Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Crucial
Victor Essiet & The Mandators
Mystic Records
CD
29-11-1998

Track list
  1. Watching The Wheels
  2. Follow Me
  3. Rat Race
  4. Missing You
  5. Ism Schism
  6. Pollution
  7. Inflation
  8. Don't Be Afraid
  9. Real Love
  10. Get Together (Love One Another)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
Victor Essiet, founder, leader and songwriter for The Mandators has released 7 albums throughout Africa, including the massive release 'Crisis' which went platinum with sales of over 6 million. HeartBeat in the USA released the compilation set 'Power Of The People : Nigerian Reggae', which was a compilation set of three African albums - 'Rat Race', 'Rebel' and 'Storm'.
The album contains 10 well crafted and soulful arranged songs, musically firmly rooted in the tradition of the mighty Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Watching The Wheels is his rendition of one of John Lennon's most inspiring songs, in which he looks back and takes time to reflect. The following track -Fallow Me- is a totally diferent song, backed by swinging African talking drums and Zulu and zydeco influences !
The remake of the 1988 hit Rat Race is one of the highlights of this album. It's a convincing attack on the system that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. The two lovers rock tunes Real Love and Missing You show Victor in a mellow mood.
The late great Jacob Miller sang about Ism Skism, and also Victor expresses his worries about 'nationalism, capitalism, racism...'. Pollution tackles a popular theme and the vocal delivery of toaster Kenyatta in Inflation -a song based on Victor's Nigerian background- makes this one of the standout tracks of Crucial.
The uptempo closing track Get Together (Love One Another) -do I hear ska influences here ?- is a worthy finale of this uplifting and powerful album.