In The Streets To Africa
Richie Spice
VP Records - Groove Attack
Deluxe Edition CD + DVD
March 5, 2007

Richie Spice - The Streets Of Africa Track list
  1. Get Up
  2. Open The Door
  3. Youths Dem Cold
  4. Babylon A Gwaan
  5. Digital Ways feat. Joseph Hill (RIP) of Culture
  6. Sunny Day
  7. Baby Face feat. Spanner Banner & Pliers
  8. Uptown Girl
  9. Brown Skin
  10. Groovin My Girl
  11. High Grade
  12. Mind Off Of Me
  13. Take It Easy
  14. Can't Stop Loving Jah
  15. Motherland Calling
    Documentary - To History
  1. To Rockhall
  2. To The Performance
  3. To The Studio
    Live Acoustic Performance - To The Stage
  4. Folly Living (Blood Again)
  5. Earth A Run Red
  6. Brown Skin
  7. Groovin' My Girl
  8. Ghetto Girl
  9. Youths Dem Cold
  10. Crying For Love
  11. Open The Door
    Videoclips - To Music Videos
  12. Youths Dem Cold
  13. Open The Door
  14. Brown Skin
  15. Making of "Brown Skin"
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
It was in 1995 that an unknown singer hit the Jamaican charts with a tune called "Living Ain't Easy". With this successful 7" single then 24 year old Richell Bonner aka Richie Spice showed his skill and talent as a singer and songwriter for the very first time. Over the next few years, this youngster hailing from a musical family that includes his older brother Pliers (from the singer/deejay duo Chaka Demus & Pliers of "Murder She Wrote" fame) and singer Spanner Banner (best known for his mid 90s hit "Life Goes On", scored some hits, but failed to achieve a real breakthrough.

With the release of his 2000 album "Universal" on Heartbeat Records, Spice was regarded as an extremely promising artist, although not as highly rated as modern roots artists like for example Luciano and the late Garnet Silk. It's only over the past 3 years or so that the reggae massive in Europe and the US has sat up and started to take real notice of the exceptional talent of Richie Spice due to his 7 year old "sleeper" hit "Earth A Run Red". Since the song hit, Spice's singles have been in high demand in the specialized record shops the world over, a demand that was kept high with the release of his fine Fifth Element album release "Spice In Your Life".

Now Fifth Element Records have teamed up with VP Records to have the support needed for Richie Spice to move to the next level, with this "In The Streets To Africa" album being the (first) result. With the upful "Get Up" over Muzik House's dubby bass-heavy 'Feelings'-riddim following its acoustic guitar - or is it a real harpsichord - intro being a perfect choice to open this album with the riddim giving lots of space to Richie Spice's vocals, the joy only gets bigger when this is followed by his hit tunes "Open The Door" over Bobby Konders' massive 'Jah Love' a.k.a. 'Warn The Nation'-riddim - Vivian 'Yabby U' Jackson's 1978 classic roots production relicked - and the even more brilliant "Youths Dem Cold" over Bobby Konders' relick of Johnny Osbourne's Studio One gem 'Truth And Rights' (a.k.a. Al Campbell's 'Take A Ride') that is nothing less than a future classic.

"Babylon A Gwaan" is despite its dread lyrics delivered upful and uptempo over Fifth Element's Devon Wheatly's rockguitar opened and handclap driven re-interpretation of King Tubby's seminal 'Tempo'-riddim, followed by one of the most beautiful moments of this CD "Digital Ways", a brilliant combination with the sadly and unexpectedly last year passed away Joseph 'Culture' Hill over a very catchy Chris 'Goldfinga' Clark produced riddim, "Sunny Day", a re-affirmation of his belief in Jah over a laid back one-drop produced for Fifth Element Records by legendary producer Clive 'Azul' Hunt - who produced Richie Spice's first record "Living Ain't Easy" and his first real hit "Groovin' My Girl" also featured on this album - and "Baby Face" a smooth lovers tune featuring his brothers Pliers and Spanner Banner, once more produced by Clive Hunt for Fifth Element with some great horn riffs.

"Uptown Girl" is featured here in Stephen 'Gibbo' Gibbs' "Love Life RMX", being originally recorded over Gibbo's rather unsuccessful 'State Of Emergency'-riddim, with this remix doing full justice to this fine loving tribute to the uptown African dawta. "Brown Skin" is Richie Spice's controversial (remember Buju Banton's "Love Mi Browning" ?) but brilliant tune over Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett's 'Heavenly'-riddim followed by Richie Spice's first hit tune "Groovin' My Girl" over Clive Hunt's relick of Carl Dawkins' 1970 Sir JJ produced 'Satisfaction'. The Soul Vendors recorded their seminal 'Swing Easy' in 1967 for Coxsone at Studio One and its been relicked over and over again, but Richie Spice's in 2004 for Alton Smith & Delroy Foster's Dirtworx recorded ganja tune "High Grade" In My Chalice is one of the best tunes across this riddim in the last 10 years. Another old time sureshot is revamped for "Mind Off Of Me" as DJ Wayne Morris produced this magnificent relick of the Heptones' 70s Studio One scorcher 'Fight It To The Top' for his Purple Skunk label, before Richie Spice's very smooth and soothing take on Big Yard's 'My Baby' a.k.a. 'Telephone Ting'-riddim "Take It Easy" is followed by the wailing guitar carrying one-drop "Can't Stop Loving You" produced by Richard Myrie for his Uprize Music Productions.

The last tune on this album is the great "Motherland Calling" over Downsound's impressive acoustic Nyahbinghi riddim 'Maroon' featuring Bongo Herman's percussion alongside Beze's guitar bringing this CD to a close, leaving me with the impression that although the year 2007 is hardly 2 months old, this will be one of the best one artist albums to appear this year. The DVD that is part of this "Limited Edition CD/DVD Package" contains not only a nice 30 minutes documentary/interview and a magnificent 30 minutes acoustic performance of "Folly Living (Blood Again)", "Earth A Run Red", "Brown Skin", "Groovin' My Girl", "Ghetto Girl", "Youths Dem Cold", "Crying For Love" and "Open The Door", but also the videoclips of "Youths Dem Cold", "Open The Door", "Brown Skin" and the 'Making of "Brown Skin"', making this a mandatory purchase.