VP Records-Groove Attack
May 9, 2008
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
It was in 1995 that an unknown singer hit
the Jamaican charts with a tune called "Living Ain't Easy". With this
successful 7" single then 24 year old Richell Bonner aka Richie Spice
showed his skill and talent as a singer and songwriter for the very first
time. Over the next few years, this youngster hailing from a musical
family that includes his older brother Pliers (from the singer/deejay duo
Chaka Demus & Pliers of "Murder She Wrote" fame) and singer Spanner Banner
(best known for his mid 90s hit "Life Goes On", scored some hits, but
failed to achieve a real breakthrough. With the release of his 2000 album
Heartbeat Records, Spice was regarded as an extremely promising artist,
although not as highly rated as modern roots artists like for example
Luciano and the late Garnet Silk, yet the album featured his Clive Hunt
produced final breakthrough "Grooving My Girl".|
It's only over the past 4 years or so that the reggae massive in Europe and the US has sat up and started to take real notice of the exceptional talent of Richie Spice due to his 8 year old 'sleeper' hit "Earth A Run Red". Since the song hit, Spice's singles have been in high demand in the specialized record shops the world over, a demand that was kept high with the release of his fine Fifth Element album release "Spice In Your Life". Then Fifth Element Records teamed up with VP Records to have the support needed for Richie Spice to move to the next level, with his "In The Streets To Africa" album being the (first) result last year containing the hits "Open The Door", "Youths Dem Cold", "Brown Skin" and "Motherland Calling". And now his latest studioalbum "Gideon Boot", recorded in close collaboration with legendary producer Bobby 'Digital' Dixon, hits the streets.
Richie Spice opens this "Gideon Boot" immediately recognizable with his 'NaNa NaNa NaNa Hey' trademark phrase leading into the strong "Getting Harder" a.k.a. already 4 years old "World Order" across Digital B's 'One For The Road'-riddim in a very convincing way, before following with the wonderful Nyahbinghi drumming backed "Babylon Falling" and the great biblically inspired title track of the album "Gideon Boot" over Bobby 'Digital' Dixon's 2005 'Johnny Too Bad'-riddim. There is an undeniable 'foundation' (more rocksteady-ish) vibe on this album, that lends it in my opinion an even heavier roots feel than lots of one drop riddims could have done, as you can hear in the brilliant "Hang On". In my opinion the ganja tune "Wrap Up A Draw" is a great tune, yet doesn't sparkle as much as the two tunes preceding and the three following it.
The voices of German reggae superstar Gentleman & Richie Spice blend together very nicely on "Let's Go" but especially the tunes "Bad Lamp" over Bobby Digital's relick of Half Pint's 'Hold On' a.k.a. 'Two To One' from 1985 and "Living In Love" over The Heptones' Studio One scorcher 'Ting A Ling' are true gems being among not only the best tunes on this album, but among the best of Richie Spice's entire career. "Ticking Like A Bomb" is much less explosive than its title suggests, but a very well sung smooth lovers tune that is followed by the heartfelt saxophone and angelic female backing vocals embellished "Why" about the hardships in life. Then it's time for the upful advice "Make Up Your Mind" and the very melodic yet pounding sufferers tune "World Crisis".
"Rise" Above Never To Go Under is another magnificent upful advice over a very impressive riddim, followed by two boom tunes to close this album, Richie Spice's current hit single "Di Plane Land" over Kemar 'DJ Flava' McGregor's 'Rub-A-Dub'-riddim for No Doubt Records with its phenomenal storytelling lyrics and the excellent "The World Is A Cycle" over Arif 'Fresh Ear' Cooper's 'Guardian Angel'. And it might have seemed very hard to present a successor of one of the best albums of last year, but Richie Spice alongside Bobby Digital and a couple of guest producers easily succeeds in delivering another album that is a mandatory purchase for every roots aficionado.