Album review
Higher Ground

Tracking list

  1. Yadd Away Home
  2. Your Love
  3. Robbery Aggravation
  4. On The Road
  5. Make A Change
  6. 100% (The Highest)
  7. Fire Pon A Deadas
  8. Give Me Some More
  9. Rasta Party
  10. Love Of The Heart
  11. Nah Go Far
  12. Blood Out
  13. Live Up
  14. Never Have It Easy
  15. Hey V
  16. This World (Hold Strong)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

"Higher Ground" is Bushman's fourth album since Greensleeves Records unleashed his Steely & Clevie produced debut set "Nyah Man Chant" in 1996. The King Jammy's produced album "Total Commitment" (also on the Greensleeves label) and Stingray's "A Better Place" were the follow-ups to his first album, but it's with "Higher Ground" - again produced by Lloyd "King Jammy" James - that Dwight Duncan aka Bushman is definitely going to secure himself a position between the great cultural singers of these times as it is a truly outstanding set, his strongest album yet.
This brand new album sees fine singer Bushman (in most songs utilizing a vocal style strongly reminiscent of Luciano) backed by such great musicians like Steely & Clevie, Sly & Robbie, Teetimus, Jazzwad, Chris Meredith, Tony Asher, David Madden and Dean Fraser (who also arranged the backing vocals which are provided by The Daffodils). All who contributed to this album have done an excellent job which can be witnessed while playing this some 60 minutes lasting compact disc. Packed with positive, uplifting message music one is treated to contemporary Jamaican "roots & culture" at its very best. Apart from "Your Love" which already appeared on a 7" single, "Higher Ground" contains a selection of totally fresh tunes. It's hard to point out the standouts within such a great album so let's just stick to some personal favourites.
The album opener "Yadd Away Home" is one of the best cultural tunes Bushman has (co-)written and performed so far. A tune belonging to the "goose pimples" category. The same goes for the reality songs "Give Me Some More" and "Never Have It Easy". Other tracks that surely will get the "repeat button" treatment include "Your Love", "Fire Pon A Deadas", "Love Of The Heart" and "Hey V", the latter across a riddim that Bounty Killer utilized some years ago for a King Jammy produced tune entitled "Mama".
Impeccable fresh as well as revitalized roots riddims, solid lyrical deliveries, a singer who is vocally in good shape, no weak track to be found and good production work makes that Bushman's "Higher Ground" should get a place in any self-respecting reggae fan's collection. So, ignore at your peril!

Teacher & Mr. T.