Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Reggae Rootsman
Jerry Harris
Listen Up Records
CD / Digital Release
March 7, 2016

Track list
  1. Leave Us Alone
  2. Can't Loose With Jah
  3. Reggae Rootsman
  4. Ancestors
  5. Pray Fi Them
  6. Medical Marijuana
  7. Ghetto
  8. Learn To Survive
  9. Consequences
  10. Working Everyday
  11. Climate Change
  12. Live Your Life
  13. Feed The World
  14. Drum And Bass
  15. Words Of Wisdom
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Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Jerry Harris, born Allan Harris in Portland, Jamaica, was influenced by the life and playing style of his father who was a professional jazz and calypso musician on the hotel circuit in Jamaica. The name Jerry was given to him by musician friends as they felt that Allan had a similar style to guitarist Jah Jerry of Skatalites fame. His first regular gig as a guitarist/backing vocalist came in 1972 when he played with The Young Experience Band. Also member of the latter was his friend Junior Murvin, who would later become famous for the classic "Police And Thieves". In 1974 Jerry Harris left Jamaica for New York where he joined The Stepping Stone Band, after which he stepped to The Reckless Breed and The New Breed Band and backed up Burning Spear on his first US tour, prior to supporting other well known reggae artists in popular venues around the US. However, it was his extensive work with Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes and the Wackies record label that firmly established his name in the New York reggae scene. Jerry Harris (oddly nicknamed "Jerry Hitler" back then) was not only a singer, but the most prolific Wackies bassist and also a notable producer.

After the release of s few singles including "What's Wrong With You", "Love Me Forever" and "Too Much Religion", 1982 saw the release of Jerry Harris' first studio album, a 10-track LP on the Wackies label entitled "I'm For You, I'm For Me". The latter, produced by Bullwackie, was a decent albeit a somewhat unbalanced set as it contained strong tunes as well as a few weaker efforts. Recently this album has been re-issued by Deeper Knowledge Records, with previously unreleased dub versions for the album, plus one more killer vocal cut that didn't make it to the original LP. In 1987 he released the album "Spreading All Over", and then he recorded "Rock This Session" in 1990 and "Smile And Be Happy" in 1991, which were both released by Japan based Alpha Enterprise. In 2002 he came up with the album "Lovers Rock Tonight" and a few other albums followed.

Now Jerry Harris is back in full 'roots' force with the top-notch album "Reggae Rootsman", released on his own label called Listen Up Records. The 15 track set is completely written, arranged and produced by himself, so we get no do-over versions, strictly fresh riddims! Musically the album takes us back to the golden days of reggae, but it's definitely rooted in our times, just listen to the lyrics! With the release of this album he wants "to send these messages to everyone that is struggling... my advice is don't forget your culture and history, remember your ancestors." Words of a true Rastaman!

The killer track "Leave Us Alone" opens the album and sets the rootical mood with power and conviction. His unlimited faith in Jah is shown in "Can't Lose With Jah", followed by the tittle track "Reggae Rootsman". It's such a catchy and appealing song, explaining how to be a rootsman, even without 'dreads'. He calls on us to remember & praise our ancestors on "Ancestors". "Medical Marijuana" starts with a jazzy intro, but when the one-drop takes over he tells us about the advantages of smoking weed. Segregation is the main theme on "Ghetto", one of the many musical & lyrical highlights here. "Learn To Survive" with its strong soulful mood, reminds us of the Curtis Mayfield tunes of the 70s. "Consequences" is underpinned by a horns dominated riddim, creating a dark and gloomy mood. "Climate Change", the most hottest themes of today, needs no further explanation. "Live Your Life" urges us to "stop worry, no badda worry"... live your life, stop complaining every day." A solid advice! "Drum And Bass" is a fully functional musical tribute to roots music, complete with subtle effects. The album ends with a few words of wisdom inna nyabinghi style.

This album needs to be heard by all reggae fans all over the world, musically potent and lyrically so to the point!