Everything I Own ~ The Definitive Collection
Ken Boothe
May 8, 2007

Track list

Disc 1

  1. Uno Dos Tres feat. Stranger Cole
  2. What A Day
  3. Suzie
  4. Paradise
  5. One I Love
  6. You Left The Water Running
  7. Say You
  8. Lady With The Starlight
  9. Can't See You
  10. Somewhere
  11. Live Good
  12. Can't Fight Me Down
  13. I'm Not For Sale
  14. Old Fashioned Way
  15. Why, Baby Why
  16. Keep My Love From Fading
  17. Freedom Street
  18. Artibella
  19. Now I Know
  20. It's Gonna Take A Miracle
  21. Drums Of Freedom
  22. Give To Me
  23. Your Feeling And Mine
  24. I Wish It Could Be Peaceful Again
  25. Trying To Reach
  26. Hallelujah
  27. Stop Your Crying
  28. So Nice (Thinking)
  29. Make Me Feel Alright
  30. Rasta Never Fail
Disc 2

  1. Missing You
  2. Have I Sinned
  3. Ain't No Sunshine
  4. Look What You've Done for Me
  5. Silver Words
  6. Black, Gold and Green
  7. Is It Because I'm Black
  8. (You're) Leaving Me
  9. Let's Get It On
  10. That's the Way Nature Planned It
  11. Everything I Own
  12. Crying Over You
  13. Let Go
  14. Grandma
  15. Freedom Day (AKA Freedom Time)
  16. Love Don't Love Nobody
  17. I'm Singing Home
  18. Blood Brothers
  19. Left With a Broken Heart
  20. You're No Good
  21. Who Gets Your Love
  22. Give Me Back My Heart
  23. Train Is Coming
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 3
Ken Boothe has the unfortunate yet erroneous reputation of being poppy, lightweight -- Everyone knows "Everything I Own", and typically characterise him through this sentimental tune.

Hopefully, the core of this double CD set will go some way to setting the record straight. It has some scorchers on it, mostly in the 1950's/60's R n B meets Alpha Boys School horns style, fused with a Rocksteady drive.

Stranger Cole teams up with Boothe on the opener, "Uno Dos Tres", a tune with a guitar rhythm like a gentle, irresistible wave, pulling the R n' B quasi Blues/Cajun vocal forward. A jazz horns section sends the vibes into Blue Note Lee Morgan style tranquillity and euphoria. "What A Day" again fuses Chicago blues vibes with a soul church chant.

"The One I Love" sees Boothe truly come into the light, with his deeply distinctive torch vocal style. The result is unmediated -- direct soul, with no tangible or apparent barriers or borders.

Then there is the eerie "You Left The Water Running", with its distinctly odd Post Modern title, replete with narrative of lonely nihilism and despair. The guitar licks are pure Steve Cropper, with a Bessie Smith oddness and ambience to the sound quality.

Some of the overt and kitsch influences from Nat King Cole do Boothe no favours at all, it must be said -- "Lady With The Starlight" is an example of a hotel lobby style that Ken Boothe is simply far, far too good for. Boothe is far too distinctive, far too superior a talent to have recorded such a derivative tune.

"Can't You See" again is a breathtakingly direct lyrical and vocal style -- sounds so personal, confessional, as if the listener is being let into private secrets and personal struggles.

CD 2 contains a number of early to mid period Roots Rockers styles -- In particular, the confident black nationalism of "Black Gold And Green" and the thundering, resentful nihilism of "You Are No Good".

Ken Boothe is often viewed as "too easy on the ears" -- but there is infinitely more soul, outrageous originality and vibes in evidence here than on countless stodgy, stereotyped, dub by numbers "new Euro roots" albums.