Wild Suspense
Wailing Souls
February 27, 2011

Track list
  1. Row Fisherman
  2. Slow Coach
  3. We Got To Be Together
  4. Feel The Spirit
  5. Bredda Gravalicious
  6. Wild Suspense
  7. They Never Know
  8. Black Rose
  9. Something Funny
  10. Very Well
  11. Walk But Mind You Don't Fall (Dub)
  12. Row Fisherman (Dub)
  13. Bredda Gravalicious (Dub)
  14. Slow Coach (Dub)
  15. Something Funny (Dub)
  16. We Got To Be Together (Dub)
  17. Very Well (Dub)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
I find it difficult to answer such questions as "Your top 5 favorite reggae albums", which I see for instance on several websites. There are several, definitely more than 5, reggae albums I find outstanding. Furthermore I think that it is changeable. Though I really cannot give such a strict list of favorite reggae albums, this album by the Wailing Souls is a candidate. In the sense that it is one of my favourite reggae albums.

"Wild Suspense" is from 1979, a creatively important period for roots reggae, but also for the Wailing Souls. Around members Winston "Pipe" Matthews and Lloyd "Bread" McDonald, the Wailing Souls' origins go back to the 1960s, combining in time with various other members, some of these leaving and rejoining later. The Wailing Souls are an outstanding example of a vocal harmony roots group, along with great groups like Culture, the Abyssinians, or the Mighty Diamonds. The creative, complex harmony vocals are a strong appeal of the Wailing Souls, having a slight "soul/Motown" influence, yet still remaining original.

This is also the case on "Wild Suspense". Also the songwriting on this album is excellent, with catchy tunes. "Row Fisherman" drew me in immediately, while other strong songs are "Slow Coach", the classic "Bredda Gravalicious", "Black Rose", and the original "Wild Suspense". "Very Well" is also solid, as are in fact most songs on this album. The soul-like "Something Funny" is also bearable. Interestingly, the strong title track is written by more temporary member George "Buddy" Haye, who proves that he (like Matthews and McDonald) can write good songs, as he did on other Wailing Souls albums: e.g. "A Fool Will Fall" on the 1980 album "Fire House Rock", one of my favourite songs (yes, probably in my top 5). Back to this album: the good song "Slow Coach" is by another more temporary member, and mostly background vocalist, Rudolph "Garth" Dennis.

The album's true roots reggae sound, by great musicians like Sly & Robbie, Ansel Collins and others, is great, but its strength is even more in the strong vocals. That's why the dub versions added on the CD are in my opinion nice, but do not add too much. In short, I think this is an album that true roots reggae fans should know.