Album review
Treasure Box
Brickwall Records-Walboomers Music

Tracking list

  1. Jah Live
  2. Let Me Live
  3. Gone For So Long
  4. Expect A Fight
  5. Rock Of Ages
  6. I Cry
  7. Be Not Afraid
  8. Treasure Box
  9. Wash Our Troubles
  10. Positive
  11. A Survivor
  12. Never Let A Good Thing Go
  13. I Don't Know
  14. Life Could Not Be Better
  15. Every Man's Burden
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Ryan Thomas aka Jahmali made a serious impact when Donovan Germain, producer of Penthouse fame, released the singer's superb debut album "El Shaddai". However, reggae connoisseurs had already discovered this naturel talent, with one of the best voices in a while, through some fine recordings for King Jammy, Barry O'Hare and Bobby 'Digital' Dixon. The latter now releases a full length album of Jahmali entitled "Treasure Box", which collects mainly songs that were recorded before the Penthouse set came out. Although this set is a little dated, lovers of contemporary roots reality have to purchase this great album, because it contains nuff tunes that really can stand the test of time. From the first tone this album brings well-crafted songs, a crisp clear sound, first class production work of ace producer Bobby Digital and excellent musicianship from such fine players of instruments as Benji Myers, Dalton Browne, Jazzwad, Mafia & Fluxy, George Miller, Right Move, Dean Fraser & Nambo and last but not least that great voice.
It is hard to point out the standout tracks - not only because every single song has its own merits, but also due to the fact that "Treasure Box" contains no weak tune - so, let's just focus on some of Jahmali's treasures. The first track, "Jah Live" is a very appealing and entertaining song that caresses the eardrums and immediately sticks to one's mind. One of Jahmali's older songs, "Let Me Live", was recorded for both Bobby Digital and Donovan Germain. The latter featured the song, renamed "Reuben", on the Penthouse compilation set "Culture Center Vol. 2". The version featured on "Treasure Box" is different to the initial recording from 1996 - which actually appeared on the "Pure Reality" sampler - as it has been given the re-mix treatment.
Then two awesome deliveries. First, "Rock Of Ages", a bravado performance, both lyrically and vocally beautiful. Biblically inspired, possibly a churchical lyric, undoubtedly a modern psalm. The same high quality outing, lyrically and vocally spoken, goes for the wicked "I Cry", delivered over the same riddim as Morgan Heritage's "The King Is Coming" from their "Set Yourself Free" album. Impressive is also "A Survivor", which is delivered over a slow-paced riddim. Talking about outrageous tunes, "I Don't Know" can be qualified as such. Jahmali delivers his lyrics over a riddim that is reminiscent of Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic", with Dean Fraser's wonderful sax parts adding a special flavour. "Every Man's Burden", a tasty cut to the Wailers' "Mellow Mood" riddim, is a dignified rounding off of an album that already can be regarded as one of the best album releases in the year 2000 !

Teacher & Mr. T.