Album review
Jah Knows Best
May 21, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Jah Knows Best
  2. Real People
  3. Subterranean Homesick Blues
  4. Rise Them Nature
  5. You're Gonna Need My Love
  6. You're Better Off
  7. I Myself Know
  8. Got It Going On
  9. My Time, Your Time
  10. Move Up
  11. You World Leaders
  12. Jah Is Love
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

The brand new cd "Jah Knows Best" finds Sizzla once again in the hands of producer Phillip 'Fatis' Burrell. The latter first introduced young Miguel Collins to the world as Sizzla through the RAS Records release "Burning Up". Throughout the nineties 'Fatis' Burrell's Xterminator camp was one of the most progressive production outfits, utilizing Sly Dunbar and The Firehouse Crew to build its riddims. Burrell's Xtermanitor label was in full swing and his productions were among the best-crafted, whether on refurnished vintage riddims or innovative drum-dominated backdrops. He recorded gems with great artists such as Beres Hammond, Cocoa Tea, Freddie McGregor and Sugar Minott, to name a few, but it were his works with Luciano and Sizzla that really established his name among the reggae fans worldwide. However, when Luciano ended his association with Xterminator and also Sizzla started to record for other producers the impact of the Xterminator productions seemingly diminished.
Sizzla's huge output of 7" singles and albums just seems to grow and grow. "Jah Knows Best", his third release in recent months, follows up the "Speak Of Jah" and "African Children" albums. Except for Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (the only cover version Sizzla has ever recorded) not one song included on this album came out on 7" single, so we're treated to a real album instead of a collection of previously released 7" singles. The album opens very strong with the awesome title track "Jah Knows Best" and the matching piece "Real People", which is underpinned by a revitalized classic riddim. Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" - part of a reggae tribute project called "Is It Rolling Bob?" - gets a decent interpretation. Next drops "Rise Them Nature", a nice tune with a fiery Sizzla performing over a mediocre riddim. The mood turns over to matters of the heart with "You're Gonna Need My Love", an entertaining effort which benefits from the latin flavored riddim track. Lyrically Sizzla is in good shape on "You're Better Of", however vocally and musically it is a rather mediocre tune. More or less the same goes for the next track "I Myself Know". Backed by an annoying crossover riddim this is one of the few tunes on this cd that gets the "skip" treatment. Eastern influences come to the forefront in the mesmerizing riddim track that underpins "Got It Going On". The latter shows Sizzla utilizing his well know raw vocal style. "My Time Your Time" is backed by another horrible riddim track, which makes it hard to keep yourself involved till the very end. Then "Move Up" provides some relief as Sizzla delivers some great lyrics over an enjoyable innovative riddim. "You World Leaders" is yet another tune that suffers from a weak riddim, but in the end we're treated to a great song, the acoustic
"Jah Is Love".
"Jah Knows Best" is not Sizzla's best Xterminator produced album, but there's enough niceness on this cd to make it worthwhile checking out.

Teacher & Mr. T.