Take A Trip
Kiddus I & The Homegrown Band
February 23, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
KIDDUS I is a Rootsman of the Highest degree. His humbleness is synonymous with his endurance. An artist who has put out monumental works since the 1970's and has waited patiently for the ''right time" for all things to fall into place. His body of work is plentiful but complete albums have been few and far between until recent times. When KIDDUS I releases an album, the massive takes notice. His latest set, "Take A Trip", is a pinnacle of achievement. Simply amazing how his delivery and vision shows no tarnish or varnish after forty years in the business. JAH works indeed...
Kiddus I (Frank Dowding) was born in 1944 in the countryside of St. Mary, JA. Fascinated by singing from an early stage, he honed his talent through school and choir. Originally known as "Kid" (the undying Love of Spaghetti Western heroes stands predominant), he became known as Kiddus I ("Blessed One) after moving to Kingston in 1971 and commencing a Rasta commune (1C Oxford Road), where Uptown met Downtown in mutuality. At this time, he linked with Ras Michael And The Sons Of Negus; an association that lasted until 1978. He cut his first tunes in the early '70's - "Fire Burn" and "By The Sweat" with Familyman Barrett at Joe Gibbs. By the mid 70's, he was cutting tracks with the late Jack Ruby with The Messengers. His poignant "Graduation To Zion" (1976) was a defining part of the classic film "Rockers" (1978). This song and his role in the cult classic is known the world over to this day. Sadly, this was the only song at the time released internationally, even though he continued to release great material in JA. Songs like "Security In The Streets", "Too Fat", "Crying Wolf" and "Love Child" are standouts from the Roots era. He caught the attention of producer Chris Blackwell but the works were deemed "too uncommercial" to release; a trend that this humble Rastaman endured for years. Little was heard from him until decades later...
In 2005, Makasound released "Kiddus I-Inna De Yard", an acoustic masterpiece that was part of a legendary series of acoustic sessions recorded at Earl "Chinna" Smith's yard. A linkage that remains true to this day. After historic European "Inna De Yard" concerts and shows backed by The Homegrown Band, interest in Kiddus I sparked Fyah! In 2007, Japan's Dub Store released "Graduation In Zion 1978-80", an essential comprehension of material. In 2009, tapes "lost" since 1981 surfaced as "Rocking Rebel Volume 1 & 2". That year also saw "Green Fa Life" (Naya), Kiddus I's FIRST electric instrumentation backed album. "Green Fa Life" is also the name of the project he co-founded that promotes the benefits and economic advantage of the Moringa tree. He continued to work extensively with Chinna and rising star Scratchylus (Reset The Mindset). In 2013, he released the overlooked "Topsy Turvy World" (Rubin Rockers), a bonafide classic! Last year, he and Chinna launched the inaugural "Rastaman Vibration" concert in St. Elizabeth that brought together a plethora of Roots artists, both veteran and rising up. The Sun shines for "The Blessed One".
The Homegrown Band is one of Europe's tightest backing units. Realized in 2000 while contributing to U Roy's "Now" and Horace Andy's "Mek It Bun". Founded by saxman Guillaume "Stepper" Briard (Taxi Gang, Rusty Zinn), the band was named by Horace Andy during one of their extensive tours. Comprised of the late bassist Dan Moustin, hornsman Didier Bolay (Tiken Jah Fakoly, Taxi Gang), guitarist Jeremie Dessus (production team Bost and Bim), keyboardist Jimmy Zaccardelli, drummer Thomas Join-Lambert and backup vocalists Linda Rey and Wendy Engone-Akoughey, they have backed legends galore. The likes of Ken Boothe ("Live In Paris"), Omar and Lee Perry, Alton Ellis, Jr. Murvin, Johnny Osbourne and Winston McAnuff. Sessions for this album were completed in 2009 at Laurent Dupry's Studio Py and mastered by Simon Capony at Basalte Studio. Why was this tour-de-force shelved for years? Hectic touring schedules and the unfortunate decline of French labels. This album is realized and livicated to bassie Dan "Gorgon" Moustin, who flew home to Mt. Zion in 2013.
We open with If You Love Me. An amazingly constructed song! Kiddus I comes forth with the individuality and power of his '70's work all the way. An urgent and vibrant riddim rife with gorgeous horns, drum and bass power, we are treated to an emotional testament of Love. Just brilliant! Stand Up is a powerful standout. Dynamic drums and lilting basslines are the boat that Kiddus I sails proudly to your Heart and Soul. Poetry in motion presented in grand Roots theory. As Time Goes By (yes, the theme from "Casablanca") is gorgeous in every way. This timeless track is taken to higher heights with raw emotion, heartfelt vision and pitch perfect riddim. Midas Touch is REAL! "Your rules and regulations are styfling us" is a reminder of worldly affairs. Words of wisdom from a Rootsman; a Royal engagement of lyrics to riddim. Looking For A Friend is on par with his best '70's material. His command of the microphone is undeniable and the Homegrown's grand sound is undiluted perfection.
Choose Wisely is a Rocking great track! A testament to The Most High, Kiddus I struts his wisdom over a Funk filled riddim that will grab you. Top ranking with splendid backing vox. This is big band sound. Love In Your Pocket is pure genius. A homage to Love, Holy Herb and perhaps his early days in the Rasta commune experiences, he is at his poetic best. Subtly powerful over an organic riddim that rings out trust and unity with each musician. (These sessions were recorded the real way - singers and players all in the same room with overdubs laid down later). Children Play is a slice of the cake. A song that craftfully depicts the perils that affect today's Youth over a riddim embedded with Jeremie's riffs and Gorgon's relentless bass. Brilliance in predominance. Long way is a shining star. Perhaps Kiddus I's most ethereal work of his career; this is a song of triumphance that he totally commands in his own way. This is a riddim to remember and makes you wonder when the Dub album is coming out. Yes, it's that powerful. So Fastidious continues the power. Conveying true experience, this song will make you more the wiser. "The fašade you project, you're so fastidious, you're not the real thing, I & I am not a play thing". Absolutely lyrics strong over a progressive riddim that showcases the depth of The Homegrown Band.
"Kiddus I & The Homegrown Band" have created something truly compelling with "Take A Trip". 2015 is a perfect time to release the album; the Roots Revival is in full swing. This project sounds so natural and flowing, it beckons repeated listening. Each listen unfolds a new layer of subtle wisdom that Kiddus I presents in such a humble style. A culmination of his years of experience, wisdom, patience and overstanding is all presented in Royal glory here. A standout for all times here and a definitive highlight of a true artist's career. Do not miss out on a true experience. This is Real Roots music with no strings attached. Highest marks! GO DEH!!