JAH Roots
Uwe Banton
MKZWO-Records - Rough Trade
November 24, 2006

Track list
  1. Don't Cry
  2. I Know
  3. Keep On Tryin'
  4. The More They Fight Us
  5. Who Is
  6. Kommt, Seht, Hört feat. Ganjaman
  7. JAH Roots
  8. Deh Pon Your Guard
  9. 11th September
  10. JAH Is Here
  11. Pressure
  12. Hail The Man feat. Black Dillinger
  13. Rastaman Rise
  14. Fussin' & Fighting
  15. Lovelight
  16. It's About Time
  17. Interlude
  18. The Goal
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
Uwe Schäfer a.k.a. Uwe Banton, has after over 25(!) years in (German) reggae finally found a way to transform his live magic into studio recordings. With his band Movements he has been tirelessly touring over the years and in recent years performed alongside Sam Gilly's House Of Riddim, Ganjaman and alongside soundsystems. His albums with Movements (the band that as backing band operates also under the name Sharp Axe Band) however never seemed to capture the power of his vocal performance. And now with his 2006 album "Jah Roots" he's at the forefront of German roots reggae, with many well-known German & Austrian reggae producers and players of instruments contributing to a very satisfying set of roots tunes. Sam Gilly's House Of Riddim takes care of the backing and production of the uplifting opener "Don't Cry" of which the roots vibes, conscious lyrics and powerful delivery are program for the whole disc, with Ganjaman for 'his' label MKZWO-Records almost completely throughout the album being responsible for the fine mix and production of Uwe Banton's vocals. "I Know" is over the by Culcha Candela's beatcreator Krutsch composed and produced beautiful melancholic real horn driven 'Give Thanks'-riddim, played by Culcha Candela, followed by Stonerock Productions' 'Time X'-riddim backing "Keep On Tryin' and Uwe's (former) band Movements a.k.a. Sharp Axe Band providing the fine backing for "The More They Fight Us" with The Senior Allstars' musical maestro and guitarist Markus Dassmann as co-composer and Sharp Axe Band drummer Martin Musch besides being co-composer also responsible for the mix and production at his own Ancient Mountain Studio in Altenberge (near Münster). Sam Gilly's at the production helm again for the excellent so many people want to know, just "Who Is" Haile Selassie. One of Uwe Banton's rare outings in his native language German is the very nice combination with Ganjaman "Kommt, Seht, Hört" over the House Of Riddim / Jahsouljah adaptation of 'Tempo', their 'Bloodsucker'-riddim, followed by the great titletrack "Jah Roots" over Ganjaman's successful 'Too Long'-riddim and the Martin Musch produced and Sharp Axe Band backed "Deh Pon Your Guard". The very impressive Sam Gilly produced and House Of Riddim backed "11th September" precedes the very laid-back statement of religious conviction "Jah Is Here" and the steppers-influenced yet still relaxed "Pressure" both produced by Martin Musch and backed by the Sharp Axe Band. "Hail The Man" is Uwe Banton's take on Pow Pow's Ingo Rheinbay produced scorcher 'Blaze' in a very fine combination with MKZwo-Records labelmate Black Dillinger followed by the chant "Rastaman Rise" backed by the Sharp Axe Band and the Ganjaman produced catchy flipside of "11th September" "Fussin' & Fighting". "Love Light", composed by Dubios Neighbourhood bassplayer Da Baron and produced by Da Baron alongside Jahcoustix & Dubious Neighbourhood produced Umberto Echo, is a very fine tune, followed by the strong "It's About Time" over Sam Gilly & House Of Riddim's superb 'Tragedy' and after the Nyahbinghi "Interlude" this very fine album is closed with the excellent "The Goal", urging you to remember that just when you reach a goal there's another one ahead of it, with all instruments except Sam Gilly's drums and Alban Hauser's saxophone played by Uwe Banton himself, like the "Interlude" produced and recorded at his own Miownayard Studio in Bielefeld, but once more with compliments to Ganjaman for the vocal mix. With this very fine solo debut album Uwe Banton will hopefully finally get recognition and gain the place at the forefront of German reggae he definitely deserves.