Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Reggae King's Rides

When Bob Marley and the Wailers released Babylon By Bus in 1978 - a live album recorded in Paris - the reggae superstar was depicting how he and the group travelled while on tour.

But in Jamaica, there were other vehicles that played an important role in the Reggae king's sojourn.

Former manager Allan 'Skill' Cole said that during the time of his association with Marley, the singer had different vehicles throughout various stages of his career.

"Him never fussy," Cole said, "but he had owned a couple of vehicles."

Cole, who had met the St Ann-born Marley in Trench Town during the early 1960s, was a football prodigy and represented Jamaica age 15. He later became a trusted friend and manager of the reggae icon.

Bob Marley (left) and his then manager Allan 'Skill' Cole.

"In the '70s ... about '70-'71, Bob had a Ford Escort," said the former national representative. "When him sell that, he bought a [Ford] Capri," he continued.

The former Santos, Real Mona and Boys' Town player explained that those two cars were the workhorses.

"The Escort and the Capri, dem two cars deh did the work ... we sold records from them in the early years," he said.

Cole, a former coach of Arnett Gardens and Port Morant United football clubs, said when Marley's financial standing improved, so too did the calibre of cars he owned.

"He bought a VW Sport ... then in '74 he bought the BMW," he said.

Marley's former manager explained that the luxury car was previously owned by a fellow musician and bought through a dealer.

"It was Pluto Shervington's BMW," he said. "We bought it through Claude Levy, who also had the franchise for Peugeot at that time."

Cole said he was the one who prompted Marley to purchase the BMW as it was in keeping with his superstar status.

reluctant to drive

"At first, Bob did reluctant to drive it ... I had it for the first couple days," he said. The former manager recounted that Marley had concerns.

"At that time, Rastas were still pushing handcarts," he said, so Cole had to convince Marley that "those days were gone".

"I then threw the keys to him," he said.

The former Kingston College and Vere Technical schoolboy footballer said on his return from Africa, Marley had added to his fleet by acquiring a VW van.

"That's the one down a Culture Yard in Trench Town," he said. That vehicle, Cole explained, was oftentimes used to pick up the Marley kids and used to carry out everyday chores.

At the Marley's Hope Road address — now home of the Marley Museum — the singer's Land Rover is still on display.

"Bob got this around 1976," said Paul Kelly, operations manager at Bob Marley Museum. "He mostly used this to make his country run to St Ann."

Kelly said that the Land Rover took the place of the VW as the utility vehicle for chores and pickups.

The operations manager recalled that in the early 2000s several visitors from Land Rover manufacturing company in England offered to buy Bob's Land Rover. "But we couldn't sell it ... it's priceless," he said.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Essential Reggae Albums

Those new to Reggae Music often say that they love it but they don't know what to buy. 'Where do I start?' is a common question. Many just assume that any Bob Marley album is a safe bet. (For the most part that's true.) However, there is much more to Reggae Music than Bob Marley. Bob is definitely the King. No question. But there are so many other Artists and Bands that have played a major role in contributing to and defining Reggae Music.
To help the casual or the new listener, I've decided to compile a list of Essential Reggae Albums. This is only a beginning. I could literally list hundreds of reggae albums that I would deem essential to a collection. I'll start with these. Mind you, they are in no particular order.

Peter Tosh 'Equal Rights' Columbia, 1977
Tosh's singing is angry and forceful and the music is intricate and distinctive. Tosh was always the most militant of the original Wailers and this album reflects that outlook. One of the best and most influential Reggae Albums ever recorded. Peter Tosh - Equal Rights

Tenor Saw 'Fever' Blue Mountain, 1985
Fever captures a moment in reggae history with a clean crisp singer who oversaw the massive changes that swept the genre with track after track of dancehall hits. Tenor Saw was a singer of incredible talent who honed his skills with the Youthman Promotion sound system and was able to transfer his energy in the sound clash directly to an album format. With all the skill of earlier dancehall stars like Barrington Levy, Saw used the updated digital versions of familiar riddims to become a dancehall phenomenon in a very short period of time. His hypnotic vocals floated over digital tracks, helping to deliver dancehall into the modern era. Tenor Saw - Fever

