Album review
Na Give Up
The Ark Band

Tracking list

  1. Na give up
  2. Hustler
  3. Friends
  4. Roses
  5. Oh Jah
  6. Boom shot
  7. Ring on your finger
  8. Missing you
  9. Rosie
  10. The Lord is my light (bonus cd track)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Those of you regularly visiting the newsgroup"rec.music.reggae" should at least be familiar with the name of this band, thanks to the ongoing support of errol/roots-ee for this Ohio (USA) based reggae band.   The Ark Band has St.Lucia born brothers Terry and Eustace Bobb providing the riddims as drummer and bassist, as well as them sharing lead and backing vocals. Lead and backing vocals are also provided by guitarist Mike Scott and percussionist Damon Arterbridge. The other band members are keyboardist Mike Smith, lead guitarist Lance Ellison and (!) sound engineer (and producer) Joel McCarthy.  Additional musicians include Iawatha 'Amha' Selassie I as guitarist and keyboardist on all songs, Claudius 'Glades' John as drum programmer on "Rosie", Akil Walton providing the rap on "Friends" and Mike Ianicello as guitarist on "Boom Shot".   The real killer track is the bonus track "The Lord Is My Light", featuring a very full sound provided through the horn section of Neal 'Panta' Carrington (trumpet), Merius 'Watchie' Felix (alto sax) as well as through additional musicians Kevin Johnson (lead guitar), Jeff McKenny (rhythm guitar), Morris Brown & Gabriel 'Gaboo' Mondesir (keyboards) and the backing vocals of Dianne Stubblefield, Tommy Chevront, Karen Anderson and  Rhea Anderson. For this tour de force de riddims have already been laid in 1990, and the fact that this track doesn't seem out of place at all shows the consistency in quality and direction of The Ark Band's music. All but one song ("Ring On Your Finger") are originals with always a modern rootsy feeling, and sometimes more clear -what I prefer to call- 'other Carribean influences' as in the calypso/soca influenced "Rosie".  The title song is a positive statement of The Ark Band's faith in Jah, featuring rock-  like guitar licks. "Hustler" is the closest resemblance I ever heard of another band to the sound of Misty In Roots (need I say more ?, if so check Misty's homepage at http://paradigm.uor.edu/users/doktor/miras/miras.html ). "Friends" is a wonderful song about friendship over an upful riddim, very thoughtful lyrics with the lines  'Communication is the key, Put yourself in my shoes, Is this very hard to do, Am I getting through to you ?, I just want to be friends baby, I just want to be your friend, can't you see, I just want to be friends baby, I just want to be your friend, me & you, you & me'.  "Roses" is a straightforward lovers tune over a riddim that profits from the keyboard accents to give it a very joyous sound.  "Oh Jah" is a (very) solid roots/sufferers song, and "Boom Shot" is another example of musical goodness, resembling the sound of ancient UB40 tracks. "Ring On your Finger" is an up tempo song, in which the other faster paced Carribean influences can be heard clearly. "Missing You" is too much poppy for me, and is the only little disappointment on this album, although the harmonies are great. "Rosie" is a great calypso/soca influenced song clocking over 7 minutes, and yet when it ends you still have the feeling it should go on for another 10 minutes, I am quite sure nobody can listen to this song without starting to move his feet, or whatever else when you have to stay seated. The aforementioned "The Lord Is My Light" is a killer song to close this disc, of a band certainly deserving more recognition with the reggae massive. 

The Ark Band can be reached at:
email: thearkband@aol.com
URL http://www.3rdmil.com/thearkband/