CD / LP
November 27, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
Hailing from the parish of Clarendon Jamaica, Robert Dallas - formerly known as Yabba Youth, thus called by his friends because he was always boasting that he had enough lyrics to full a 'yabba' (a large cooking pot) - started singing in 1974 at an early age. Just like so many other aspiring Jamaican youngsters he started visiting the big Kingston-based studios in the '80s, trying to get some recognition of his talent. He recorded his first single, "Idle Jackass" for the Big 7 label, and then continued with "Life Inna Jail" for the Jammy’s label, "True loving" and "Youth Tradition" for the Humble Lion label, and "Trod Along" for the Sweet Jah label. He was then brought to the attention of veteran producer Sean "Amazon" Woodhouse, with whom he developed his music career further. Under the watchful guidance of this producer he recorded songs such as "War And Crime", "Let Jah Be Praised", "Baby I Love You", and a number of unreleased songs. In 2005 he recorded one of his most successful singles, "Sweet And Nicest Girl".
Almost four decades after he began performing on local talent shows and concerts, the talent of the roots & culture reggae artist was also recognized by Jamtone Records owner and producer Darren Mathers from London. They started working well together and 2012 saw the release of the 7" vinyl single "Tradition Man". Another tune from their collaboration followed, namely "Man A Warrior", which came out in 2013 on 12" vinyl together with Sun I Tafari's "Rastaman In Control". And now, after all those years in reggae business, there's finally Robert Dallas' long overdue debut album entitled "Tradition Man". The latter is available on an 18-track CD and on a 10-track vinyl LP (with a free download voucher for the dubwise versions). The album was produced and mixed at Jamtone studios in London and features a fine line up of musicians including Inyaki Yarritu of Basque Dub Foundation fame (bass & keyboards), Darren Mathers (drums & keyboards), Julien Barker (drums), Paul Maughun (drums), Drax Darby (guitar), Reese (guitar), Oli (guitar), Leroy Richardson (horns), Laura Impallomeni (horns), Tom Peach (horns), Chris Lane, known from releases by Fashion Records (guitar) and backing singers True Identity and Jamaican veteran Earl 16.
The riddims built for the songs on this album mostly have an old-skool feel and vibe, that fits Robert Dallas' vocal style - which reminds of Michael Prophet - perfectly well. It's the successful single and title track of this album, "Tradition Man", that gets things going in a big way!! It's a real scorcher in every aspect; vocally, lyrically and musically. This perfect album opener is followed by the uplifting message tune "Clean Up Your Heart", also a track that leaves a serious impression and keeps you involved till the very end. Next comes another winner, the roots anthem "Sign Of Mankind", which is underpinned by a more modern sounding backdrop with some great horns. What an opening part!! And it doesn't stop here!! For the superb "Jah Nah Sleep" the riddim slows down a bit, but those great horns are still there. With "Victory Train", incorporating a real nice bassline, Robert Dallas delivers a well done rendition of the classic Tenor Saw hit. Lyrically and musically the great cultural piece "Africa Is Coming" harks back to the heydays of roots reggae in the '70s. Both "War & Crime" (not the same tune as the one he previously recorded under his moniker Yabba Youth) and the skanking "Rise Up" continue in the same vein. Then "Inspirational Lady" shows that he's also able to deliver a decent lovers tune. "Children's Cry", a noteworthy song about protection of the children, finishes off the vocal part of the cd. No need to say that the inclusion of 8 dub versions is a welcome addition.
Nothing happens before its time, but when it finally happens as in case of Robert Dallas' debut set it's really good to see that it has led to a classy album, which does this artist justice. Highly recommended!!