Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Wake Up Call
First Born
Vizion Sounds
2CD
February 21, 2006

Track list
Disc One

  1. Wake Up Call
  2. Abyssinian Princess
  3. Leave Your City
  4. Jah Blessing feat. Natural Black
  5. Message To Jacob
  6. Muzik Is The Rock feat. Gregory Isaacs
  7. Rasta Recruit
  8. Check Him
  9. Heart Desire
  10. No Surrender
  11. How Are We Gonna Survive (Remix) feat. Buju Banton
  12. Mr. Bojangles feat. Dennis Brown
  13. Confidence
  14. Head Of Corruption
  15. Everyday War
  16. Danger World
Disc Two (TV Tracks)

  1. Wake Up Call
  2. Abyssinian Princess
  3. Leave Your City
  4. Jah Blessing feat. Natural Black
  5. Message To Jacob
  6. Muzik Is The Rock feat. Gregory Isaacs
  7. Rasta Recruit
  8. Check Him
  9. Heart Desire
  10. No Surrender
  11. How Are We Gonna Survive (Remix) feat. Buju Banton
  12. Mr. Bojangles feat. Dennis Brown
  13. Confidence
  14. Head Of Corruption
  15. Everyday War
  16. Danger World
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
First Born, so called because each of the band is the first born child, are a quintet of young Guyanese rasta-men producing positive roots reggae. On "Wake Up Call", produced by Walter Wally Fraser and recorded in Jamaica, their status and potential are made clear by the number of big name artists guesting on the album. Veterans such as Buju Banton, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown (who championed the band in the late 1990's) all give their seal of approval by their involvement. The band also seem to have caught the eye of the younger generation of Jamaican performers, having featured on Fantan Mojah's debut release "Hail the King" as well as teaming up with the increasingly successful Natural Black for the track "Jah Blessing", featured on this album.

The fact that they originally started out as an a cappella group is clear from the off, as the album is characterized by high quality backing vocals and harmonies throughout. "Wake Up Call" delivers roughly five or six tracks which truly stand out and have the feel of hit singles. Among the best tracks are the rocky edge of "Check Him" and the light dancehall style and dramatic backing vocals of the militant "No Surrender", both of which stand out for their more diverse style. Also noteworthy are the Dennis Brown-esque "Heart Desire", the uplifting "Leave Your City", as well as the track "Jah Blessing" which provides a welcome gritty edge to the vocals courtesy of Natural Black. My only real criticism is with the lead vocals, which at times can sound a bit generic. The unremarkable nature of the vocals on tracks such as "Message To Jacob" and "Confidence" creates a weak, wishy-washy sound.

But the strengths of the better tracks outweigh any problems and the guest vocals are key in helping to create a sense of variety which stops the album from becoming too 'familiar' too soon. "Wake Up Call" is an easy on the ear roots album which contains plenty of enjoyable tracks and enough promise in the weaker ones to demonstrate that although not quite there yet, First Born are a band of great potential. Fans of roots reggae should definitely check out this album and keep an eye out for future releases which, if they can improve on this, will be highly successful.