World Citizen
Black Slate
Unit 8
March 25, 2014

Track list
  1. World Citizenship
  2. When I Think About It
  3. Living In The Footsteps
  4. Roots Love
  5. Postcode Gangster
  6. It's A Shame
  7. Mozart In Trenchtown
  8. Rasta Children
  9. Step Right Back
  10. Feel Like A Man
  11. Calling Jah
  12. Wisdom
  13. World Citizenship (Instrumental)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
The UK Roots Reggae scene is rich in heritage and shows no signs of slowing down. From Bristol to Handsworth to London; this yah Roots Revival has been incredible since arrival. The timeless BLACK SLATE have been releasing ites offerings for decades. Their highly anticipated new release, "World Citizen", is a classic affair that offers so much...

Since their inception in 1974, these diverse musicians went from backing visiting JA royalty like Dennis Brown, Ken Boothe and Delroy Wilson to creating a unique sound that is pertinent to this day. Their debut album, "Amigo" (Ensign,1980) mashed up the charts and is regarded as a CLASSIC. Subsequent releases like "Ogima" (DUB set) "Sirens In The City" (1982) and "Six Plus One" (Top Ranking) cemented their status. The lineup of Keith Drummond (lead vox), Anthony Brightly (keys), Ras Elroy Bailey (LEGENDARY bassie), Desmond Mahoney (drums) and Chris Hanson/Cledwyn Rogers (guitars) have shifted over the years but all active within. 1995's "Get Up And Dance" showed Creation how a different lineup still put out golden sounds.

Byron Mitchell's Unit 8 Studio is quietly and firmly becoming one of the top ranking studios in London area. (Former Wailer Earl "Wya" Lindo is recording an EP there!) It was a natural choice for BLACK SLATE to link here. Foundation bassie Ras Elroy Bailey and drummie Desmond Mahoney are joined by Jess Briade (brilliant lead vox), Cliff Charles/Horace Burke(keys), veteran Jackie Davis (guitar), horn section of Sarah Tobias (sax) Harry T (trombone), Patrick "Matix" Allen (wicked trumpet) and Joy Mack (backing vox). In other words, one solid unit masterfully mixed by Byron (big up).

This set opens with World Citizenship (reviewed last year here). A triumphant skanker that showcases horns up, the seasoned duo of Bailey/Mahoney and Jess' soulful delivery on the need to roam Creation freely. Smashing! When I Think About It features an immaculate riddim that is turned into anthem style with thoughtful lyrics and an atmosphere that leaves the listener right in the studio! Living In The Footsteps is classic Lovers Rock! Jess and Joy's delivery is so crisp and sweetened just nice by wicked guitar licks and a gorgeous drum and bass backbone. Roots Love pleads for peace and tolerance but this is no run of the mill. Horns are up and it's got a raw studio feel. Great track! Postcode Gangster is a highlight here. Lyrics like "Postcode Gangster, where is your culture?" Elroy Bailey lends his throaty appeal that is reminiscent of his recent "With Love In Our Hearts" set. Ital Roots stew here. It's A Shame is a tour de force. An education of the wrongisms in this time; all musicians are well tight with the horn section flowing like a river!

Mozart In Trenchtown is a classic that emerged a few years ago and is an example of how talented these players of instruments really are. An instrumental that's flecked with Aswadesque horns, flute, a likkle cello and Bailey/Mahoney workout that has to be heard. Fantastic ethereal key work here. Rasta Children brings back memories of earlier Black Slate work and this is GOOD! A flawless riddim that Mr. Briade embraces so nice and delivers a nice scatting style. Desmond demonstrates such taut drumming that it's on par with Style Scott. Veteran! Step Right Back is pure ites. An ode of spirituality and reasoning; this is like "Mind Your Motion" - 2014. Instant classic with Bailey's lilting bass and great chorus. Feel Like A Man is another Lovers Rock offering and it fyahs on all cylinders. Excellent delivery! The Roots vein pumps with Calling Jah; a joyous ode to The Most High. Lyrics like, "you'll be in the battlefield, fighting for equal rights", make this a sincere winner. Wisdom is a serious track with deep offering. The emotional horns and poignant lyrics equate to classic BLACK SLATE style. This set closes with the instrumental of World Citizenship; so clean and mixed perfectly.

BLACK SLATE'S "World Citizen" is another important chapter in Reggae Music. It's got the global appeal that will grab the massive's attention. The experience of Ras Elroy Bailey and Desmond Mahoney is a positive platform that all involved are in unity with. From Roots to Lovers Rock; every track is a winner that is expertly mixed and presented. Sure to be one of the albums of this Raggamuffin year. Available April 15, 2014. Grab a copy of this incredible work. GO DEH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!