Joy Bells Ringing
Al Pancho
Lustre Kings
November 23, 2008

Al Pancho - Joy Bells Ringing Track list
  1. Joy Bells Ringing
  2. More To Life feat. Lutan Fyah
  3. Anything You Want
  4. Man Of Truth feat. Natty King
  5. A Nuh One Day
  6. Paradise
  7. Worlien
  8. Own Trap
  9. Unity is Strength feat. Luciano
  10. Nah Go Reach
  11. Musical Mission
  12. Bruk Yuh Bread
  13. Buss Dem Head
  14. Empress
  15. Itiopia feat. Yami Bolo & Prince Bob
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Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 2-
Very Good -Votes: 4-
Good -Votes: 0-
Average -Votes: 1-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 1-

Total votes : 8
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
"Joy Bells Ringing" is the the title of the third album from Rastafarian deejay Owen Ricardo Brown, whose moniker Al Pancho most likely will ring a bell when you're into contemporay roots reggae. After the European release of "Righteous Men", his debut set on Brotherman's Minor7Flat5 imprint, it lasted four years before Al Pancho's sophomore album "My Story" finally hit the streets. And now, one year after that hardly known second cd, there's the "Joy Bells Ringing" set coming from the much acclaimed Lustre Kings production camp from Oakland, California. Their production work for Lutan Fyah's "Time And Place" (2005) and Turbulence's "The Future" (2003) was very satisfactory as they managed to get the very best out of these two artists, and also their "one riddim" sets proved to be worth of hearing.

A good production team that could take Al Pancho to the next level in his musical career was long overdue as he has released too many lacklustre efforts in recent years. Our overall impression is that he has truly benefited from his working together with people like Digital Ancient, Nick Fantastic, King Corrin and Zion High, because this "Joy Bells Ringing" set is Al Pancho's most solid collection of tunes so far. It's obvious that not every track on this album can get a gold medal, but for most of the pieces featured here counts that you can see a glint of gold shining through.

The musical backings, recorded live with only few exceptions, differ greatly and include such wicked riddims as "Credential" ("Joy Bells Ringing"), "Alarm Clock" ("Unity is Strength"), "Talking Drum" ("Buss Dem Head"), "The Shining" ("Bruk Yuh Bread"), "Red Razor" ("Nah Go Reach"), and "Hard Times". The latter is known from boom tunes like for example Capleton's "That Day Will Come" and I-Wayne's "Living In Love", and now there's Al Pancho cut entitled "Own Trap" that can take its place amongst the best efforts for the riddim. Meanwhile it's one of the strongest solo tracks of this album together with Joy Bells Ringing", "Anything You Want", "Nah Go Reach", "Musical Mission" and "Bruk Yuh Bread", which comes across a riddim that has overtones of Sly & Robbie's classic "Baltimore" riddim.

Besides Al Pancho's solo efforts this album also includes four combination tunes featuring guest appearances by Lutan Fyah, Luciano, Natty King and Yami Bolo & Prince Bob. In particular "Man Of Truth" with Natty King and "Unity Is Strength" with Luciano are great and a joy to listen to. Al Pancho's ('off key') deejay style may not appeal to everyone, but if you like artists such Sizzla, Anthony B and Capleton, then this album is definitely one for you.