Steel Pulse 'True Democracy' Elektra, 1982
This is one of Steel Pulse's most satisfying and fully realized albums. Featuring the gorgeous 'Your House', arguably one of the greatest reggae love songs ever. This is an album that can be played from start to finish, over and over, and the listener will never get tired of it. Steel Pulse - True Democracy

Black Uhuru 'Red' Mango, 1981
Nothing matched the Michael Rose era of Black Uhuru. Backed by the tight and dancehall-era defining Sly & Robbie, the trio reels off eight high-quality reggae cuts here, including classics like 'Youth of Eglington', 'Utterance', and 'Sponji Reggae.' Filled with Rose's astute lyrics, the album provides an engaging blend of steppers rhythms and social commentary. Black Uhuru - Red

Shinehead 'Unity' Elektra, 1988
Shinehead's unique fusion of reggae and hip-hop might've had something to do with why it failed to make much of a dent in any of the Billboard charts. While reggae's influence upon hip-hop was made known at the time with MCs like KRS-One, no one was truly blending the two styles like Shinehead. This album is more reggae than anything and that's why I included it here. 'Unity' shows exactly why Shinehead is considered one of the most versatile reggae artists of the last 20 + years. It's fun and lighthearted. It's positive. It's a classic! Shinehead - Unity

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reggae Singer with a Legacy, a Following and a Mission

The New York Times wrote a nice piece on Tarrus Riley today.

Read the Article Here

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Black Seeds to release 'Solid Ground' September 15th

The Lord of the Rings films put New Zealand’s beauty and creative spirit on the pop culture map. Flight of the Conchords revealed New Zealand’s unique wit. Now reggae/funk sensations The Black Seeds — Conchord friends and former band mates — are ready to take listeners one step deeper into the Other Down Under, with infectious grooves, slamming brass, and booty shaking beats on the group’s first North American release, Solid Ground (Easy Star Records; Released exclusively on iTunes September 15; everywhere else September 29, 2009), and on their debut U.S. tour with John Brown’s Body this September. Produced by the band’s guitarist Mike Fabulous, the album oozes with The Black Seeds’ distinctive flavor – from the heavy-hitting, Karma-inspired “Slingshot” and darker reggae/dub-infused tracks like “Send a Message” and “The Bubble,” to infectious reggae gems like “Take Your Chances,” “Love Is A Radiation” and “Come To Me,” and the funk/soul filled “Rotten Apple” and “Afrophone.” The North American release adds two previously unreleased bonus tracks: the funky soul instrumental “Year Of The Pig” and a dub version of “Strugglers.” The iTunes release will have two additional exclusive bonus tracks: an acoustic version of “One Step At A Time,” which lays bare the songwriting prowess of the band, as well as a dub version of “Bulletproof.”Look for more info on pre-ordering this album through the Easy Star website in a few days.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Buju Banton 'Rasta Got Soul' Tour Dates Announced

Buju Banton will kick off his U.S. tour in Philadelphia on September 12 and he will wrap things up November 1st at The Hard Rock Live in Orlando.

On October 30th he will be in Tampa at The Ritz. Doors Open @ 8pm.

Click Here For All Dates.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exclusive Interview with Tarrus Riley

After a truly incredible performance in St. Petersburg, Tarrus Riley was gracious enough to take a few minutes and answer some questions for The Reggae Review.

The Reggae Review: Tarrus, wicked show.

Tarrus: Thanks, man. Thanks.

The Reggae Review: How did 'Good Girl Gone Bad' come about? How did you get together with Konshens?

Tarrus: Yeah, Konshens and I have a mutual breddren. A youth named Russian who produce the track. Russian is my friend's cousin..So we all friends an he produce Konshens' song 'This Means Money' so when I did 'Good Girl Gone Bad' an he wanted a Deejay I said right away Konshens. Konshens a star, ya know, Konshens a real star. I like his music an he likes my music so we jus link up. I love doing collaborations, ya know.

The Reggae Review: How's the reception been to the album so far?

Tarrus: So far, so good. It cool.

The Reggae Review: Why do you think Reggae Music has such an appeal worldwide?

