African Away From Home
Ras Jozeph Spice
Sun Dowmor Productions
CD / Digital Release
February 13, 2017
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 3/4||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
Although veteran Ras Jozeph Spice isn't a familiar name among reggae fans world wide, he has been active in reggae music for many years. Born and bred in the rich cultural music heritage of Rastafari roots rock reggae, the man from Montego Bay began his reggae journey with musical mentors like Eric Frater and The Stepping Stones, the great Roland Alphonso, Zoot "Skully" Simms, David "Chief" Reid, The Meditations, Fred Locks and The Abyssinians.
Ras Jozeph Spice migrated to New York City in the early 1970s where he linked with the song writing team of Ras Brandell Downer aka Natty B of Ras Shiloh fame and Norris "Onion" Roberts. The fertile seed that was planted in Jamaica, blossomed in New York as Ras Jozeph Spice and Natty B formed the band Singers & Players of Instruments. Ras Jozeph Spice recorded several unreleased tunes, but focused on live performance with his band, which was part of the burgeoning reggae scene in New York Tri-state, treating audiences to the sounds of roots & culture.
After all those years, Ras Jozeph Spice finally puts out his debut album entitled "African Away From Home". Expertly engineered by Steel Pulse's keyboardist Sidney Mills and produced by Sun Dow Mor, this set contains thirtheen tracks of mature reggae music that feeds the heart and soul with uplifting and inspiring lyrics. Among the musicians involved in playing the riddims are the great Roland Alphonso and Jerry Johnson, whose jazz bluesy horns come to full expression on the instrumental version, "African Away", which rounds off this collection. Other musicians who took part in playing the predominantly smooth riddims on this album are Basil "Benbow" Creary, Danny Marshall (drums), Horace Finletter, Sidney Mills, Errol "Flabba" Holt (bass), Franklyn "Bubbler" Waul, Sidney Mills, Danny Marshall (keyboard), Junior Ferron, Clifford Moonie Pusey (guitar) Bongo Herman, Larry McDonald (percussion) Nambo Robinson, Chico Chin, Kevin Bachelor (horns) and Rebecca Chin (violin).
In between the album opener "African Away From Home", a beautiful cultural song with lyrics that deal with African consciousness, and its instrumental version at the end of the set, the listener is treated to well crafted songs with lyrical content that matters. In particular the mature reggae fan will be delighted to hear songs such as the moving "Cries Of The Poor Man", the superb "Vanity", the strong "Spirit Of Rastafari" and "Every Little Thing", a positive song everyone can relate to. However the most outstanding piece is the collaboration with Sister Carol called "Blackman". This roots killer has a much rougher edge than the other tracks featured here. Not only the aforementioned tunes leave a good impression, also the rest of the material is worth hearing.
A consistent and surprisingly good debut album from a veteran who shows that the best comes with age.