Album review
Toe 2 Toe Vol. 7
Sanchez & Ghost
Charm-Jet Star
January 9 - 2004

Tracking list

  1. Always Be True - Sanchez
  2. Wonderful Thing - Sanchez
  3. Style - Ghost
  4. Here I Am - Ghost
  5. I Wish - Sanchez
  6. Love We Had - Sanchez
  7. Living Years - Ghost
  8. Touch Me - Ghost
  9. How Can I Love Someone - Sanchez
  10. Your Love Got A Hold - Sanchez
  11. Canít Stop My Dreams - Ghost
  12. Never Let You Go - Ghost
  13. Hit Song - Sanchez
  14. Stay With Me - Sanchez
  15. She Is Lonely - Ghost & General B
  16. Waiting For You - Ghost
  17. Missing You - Sanchez
  18. Bodyguard - Ghost
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

On Volume 7 of Jet Star's "Toe 2 Toe" series, two of reggae's most loved reggae/dancehall artists -Sanchez and Ghost, meet and the conjunction of these two artists works well together. When it comes to singing over dancehall and reggae riddims, few Jamaican artists can rival Sanchez and, to a less extent, Ghost for hits, popularity or staying power. Between the two of them, theyíve sweetened more reggae dances than a truck full of sugar cane most notably by transforming pop, reggae, soul and r&b hits into the kind of dancehall anthems that quickly define a time, place and mood for all who fall under their spell. Most of the tracks featured here are cover versions; although most been reshaped almost beyond recognition as a posse of Jamaicaís leading producers add raw, dancehall-style innovation to the mix, and the two singers weave their own special brand of magic on the mic. Take Ghostís interpretation of Paul Simonís "Donít Call Me Al" for example, which was retitled Bodyguard and produced by Ghost himself, now rides captivating, Latinesque dancehall beats courtesy of Sly & Robbie, and was unlucky not to break into the national charts when first released on single. This tune was one of his biggest hits. If Ghostís high-pitched delivery lacks polish by comparison, itís because everything he sings is governed by feel, rather than technique, and it's a vocal style you either love or hate ! Born and raised in Matches Lane (an area renowned for being one of the worst ghetto neighbourhoods in Kingston), he made his first public performance at the age of three even paying for his own schooling out of money earned from music before teaming up with MC Culture (as part of a duo called Culture & Ghost) in 1992 and touring as support act to Shabba Ranks. He then formed Monster Shack with the deejays Roundhead and General B, even whilst continuing to record as a solo act. Monster Shackís livewire stage antics and string of mid-to-late ninetiesí hits will live long in the memory of all who witnessed them, but itís Ghostís own solo material thatís highlighted here, with producers such as Computer Paul, Fireballís Leroy Moore, Harvel Hart, Diavallon ďDiaĒ Fearon and Mixing Lab owner Roy Francis : Touch Me, Style and Here I Am.
Trust us, it's clear that Sanchez is the leading man here with an enormous amount of hits to his credit. Sanchez too, has come close to mainstream success on occasion most notably in the early nineties, when Missing You (produced by Bobby Digital) was huge in the dancehalls and Prince reputedly headhunted him for Paisley Park. His gospel upbringing is never far from the surface in his music, and nor the early dancehall experience he gained with local sound-systems in Portmore, near Kingston. His debut single arrived in 1987 with a version of "Lady In Red" for producer Hugh "Redman" James. Hits for Vena, Winston Riley, Dennis Star, Penthouse and others soon followed, establishing him as a natural successor to long-time singers such as Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe and Alton Ellis. That heís upheld their soulful vocal tradition during an era when digital riddims and deejays have taken centre stage is very much to his credit, and his mastery of the modern day Jamaican love song is never in doubt on these nine, superb tracks, with the lyrics of Hit Song produced by Tony Neuville explaining Sanchezís enduring appeal far better than any liner notes. Top performances by Sanchez here are : Always Be True, a song across the 'Joy In The Morning' riddim, perfectly produced by Bulby and Fatta, Wonderful Things, a booming tune riding the "Soon Forward" riddim, the Dennis Brown tribute, Your Love Got A Hold and the aforementioned tunes Missing You and Hit Song.
Well, Ghost style definitely isn't our cup of tea, but we liked spinning the combination tune She Is Lonely -together with General B, Waiting and Can't Stop My Dreams.

Teacher & Mr. T.