Tarrus: Because of the message. The message is for everyone. Ya now, the message is not just for one people. Even Jamaican, Jamaican mek ya know dat we deal with everyone. Out of many, one people. So, it's all about a unity, it's gathering. Know say reggae music have different likkle flavors, ya have de a likkle jazz, ya have de R&B, likkle guitar vibes. It's a whole, ya know, like we say 'All', it's a big, like, Gumbo a spices and vibes. Reggae music is for everyone.

The Reggae Review: Thanks Tarrus.

Tarrus: Yeah Mon, Respect.

Photos from Tarrus Riley 'Live' in St. Pete

Dean 'Canon' Fraser

Duane Stephenson

Tarrus welcoming the crowd

The Legendary Dean Fraser and Likkle Yute

Tarrus feelin' the vibes

Tarrus Riley and Likkle Yute

Tarrus and Dean sparring

Tarrus mashin' up de place!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Relationships Riddim....Arif Cooper

Supa Coop presents a laid back follow-up to his popular 'Guardian Angel' riddim. Relationships, like its name suggests, has the smooth, rock away vibe that makes it the ideal base for the love songs that occupy most of the rhythm. Sanjay, who was on the previous Guardian Angel Rhythm with the popular track, Man of My word, is back carrying the same feel good vibe and lyrics with his song Slipping Away. Sean Paul, Collie Budz, TOK, Daville, Voicemail, Ginjah, I-Wayne all feature nicely on the riddim.

Track Listing:

Guilty Conscience- Ginjah
Forever Yours- Duane Stephenson
Now She's Gone- Collie Budz
What Will They Do?- I-Wayne
Hold My Hand- Sean Paul
Just Another Day- Daville
Grow Old With You- Voicemail
Single Mom- TOK
Slipping Away- Sanjay
And Many, Many More!

Vineyard Town Riddim....Maximum Sound U.K.

Frenchie at Maximum Sound has been at the very core of the Roots-Reggae Revival over the past 5+ years. He consistently produces top quality, contemporary Roots riddims and Vineyard Town is no exception. Reggae music, especially the corner of it that is forever English, can justly take pride in his achievements. Quality Riddim...... Quality Artists......Quality Tunes!

Track Listing:

Crying Out- Lukie D
Be Aware- Luciano
Jesse James- Peetah Morgan
All Is Well- Capleton
More Blessing- Fantan Mojah

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jonathan Demme Becomes Second Director To Leave Bob Marley Documentary

A planned biopic of Bob Marley's life has been thrown into doubt again - director Jonathan Demme has reportedly followed in Martin Scorsese's footsteps and quit the project. The Raging Bull legend was originally signed up to helm the story of the late reggae icon's life, with Marley's family heaping praise on the moviemaker for taking charge of the production. In a statement, Marley's son Ziggy said, "I am thrilled that the Marley family will finally have the opportunity to document our father's legacy and are truly honoured to have Mr. Scorsese guide the journey." But due to prior commitments, Scorsese was forced to drop out of the film in May, leaving Philadelphia director Demme to lead the project. However, Demme has reportedly quit the movie following a disagreement with producer Steve Bing, who was left unimpressed with the footage filmed so far, according to New York gossip column Page Six. The movie was slated for a February release - to mark what would have been the "No Woman, No Cry" hitmaker's 65th birthday - but production is expected to halt until a new director is hired.

Netzah Riddim.... ZJ Rose

A solid roots riddim featuring some of Roots Reggae's Elite including the one and only Don Corleone. Tuff Tracks!

Track Listing:

1. Always- Don Corleone
2. Why Can't We?- Jah Cure and Christopher Ellis
3. Beautiful- Peetah Morgan
4. Cry- Pressure
5. Mama Love- Richie Spice

SOJA Set To Release Their Third Full-Length Album Born In Babylon

Washington D.C. based reggae band SOJA announced today that their highly anticipated, third full-length album “Born in Babylon” will be released digitally worldwide, exclusively on iTunes on August 25, 2009. The album follows up their successful 2006 release “Get Wiser” which debuted in the Top 10 Reggae albums on iTunes, and has remained in the top 100 since its release. Since 2000, the quintet has issued two full-length albums and two EPs on their label DMV Records.

