CD & limited edition LP
June 22, 2007
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Sweet voiced veteran dancehall and roots
singer Cocoa Tea, started his career while still a child in Kingston in
1974, singing on a couple of obscure records for producer Willie Francis
under his real name Calvin Scott. He spent the next few years working as a
racehorse jockey, then as a fisherman; during the latter occupation, he
began to rediscover his musical ambitions, performing with the traveling
sound systems that passed through local dancehalls. In 1983, he moved to
Kingston and adopted the performing name Cocoa Tea, after the Jamaican
term for hot chocolate (later alternate spellings would include Coco Tea
and Coco T). As Cocoa Tea he definitely emerged in the eighties when he
teamed up with the late Henry "Junjo" Lawes. Unlike most dancehall singers
of those day he utilized a more subtler, melodic approach. His cool-toned,
laid-back vocals were perfect for sweet, smooth lovers rock, and gave him
a distinct identity amid his more aggressive peers. In 1985 he delivered
his excellent debut album "Can't Stop Cocoa Tea", which was followed by
such fine albums as "The Marshall", "Come Again", "Rikers Island" and
"Kingston Hot", during collaborations with a who's who of JA producers
like King Jammy, Gussie Clarke and Bobby 'Digital' Dixon. The last years
he's been working with Phillip 'Fatis' Burrell, releasing excellent roots
and culture albums.|
At the end of the nineties Cocoa Tea opened his own recording studio in Clarendon, Jamaica, and founded his Roaring Lion imprint, before last year recording the nice "Save Us Oh Jah" for Philip 'Fatis' Burrell (released on VP Records). And now following that album he linked up with Brotherman - who has become one of my favorite producers with albums with great riddims by essentially the Firehouse Crew, George 'Dusty' Miller, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Danny Bassie, Paul 'Wrongmove' Crossdale, Lloyd 'Obeah' Denton, Dean Frazer, Nambo Robinson, Dwight Richards, Uziah 'Sticky' Thompson and others, artist(s) albums like Luciano's "Tell It >From The Heart", Al Pancho's "Righteous Men", and Lutan Fyah's "Dem No Know Demself" and last year Anthony B's "My Hope", "Rasta Still De' Bout" by Josie Mel, Tony Tuff's "Say Something", Turbulence's "Do Good", Ras Myrhdak's "Prince Of Fyah Vol. 1" as well as the album "The Good, The Bad & The Blazing" featuring Junior Kelly, Bounty Killer & Capleton and one month ago the excellent one riddim album "Bodo Riddim".
Cocoa Tea opened the "Bodo Riddim" album, over the wicked horns embellished roots riddim 'Bodo' with his sufferers accusation "Poverty" in great style and this album is openening with this killer tune as well, before Cocoa Tea uses Brotherman's beautiful smooth rocking 'Harp'-riddim for his "Blood And Fyah", challenging the United States plans to create a New World Order combining his ability to spread his Rasta faith, to deliver a message, to teach and to entertain and he continues to attack on the current trouble in the world with the excellent "Biological Warfare" over the 'Tower'-riddim. The love-it-or-hate-it 'Classic'-riddim with its prominent classical string riffs is used for the excellent "Let The Dancehall" where Cocoa Tea's gospel style singing is perfectly backed by it, followed by the 'Sunday'-riddim - and I won't apologizing for wanting to emphasize once more, the underrated 'Sunday'-riddim - is backing Cocoa Tea's "Man From Spain", a great tune about the in our Western civilisation so often hailed Christopher 'Come Rob Us'.
The 'Friedenland'-riddim with its wicked Nambo Robinson trombone has been one of the most treasured Minor7Flat5 riddims for me since I first heard it, is backing the absolutely magnificent love ballad for an Italian lady with whom Cocoa Tea's love has to conquer the distance between Jamaica and Italy as he's "Too Far From Home", followed by the great bassline and once more beautiful horn riffs of the 'Summerfield'-riddim under Cocoa Tea's tribute to (and show of concern about) the motherland "Africa" and his warning to the hypocritical leaders of the (First) world and their love of the first amandment while forgetting about the Ten Commandments in "War Dust" over the 'Wadada'-riddim and the fierce "Give Dem" dissing the overhyped self-crowned soon to be forgotten kings of the dancehall over Brotherman's at least 3 years old but still fresh sounding uptempo rootsy 'Freedom Train'-riddim showing the race is not for the swift.
Cocoa Tea's delivery is more commanding on this album than it has been in years, Brotherman's riddims, whether already used several times by other artists seem to be built especially to underscore this, on an album (and I do rate both Cocoa Tea and Brotherman's earlier productions very highly) that is easily Brotherman's best production till now and one of Cocoa Tea's best in years, as his weary "Extortionist" over the - unfortunately still underrated - 'Ivan'-riddim shows, before Cocoa Tea once more convincingly expresses his concerns about the "New World Order" and the warmongers as "They Never Stop" from fighting fire with fire over one of Brotherman's best known riddims 'Campo'. The wonderful 'Grow'-riddim is backing Cocoa Tea's plea to Babylon to "Stop Tell Lie".
Then the harsh yet upful urge to the ghetto people to "Rise Up" in a world filled with war, crime, violence, coke, crack, lack of education supported by beautiful female backing vocals over the jazzy 'Private'-riddim is sung in a real heartfelt manner, pointing out the difference between ghettos elsewhere and the southside of Kingston Town, before this album is closed with the magnificent "Sons Of Jah" over the great 'Upside Down'-riddim. Cocoa Tea's "Biological Warfare" is a standout in the series of (always great) albums produced by the Canary Island's based German Andreas 'Brotherman' Christophersen for his Minor7Flat5-label and a true classic in Cocoa Tea's decades spanning career as well. You must buy this album!!!