Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Step By Step
Congo Ashanti Roy & Pura Vida
Lost Ark Music
CD / Digital Release
July 14, 2014

Track list
  1. I & I Praise Far I
  2. Manuel Club
  3. Step By Step
  4. No Justice
  5. Be True To You
  6. Haunted City feat. Watty Burnett
  7. Nature Is Life
  8. Dread Natty Dread
  9. Mister Copy
  10. Snipers In The Streets
  11. Mash Them Down
  12. Nature Dub feat. Tommy Tornado
  13. Dub Natty Dub
  14. Dubby Dub
  15. Manu Dub
  16. Haunted Dub
  17. I & I Dub Far I
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 21-
Very Good -Votes: 5-
Good -Votes: 2-
Average -Votes: 0-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 28
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Belgium is a bountiful country that truly embraces Reggae Music. Legendary DJ Dr.Alimantado left his influence years ago and this region is still a hotbed of Roots messengers. Artists like Rohan Lee, Collieman and bands like Asham Band and the ever reliable Johan Livens (Entertainment Works) make Belgium a Roots platform for years to come. Then there's PURA VIDA. Their embracing of Black Ark styling and superb sets with Ashanti Roy and The Congos have made them one of the most authentic units in Europe. Their fifth release, "STEP BY STEP" teams them up again with Ashanti Roy and the result is nothing short of amazing.

Pura Vida was formed in 2006 by Bregt "Puraman" De Boever. In 2008, Bregt and his musical bredrin won Rototom Sunsplash's "Reggae Contest" and they have never looked back. After a great single with Prince Alla, "Destiny" (2008); the band's debut "Struggle" (2010) was sensational. They followed up with "We Nah Give Up" (2011) with The Congos to rave reviews. The following year saw them link with Ashanti Roy with "Hard Road". They came back again with "Red Hot" (2013) and have continued Roots tradition with "Step By Step". The group is still intact with Puraman, Ashanti Roy and guest Watty Burnett (Congos) on lead vox. Backing vox are provided by Collieman, Saimn-I and Puraman. Drummies are Puraman/Xan Albrecht. Bassies are Puraman/Bobo Perck. Guitars are licked by Ashanti Roy/Wouter Rosseel/Steven Vancoillie and Puraman. Percussion is handled by Ashanti Roy and Puraman; who is apt on harmonica and accordion. The horn section includes Karel Desmaele/Wowie and legendary tenor saxman Tommy Tornado (the Netherlands). Keys are bubbled by Bos Debusscher/Saimn-I and Puraman. Puraman mixed and mastered this set at his Lost Ark Studio and longtime producer Poddington Krank is here again. A wicked ensemble that is deeply rooted in The Golden Age but branches out even more on this set.

This set crackles open with I & I Praise Far I. Over a Niyabinghi riddim intertwined with great sax work, Ashanti Roy (Roydel Johnson) delivers one of the most poignant odes to The Most High in a long while. Manuel Club sees the legend rejoicing Reggae Music in classic Black Ark atmosphere and it's clear he adheres to Pura Vida's vibe. Great blues riffs and harmonica abounds. The title track is a positive and joyful track. On previous albums, Pura Vida has stayed to a strictly Roots formula but the inflection of Blues are welcome! Great arrangement and delivery! No Justice is a big tune. Congos memories are brought sweetfully back with Ashanti's powerful lyrics, great backing vox and a really flowing riddim. Puraman is great on Be True To You. A Lover's track that showcases Bregt's vocal powers. Great guitar and drums here. A standout is Haunted City with Congos member Watty Burnett. His baritone is ites with the falsetto backing. A Jazz excursion that's Dreader than Dread. Congos come back again. Nature Is Life is a simply fantastic ode to Creation. Ashanti declaring "life worth more than gold". A true message that this Foundation singer delivers with forwardness. Dread Natty Dread is a powerful anthem! Puraman gives absolute ises to The Most High over a riddim that's ripe with great guitar, bass and key work. Mister Copy is one of the most diverse songs Pura Vida has put out. A skanking riddim is intact with a Rock guitar slicing through. Ashanti Roy navigates masterfully with "let your ears speak so you can remember". A reality song that's presented tastefully. Ashanti Roy first cut Snipers In The Streets for Singers And Players back in the 80's. He revisits this classic in fine fashion. The riddim is more organic and the delivery is equally powerful. The final vocal cut is Mash Them Down. A harmonica and percussion driven riddim that is a great platform to chant down Babylon.

We are treated to five fantastic Dubs. In previous albums, Bregt has mixed in strictly Black Ark fashion. He ventures into a blend of that mastery with a King Tubby's influence mixed in. The results are original and refreshing. Standouts are Nature Dub that showcases the mastery of Tommy Tornado; Dub Natty Dub that is a flowing mastery of the controls and Haunted Dub that really infuses Black Ark/Tubbys method. Every Dub is memorable to the core.

"Step By Step" is a natural progression of Pura Vida. Their longtime link with legends like Ashanti Roy is purely evident. They present Zion sounds in a manner that is true to the Heart and Soul. They embrace the true definition of King's Music all the way strong. If you have followed their journey; you will agree this is their most adventurous set to date and their best. For those that have not; seek this work out and be prepared to be truly inspired. Highest recommendation! GO DEH!!