The Chosen One
Rob Symeonn
Redbud Recordings
June 1, 2007

Track list
  1. Intro
  2. Message In The Music
  3. Chosen One
  4. Light Of Mine
  5. Empress
  6. Roots Woman feat. Terry Ganzie
  7. Best Friend feat. Junior Kelly
  8. No More feat. Willow Wilson
  9. Interlude
  10. Good Over Evil
  11. Free feat Willow Wilson & DJ Tempa
  12. Cold Outside
  13. Stumblin Block
  14. King Tafari
  15. Jah Is The Teacher feat. Simpleman
  16. Roots Woman (Remix)
  17. Empress (Sax Instrumental) - Jerry Johnson
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 3
This album is a team up between New York and JA talents -- Rob Symeonn has a very distinctive voice, and it's a true pleasure to hear the very talented, severely under rated, deeply distinctive Sonia Spence here, adding some beautiful backing vocals. Sonia Spence has always been under rated, even though she released the near perfect "In the Dark" album decades ago. Be sure to check out "In the Dark" on the Sky Note label, with Sonia Pottinger at the production helm, Erroll Brown at the engineer's desk with the Skin Flesh & Bones on the rhythms -- you will not be disappointed.

The album opens it must be said, in a fairly predictable fashion, with a fairly cliched binghi jam -- but the first full length track "Message In The Music" makes its presence felt, with a hard Rockers cut, inna year 2007 style. The guitar and piano chops are pure urban 70's funk, with a classic roots Rockers snare pattern.

"Chosen One" features a sombre mood, with melodica and brittle conga/bongo percussion, parrying with snare rim shot work. It works beautifully, with a cold, reflective mood. Ticklah, who is best known for his work on the near perfect year 2000 style roots production on "Hi Fidelity Dub Sessions" is at the engineering desk here, and he does a commendable job with this atmospheric piece of music.

"Light Of Mine" has deeply sincere attitude in the lyrics, and with smooth vocals -- but perhaps is a little too soft on the production side. "Empress" has a jazz horns section, and a lovers vocal but with none of the saccharine kitsch that sometimes typifies the genre. It works beautifully.

"Cold Outside" is an existential reflection on the loneliness of modern life, and the steely hardness of a callous, indifferent society.

All in all then, a fine record, with a powerful, distinctive vocal performance from Symeonn, an intriguing line up (Jerry Johnson, Bullwackies guitarist, the commendable Sonia Spence, Ticklah and more ).

On the downside -- some of the production is perhaps too polished, with too soft a bass and snare sound at points, and it must be said, much of the record doesn't really break new ground in the production/composition values -- Perhaps a sense of innovation would have helped push the sound into more adventurous territory?

Besides that? Watch out for this artist's works -- powerful, contemplative vocals, supported by forward looking lyrics, with in places, very clean and strong production ethics.