Sara Lugo And Friends
Sara Lugo
Oneness Records
CD / Digital Release
March 26, 2016

Track list
  1. Don't Stay Away feat. Joseph Cotton
  2. Dubbing Is A Must feat. Skarra Mucci
  3. Rejoice feat. Jah9
  4. Really Like You feat. Protoje
  5. Come Away With Me feat. Heston
  6. They Know Not Love feat. Lutan Fyah
  7. Pour Le Plaisir feat. Phases Cachées
  8. Mi Voz (Umberto Echo Remix) feat. Zuri
  9. Learn And Grow feat. Ras Muhamad
  10. And They Cry feat. Naptali
  11. High And Windy feat. Kabaka Pyramid
  12. Forward feat. Deliman
  13. Wine Now feat. Cali P
  14. Good For You feat. Ray Darwin
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Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
For her third album, aptly titled "Sara Lugo And Friends", the angelic German Reggae-Soul singer with Puerto Rican roots collaborates with no less than 14 artists coming from South America, Asia, Europe, the US and the Caribbean. Those who are familiar with her previous two studio albums, "What About Love" (2012) and "Hit Me With Music" (2014), will fondly remember that these sets featured popular collaborations with Protoje, Kabaka Pyramid, Lutan Fyah, Ras Muhamad and Naptali, all brought together on this brand new album.

When it comes to the aforementioned collaborations, it's striking that these well-known and often played tunes from a couple of years ago are still great to hear. The Silly Walks produced "Really Like You", for which Sara Lugo is joined by the successful Jamaican singer Protoje, once again shows its really intriguing quality. It's an infectious love tune with a jazzy feel that caresses the eardrums. Then there's the moving "They Know Not Love", the combination tune with Lutan Fyah. This conscious song thematically is similar to Sara Lugo's huge "Bombs Of Love" on the "Everlasting Riddim". Both Indonesian reggae singer Ras Muhamad and the sweet-voiced songstress are in good shape on the still fresh sounding "Learn And Grow", a truly wonderful song about learning and maturing in life. It's followed by the excellent "And They Cry", an inspired social commentary across a great one-drop riddim done in combination with Naptali. One of the most popular collaborations is definitely the one with Kabaka Pyramid on Oneness' indomitable "Reggaeville Riddim". Underpinned by an updated version of the riddim from The Paragons' "Riding High On A Windy Day", "High And Windy", a melancholic tune about heartache and the attempt to escape from it, was a big hit in 2012.

After this retrospective, it's time to switch to the collaboration efforts that make up the rest of this album. While "High And Windy" took us back to 1967, the year The Paragons saw their original Rock Steady hit released on Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label, it turns out that the album opener "Don't Stay Away" is a wicked singer/deejay interpretation of the Phyllis Dillon single from the same label and year. Also the second track revisits a huge classic tune, this time 1980's "Dubbing Is A Must" by Pablo Moses. A nicely done version with support of 'the lyric millionaire' Skarra Mucci, which makes it just really nice to listen to and that is what sticks with you. Definitely one of the standout tracks is "Rejoice". Both Sara Lugo and Jah9 deliver in a big way on a tune sure to grab a whole heap of notice. (Its official video has amassed over 47,000 views since Reggaeville.com premiered it in February 2016). Dominica-born, Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Heston shines on "Come Away With Me", which sees his soulful voice, a bit reminiscent of Beres Hammond, blend very well with Sara Lugo's vocal delivery. This is a lovers tune of sheer beauty!

"Pour Le Plaisir" features the trio Phases Cachées from Paris, France, who call their style of music 'Boogie Woogie Flow', while Zuri - a Spanish artist, from the Andalucian city of Marbella, who mixes Flamenco music with Reggae and Dancehall riddims - is present on the solid "Mi Voz", appearing here in a remixed version done by the esteemed Umberto Echo. Actually Sara Lugo started as a background vocalist in the studio of the latter, mixing engineer and partner in Oneness Records, who is currently her main producer. From Paris to Marbella to Vienna, Austria, the city where Deliman is based. The talented singer/songwriter takes part in "Forward", a nice tune to hear. It's followed by "Wine Now", which unexpectedly shows the listener that Sara Lugo is also able to deliver a worthy Dancehall piece, here in combination with Cali P. Real nice lovers vibes are created together with Ray Darwin on "Good For You", which rounds off this album in fine style.

A delightful album with most tracks instantly going on repeat!