Zion Crossroads
Corey Harris
August 28, 2007

Track list
  1. Ark Of The Covenant
  2. No Peace For The Wicked feat. Ranking Joe
  3. Heathen Rage
  4. Sweatshop
  5. In The Morning
  6. Fire Go Come
  7. Walter Rodney Intro
  8. Walter Rodney
  9. Afrique (Chez Moi)
  10. Cleanliness
  11. Plantation Town
  12. You Never Know
  13. Keep Your Culture
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Born in Denver, Colorado in 1969, Corey Harris has led the life of a musical explorer, traveling and listening all over the world. He has performed at many of the world's most prestigious venues, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, London's Royal Albert Hall, New York's Lincoln Center, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and Tennessee's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. As the star of Martin Scorsese's segment of the PBS series, "The Blues", Corey traveled to Mali to play with Ali Farka Toure, a voyage he repeated for his album of field recordings called "Mississippi To Mali", in which he explored the connections between African music and the blues. Corey Harris has spent his career digging for roots, looking for the links that bind his beloved blues with African music and other tributaries of black music.

Roots revivalist Corey Harris continues his ambitious exploration of musical history with "Zion Crossroads", actually his first release on the Telarc label. This set finds the artist immersed in the riddims and consciousness of traditional roots reggae. Unlike artists like Willie Nelson and Sinead O'Connor whose reggae albums lacked originality and at certain moments sound forced, fake and uncomfortable, Corey Harris' collection of tunes sounds natural and carries a very authentic feel. His soulful vocal delivery perfectly fits the tight riddims played by musicians like Victor Rice, Keith Brown, Michael Goldwasser (co-founder of Easy Star All-Stars and producer of this album) and Peanut. Lyrically he deals with issues that already concerned Jamaican artists like e.g. Burning Spear and Culture when they emerged in the 1970s.

"Ark Of The Covenant" -- with its wicked horn parts -- kicks off the album in a real 'dreader than dread' style, recalling the heydays of Jamaican roots reggae. It's followed by one of the standout tracks, the great "No Peace For The Wicked", featuring the veteran deejay Ranking Joe. Next drops "Heathen Rage", a decent tune that touches a familiar theme. "Sweatshop" -- a song in which Corey Harris laments the deplorable conditions under which so many still labor today -- is excellent, one of the best tracks and also one of our personal favourites. The latter also goes for "Walter Rodney", a tribute to the Guyanese political activist killed by a bomb while running for office in 1980. "Cleanliness" is a solid roots effort worth of hearing with its great bassline and nice organ layers.

Before the solid pieces, "You Never Know" and "Keep Your Culture", round off this throughout satisfying album, there's the straight country tune "Plantation Town", together with the bluesy "In The Morning", the only track that doesn't stick closely to the reggae genre.

Classic roots reggae enthusiasts should definitely check out "Zion Crossroads"!