Monday, October 04, 2010

Luciano 'United States of Africa' Review (VP)

When it comes to producing consistently good reggae music Luciano is in a very select class. His career has spanned more than 20 years and a seemingly countless number of albums (40+!) and singles. As far as roots singers go, Luciano is one of the best. His latest studio album for VP, ‘United States of Africa’, produced by Frenchie of Maximum Sound is another solid release from the Messenjah.

The title track (one of three penned by Duane Stephenson), set to Frenchie’s wicked ‘Good Over Evil’ riddim, beautifully envisions a unified, peaceful, and healthy Continent. Unite Africa has a similar message but it’s set to an up-tempo riddim.

Luciano tackles some very pertinent issues with this album. In This Recession is as topical as it is timely. He takes a hard look at the why and how of the economic crisis as well as the pernicious effect it is having on a global scale. Murder and Thief denounces the crime, violence, war, and bloodshed that is plaguing mankind while Be Aware (Vineyard Town Riddim) and A No Like We No Like Them (World Jam Riddim) warns of the dangers and dirty works that exist among the leeches, backbiters, and haters of the world. I Will Follow and Moving On, both penned by Duane Stephenson, are quality tunes. The former a song of redemption highlighting the mercy of the Almighty, and the latter a throw-back tune showcasing the Messenjah’s crisp voice over the Supersonic’s classic ‘Only A Smile’ riddim.

Bunny Lee’s ‘Creation Rebel’ riddim is the backdrop for Hosanna. Luciano is right at home on a timeless riddim track. Marley’s ‘Zion Train’ serves as the backdrop for the closing track Another Terrorist Attack featuring Fantan Mojah. Luciano’s timely and concise lyrics are complimented nicely by Fantan Mojah’s volatile delivery and words of condemnation.

“United States of Africa” is full of heavy, roots riddims with a real ‘classic’ feel. Frenchie procured some of the reggae elite for the record including Sly and Robbie, Stephen ‘Lenky’ Marsden, Dean ‘Cannon’ Fraser, Dalton Browne, Mafia and Fluxy, Sticky, and Paul ‘Wrongmove’ Crossdale, among others. The result is an
album full of quality tunes that are very easy on the ears.

‘United States of Africa’ doesn’t quite reach the level of some of Luciano’s previous albums, namely ‘Where There is Life’, ‘Sweep Over My Soul’, and ‘Messenger’, however the record is solid from beginning to end. Luciano continues to churn out consistently good roots reggae. His latest effort will NOT disappoint. Longtime fans will find many pleasing moments while the reggae novice will receive an excellent introduction to one of the most talented roots singers of all time. Recommended.


Track Listing:
1. United States of Africa
2. Footstool
3. In This Recession
4. I Will Follow
5. Moving On
6. Murder and Thief
7. Invasion
8. Be Aware
9. King of Kings
10. A No Like We No Like Them
11. Unite Africa
12. Nubian Queen
13. Hosanna
14. Only Jah Can Save Us Now
15. Another Terrorist Attack featuring Fantan Mojah