Fire & Rain
Mikey Ras Starr
May 19, 2008

Track list
  1. Some Say This
  2. The Time Has Come
  3. Coomaya (African Herbsman)
  4. Porgy
  5. Tafari Safari
  6. Jah Man Of Calvary
  7. Got To Say Love
  8. Jah Higher High
  9. Old Time Religion
  10. Come Back Sunday Mornin
  11. Fire & Rain
  12. Market Place Revolution
  13. Cornfield
  14. Some Say This (Original Version)
  15. Got To Say Love (Dub)
  16. Jah Man Of Calavary (Dub)
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Essential -Votes: 5-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 1-
Average -Votes: 0-
Disappointing -Votes: 1-
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Total votes : 10
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 3/4 Sleeve : 4
Makasound, the French label known to many vintage fans for quite a few noteworthy reissues of classic reggae music, now puts out the never released album "Fire & Rain" (with the addition of six previously released singles including the much sought after collectors item "Jah Man Of Calvary"), which was recorded by Mikey Ras Starr in 1979. Although his name won't ring a bell for most reggae fans, Mikey Ras Starr is a legend in his own right! He has worked with greats like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Ras Michael, Judy Mowatt, Israel Vibration, Sugar Minott, Cornell Campbell, Lee Scratch Perry, Mighty Diamonds, Bunny Wailer, Ijahman Levi, Dennis Brown, The Heptones, and many many more!

Back in the days Mikey Ras Starr (real name Michael Ashley) -- a close friend of the Wailers and especially Peter Tosh with whom he went jogging everyday for years -- created wicked basslines for Winston McAnuff's LP "What A Man A Deal Wid" or the more famous "Graduation In Zion" track by Kiddus I. He was also the musical arranger and bassist of countless Jamaican classics such as "The Same Song" and "Why Worry" from Israel Vibration or "Black Roots" from Sugar Minott, to name a few. When Bunny 'Striker' Lee was the leading producer in the seventies, he was part of The Aggrovators and played bass on about 200 tracks that were produced by Bunny Lee. In the early seventies he was also an original member of Cedric Im Brooks' Light of Saba band. Living in the States since the early eighties, he continued to work and record under the name of Haile Maskel and founded a band called The Rastafarians, with whom he released the "Orthodox" album.

Most of the tracks featured on "Fire & Rain" are pure roots reggae, have a strong spiritual vibe and at places carry African roots. Furthermore the influences of Light Of Saba and Peter Tosh on Mikey Ras Starr's music are present throughout. After having given this set several listenings, we had to draw the conclusion that "Fire & Rain" isn't a very consistent collection of tunes. Included are some solid gems such as "The Time Has Come", "Jah Man Of Calvary", "Jah Higher High", "Market Place Revolution" and "Cornfield". Also worth of hearing is his very first recording as a singer, "Got To Say Love", which was produced by Bob Marley himself in 1975. But on the other hand there are also a few tunes included here that come close to the territory of pop oriented reggae and it would have been better if they had been left out.

Nevertheless this CD is truly worthwhile picking up as it has about ten tracks that are really good. Besides that the booklet contains an interesting interview with Mikey Ras Starr as well as some real nice pics from the man's own photo album.