Rockers International Throwback
Norris Reid & The Sons Of Africa
Sound Of Thunder / Only Roots Records
CD / Vinyl LP / Digital Release
April 6, 2016

Track list
  1. Jah Jah
  2. Life Is Just For Living
  3. Baby You Are
  4. 16 Pitt Street
  5. War What's The Use
  6. Those Tears
  7. Jah Justice
  8. You Can't Stop Me Now
  9. Only Jah
  10. Rockers International Throwback
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Essential -Votes: 6-
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Total votes : 7
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
The legacy of Augustus Pablo's ROCKERS family is undeniable and is being carried by his son, Addis, and the many artists whose works were blessed by his mystical touch. Addis Pablo has carried his father's works with natural progression in recent years. Ricky Grant and Tetrack have delivered tasty works recently. Delroy Williams and the aforementioned are set to release more gems soon. NORRIS REID is a bonafide veteran who recorded two timeless albums and numerous Roots anthems for Augustus Pablo and was part of the legendary Viceroys in the early '80s. Fast forward to 2014; Norris links with Roots Vibes crew (France) and records majestic tracks backed by The Sons Of Africa. The result is magnificent and indeed a true throwback to Augustus Pablo's ROCKERS vibrations of the late '70s...

NORRIS REID is responsible for some of the finest moments in Roots Reggae history and deserves the international recognition that he seemingly hasn't received. He began his career in 1975 and linked with Augustus Pablo and the Rockers "umbrella" through Carlton Hines (founder of Tetrack) in 1977. Two albums "Roots & Vine" and "Give Jah The Praises" were recorded. These two masterpieces were released years after the 1979-80 recordings. In 1979, he also linked with The Viceroys for "We Must Unite" and "Brethren And Sistren", classics that featured his amazing songwriting and delivery. He wrote "Rise In The Strength Of Jah"; one of Reggae's most potent anthems. In 1985, he relocated to the U.S and joined Pittsburgh based SWAMMP BAND (one of the premier unsigned U.S Roots bands). He has recorded sporadically in recent years and is well received on the live circuit. Another artist that has heaps of material in the vaults that hopefully will receive proper attention soon. One of Reggae Music's foremost statesman!!!

Founded in 2006 by Mr. Haze, the Roots Vibes Studio/label has been crafting gems with the likes of Ricky Grant, Tetrack, Earl Zero and Michael Prophet. The vision is to record in analogue tradition and allow the artiste to roam freely. The vibrations are organically original yet keeping the '70s tradition intact inna Pablo style. In July, 2014, Norris recorded "I Wanna Love Jah" and the sessions kept swinging. Recorded by Mr. Haze, this project was mixed by Mr. Haze and drummer Saymon. The Sons Of Africa consist of Saymon (drums), Louison (bass), Alexandre Tilly (guitars), Brice LeBoeuf (piano/organ), Mam (keys, melodica) and a great horn section of Bernard Lanis/Zacharie Kysk. Great percussion by Nicodrum/Saymon and backing vox from Norris, Mam and Brice. This Roots collective puts forth riddims of Zion proportions!!

"Jah Jah" is thunder from the mountaintop. Tribute to Rockers sounds all the way. Over a riddim detonating with Pabloesque melodica, majestic horns and taut drums, Norris captures full attention right away. His voice is more seasoned than previous works and is ripe with wisdom and intellect. "Life Is Just For Living" is granite tuff. Over a "Rootschestra" atmosphere, Norris injects maximum urgency and potency. There is a Skyjuice quality to the lyrics to riddim flow here. Clearly evident that mutual respect stood predominant in these sessions. Sounds like a hot Kingston session with jazzy guitar riffs and Saymon's dynamic drumming. "Baby You Are" is standout selection!! Easily one of Norris' most heartfelt songs of his career - "we're two of the chosen few, I give JAH thanks a lot". A Love ode that's sweetened by massive horn work and ethereal key work. Masterclass in all aspects and respects. "16 Pitt Street" is Dread a Dread for sure. Norris starkly scats over a Pablo caliber riddim about the harsh reality of growing up ghetto wise. Massive arrangement and production; Mr. Haze has the natural ability to letting the music play without overdoing the mix. Awesome Jazzy sax work from Bernard here. "War What's The Use" is a skanking special. A melodica rich universal anthem that's delivered with truth and conviction. Innovative basswork and a horns up approach make this tuffest! Capturing Augustus Pablo's sound with originality is not easy at all; these musicians do it just right...

"Those Tears" has the quality of "Roots & Vine" album indeed. Norris delivers inna early '80s style and harks memories of an era gone by. Thoughtful lyrics and riddim with Roots Radics quality but completely original. Boom! "Jah Justice" is a hauntingly beautiful piece. Over a riddim nourished by melodica and textured organ work, this Rootsman trods triumphantly and firmly - "lightning and thunder he can bring, JAH's the real operator". "You Can't Stop Me Now" is overproof of his dynamic songwriting abilities. A total Roots anthem that's on par with his tenure with The Viceroys. This is Glory sound originating from Zion hut. Rewind this again and again! "Only Jah" continues the Royal excellence with Norris exalting highest praises. Flowing and textured riddim is so nice. The title track is the ultimate tribute to Augustus Pablo and the Rockers/Message family. Over a relick of Jackie Mittoo's "Drum Song", he pays true homage to Mr. Swaby and recalls great days of reasoning with Jah Bull, Delroy Williams, Tetrack, Ricky Grant and Bunny Brissett. Flowing consciousness and grand remembrance of historic days.

"ROCKERS INTERNATIONAL THROWBACK" is a totally essential set. Not only does it grab full attention with amazing vocal delivery and impeccable musicianmanship; it's also an example of what committed independent producers/studios are doing in this time. To embrace true Roots vibration using analogue technique and give Roots artistes the freedom to deliver their best with no boundaries. Maximum respect to Norris Reid, Mr. Haze and the Roots Vibes crew. Much more to come... Highest recommendation. GO DEH!!