Walls Of The City ~ Showcase Vol. 1
Earl 16
Merge Productions
March 10, 2013

Track list
    Side 1.

  1. Walls Of The City
  2. Walls Dub
  3. Ease Up
  4. Easy Dub
    Side 2.

  1. Righteous Ones feat. Ras Zacharri
  2. Version
  3. Zion Holy City feat. Jah Prince
  4. Zion I N I Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
From the very first time we heard tunes from Earl Daley aka Earl 16, actually singles he recorded between 1975 and 1980 for producers such as Joe Gibbs, Derrick Harriott, Augustus Pablo and Lee "Scratch" Perry, he has been one of our favourite roots singers. That's why there's always some excitement when new releases of this great performer with exceptional vocals reach us. Most of the times the excitement is justified as Earl 16 hardly fails to deliver a satisfying effort.

For "Walls Of The City", a Showcase album with the vocal cut followed by its dub version, he has teamed up with Nick Manasseh, with whom he has done quite a bit of work over the years, yielding notable roots tunes like for example "Natural Roots", "Rasta General", and the early 1990s classic "Zion City". A new version of the latter called "Zion Holy City", done in combination with guest vocalist Jah Prince, is featured on this album. And although it's a solid effort we prefer the heavier sounding original version. The standout tune here is the beautiful title track "Walls Of The City", a big roots tune with a jazzy feel and real nice horns. It's seamlessly followed by a matching dub version. "Ease Up" has a totally different vibe, and although the riddim is really nice (as can be experienced while listening to "Easy Dub", it makes a rather mediocre impression due to its weak lyrical content. For some reason Earl 16 always comes up with such a tune on his albums, which is truly a pity. Luckily he returns to form on the collaboration with Ras Zacharri, the wonderful "Righteous Ones".

In all this is a solid album and a nice teaser for a full 20 track album with Nick Mannaseh, due for release later this year.