Now, SOJA is ready to release 14 new tracks on “Born in Babylon.” SOJA shares about their new album, “This is the album we’ve been wanting to make for ten years. At first we were hard-core old school, then we got new school and inventive. This is what we’ve learned from all that. ‘Born in Babylon’ is hard roots drum and bass, big wide guitar and vocal melodies, and two and three sided lyrics, with two and three sided messages.”

In July 2009, SOJA released the first single and music video for “I Don’t Wanna Wait” off the “Born in Babylon” album. Based on the pre-order numbers alone for the new album, SOJA currently stands at #3 on the iTunes Reggae charts, foreshadowing a big success for their new release.

Originally formed in 1997, SOJA consists of lead singers, Jacob Hemphill (guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass), as well as Patrick O’Shea on keyboard, percussionist Ken Brownell and drummer Ryan Berty. The band has become renowned for using a unique blend of reggae, hip-hop, and rock to influence their sound, while staying dedicated to creating music with a real message and promoting a revolution. They have also dominated touring, averaging 150 shows a year visiting every major city in the United States and traveling internationally playing to crowds of up to 16,000 people. The band has also shared the stage with notable artists such as Citizen Cope, Matisyahu, Ben Harper, Slightly Stoopid, Damian Marley, Govt Mule, Umphrees McGee, and Steel Pulse to name a few.

For the rest of 2009 moving into 2010 SOJA plans on touring the United States extensively while promoting “Born in Babylon.” They also plan on further expanding internationally- with tours in new markets such as St. Maarten, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Tahiti, Poland, Spain and Germany.

For more information on the upcoming album, plus national, and international tour dates, please visit SOJA’s website at or MySpace at

For media inquiries with SOJA, please contact Jordyn Borczon at MLC PR at or 818-706-8080.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ky-Mani Marley Interview from the recent Uppsala Reggae Festival

Tarrus Riley's 'Contagious' Charts on I-Tunes

Contagious, the new album from singer Tarrus Riley, is charting on popular online music store iTunes four days after its official release, signalling that the album could register on the Billboard charts next week.
The album is currently number 7 and 10 on iTunes in Sweden and the US, respectively. However, it is too early for the album to register on the major music chart Billboard, as it is less than a week old. As usual iTunes reggae album charts are dominated by reggae icon Bob Marley, whose albums currently top 19 of the 22 countries listed on iTunes.
Contagious is expected to surpass the chart success of previous albums due to the increased buzz Riley has received following his hit single, She's Royal, which was arguably the biggest reggae song of 2007. Riley's debut album Challenges (2004) and his follow-up Parables (2007) peaked at 12 and 10 on the Billboard Reggae charts, respectively.
Contagious has 18 tracks and features collaborations with Vybz Kartel and Demarco on Herbs; Konshens on Good Girl Gone Bad; and Etana alongside Duane Stephenson on Let Peace Reign.
Contagious was set to debut in March but was pushed back until August 4. It's Riley's first album in two years, and was recorded mostly at Mikie Bennett's Grafton Studios in Kingston. VP Records currently is heavily promoting the album on its website and other online sites.
In 2008, VP Records re-issued Riley's first album, Challenges. Riley's manager, saxophonist Dean Frazer, asserted that Challenges was Grammy-worthy but no one heard it. "The first album really and truly was a wicked works. And is only now start to creep up on people," he told the Observer previously.
Frazer wants Contagious to win a Grammy: "But a lot of times, really good albums are not nominated. We hope that come 2009 we will definitely be there."

