from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
The highly talented and versatile young artist Richie Bonner, better known as Richie Spice, comes from an extraordinary musical family. His brothers are none less a person than the renown Pliers (the singing part of the duo Chaka Demus & Pliers, known by a broad audience due to their international smash hits in the first half of the nineties) and Spanner Banner.|
Richie Spice's debut album "Universal" is actually a compilation set as it collects recent recordings - some previously released as a 7" single - with fine production standards from various producers. Featured is the production work of Everton Blender ("Blend Dem Productions), Colin Levy ("Kings Of Kings"), Clive Hunt ("Bonner Productions" & "Ugly Man"), Albert "Burru" Blackwood ("Slam Productions"), Joseph Bonner ("Sweet Angel Productions"), Patrick Roberts ("Shocking Vibes Productions"), Michael Jacas & Owen Rennalls ("Ical Productions") and F. Pitter ("Henfield"). The list of musicians and singers/deejays who have contributed is extensive and contains names like Sly Dunbar, Steve "Lenky" Marsden, Barry O'Hare, Owen "Bassie" Rennalls, Paul "Wrongmove" Crosdale, Steven Ventura, Jeremy Hardy, Danny Dennis, Brian & Tony Gold, Sharon Forrester, Twiggy, Chevelle Franklin, Shaggy, Jah Mason and Pam Hall.
Richie Spice's versatility comes to full expression in the diversity of musical styles featured on this album. This youth showcases that he is equally at home with Roots tunes, sweet Lovers songs and Dancehall pieces, as he seemingly effortless captures the kind of tone and vibe that fits the mood of a song perfectly well. When performing songs like "Grooving My Girl" or "Hold Me" he is the sweet-voiced crooner , while his biggest hit in Jamaica, the roots tune "Earth A Run Red", and for example "Time So Rough" are presented in a much rougher vocal style. The same goes for Dancehall cuts like "Galang Yah Gal" and "Monday To Sunday", in which he adapts his vocal delivery once again. In "My Love" and the crossover tune "Moan & Groan" Richie Spice presents himself as a singer with a lot of soul in his voice. It makes Richie Spice's first full length album a surprising, well varied and entertaining delivery.