The Teacher
Alpha Rowen
Charm-Jet Star
September 8, 2001

Track list
  1. Surround Me With Power
  2. Think Man Nice
  3. New Teacher
  4. Sleep Last Night
  5. Virtuous Woman
  6. Mr. No Heart
  7. Bad Boys
  8. If I Had A Hammer
  9. Stay Away
  10. Signs And Wonder
  11. Shot A Bark
  12. Babylonian Run
  13. Mamma
  14. No Peace
  15. Program My Mind
  16. Ready To Fight
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
"The Teacher" is the long awaited and much anticipated sixteen track debut set from Alpha Rowen formerly known as Rolex. Unlike many of his colleagues the singer holds a scant catalogue, but nevertheless has established his name amongst roots fans due to some well received 45s. Alpha Rowen grew up in a rich musical environment. Red Pond in Spanish Town has been a dancehall centre in Jamaica from the nineteen fifties, boasting such dancehalls as Mary Peak, John Subanna and Turner Lawns where the top sound systems in Jamaica played regularly. Hailing from the area the stellar talents of Charlie Chaplin, Junior Kelly (brother of Jim Kelly of Kilamanjaro sound fame), Flourgon and the brothers Reggie and Eddie Wilson come to mind. Marathon sound in the eighties was a quality one from the area that attracted the services of the stars Little John and Pinchers. In this environment, Alpha Rowen was inspired by successful role models of diverse functions in the musical stratosphere. He made his recording debut in 1993.

Alpha Rowen's debut album fully lives up to expectations and can be regarded as a great summary of the musical teachings he has distilled throughout the years. This fine singer - whose timbre sometimes brings back memories of the sorely missed Garnett Silk - excels in roots tunes, but with such fine achingly plaintive love songs like "Sleep Last Night" and "Stay Away" he proves equally at home with affairs from the heart. The reggae fan is treated to many solid deliveries including the previously released singles "Bad Boys", "Shot A Bark" - both denouncing the evil gunmen who prey on their communities and warning them to change their ways before it is too late - and "New Teacher", which is performed over the wicked "Thunder (aka Fill Me In)" riddim". Other solid to excellent efforts are "Think Man Nice", "Mr. No Heart", "Signs And Wonder", Babylonian Run", "No Peace and "Ready To Fight".

All in all "The Teacher" stands for well produced reggae music. The album mainly features very enjoyable and entertaining efforts of good quality. The only track that gets the "skip" treatment is Alpha Rowen's cover version of Trini Lopez's "If I Had A Hammer", which really doesn't fit this set. All tracks are recorded at Jet Star's own Cave studio, mixed by Fitzroy "Wizzard" Blake and produced by Danny Ray. The riddims - a mix of fresh originals and revitalized classics - are laid by a great backing band consisting of Leroy Mafia, Dave Fluxy, King Kash (of the Rasites) and Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie. Backing vocals are provided by Little Mo, Dee Ellington, Don Campbell, Beverly Brown, Valerie Skeete and studio One veteran Winston Francis.