Sunday, August 09, 2009

'Electric Boogie' Strikes After 10 years

When Bunny Wailer wrote Electric Boogie for Marcia Griffiths, the track crackled with the energy of childhood friendship then intermittent contact in later years as their musical paths crossed (Wailer remembers Griffiths coming to Camperdown High to sing as a teenager, then auditioning her as part of a group at Studio One).
And, as he tells it, it seems that Wailer was plugged into the current of popular music of the late 1970s when Griffiths recorded Electric Boogie, and the amperage of music trends to come, as his prediction of a hit, even if it took a decade, became reality.
Griffiths had a very active 1970s, touring with the I-Threes doing harmony for Bob Marley and the Wailers. When she returned from one tour, Wailer visited her and said "waapen, I think you should still pursue you solo y'nuh. She welcome that, so we start write some songs fi har". The first was Tribulation, which got airplay but didn't have a big impact. He tried again, but decided to go into the "pop situation".
Electric Avenue
And that meant drawing power from what was connecting with the public at the time.
"There was this track at the time being played called Electric Avenue (by Eddy Grant). That was the most popular song then. So me sey if me ago think pop, me haffi start smell roun' dem kitchen deh. So you going down Electric Avenue to do what? Because him don't stipulate. So me sey him mus ago do the Electric Boogie. So me jus' start formulate the song," Wailer said.
"The song was recorded properly, for we did it good," Wailer added, naming engineer Dennis Thompson, drum and bass duo Sly and Robbie, the Ras Brass outfit of Dean Fraser, Nambo Robinson and Chico Chin and himself playing the keyboard intro in the session at Dynamic Sounds.
Griffiths and Wailer did the harmony vocals.
"That song went number one in Jamaica, as a R&B. You know when you attempt something that is not really your territory? But we did it so convincing that it became number one in Jamaica and I think it was number one in Trinidad," he said.
Electric Boogie caught Chris Blackwell's attention but Wailer was not interested as "we were building a good album for Electric Boogie to be a part of", Rock and Roll Reggae and Woman a Come, among the other songs slated for the set. However, it worked out that Blackwell was given the single, with the intention that he would handle the album as well.
It was the beginning of absences and backing and forthing with Electric Boogie, including a remix at Music Mountain ("it didn't sound better and it didn't sound worse, because is a song whe just build, anything you do with it, it right".) There was another absence and Wailer says "Marcia was very upset".
He also says that Blackwell mentioned preferring Judy Mowatt to do Electric Boogie, but Wailer says his connection was not the same as with Griffiths.
Wailer says he comforted Griffiths, telling her "if is 10 years from now, this record going be a smash".
That was in 1979, going into 1980.
In 1990, Bunny Wailer was doing the Liberation tour in the US with the Skatalites and, due to financial shenanigans, it was cut short in New York. While the musicians went home, Wailer stayed in the 'Big Apple' and started doing production work on an album for a young music hopeful as well as one for himself. Wailers' album was titled Just Be Nice and was designed to have crossover appeal in the vein of Bobby Brown and Michael Jackson. He figured that "if I did Electric Boogie and it did what it did in Jamaica, then in America if I was to try doing tracks like Electric Boogie then I might hit the chart, the real big chart".
"Electric Boogie, being the track I felt did not get any justice, I decided to do it over on this side of the pond. The first day I step out of the studio, laying the rhythm, I got a call from Doctor Dread (of Ras Records) in Washington, saying that the Electric Boogie record start selling again," Wailer said. And this was the first one, with Dennis Thompson at the mixing board.
Wailer kept working on his Electric Boogie, while the one done by Marcia Griffiths "jus a sell more and more and more and more and more until I mean, it just buss!". And he says Electric Boogie was recorded yet again with Marcia Griffiths.
He finished his album, including Electric Boogie, but says he held back from putting it out so as to not cause interference.
Wailer says it looked like the song was about to "become a craze or something", although it had not yet been promoted properly.
Naturally, Marcia Griffiths was required to be part of the real push behind Electric Boogie, an interview on BET being a major part of it. And it is that interview to which Wailer attributes the failure of Electric Boogie to really go over the top.
Childhood friendship
He says that when Griffiths was asked about the story behind Electric Boogie, she did not tell the tale of childhood friendship with Bunny Wailer and the twists and turns through the music industry, including success with Bob Andy, the I-Threes and touring with Bob Marley and the Wailers (the interviewer spoke about some of those elements of her career as well) that led back to a reconnection with her childhood pal and the song being the outcome.
He believes that tale would have engaged Americans.
"It faded into what it is now; anywhere it is played, people get up and do the slide. But it should have been a smash like Shaggy and Sean Paul. It should have been on Billboard. And it should have been a dance craze, like the Twist," Wailer said.
His Electric Boogie was eventually released, along with a video involving "nuff stuff. I was trying to display how shocking the video should be".
"That's the true story behind Electric Boogie. Unpolluted, undefiled, true story of Electric Boogie which has brought about this great dance called the Electric Slide," Bunny Wailer said.
Electric Slide put to rhymes
Electric Boogie became more than the song itself. The Electric Slide dance is a key motion to the music, but when Wailer wrote about it, the forward and backward step, turn and slick movement to the side wasn't invented.
In fact, it would be a decade before someone came up with the moves.
"Even the electric slide, it's an invention of words to make a rhyme. Because the line prior that say come make me take you on a party ride. Again me buck up inna the same ting. If you going down Electric Avenue you haffi go do the Electric Boogie. If I'm gonna take you on a party ride, I'll have to teach you the electric slide," Wailer said.
Ten years after it was recorded, when Electric Boogie started creating a stir in the US, someone put movement to the music.
"Because 'I will teach you the electric slide' was a simple rhyme to match back to 'let me take you on a party ride', these people now, so loved the song that they decided to make a dance called the Electric Slide to keep that song as something they have for posterity," Bunny Wailer said.
"It really started getting serious now because everybody was just learning this dance, doing this dance. It was unique because it was everybody moving in a unified manner," added.
Not performed at his concerts
Bunny Wailer does not perform Electric Boogie at his concerts, such as those in six European countries during his recently ended tour. In fact, Bunny Wailer has performed the song just once, at a Reggae Sumfest - and that was more of a presentation than a performance. "Me just make them play the song and some dancers go up and demonstrate the dance," he said.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Rebelution Dominates I-Tunes Charts with 'Bright Side of Life'

