The Ancient
May 22, 2007

Track list
  1. Instrument For Jah
  2. Instrument Dub
  3. Bless Me Oh Jah
  4. Oh Jah
  5. Jah Live
  6. Jah Live Dub
  7. Never Give Up
  8. Never Give Up Dub
  9. Never Understand
  10. Never Understand Dub
  11. The Reason
  12. Reason Dub
  13. Starvation
  14. Starvation Dub
  15. Lord I Wanna Thank You
  16. Thank You Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 2
From the Wackies Studio, located in Brooklyn, New York, comes this new album from Shalom, aka Steve Harper, a long-time Wackies trooper and former protegee of Sugar Minott and his Black Roots/Youth Promotion organization, who had given up music for Christianity -- expressed through the tune "Lord I Wanna Thank You" -- during the previous four years, and was coaxed to the mic here by Lloyd 'Bullwackies' Barnes himself. Getting Shalom back in the studio to do some recordings has led to the simultaneous release of two Wackies albums namely "Love Of Jah" and this one called "The Ancient".

Shalom recorded his first single called "Someone, Somewhere" in 1991, but it lasted until 1999 before he broke through on the local Jamaican and international music scene with his monster splash single "I've Got News For You". Staying at No.1 for several weeks in various Reggae charts was a notable achievement, because at that time the Dancehall deejays dominated the top of the charts.

After the success of "I've Got News For You", Shalom toured the world, worked his craft alongside great artists such as Tony Rebel, Beres Hammond, George Nooks, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, and Baby Cham, received rave reviews, from both the media and fans alike, and released a debut CD aptly titled "I've Got News For You". This solid collection of tunes was followed by the sophomore "Love You Forever".

And now Shalom pops up again and it's good to have him back! On this Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes & Kennedy Jones produced 'Showcase' album -- vocals are directly followed by their dub versions -- this talented and versatile artist shows that he's still able to captivate the listener with consistently good songs.

For this set Lloyd Barnes has selected some superb pre-digital riddims from the Wackie's vaults including a lethal cut of "Drum Song". Vocally and lyrically Shalom makes a very good impression, and also the complementary dub workouts are worth of hearing. In fact, practically every track here is good, except for "Lord I Wanna Thank You", which sounds somewhat out of order compared to the rest of this album. But who cares with all the other efforts included here being of real good quality and providing so much listening pleasure. Personal favourites are the awesome "Bless Me Oh Jah", the moving lovers lament "Never Give Up", the uplifting "Never Understand" and "Starvation".

Truly a welcome comeback from a great singer with a distinctive vocal style.