Album review
Feast Or Famine
Jah Works
Riddim House Productions

Tracking list

  1. What a boom
  2. Tentative dance
  3. Heart break
  4. Somalia/Heavy heavy
  5. Feast or famine
  6. Judgement day
  7. Time for natty
  8. Sunshine bright
  9. Grass roots
  10. Really wanna know
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 4/4

With "Feast or famine" eight members strong Baltimore U.S.A. based reggae band Jah Works delivers its debut independent release (released in 1994), preceding their also reviewed second album "Send the rain". This solid album contains all self-written songs, all skillfully played by real musicians. Jah Works' sound can best be described as modern "roots rock reggae" (based on elements of dancehall, dub and roots-reggae). The opening track is Jah Works ride on a true JA dancehall riddim, played live and aimed at the dancefloor. "Heart Break" provides one of those things that make reggae tracks a real standout for me, a great piano loop. Any good song using a great piano theme or loop becomes a great song in my opinion. All songs have a real presence of energy. Jah Works' account on the situation in Somalia "Somalia/Heavy Heavy" is easily the strongest selection of this CD, all vocals and instruments are spot on, and the following dub (although I would prefer to call it instrumental reggae) of the song - the titletrack - is just a perfect showcase of how tight Jah Works' original riddim is, and how good and pleasant it is to have real horns in reggae music. Jah Works continues in conscious style with wonderful vocal harmonies in "Judgement Day", and the uptempo "Time For Natty".  "Sunshine Bright" features a real melodica (that should have been even more prominent in the mix) and a great bassline and tight percussion, and "Grass Roots" is already one and a half minute playing when the first vocal in UB40's Astro style drops in, but the instruments continue to do 'most of the talking'. "Really Wanna Know" is closing the disc in fine (lovers) style.
And paraphrasing the sadly missed Peter Tosh I'd say: "Live clean and let Jah Works be seen !"