from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 4/5|
'Winner', the latest album by Richie Stephens -the soulful singer, with a weakness for sweetness- is divided into duo and solo tracks. General Degree's vocal delivery matches Richie Stephens' voice quite well, while the two combination tracks featuring Bounty Killer, and a passionate duet with Crissy D spice up the album as well.|
Variety is ensured by the different musical styles : 'Come Give Me Your Love' inna 1950s rock style, reggae-opera in 'Slop Dem' , 'Burning' a jazz grooved tune, roots reggae in 'Glass House' riding the 'Love Fire' riddim. Freddie Jackson can be proud of Richie's slick cover of his biggest hit 'Rock Me', and his rendition of Dandy Livingstone's 'Rudy, A Message To You", retitled 'Give It Up' stays pretty close to the original. Other notable tracks are 'Wine Or Lose', the 'Waiting In Vain' version 'Gave You My Heart', and 'Girls Galore'. The greater part of the other cuts are in the ragga vein.
"Winner' comprises production credits by Frenchie, Richie Stephens, Danny Brownie and one cut by Donovan Germain. Richie has selected the cream of the crop of the Jamaican reggae musicians to provide the music : Sly & Robbie and Gitsy, Steely & Clevie, Danny Brownie, Mafia and Fluxy, and saxophonist avant la lettre Dean Fraser.
This collection of Richie's best tunes contains more than enough highlights to be worthwhile, so check out this 'value for money' (17 tracks !) release.