Album review
Roots & Lovers Collection
Errol Blackwood
Jahmaker Music
25 - 08 - 2000

Tracking list

  1. Liberty Woman
  2. The Dream Goes On
  3. Day In Day Out
  4. Warrior
  5. Free World
  6. One Way Street
  7. Arrested
  8. Today We Pray
  9. Dread Woman & Child
  10. Let It Shine
  11. Angel Of Mercy
  12. I'm The One
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4

Errol "Skippa" Blackwood was born in the Accompong (Maroon) Hills of Mulgrave, Jamaica; he migrated to Toronto, Canada in 1972, and began performing a mixture of reggae, R&B, and rock in various clubs. A singer, songwriter, and composer who plays bass and guitar, Blackwood (with Rupert Harvey) formed Messenjah in 1980; the group quickly became one of the most respected reggae bands in Canada.
Messenjah's independent release of "Rock You High" caught the attention of Canada's WEA Records, who signed the group in 1982 and immediately re- issued the album. Messenjah opened for British punk superstars The Clash on their Combat Rock Tour, and their next album, "Jam Session" (1984, WEA Records) resulted in Messenjah's nomination for a CFNY-FM U-KNOW Award for Most Promising Group in 1985. Messenjah also worked with Hugh Masekela and Frank Zappa, and performed at Reggae Sunsplash in 1985. Shortly thereafter (1986), Errol Blackwood began a solo career, and Messenjah re-grouped.
Blackwood's efforts as a solo artist resulted in the 1987 release of a four- song EP entitled "Chant Chant" and a video, "Special Effect." "Give Peace A Chance" followed in 1989, released as a single and a video, and in 1990 Blackwood released his first full-length album, "Warrior." He subsequently released three videos "Irie Dread," "Arrested," and "On Foreign Dub." 1995 brought the Blade Music release of the 12-song cd, "Waking Up The Dream," recorded in Jamaica, and in 1998 Blackwood released two singles, "Cooling Down The Rage" and "Our Father's Home," on Jammys Records. Blackwood's video, "The Dream," was released in 1996 and was aired in Jamaica (JBC TV), in the United States (BET) and in Canada (Much-Music).
In 1992, Blackwood sang the theme song, "Any Way The Wind Blows," written by Fred Mullens, for the CBS TV series named "Sweating Bullets" in Canada and dubbed "Tropical Heat" in other regions. He was a featured guest performer on the national childrens television program, Romper Room, in 1993, and in 1998, Blackwood provided the Jamaican Soccer Team with its theme song, "The Reggae Boys," released as a single in the Caribbean and included in "The Reggae Boys" compilation, both on Jammys Records.
His current album 'Roots & Lovers Collection' is a fine collection of twelve vocal tracks, all of them produced by Errol Blackwood. Although the title suggests that you can find both lovers tunes as well as roots tunes, the majority of the tracks are strictly roots & culture related songs.
Errol Blackwood is blessed with a pleasant sounding voice and he sure knows how to write a melodious tune. The opening track Liberty Woman is one of my favourite tunes on the cd with some excellent guitar playing in the background. The ballad The Dream Goes On is followed by the uptempo song Day In Day Out. The protest tune Warriors is one of the highlights of the album, just like the following tune Free World. Arrested could be a autobiographical tune, telling about a police arrest. The appealing tune Dread Woman & Child is about the author's child memories of a rasta couple from his childhood. Angel Of Mercy draws attention because of its sober and distinctive arrangement. The album closes with yet another excellent tune called I'm The One.
The album was recorded at Grove Music, Ocho Rios, Jamaica and engineered by experienced technicians like Barry O'Hare, Steven Stewart and David Cole. Musicians on board include Benji Myers, Steven Stewart, Mickey Moo Chung, Emmanuel Walsh, Gary Fraiser and Charles St. Clair.
This album is a more than solid set from an artist who deserves to be heard throughout the whole world.

Teacher & Mr. T.