Album review
Pack Up And Leave
Ras Mac Bean
Irie Ites Records/Badda Music
September 20, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Jah Jah Look
  2. Pack Up & Leave
  3. Dragon Get Released
  4. Boot Tracks
  5. Wake Up Call featuring Anthony B
  6. Why Do The Edens Rage
  7. From The Craddle To The Grave
  8. Lion Is King featuring Morgan Heritage
  9. How Can I
  10. Time To Reach The Borderline
  11. Forgive Dem Jah featuring Lorenzo
  12. Dem A Run Away
  13. Last Days
  14. Street Life
  15. Oh Mama featuring Tricia
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

French soundsystem Irie Ites have released this debut album "Pack Up And Leave" by Guyanese singjay Ras Mac Bean. And Irie Ites' U Natty and Jericho have succeeded in producing an excellent roots album, of course relying on the live instruments riddims by UK riddim duo Leroy 'Mafia' & Dave 'Fluxy' Heywood, except for two excellent riddims, contributed by Swiss roots producers Jill & Stuff of Addis Records. Although the album is advertized as being by a singjay, Ras Mac Bean is a first class singer, he can DJ as well, but he is a singer that convinces over the very fine roots riddims aided by some excellent backing vocals by Tricia Collimore, who co-wrote a lot of the tunes alongside Ras Mac Bean and the musicians. On "Jah Jah Look" the added spice comes from Dean Fraser horns and it's the same on the titlesong "Pack Up & Leave" except that here UK hornsman Henry 'Buttons' Tenyue is responsible for the extras added to the mix of Ras Mac Bean's excellent singing, which reminds me of the early Maxi Priest, as he recorded "You're Safe" with Caution, the great backing vocals by Tricia and a perfect backing by Mafia & Fluxy. On "Dragon Get Released" it's the combination of fine DJing and a great harmony-hookline in Maxi Priest's early style that fully grabs the attention. Consciousness rules but don't underestimate the freshness of Ras Mac Bean's sound and lyrics, as he proves singing the great "Boots Tracks" at my door / everyday i wake up i see more and more over an adaptation of Robert Nesta Marley's 'Forever Loving Jah'-riddim. Featured guests on this album are of the same high level as the musicians, and Anthony B is the first to do the combination "Wake Up Call", where Ras Mac Bean's singing intensity makes it perfect. "Why Do The Edens Rage" is another song benefiting from the horns, this time it's 'Buttons' again, followed by the thanks & praises tune "From The Craddle To The Grave" before modern roots icons Morgan Heritage join Ras Mac Bean on "Lion Is King". Then the first Addis Records riddim, the superb 'Frontline', that was also used for "Valley Of Decision" by Admiral Tibet, "Give Thanks & Praises" by Chezidek, "Misconception" by Mark Wonder, "After All" by Turbulence and Natural Black's "Bun Down Rome", gets the Ras Mac Bean treatment for the magnificent "How Can I". The repatriation tune "Time To Reach The Borderline" once again benefits from Henry 'Buttons' Tenyue's hornsline on top of the Mafia & Fluxy riddim. "Forgive Dem Jah" features the unknown Lorenzo, a born Jamaican, who seems to be voicing tunes in France recently as well and who is featured on the Irie Ites albums "Krew And Connections" and "Level Di Vibes", and together they deliver a wicked singers combination. "Dem Run Away" is another scorcher, followed by the second tune on an Addis Records riddim, the excellent 'King Of The Nile'-riddim being the backing for the apocalyptic "Last Days". "Street Life" you'd better know what you're doing / some people life get ruined / street life / some people say that it hard / some say it good and some say it bad has a catchy chorus and the album reaches its end with "Oh Mama" featuring Tricia Collimore, whose backingvocals have already added so much to the wonderful sound of this album, not only singing but DJing as well in this song. This an absolutely stunning debut album, and any lover of modern roots should buy this album.