March 23, 2004
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 3/4||Backing : 4||Production : 3/4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
About twenty-five years ago Winston Foster aka Yellowman aka King Yellow has been one of the forerunners of Jamaican dancehall. During the first half of the eighties the albino deejay broke big which gave him the opportunity to work with practically all the leading dancehall producers. He was reggae's figurehead even though he never had much chance of appealing to as wide and varied audience as Bob Marley. The records he delivered at his peak are delivered over some of the strongest riddims of the time and are filled with hilarious lyrics and his favorite topic - the opposite sex, but deal with conscious matters as well. From 1987 until now he recorded some 7 albums for RAS Records, but none of them reached the high quality standard of his early eighties work. Now here's Yellowman's new album "New York", which is produced by the legendary Jamaican producer Phillip "Fatis" Burrell of "Xterminator" fame who has employed great Jamaican musicians like e.g. Sly Dunbar, Donald Dennis, Robbie Lyn, Mitchum Chin and Melbourne Miller to provide the backing tracks. Despite the involvement of these big names this album fails to make a very serious impression. Actually the first three tracks - including the most worst tune on this set "Work Out" - can be skipped. The lyrics are lame and the vocal delivery is weak. The only thing that makes "Peace Dance" worth of hearing is its infectious riddim. "Family Man" is a decent effort and a good warm-up for a few solid tracks. The combination tune "Leave Iraq Alone" has singer Abijah in a prominent role. It's a fine message tune which is followed by another duet, the outstanding "World War", a remake of Little Roy's classic "Tribal War". It's the beautiful singing of George Nooks that makes tune a treat for the ear. Also first-class is "Freedom Walk", performed over a version of The Heptones' Studio One classic "Sweet Talking" which features a wicked drum performance by Sly Dunbar. Then press the skip button twice and listen to "CNN News", again utilizing a revitalized riddim of The Heptones. Sly impresses once more and also Yellowman himself finally returns to form. "I Love New York" is a nice tune with a funky groove, reminiscent of Black Uhuru's "Chill Out". The album rounds off with the solid nyahbinghi flavoured "This House" (about the Whitehouse), performed in combination with Abijah across an updated version of "This Train".Teacher & Mr. T.