Santa Barbara-based reggae band Rebelution dominated the iTunes charts with the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album, “Bright Side of Life” on August 4, 2009. The band’s new release currently holds the #1 spot on iTunes in the reggae music genre, and the #3 spot for top albums downloaded in the United States in all genres of music. The album joins the likes of top artists such as Modest Mouse, Colbie Caillat, Whitney Houston, Black Eyed Peas, Zac Brown Band, and Kings of Leon. In response to their success on the charts, Rebelution shares, “We are excited to see the continuation of the pathway being built by independent artists.” Leading up to the release, the pre-sales of the album had Rebelution with two albums in the Top 10, their not yet released “Bright Side of Life” at #2 and their 2007 release “Courage to Grow” at #6, where it still stands today.” The title track off the album “Bright Side Of Life” held onto the #3 spot in the Top Songs in the Reggae genre, alongside top Reggae artists such as Sean Paul, Bob Marley, Shaggy, Eddy Grant, Serani, and UB40. In addition to their success on the iTunes charts in the United States, Rebelution also stands at the #5 spot on the top 10 Reggae albums in France. 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. In addition to the album release, Rebelution kicked off a 25+ city tour across the United States on August 2, 2009 starting in Solana Beach, California and will end September 5, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. Previous national efforts included sold out shows at venues such as The House of Blues San Diego, Anaheim and Los Angeles as well as The Fillmore in San Francisco and more in Florida, Colorado, Texas and South Carolina. They have already shared the stage with notable artists such as The Offspring, 311, Slightly Stoopid, Willie Nelson, Damian Marley, Bob Dylan and Ludacris. For more information on “Bright Side of Life” and tour dates, please visit Rebelution’s website at or Myspace at For media inquiries with Rebelution, please contact Jordyn Borczon at MLC PR at or 818-706-8080.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

NEW Bob Marley EP Available at I-Tunes

The I Know A Place EP collects five tracks Bob Marley & The Wailers recorded with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. The title track was first issued on the limited edition retrospective One Love in 2001, has been out of print since, and now makes its digital premiere on I Know A Place. "Who Colt The Game" was issued on the bonus disc that accompanied the U.K. edition of One Love and similarly has been out of print; "Smile Jamaica [version]" was culled from the 2001 Expanded Edition of Kaya. And both "Punky Reggae Party" [Jamaican 12" version] in its full "discomix" and the complete recording of "Keep On Moving" hail from the 2001 Exodus Deluxe Edition.

