Album review
The Slackers & Friends
The Slackers
Select Cuts

Tracking list

  1. Come Come with Cornell Campbell
  2. Mash Down Babylon with Ashanti Roy Johnson
  3. The Party with Doreen Shaeffer
  4. Schooling The Youth with Glen Adams
  5. Matey Exterminator with Ariane Foster aka Ari Up
  6. Running From Safety with Chris Murray
  7. Grabalicious Man with Ashanti Roy Johnson
  8. Two Faced Man with Cornell Campbell & Ranking Joe
  9. Thinking Of You with Doreen Shaeffer
  10. I Am Rastaman with Chris Murray
  11. The Power And The Glory with Ashanti Roy Johnson
  12. You Turn Me On with Susan Cadogon & Glen Adams
  13. Since I Found You with Susan Cadogan
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

The Slackers are a 7 piece band that hails from New York City. Formed in 1991, the band has been experimenting with mixes of ska, reggae, soul, swing, punk, and jazz for over 10 years. Their first full length recording, "Better Late Than Never", was released in 1996 and featured a raw, direct sound that drew inspiration from Jamaica and brought it into New York in the nineties. Upon signing with Tim Armstrong's, Hellcat Records, in 1997, the band released "Red Light", which saw them evolving to a smoother, more melancholy and soulful sound. The runaway hit from this album was "Watch This", which received extensive college radio airplay and was featured on the "Give Em the Boot" compilation which sold over 200,000 copies.
In 1998 the Slackers followed up Red Light with a 19 song, all original opus, entitled, "The Question". Filled with songs inspired by lost loves, dead heroes, and alchohol, it was proclaimed to be the new "Exile On Main Street", by the leading Dutch music magazine, OOR. Since the release of Red Light, the Slackers have done 7 US Tours and 5 European tours and numerous shorter trips. The Slackers have inspired a devoted cult following that drives hundreds of miles to attend their gigs. The Slackers focus on their live show led to the release of their official bootleg in 2000, "Live At Ernesto's", a present for all their fans. On their 2001 release, "Wasted Days", The Slackers continued to demonstrate growth and a timelessness that defies the shallow trends of today.
In 2002 The Slackers began working on a project of collaborating with different artists in a mission to bridge the generations of Jamaican influenced music that has spread all over the world. This labour of love became "Slackers & Friends", seeing the band team up with Glen Adams (of The Upsetters), Cornell Campbell, Ashanti Roy Johnson (of The Congos), Doreen Schaeffer (of The Skatalites), Ari-Up (The Slits), Ranking Joe, Chris Murray, DJ Cris The Reducer, Larry McDonald and Susan Cadogan.
Ska, reggae and rocksteady are the core genres on this well varied set which features many tracks that perfectly well capture the mood and vibe of the good old days. The production work is top class and the quality of the music delivered by the players of instruments is amazingly good. Add to this some great vocal deliveries from the aforementioned roster of artists and it's obvious that any lover of "old skool" music is treated to a really enjoyable and entertaining collection of authentic tunes. "The Slackers & Friends" opens appropriately with Cornell Campbell singing "Come Come". A wonderful lovers tune featuring the veteran singer's beautiful falsetto to full effect. With the wicked cultural song "Two Faced Man" we're treated to another Cornell Campbell piece, now presented "inna combination stylee" with the deejay Ranking Joe. The killer roots tune "Mash Down Babylon" is performed by Ashanti Roy Johnson, one of the founding members of the legendary Congos. Two more tunes are delivered by this fine roots singer, first "Grabalicious Man" and then "The Power And The Glory". Although solid efforts, it's "Mash Down Babylon" that truly stands out. Another standout track is Glen Adams' "Schooling The Youth", one that instantly grabbed us to never let lose again. A wicked tune incorporating a great bassline and awesome organ parts. Doreen Schaeffer has a wonderful smooth vocal delivery, known from her works with the Skatalites. After all these years in music business she's still able to impress as can be witnessed on her two tracks, the ska tune "The Party" and the rocksteady lovers song "Thinking Of You". Another female veteran singer included here is Susan Cadogan. Her soulful voice is featured on the two bonus tracks "You Turn Me On" and "Since I Found You", which are also released on a 12". Especially "You Turn Me On" (across an updated riddim version of Max Romeo's "Chase The Devil" from 1974) is worth of hearing.
"The Slackers & Friends" is a notable 13 track cd that should not be ignored. So, check it out!!

Teacher & Mr. T.