Wake Up
Earl 16 / Mad Professor
Ariwa Sounds
November 14, 2005

Track list
  1. Blackman
  2. Awake
  3. Nyabinghi
  4. Militant Woman
  5. Ebony Eyes
  6. Superpeople
  7. Hail Him
  8. We're All In This Thing Together
  9. A Love That Is Real
  10. Children Of Israel
  11. Gates Of Hell
  12. Darkness
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : -
Earl 16 has always had a following who respected him for remaining true to an orthodox Rockers style, as well as valuing him for his distinctive, lonely and melancholic vocals.

"The Rastaman" cut for Pablo’s Message/Rockers label sealed his high standing, as did Black Ark tunes like "Right Now."

Later in the 90's he returned with a number of atmospheric discomixes for Manasseh. "Going To Africa", and "Never Get To Zion" were so good, so visceral, they were near perfect -- inspired, emotional and spacious, featuring low end boom and a Rockers drum pattern assault.

So how does Earl 16 sound in 2005? --

This album is a mixed bag -- for those of you who love very faithful, very orthodox, very strictly structured ROOTS music, as it was made in the late 70's -- you are going to LOVE this record --

There is still a really hungry audience all over Europe and Asia for this kind of album -- this is only too clear from the recent high accolades awarded to the very conventional and orthodox Mykal Rose/ Ranking Joe/Twilight Circus albums, as well as from the favourable reception given to the recent Mad Prof Horace Andy work.

However, for those of you seeking more off the wall, gone, soundscapes and textured "deeper worlds" -- it may disappoint -- "Wake Up," whilst pleasing, and immaculately and professionally arranged -- doesn't break any new ground, either instrumentally and sound wise for the Prof, or vocally for Earl.

Yet that is not a criticism -- but an observation -- someone as seasoned and experienced as The Prof and Earl clearly know EXACTLY what they are doing, and which audience they are providing for --And on that level, this album -- works -- And it works remarkably well.

If you are seeking more freefall, hallucinatory works however -- then this reviewer would say perhaps you are better suited to the psychotropic "New Galaxy Of Dub", a splintered, impressionistic work also by Mad Prof, and in your record stores later this month.