunes

Indiscretions Riddim.....Juke Boxx

Another solid effort from the Juke Boxx camp and Shane C. Brown. Though expanding to include some hard-hitting dancehall riddims, Juke Boxx never forgets where they started: Roots Reggae. With this release they continue to show why they are one of the best at creating one drop, roots riddims. Pure Niceness!

Assassin- Stay Like Bees
Cherine Anderson- 20 to Life
Voicemail- Love
Timeka Marshall- Hush
Richie Spice- Soothing Sound
Lutan Fyah- Nuh Talk
Peetah Heritage- Secrets
Jah Cure- Searching
Busy Signal- Missing You

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Chapter Riddim....Big Ship/Di Genius

Dis ya one a wicked roots riddim!!
Stephen McGregor lives up to his nickname on dis ya riddim. 'Di Genius' is definitely in top form. All de big name dem deh pon de riddim.

Luciano/Freddie McGregor -'Night After Night'
Freddie McGregor-'Take Your Time'
Anthony B-'Sorry'
Assassin-'Give Thanks'
Etana-'Who Gave You The Right'
Peetah Morgan-'Don't Walk Away'
Chris Martin-'No Second Dance'
Chino-'Forgive Me'
Singing Sweet-'Missing You'
Timika Marshall-'All Night'
Wayne Marshall-'Mama Hurt'
Wayne Wonder-'All About You'
Philipp7-'Looking For'
Shema-'Good Luck'

Ali Campbell 'Flying High' Review

Let me start by being honest. In my nearly 30 years of listening to and living Reggae Music I can honestly say I have never been a fan of UB40. Sure, there have been a few songs throughout the years that I've liked. "Hip Hop Lyrical Robot" and "Bring Me Your Cup" come to mind. But for the most part I've always felt very apathetic about them while never questioning their talent or love for the music. I've always felt there were artists whose music deserved all of the same accolades and then some. That being said, "Flying High" is a solid effort from the former UB40 frontman. It's a break from the radio friendly covers that fans have come to expect and a move towards a more contemporary Jamaican sound. How so? Look no further than the first track. Ali teams with Germaican sensation Gentleman on "Nothing Ever Changes". One of the most succesful reggae artists as far as chart success but one who has always remained true to the music, namely, Shaggy turns up on "She's a Lady". Nice track. Ali gives a worthy effort on John Holt's classic "My Heart is Gone" and another jamaican classic "What You Gonna do Bout It" featuring the inimitable Lady Saw.
"Out From Under" is a beautiful ballad . The contemporary jamaican flavor comes to the fore again as Mr. Campbell does a very Jah Cure-esque vocal style with lyrics that I could hear Jah Cure singing, but never writing. During "Visions" all that kept coming to mind was Terry Linen's cover of 'Your love is my love and my love is your love . It will take an eternity to break us. It will take all the stars just to hold us'...Sorry! I got off track for a second. The riddim and melody is that similar. In short, this album is probably still not going to convince reggae die-hards. There are some solid tracks. And, I must admit, as I listened more and more some tunes really grew on me but not enough to tell you this is a 'MUST HAVE' for your collection.There's no tune you'll have to skip but there's also none you'll want to play over and over .

Track Listing:

1. Nothing Ever Changes featuring Gentleman
2. Out From Under
3. Everways
4. She's a Lady featuring Shaggy
5. That's Supposed to Hurt
6. What You Gonna Do 'bout It featuring Lady Saw
7. Visions
8. My Heart Is Gone
9. Don't Shoot the Messenger
10. It's a Crime
11. Flying High
12. My Happiness

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alborosie "Escape From Babylon" Review

Alborosie has established himself as one of the premier reggae artists of the time. "Escape From Babylon" reaffirms this fact.Seriously, without having seen him would you have any idea he was Sicilian? No sir. De Bwoy a Yardie!"Momma She Don't Like You" is one of the BoomTunes on the album. The pulsating Ska Riddim mek ya wanna dance an sing! When Pupa Albo boasts: 'She love the way me cook me pasta, She tell dem duggie drivin a Testarossa' it makes me immediately think of what I've always loved about reggae music: The artists say what they want. Whatever subject or phrase or metaphor . It no matter. Dem jus' catch a vibe an run wid it."Good Woman" is another tune full of lovable, if not laughable, lyrics. 'Good woman jus keep ya hearts clean, jus gwan get purified inna Jah washing machine.' I actually laughed out loud when I first heard those words. However, in my opinion, this is one of the things that makes reggae so endearing and appealing.
The only thing missing on "I Rusalem" is Alpha Blondy. I can hear it now: 'Jay-rus-a-lem, here I am. Jay-rus-a-lem, je t'aime.' "America" kicks off the set with a nice horn laden, one drop riddim and some hard-hitting words for the powers that be. "Mr. President" echoes the same sentiments but this time directed at the Italian Heads of State."Global War", "Humbleness", and "One Sound" with Gramps Morgan are ALL stand out tracks. "Promised Land" is another gem on this album with the singer flowing beautifully over a track eerily similar to Burning Spear's 'Columbus'. (By the way, I love that Tune!) Over all this album is a 'MUST HAVE' for anyone who loves conscious, roots reggae. And, I gotta say, if your love for reggae is just starting to blossom this is an album that will strengthen those feelings.

Track Listing:
1. America
2. No Cocaine
3. Mama She Don't Like You - featuring I.Eye
4. Global War
5. Money
6. I Rusalem
7. Can't Stand It - featuring Dennis Brown
8. Real Story
9. Good Woman
10. Dung A Babylon
11. One Sound - featuring Gramps Morgan
12. Humbleness
13. Promised Land
14. Mr. President
15. Operration Uppsala
16. Likkle Africa

Welcome to The Reggae Review

My first post is to simply say 'Wha'gwan? Wh'appen?'
In the days, weeks and months ahead you will find all of the latest news from the world of reggae music on dis ya blog. The Reggae Review is dedicated to bringing you headlines from around the world, album reviews, riddim reviews, reggae videos and much, much more.
So sit back, relax and enjoy de ride. Nuff tings a gwan!