Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Capleton 'I-ternal Fire' Review (VP)

Clifton George Bailey III....King Shango....The Prophet....The FyahMan.....Capleton. He's a man of many names and titles. You could also quite rightfully add 'Legend' to the list.When Capleton first burst on the scene in the late 1980s, the dancehall was a very different place than it is today. Slackness and gun talk were the order of the day. This bright promising newcomer announced his arrival with a string of hit songs from “Bumbo Red” to “Number One on the Look Good Chart” and “Lotion Man.” Everything he touched hit the sound-good charts, and the youthful artist with the nimble vocabulary and hardcore voice quickly established himself as one of dancehall's most reliable hit makers. But even he could not have predicted that eleven years later, at the start of the new millennium, he would be dancehall’s ruling voice. Since reinventing himself in 1994 with a string of hit songs that declared his new found faith he has effectually ruled both ends of the reggae/dancehall spectrum. His musical dexterity is unsurpassed. Capleton's latest effort 'I-ternal Fire' quite possibly is his best album, top to bottom, to date. One thing is for certain: 'I-ternal Fire' is without a doubt his most soulful album yet. King Shango treated all to a fore gleam of this when he showed off his singing skills on 2005's "I Love You Jah" on Courtney McIntosh's Giddimani Riddim. Yes, 'I-ternal Fire' is melodious and deeply soulful yet the FyahMan's volubility remains completely intact. He simply injects versatility into his already distinct style and flow.
Some Day, the album's first single, is an ode of hope and salvation that will definitely go down as one of Capleton's best tunes. Selvin McRae's production work is quality while Jerome Felix, credited as a co-writer, plays nearly every instrument on a well-crafted, slow-paced riddim.
Clive Hunt lends his production skills to the scathing When I Come To Town. Capleton is at his lyrical best in denouncing Babylonian ways. Same Old Story sees the Fyahman riding the massively popular 'Rub A Dub' riddim by Kemar 'Flava' McGregor. Mama You Strong will conjure up images of Sizzla's massive tribute tune 'Thank You Mama'. Producer James Peart puts some interesting effects on Capleton's voice which creates a nice change of pace on the record. I'm In Love, produced by Norman 'Bulpus' Bryan, has a smooth and soulful chorus with Shango's dexterous delivery intact on the verses. Babylon Go Down contains the usual fire-pon-babylon subject matter in the gruff delivery that Capleton fans have come to know and love. Bobby Digital helms the excellent Global War. The driving riddim is heavy drum and bass complete with a bridge. Ffrenchie of Maximum Sound puts forth the wicked 'Vineyard Town' riddim for Capleton to ride on All Is Well
Them Get Corel is a definite highlight of I-Ternal Fire if only because Capleton sounds right at home on a riddim that's unlike any he's ever performed on. A flamenco guitar and incessant clapping dominates throughout with Capleton firing verse after verse in a way that only he can. Junior Kelly and producer Elvis 'Flego' Grant deserve 'big ups' for the arrangement! Long Way is hard-hitting in every way, shape, and form.
The live riddim is pure wickedness. Blessing is another gem all the way around.
The set closes with the stand-out tune 400 Years.
'I-Ternal Fire' is unquestionably a great album. In fact, it's arguably Capleton's best. Fans of his hardcore dancehall tunes will take issue with that statement because there is none of that here. However, from the opening note of Some Day to the abrupt ending of 400 years there are nothing but quality tunes. All the listener has to do is press play and sit back and relax. The only interruption will be when one of the boomshots (and there are several) wants to be heard again and again and again. Highly Recommended!

RELEASE DATE: Tuesday July 6

Track Listing:
1. Some Day
2. Acres
3. When I Come To Town
4. Same Old Story
5. Mama You Strong
6. I'm In Love
7. Babylon Go Down
8. It's On
9. Global War
10. Call I
11. All Is Well
12. Them Get Corel
13. Long Way
14. Blessing
15. 400 Years