Album review
In This Time
Max Romeo
Satta Records-RUNN Records International

Tracking list

  1. Rastafari Calling
  2. Tenament Yard
  3. Mama Look-A-Boo-Boo
  4. Dub-A-Boo-Boo
  5. Babylon Burning
  6. In This Time (Extended Mix)
  7. 2000 Years
  8. One Step Forward
  9. Version
  10. Time Will Tell\No Woman No Cry
  11. It Sipple Out Deh
  12. Dub Out Deh
  13. Study War No More
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Reggae vet Max Romeo - in collaboration with the Italian group Tribý Acoustica - delivers a noteworthy as well as very surprising album entitled "In this Time". Actually hitting the streets just before Christmas 1999, this one from Max Romeo is definitely one the most unusual albums released in recent years. No need to introduce Max Romeo as he has reached a broad audience throughout his enduring career, which spans some 35 years by now. So, let's focus on Tribý Acoustica, the largely unknown group involved in the making of this album.
Tribý Acoustica is an Italian group whose goal is to explore the roots of Jamaican music in order to bring reggae fans riddims and themes that are mostly unheard in present times. The group defines itself as a "Tribý" as this formation is loosely structured and open to kin spirits wishing to collaborate, perhaps even in the realm of improvisation. "Acoustica" because the group wishes to pay tribute to the kind of music that was played in the villages and streets before the introduction of electricity and electronics. Tribý Acoustica offers a repertoire that spans from the atmospheres produced by the Nyabinghi themes to the brashness of the Mento, to the hicarity of the Calypso. Furthermore they go back to the classics of Ska and electric Reggae searching for those efforts that lend themselves to be revisited in an unplugged key, in a more Italian, and perhaps, more whimsical frame of mind.
"In this time" can be regarded as a nyahbingi set from a solo artist, a first for reggae music 'cause until now most of this music has come from groups like Count Ossie & Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari or Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus. The bulk of the material on this album consists of reworkings of Max Romeo tunes alongside covers of Jacob Miller's "Tenament Yard" and Bob Marley's "Time Will Tell\No Woman, No Cry" and interpretations of caribbean and afro-american traditionals. The acoustic backing is quite unusual for one who is used to listen to reggae music, but on the other hand it is of such charm and strength that it causes an undefined feel of excitement, which makes that one keeps involved to the very end. Besides that it is striking to hear Max Romeo's typical voice fitting the "unplugged" laid riddims perfectly well. Especially tunes like "Tenament Yard", "Babylon Burning", "2000 Years", "One Step Forward" and "It Sipple Out Deh" (aka "War Ina Babylon") make a serious impression. "In This Time" was recorded and produced in Rome, Italy, and is truly great work.

Teacher & Mr. T.