Raw Edge Productions
September 30, 2012
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Can a Reggae icon front a legendary band and juggle a successful solo career at the same time? The answer is yes; that man is Bunny "William Clarke" Rugs. Besides being the powerful frontman for Third World for over thirty five years; he has released consistently crucial solo efforts all the while. Bunny has raised the bar with his latest solo venture, "Time".
Bunny Rugs was born on Feb 6, 1946 in Mandeville, Jamaica. He began his illustrious career as a member of Charlie Hackett And The Souvenirs in the mid 1960's. At this time, he went under the moniker Bunny Scott. After roaming around musically for a few years; he became lead singer for the very youthful Inner Circle in 1969. Shortly thereafter, he relocated to New York City, joining such bands as The Bluesgrass Experience with legends like Glen Adams and Sparrow "JA Allstars" Martin. With exposure to many musical stylings, he came back a Yard in 1974. He quickly linked with the late Leslie Kong's nephew, Ricky Grant. As Bunny & Ricky, the duo put out some timeless classics with Lee Perry and the then thriving Black Ark. He released his first solo album, "To Love Somebody", in 1975.
Destiny happened as Bunny replaced Milton Hamilton as lead singer for an early incarnation of Third World in 1976. He changed his stage name to Bunny (running like a rabbit) Rugs (habit of sleeping on the carpet) and changed the course of Jamaican music. "96 Degrees In The Shade" was released and the rest is history. The band is still thriving; releasing the exciting "Patriots" last year. In the duration of his time with Third World, his solo releases include "Talking To You" (1995), "Bunny Rugs On Soul" (2000) and "What A World" (2006). He has released some monster singles, "Marcus Garvey" (2004), "Writings On The Wall" w/Wayne Marshall and this year's reworking of "Sattammasagana" with Tappa Zukie.
"Time" is a collaboration of Jamaica's BEST musicians, studios, producers and engineers around. Talking about Sly, Dean Pond and Kirk Bennett on drums. Bass duties are done by Robbie, Ryan Wilson (Groundation) and Donald Dennis. Keys are handled by Robbie Lyn, "Wrongmove" Crossdale and Eno Stafford. The horn section is Dean Fraser and longtime TAXI member Guillaume Briard. Great percussion is provided by "Sticky" and Alvin Haughton. The sessions took place at studios like Mixing Lab, Grafton, One Pop and Anchor. Great production and engineering by Richard "Star Trail" Bell, Delroy Pottinger, Sly/Robbie, "Gussie" Clarke and Dean Pond.
This monster opens up with the lovely Can't Deny, a powerful love song that proves that Bunny possesses one of Jamaica's richest voices! A soul and emotional journey topped off with a crackin' riddim. Heaven Sent is a Dean Fraser fueled gem with a new skool riddim that has a crucial Firehouse Crew vibe. You're My Everything is an update of the classic with Bunny putting aside his signature vocal approach and gives us pure Lovers Rock (despite the drum machine). Neva Gonna Give Up shows Mr. Clarke inna strictly Roots mood on top of a searingly hot TAXI riddim --murder! Kurfew, recorded at Grafton, is Dancehall tight with a wailing guitar and great baritone backing vox from Cat Coore; reminiscent of Third World at their best. The title track is a soother if you put aside the massive overdubbing, but overall a good production from the rising Dean Pond. Gospel reigns on We've Got The Formula that focuses on wordsound&power. Virtuous guitar work here with an I-Three backing vox feel -- well tight.
The stunner here is Settling Down! A crisp "Queen Majesty" riddim combined with some bubblin' sound fx makes this one rock and sway. The magic continues with Solutions, a rare production from the MAN, Augustus "Gussie" Clarke (where have you been?). This is a Niyabinghi voyage with Cat Coore on harmonica that allows Bunny to roam freely. A great attention to detail on this delight. Thinking Bout You is perfection. Bunny soars like an eagle on top of Dean Pond's solid drumwork and some rockin' bassie. The Sly & Robbie produced Love Is Blind utilizes one of their older Dancehall riddims and Bunny rides it to stunning effect. The TAXI Gang pulls out all the stops on the reality Bed Of Roses; an anthem of not giving up. The final track, Land We Love-Jamaica leaves no doubt of Bunny's capabilities of riding ANY riddim all the way strong. This song was released as a single and the proceeds went to charity.
"Time" is Bunny Rug's best solo venture to date. The man doesn't try to capitalize on his fame from Third World but simply embraces the many musical stylings that he favors and has put it forward in a professional and original manner. He does not flex like some do; just a humble singer with decades of endurance. He is Reggae elite in every sense of the phrase. "Time" is a testament to the Lion called Bunny Rugs. Hop along and grab this selection.