Natty Will Fly Again
Ashanti Roy, Pablo Moses & Winston Jarrett
Soulbeats Records / Groundation Music
CD / Digital Release
June 17, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
It is a beautiful situation when a Roots project is conceptualized, realized and the results being nothing short of amazing and defining. A project that reminds us why we embrace King's Music in the first place. That's exactly what has happened with the vision of Groundation's Harrison Stafford bringing together a trio of Foundation artists and producing an impeccable set for the ages. "NATTY WILL FLY AGAIN" features the mastery of Ashanti Roy, Pablo Moses and Winston "Flames" Jarrett. Together on one album? The answer is a resounding YES I!!!
Volumes can be spoken of these legends and the firmament of Harrison "Professor" Stafford. Roydel "Ashanti" Johnson hails from Hanover Parish, JA and moved to Kingston as a youth. In the early to mid 1970's, he honed his talents with Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus and Prince Far I & The Arabs. His childhood friend, Lee "Scratch" Perry heard his song "Row Fisherman Row", which resulted with the linkage of Cedric Myton and Watty Burnett (The Congos). The ensuing "Heart Of The Congos" is one of the defining albums in Reggae Music. He has remained active with solid solo outings and contributions to "Singers & Players". The Congos reunited around the eve of the millennium and remain active to this day.
Pablo Moses was born in 1948 in the parish of Manchester. The late Geoffrey Chung heard his 1975 masterpiece "I Man A Grasshopper" and it was recorded at Perry's Black Ark Studio. His debut set "Revolutionary Dream" remains a classic. He has stayed consistent with subsequent classics like "A Song" "Pave The Way" and "Confession Of A Rastaman". He is in constant demand and remains active.
Winston "Flames" Jarrett is an absolute pioneer in the development of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae Music. He began his career in 1962 with Alton & The Flames. Alton Ellis moved to England in 1967 and Winston took over as "Winston Jarrett & The Righteous Flames"; releasing classic sides for Treasure Isle, Studio One and many more. He has released many classic sets like "Man Of The Ghetto", "Jonestown", "Kingston Vibration" and last year's "Family Affair". He currently resides in Seattle, Washington and bears no signs of slowing down after five decades of pure ites.
Harrison Stafford is the founder/lead singer of California's Groundation; award winning ensemble that keeps U.S Roots intact. In recent years, this teacher/producer/filmmaker/multi-instrumentalist has forayed into great side projects as "Professor" (teaches Reggae studies at Sonoma State University). He released "Madness" and the great live set "Throw Down Your Arms" (recorded at Reggae Sun Ska) with legends Dalton Browne, Flabba Holt, Obeah Denton and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace. For this current set, Mr. Stafford laid down drum, bass and riddim guitar tracks at his Young Tree Studio (CA). Vocals were laid at Harry J's in January 2014 with the assistance of legend Stephen Stewart. Legendary engineer Jim Fox mastered the tracks at Lion And Fox Studio with dubbing and mixing by King Robby at Reasoning Studio (CA). There's massive contribution from Dalton Browne (guitar), Lloyd "Obeah" Denton (keys) and "Sticky" Thompson (percussion); legends that have worked with Harrison extensively.
The set opens with Jah Prophecy featuring Winston Jarrett. Such a powerful and wise voice sounding like rolling thunder from Mt. Zion. This track ranks as his best since "True Born African". Over a taut riddim with great bubbling from Obeah and licks from Dalton, Winston delivers a Dread statement that truly resonates! Pablo Moses is ethereal on More Mandela. A poignant and uplifting ode to Nelson Mandela and his triumph against all odds. Add some vibrant African "Hi-Life" guitar and Sticky's percussion and we have a memorable anthem delivered in Pablo's humble manner. Ashanti Roy brings back the Golden Age with Satan Let Go. Harrison is great on bass, riddim guitar and drum style similar to Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace. Ashanti Roy brings back vintage Congo memories with powerful authority and vivid harmony to stamp out wickedness. Winston carries Hold On Natty triumphantly. From the opening "the music comes from deep space of honesty", he carries his message as powerful as Marley's best work. It's that good!! The riddim is a Jazz tinged gem dripping with experience. Standout selection. The title track is dynamic with Pablo Moses at the helm. He delivers in a manner that harks memories of "Pave The Way". An engaging riddim with ethereal key work and all around clarity. Instant classic here.
Hallelujah is pure ites. Ashanti Roy is at home over a Niyabinghi/Jazz fusion. Giving praises to The Most High, this track could easily adhere to "Heart Of The Congos". Shine On is magical. Winston is majestic in a delivery reminiscent of his "Kingston Vibration" set from 1991. His voice is so wizened and seasoned; pure joy to hear every utterance from him. In a recent reasoning with him, he stated "my best works are yet to come". Well, he delivers his best every time. A joyful track of pride and faith over a solid backbone. Pablo is sensational on Cyan't Dep Pon Mi. A personal life story of observation that's sheer brilliance. Along the same intellect of "Steppin' Razor". So humble, you can't help but be inspired. Ashanti Roy closes out the vocal set with Poor People. An acoustic and hypnotizing riddim is the platform that he flows majestically on. True song of Hope!
The Dub portion is a testament of pure engineering intelligence. King Robby handles each track with care and keeps the integrity intact. The musical bed is laid nicely with the vocal track interwoven craftfully. These are all stellar Dubs; the standouts are Prophecy Dub, Natty Will Dub Again and Shine Dub. Brings back memories of Jim Fox's "Dub For Daze" classic for RAS Records in the 1990's, but strictly original. Keeps the true tradition of Dub alive.
"Natty Will Fly Again" is champion sound all around. The chemistry of singer to riddim is flowing, engaging and thought provoking. This year has been chock full of outstanding releases thus far; this project will rank in the upper echelon. "Three The Hard Way" theory has been utilized many times before to varying degrees of success but this project is sky high. Do not hesitate; seek out a copy of this mesmerizing experience. Highest recommendation!! GO DEH!!!
(The cd is available at www.shopsoulbeats.fr)