Album review
Ladies' Turn
Kingston Ladies
Passage Productions
December 6, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Unite
  2. Lonely Days
  3. King Majesty
  4. Train Is Coming
  5. Wisdom
  6. Number One
  7. Woman Of The Ghetto featuring Lady G
  8. Still In Love
  9. Willow Tree
  10. Magic
  11. Can't Trust You
  12. Don't Stay Away
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Except for a few women like for example the late Phyllis Dillon, J.C. Lodge and the trio Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths (aka I-Threes), female artists have played a minor role in reggae history. Now there's a new female outfit called Kingston Ladies, who is trying to establish its name on the reggae map. Just like the Jamaican All Stars, the group is initiated by Pierre-Marc Simonin. The latter produced the documentary "Portaits de la Musique Jama´caine" (in English: "Portraits Of Jamaican Music") and also produced the album of the Jamaican All Stars (Justin Hinds, Sparrow Martin, Johnny "Dizzy" Moore and Skully Sims). Kingston Ladies consists of veteran Pam Hall, Leba Hibbert and Keisha Patterson. Pam Hall - the award winning voice behind many of the "female vocal" hits in reggae music over the last few years - is an experienced vocalist who has recorded for a variety of labels, including Lloyd & Michelle Campbell's "Joe Frasier Records" and Donovan Germain's "Penthouse" imprint. Leba Hibbert, daughter of Frederic "Toots" Hibbert, has grown up in a musical environment. In recent years she has often provided backing vocals - both on stage and in the studio - for today's big names in reggae music. Keisha Patterson - an actrice, dancer and vocalist - has played in adaptations of Broadway shows and met Pam Hall when they both played a role in a comedy musical.
Their debut cd, with the appropriate title "Ladies' Turn", contains eight cover songs chosen by Pierre-Marc Simonin and four fresh originals written by Pam Hall and her manager Willow. Among the do-overs of reggae classics are Ken Boothe's "Train Is Coming", the Alton Ellis' tunes "I'm Still In Love" and "Willow Tree", Bob Marley's "Wisdom", Gregory Isaacs' "Number One", Marlena Shaw's "Woman Of The Ghetto" and The Techniques' "Queen Majesty". All songs included here are performed over full sounding riddims, which are expertly laid by real musicians. Truly excellent and thus worth of hearing are "Lonely Days" across a reworking of the "Swing Easy" riddim, "King Majesty", "Wisdom", "Don't Stay Away"" and the dancehall flavored tunes "Magic" and "Woman Of The Ghetto" featuring Lady G. With the rest of the material maintaining the quality throughout, this is a recommended release for those who like to hear female vocalists perform good roots reggae and lovers rock tunes.

Teacher & Mr. T.