Album review
Great Controversy
Jet Star
02 - 04 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Road Block
  2. Call On Yahweh
  3. Great Controversy
  4. Legalise It
  5. Are You Ready?
  6. Empress Love
  7. Why?
  8. Patiently
  9. Have Faith
  10. Rivers of Babylon
  11. Free The World
  12. Bandits
  13. Good Papa
  14. Amen
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4

The man called Luciano - which means the bearer of light - was born Jepther Washington McClymont in Davey Town, Jamaica on December 20, 1974. At the age of 17 he made his first recordings for producer Earl Hughes, but it was with Sky High from Mau Mau Productions that he got the opportunity to release his work on an album, under the name Luciana. After working with Sky High he moved on to Castro Brown's "New Name" label before he teamed up with reggae vet Freddie McGregor, which resulted in the release of an album entitled "Shake It Up Tonight" aka "After All". His final breakthrough came when he met "Xterminator" label head and producer Phillip "Fatis" Burrell. It was a series of trend-defying "Xterminator" singles that pushed his career in the right direction as they made his name and fame grow. It actually resulted in the release of his first "Xterminator" album "Moving Up". In the years that followed Luciano rose to the top and undoubtedly became one of the major forces in developing modern cultural music. Luciano's associaton with Phillip "Fatis" Burrell and musicians like Sly & Robbie, The Firehouse Crew and Dean Fraser played an important role in Luciano's stages of development, which ultimately led to his signing with Island-Jamaica and the release of numerous quality singles and some acclaimed albums. After the 'Sweep Over My Soul' album he released some live albums, a combination album and now Jet Star puts out the 14 track album 'Great Controversy'.
The album was produced at the Cave Studios in London by in-house producer Danny Ray and the mixing was done by Fitzroy 'Wizard' Blake. Musicians on board include Mafia & Fluxy, Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie, Dalton Browne, Jaswad and vocalists Don Campbell, Winston Francis (!), Bigga Morrison and Dee Ellington who provide suiting backing vocals. The excellent liner notes are written by John Masouri.
Road Block opens the album and is one of the highlights of the album. The next tune -Call On Yahweh is across Cave's version of Craig David's 'Fill Me In' riddim, a wicked riddim also used by The Rasites (High Grade) and Lloyd Brown (Fill Me In). The title track reminds me of an earlier Luciano tune, but I just can't figure out which one...a great song ! After Luciano's remake of Peter Tosh's Legalise It he comes up with a less stronger tune, Are You Ready ?. Empress Love is a solid lovers tune across the "I'm Still Waiting" riddim. One of the outstanding tunes here is the uptempo song Patiently. If you like ska music, this song -Have Faith- will become one of your favorite tunes. The classic Rivers Of Babylon is an original strong song, but I think it's done over too much, especially since Luciano is a gifted songwriter. Free The World and Bandits are two of my favorite tracks, the latter being an instant Luciano classic ! The album closes with the gospel tune Amen.
This is Luciano's first UK produced set and the result is a more than solid album from the one and only Messenjah.

Teacher & Mr. T.