Album review
Gift Of Life
Tony Roots
Charm-Jet Star
November 16, 2003

Tracking list

  1. Zion Train
  2. Rivers To Cross
  3. Gift Of Life
  4. Loving Everyday
  5. Burning Fire
  6. Prophecy Revealing
  7. Jah Guide
  8. One Calling
  9. Blessing Today
  10. Jammin'
  11. This Love
  12. More Love
  13. Double Trouble
  14. Liberation Time
  15. Mount Zion
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

In recent years Anthony Stultz aka Tony Roots has established his name as one of the UK's most promising roots artists with notable single releases and his albums "Not Far Away", "Sufferer's Cry" and "Lion King". The latter collected the results of the recording sessions singer/songwriter Tony Roots did with musician/engineer Russ D. at Disciples Backyard Studio in London, and the same goes for his fourth album, "Gift Of Life", which takes the Reggae Soldier further on his musical road. This new collection from Tony Roots is a well varied and entertaining set of songs with themes of righteousness, conciousness, hope and love. The album opens strong with the beautiful acoustic tune "Zion Train", with Tony Roots' heartfelt lyrical and vocal delivery complemented by full and rich female vocal back up. It's definitely one of the true highpoints included here. With "Rivers To Cross" the mood then changes to rub-a-dub style dancehall, adapting Alton Ellis' "Chatty Chatty" riddim. The title track "Gift Of Life" is an enjoyable effort with powerful female chorus backing vocal and great horn parts from Dave Fullwood and Richard Doswell. Next we're treated to the moving "Loving Everyday", which is followed by "Burning Fire", a solid cultural tune with a weaving percussion pattern, a powerful keyboard groove and righteous chant. This "Burning Fire" tune proved extremely popular with roots fans when it was released as 7" single. "Prophecy Revealing" is a decent effort musically benefitting from a strong horns refrain and the wicked keyboard hook. Another standout piece is "Jah Guide", delivered over a nice updated version of the Wailing Souls' "War In The East" riddim. Tough roots is next with the awesome "One Calling", again coming with a wicked horn section. Great to hear, and also one of our favourite tunes, is the impressive "Blessing Today". It contains wonderful trumpet parts and is simply one of those songs one can play over and over again. "Jammin'" is a rather mediocre effort that doesn't fit this collection of tunes. Fortunately Tony Roots returns to form with the solid lovers tune "This Love", the wicked roots tracks "More Love" and "Liberation Time" and the wonderful "Double Trouble". The nyahbhingi adaptation of the traditional rasta chant "Mount Zion" rounds off this wellworth set in fine style. Highly recommended!

Teacher & Mr. T.