Buy It On I-Tunes Bob Marley & The Wailers - I Know a Place - EP

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rebelution 'Bright Side of Life' Review

Rebelution returns with 'Bright Side of Life', their follow-up to the critically acclaimed 'Courage to Grow'. With 'Bright Side of Life' they definitely show their maturity in a musical sense, experimenting with new sounds and effects. The music is tight and polished all the way around, with Eric Rachmany's guitar prominent and precise throughout the record. Musically, it seems as if Rebelution was out to prove themselves with this album. The attention to instrumentation is very evident and equally welcoming. The instruments truly SPEAK on every tune, complementing the lyrics and vocals perfectly.
As with their debut full length album, positivity reigns here as well. "We feel people in the world could use some encouragement in this time," says the band. A True Dat! From the outset , the theme is uplifting and encouraging.
The title track sets the stage with Rachmany admonishing "Be positive, it is what it is....Rise up and make an impact....Look on the bright side of life." The positive vibe continues on 'From the Window' as the listener is told 'Don't stop, keep working again. Don't you quit, don't you ever give in....Time after time we all fall down....Only to rise up once again." The slow-mo outro is brilliant!
The dynamic 'Suffering' calls for honest self examination with seemingly simplistic, yet very concise words.
The lovely 'Lazy Afternoon' and 'Moonlight' are classic, lover's rock gems with nice harmonies and beautiful melodies. Especially do the instruments speak on 'Moonlight'. It's easy to get lost in the groove during the opening minute, before a transition into the silky smooth vocals, followed by a superb guitar outro. A perfect confluence of music and vocals. Boomshot! Re-wind!
The album closes with the politically and socially charged 'Change the System' and 'Wake Up Call,' two passionate pleas for an end to the madness that man has created.
'Bright Side of Life' is an excellent album. True, it's missing a little bit of the melodic and vocal diversity of 'Courage to Grow' and the delivery can be a wee bit predictable, but Rebelution has practiced what they preached on their previous release. Indeed, they have had the courage to grow. Musically speaking, their maturity is evident from the first note. Their inherent ability to craft a classic reggae album remains impressively intact. The fact they continually incorporate their own style and flare while remaining true to the music is even more impressive. Yes, Rebelution stands head and shoulders above the competition. Buy this album! You will not be dissappointed.


Track Listing:

1. Bright Side of Life
2. More Than Ever
3. Outta Control
4. From the Window
5. Suffering
6. Too Rude
7. Dubzilla
8. Bump
9. Lazy Afternoon
10. Moonlight
11. Change the System
12. Wake Up Call
13. More Than Dub (Bonus Track on I-Tunes)

BUY 'Bright Side of Life' on Rebelution - Bright Side of Life (Bonus Track Version)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Gentleman Of Reggae Sumfest

The biggest Reggae Festival in the world has ended. The gentleman really stood out this year. Here are the top male performers. These guys really had the crowds mesmerized.......

Beenie Man: He's been referred to as the 'Girls Dem Sugar' but on Dancehall Night at Reggae Sumfest there was only one title that could fit, and that is 'King of the Dancehall'. The wiry entertainer was at his lyrical best.
Bounty Killer: He certainly was not cross, miserable, nor angry. Instead, this Alliance general showed a more mellow side resulting in his wooing the massive crowd that turned out for Dancehall Night.
Tarrus Riley: With a number of female-friendly tracks to his credit, Tarrus was able to woo that segment of his audience with ease and then convince all of the validity of his music. His set was well constructed and delivered and proved to be highly entertaining.
Ne-Yo: The large crowd on hand on Friday waited with eager anticipation for the performance from this talented artiste. Amidst cheers, he sang, danced and truly put on a show for his debut performance in Jamaica.
Junior Gong: This Marley is definitely the performer of the famous family. He stepped on stage and immediately electrified his audience holding their attention for the entire length of his performance.
Coco Tea: As an elder statesman in Reggaedom, he led by example, showing the younger acts a thing or two about performing on the Sumfest stage.