Reggae Can't Done
Willi Williams
Drum Street/Tap Roots
October 31, 2014

Track list
  1. More feat. Herb Albert)
  2. The Right Time feat. Aswad)
  3. Lock Di Gate feat. Sly & Robbie)
  4. No Bangarang
  5. This Love feat. Aswad)
  6. Who Know Better Do Better
  7. Back Weh
  8. Nyabingi
  9. Reggae Can't Done
  10. The Right Direction feat. Marcia Griffiths
  11. Mash Down Babylon
  12. New Day feat. Jackie Mittoo)
  13. Stepping feat. Herb Albert)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
It's WILLI WILLIAMS time again! Well, it's been this messenger man's time for close to five decades now. This ambassador of Roots music is in absolute masterclass form on his recent "Reggae Can't Done" album; released on his longstanding Drum Street label. The music world is buzzing over his just issued "Unification" set (tracks from 1977-79) and it's elementary to investigate his works of the here and now. Maximum respect to Paulo "Reggae Portugal" Matos and Mr. Willi Williams...

Volumes can be spoken of the mastery and vision of Willi Williams. From the 1960's til present day, he has continually impacted King's Music in his humble yet dynamic way. (Please refer to "Unification-From Channel One To King Tubby's" for a concise history of this forward Rastaman). "Reggae Can't Done" features a superb roster of musicians, engineers and studios. It's clear to see that he has the respect and cooperation of the music industry. The appearance of legendary trumpet master Herb Albert is amazing. Willi's outstanding works with Jackie Mittoo, Yabby You, Augustus Pablo, Bobby Kalphat and others solidifies his reputation. His influence goes far beyond the realms of Reggae music. This set includes bassies Robbie Shakespeare, Glen Brownie, Bagga Walker and Willi (accomplished musician through and through). Drummies include Sly Dunbar, Horsemouth Wallace and Sun Ray Grennan (son of legendary Winston "One Drop" Grennan). Keys are bubbled by the late Jackie Mittoo, Pablove Black, Robbie Lyn, Bobby Kalphat, "Bigga" Joseph, Bernie Pitters and Jerry Sang. Great guitar work from Mikey Chung, Tony Campbell and Willi. Horns are up with David Madden and Herb Albert (yes the "A" in A&M Records and Tijuana Brass Band). There's great percussion from Willi, Sun Ray and Bongo Gene. Legendary studios were utilized like Willi's Drum Street Studio, Studio One, Harry J's, Anchor and One Pop Studio. Great engineering from Willi, Delroy Pottinger, Steven Stanley, Gregory Aqila, Rorey and Sir Greg. Backing vox are provided by Marcia Griffiths, Simplicity and Winston Perry.

More appeared as a single last year to much acclaim. It's an ethereal and spiritual foundation that has instant appeal - "one more stepping outta Babylon... the youth dem getting wiser" sends a powerful message. Combine Willi's comforting delivery and Herb Albert's trumpet and this is unforgettable! The Right Time is a solid skanker. Solid guitar and drum work with great backing vox is the backbone that Willi delivers a true sense of Hope. True progression! Lock Di Gate has a Black Uhuru feel to it. Throughout his career, Willi has naturally had this quality (a la Don Carlos) in numerous tracks. He pulls out all the stops on this Sly & Robbie backed masterpiece - "Natty did warn them, Natty did tell them". This is a standout anthem for all times. Boomshot!! No Bangarang is a dynamic ode to The Most High with Willi's serious yet soothing mannerisms. Great riddim and engineering here. This Love is tuff! Mr. Williams flows heartically over a muscular riddim about the upfullness and power of Love. This is Zion sound! Who Know Better Do Better is a superior anthem peppered with great Blues guitar riffs and solid chord arrangement. This man is a master of building Roots anthems that endure and this is no exception.

Back Weh would fit just right on his '70's work and he rides a classic riddim with full range and versatility. There is an omnipresent sense of wisdom and warmth in his real approach. Niyabingi gets to the Roots of the matter with power and conviction. The Fyah blazes from start to finish. His vocal approach is amongst the most resonating and powerful in Reggae music! The title track is sensational with Willi convincingly putting to rest the notion that Reggae Music will ever fade away. Over a taut and bubbling riddim, he proudly chants "it's a spiritual gift handed down to I and I". Marcia Griffiths adds some angelic backing vox to this gem. Both artists hail from Studio One and it's natural why they blend so well on The Right Direction. Seriously great vibes and an example of how versatile Willi is. He can do a Lovers track with the best of them! Mash Down Babylon has the same magnitude of anything from his landmark "Messenger Man" set. Killer drums, bass and piano serve as a platform that he rocks with grace and truth. Well oh well!! Stepping is the version to More and is intoxicating. We are transported to a higher region with Herb Albert roaming freely over a riddim that demands repeated listening. For the fortunate collectors who picked up the More single; they will be happy to have this B side included.

Willi Williams' "Reggae Can't Done" is another stellar offering without flaw. His ability to offer true Hope and inspiration consistently throughout his career is definitely felt on this album. The musicianmanship and production is impeccable from start to finish. One of those albums that will have you listening to over and over again. Pure refreshment to Heart, Soul and Spirit. Willi Williams has an impressive and extensive catalog and this latest offering is top ranking. Seek out this gift from a true messenger man. Highest recommendation. GO DEH!!
Check out www.williwilliams.com.