Looks Like Trouble
Chuck Foster
Catch Me Records
CD / Digital Release
March 15, 2016

Track list
  1. Putting Out Fires
  2. Can't Say You're Wrong When You're Right
  3. Poverty
  4. Love
  5. Looks Like Trouble
  6. Rasta Shop
  7. Letting Go
  8. Pariah
  9. Woman Of The Earth
  10. Doing Fine
  11. Tribute To Alton Ellis
  12. I'm So Sorry
  13. Never Been Lucky In Love
  14. Stragedy
  15. Battle Plan
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Chuck Foster is no stranger in the reggae scene. He's best known as a pioneering Los Angeles DJ, host of Reggae Central on KPFK, and as longtime columnist for the defunct Beat Magazine and Reggae Festival Guide. Furthermore he's the author of two books about our beloved music, "Roots Rock Reggae: An Oral History of Reggae Music From Ska To Dancehall" and "The Small Axe Guide To Rocksteady".

It's a rather unknown fact that he started his career as a musician and worked in some of LA's top recording studios long before he started doing radio. In the past years he returned to his roots as a songwriter, producer, recording artist and label owner with a prolific flow of releases on his own label, Catch Me Time Records. The label is dedicated to releasing music inspired by the Jamaican vibe as it has manifested in ska, rock steady, roots and contemporary dancehall culture. "Don't Fight The Youth" from Shayna Dread was the first official release on the Catch Me Time Records label. Chuck has released several albums on his label, not only some vocal sets by himself but also dub albums. His current release is called "Looks Like Trouble". The 15 track set is recorded at the Rough Sounds studio in Redondo Beach California. Musicians include Chuck on vocals, Mike Irwin on bass, Tony Bird on keyboards and riddim guitar, Rextafari on lead and pick guitar, Todd Johnson on trumpet, Fernando Jativa on saxophone and Lai Hee on percussion with guest appearances from Zacky Bernard of the Twinkle Brothers and Soul Syndicate's Tony Chin.

The album, his best to date, is his fourth vocal release and offers a variety of self-penned songs. Expect live instruments, (too much) bluesy guitar riffs and traditional one-drop tunes, no auto-tune nor abundant use of synths. One has to get used to Chuck Foster's typical vocal style. There are several tunes dealing with social themes such as "Poverty", "Putting Out Fires" and the title track "Looks Like Trouble". "Pariah" is a truly stand-out tune here dealing with the Rastafarian theme. The tribute to Alton Ellis sees him in fine style across the "I'm Still In Love" riddim, honouring the rocksteady icon Alton Ellis. On "Rasta Shop" he expresses his feelings about Robert Nesta Marley. "Woman Of The Earth" is a heartfelt tune as he celebrates the women of the earth. There's also room for some personal reflections. Check out the tunes "Can't Say You're Wrong When You're Right", "I'm So Sorry" and "Never Been Lucky In Love".

Check out Chuck Foster's albums here.