Life Is A Stage
Mikey Dread
June 11, 2007

Mikey Dread - Life Is a Stage Track list
  1. Praise Jah Jah
  2. Life Is A Stage
  3. Pound A Weed
  4. Destiny
  5. Backstage Pass
  6. Barcoding
  7. Teenage Pregnancy
  8. I'm Not The Kind
  9. Oh No
  10. Soundbwoy Special
  11. Dread Next Door
  12. Passing Through
  13. First Generation
  14. Point Of View
  15. Stem Cells
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Total votes : 4
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Michael 'Mikey Dread' Campbell has made reggae his business for over thirty years, and he's still going strong as evidenced by the release of his twenty-second, official 'Dread at the Controls' album entitled "Life Is A Stage". The multi-talented and versatile Mikey Dread -- deejay, singer, radio deejay, engineer, narrator for documentaries, and producer, to name a few of his professions -- first built his reputation on JBC radio in the late 1970s. Then he made the obvious move to deejaying on record for Lee Perry, Joe Gibbs, Sonia Pottinger and Carlton Patterson, before he launched his own label, 'Dread At The Control', for which he produced some of the freshest sounding records of 1978-1981. In that periode he not only recorded himself as deejay, but also hard roots singers like Earl 16, Rod Taylor, Junior Murvin and Edi Fitzroy. Throughout the years he perfected his media production/radio broadcasting skills, developed his style from deejay to singer, and toured in the U.S.A. and Europe.

Mikey Dread's brand new album "Life Is A Stage" is a fine addition to his already strong catalogue. Recorded at Anchor Studio, the famous Tuff Gong Studio, Frontroom Production Studio, and Marvin Studio, all located in Kingston, Jamaica, and also at Track Record Recording Studio in Hollywood CA and at Studio Radioaktywni in Poland, this collection of tunes features collaborations with legendary musicians like Sly Dunbar, Fully Fullwood, Tony Chin, Flabba Holt, Style Scott, Glen Browne, Dalton Browne, Uzziah 'Sticky' Thompson, Deadley Headley, Bongo Herman and Robbie Lynn.

The crisp and clear sounding 'live' riddims -- all fresh originals except for a wonderful remake of Dennis Brown's "Have You Ever", which underpins the solid "Pound A Weed" -- are well arranged and expertly played. The addition of back up vocalists Ellendre Walters, Sonia Spence and Chantelle Ernandez provide perfect harmony and are effective throughout.

Lyrically Mikey Dread touches a multitude of themes ranging from rasta love on "Dread Next Door", black consciousness on "Point Of View" to the social ill's of human "Barcoding" and "Stem Cells". The album kicks off with "Praise Jah Jah", which isn't exactly a strong opener as it lacks lyrics to keep you involved till the very end. "Life Is A Stage" is a far better effort, but when "Pound A Weed" -- complete with trademark sound effects, again used for "Soundbwoy Special" -- drops, it's obvious that the listener is treated to the first strong tune of this set.

The beautiful "Destiny" not only benefits from the back up vocals of Chantelle Ernandez, but also from a truly awesome bass line played by Roots Radics band leader Flabba Holt. "Backstage Pass", a nice up tempo song dealing with Mikey Dread's own experiences when on tour, is followed by two wicked cautionary message tunes namely "Barcoding" and "Teenage Pregnancy". "I'm Not The Kind" is a decent lovers track, just like "Dread Next Door". The impressive roots tune "Passing Through" is followed by "First Generation", a solid piece dealing with the same theme as its predecessor. "Point Of View" is an outstanding track, both musically and lyrically, and the same goes for "Stem Cells".

Despite a few weak moments "Life Is A Stage" is worthwhile checking. This new album will surely please his fans and those who are looking for real authentic reggae music.