Hard Road
Congo Ashanti Roy & Pura Vida
Lost Ark Music
December 30, 2012

Hard Road - Congo Ashanti Roy & Pura Vida Track list
  1. Only Jah
  2. Shadows Of The Evening
  3. Energy
  4. If You Don't Know Jah
  5. Home Sweet Home
  6. Why?
  7. Hard Road
  8. Beware
  9. Work It Out
  10. Positive People
  11. Warrior
  12. Moranga Dub
  13. Shadows Of Dub
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Essential -Votes: 25-
Very Good -Votes: 6-
Good -Votes: 3-
Average -Votes: 0-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 34
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Is it possible to bridge two Roots Reggae forces from different points in Creation and emulate the timeless sounds of the Golden Age of Reggae not once, but twice? The answer is YES I. The collaboration of Congos member Congo Ashanti Roy and Belgium outfit Pura Vida yielded "We Nah Give Up"; a tour-de-force that authentically brought back the best of the Black Ark era. Now, they have raised the bar with "Hard Road", a flawless gem that is incredible!

Congo Ashanti Roy (Roydell Johnson) has been putting out Zion works either as part of the Congos, as a solo artist and part of Singers And Players since the 1970's. Pura Vida is a Belgium rooted band that has been putting out some of the most authentic Roots Musik for some time. "Hard Road" was recorded in Belgium's Lost Ark Studio and Jamaica's Lion's Den during the "Nah Give Up" tour of 2012. The roster of musicians is ites. Bass duties by Bobo Perck and Errol Seaton. Drums by Horsemouth Wallace and Pura Vida's Bregt "Braithe" De Boever. Guitars by Ashanti Roy, Chinna Smith, "Wouter" Rosseel and Little David. Great backing vox by Congo "Tallash" Fyffe, Ashanti Roy and Bregt. Wicked engineering by Gaylard Bravo, Carron McGibbon and Bregt "Braithe". This gem is produced by Ashanti Roy and Poddington Krank.

This album sets a great tone with Only Jah; a haunting Niyahbinghi and flute musical train that harks back to quality you find on a Ras Michael album, but Ashanti Roy's booming voice will give you goosebumps! Shadows Of Energy is a harmonica driven ode that has a bluesy flavour. There is a distinct Lee Perryesque production that truly works. Ashanti Roy has a vocal approach that is youthful and fruitful. Energy is full of inergy! This is vintage Congos; great falsetto. The capturing of the 70's sound is done to perfection. If You Don't Know Jah continues in the same vein. The ability of Ashanti Roy and Pura Vida to get back to the Black Ark glory is purposeful. Home Sweet Home opens with triumphant horns and is an ode to Jah Motherland. The musical atmosphere is so rich with percussion, guitar, organs and bass -- it's intoxicating. Why? is a Black Ark special! The melodica opener sequels way to a vocal approach reminiscent from Ashanti Roy's "Shining Star", but with spacy and tasty production. The title track IS one of the best songs of 2012. Just pure Zion sounds; organic, rootical and heartical.

Beware is a powerful track that brings back memories of Ashanti Roy's great work on the Singers And Players albums. Great vocal power is accentuated by Chinna's distinct guitar work. Work It Out is as authentic as it gets! A Roots Rocker that is truly royal. Positive People is a joyous track with ethereal backing vox, powerful organ work and Horsemouth Wallace showing why he is still one of the best drummers. Warrior has the distinct Black Ark imprint on it. Hard to tell if it was recorded by Lee Perry or the principal players right now. We are treated to a couple of Dub workouts. Moranga Dub has a Dread atmosphere. The concept was to capture the Black Ark sound. Well. The Lost Ark successfully captures the groundbreaking production quality. Shadows Of Dub (Shadows Of The Evening) is a great Dub workout. Tasty and spacy in all the right places.

Congo Ashanti Roy and Pura Vida's "Hard Road" is a contender for album of 2012. The ability of Pura Vida keeping up with one of Jamaica's most talented singers and recreating a brilliant sound with originality is remarkable. Every single song demands instant replay. There isn't even a mediocre track on here. Everything fits like a three piece suit! High, high raspect to everyone who helped create this incredible work. This is a very limited vinyl pressing but you have to seek and you find musical treasure. Go deh.