Abassi All Stars Showcase
Universal Egg
October 26, 2006

Track list
  1. Stem the Tide - Earl 16
  2. Help The Youth - Fita Warri
  3. Jah Before Us - Junior Kigwa
  4. Cross The Border - Dubdadda
  5. Suffering - Sis Sanae
  6. Wicked Man - Kenny Knots
  7. High Grade - Junior Kigwa
  8. Gideon Youth - Fitta Warri
  9. Roots Woman - Fita Warri
  10. What We Gonna Do - Luciano
  11. Free Jah Children - Sis Sanae
  12. Wicked Intention - Kenny Knots
  13. Israel - Fitta Warri
  14. Danger Zone - Junior Kigwa
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4/5
"Showcase" is the full length debut album for the Abassi All Stars project, co-ordinated by Zion Train's Neil Perch from his recording studio in Cologne, Germany. The current participants in this project are Neil Perch himself (keyboards, bass and drums), Selim ""Miles" Humbaraci (guitar), David Fullwood (trumpet), Sebastian "Bigga" Harzmann (trombone) - these two are also known as the Zion Train brass section -- and vocalists Fitta Warri (Jamaica), Junior Kigwa (Rwanda), Dubdadda (UK), Sis Sanae (Japan), Kenny Knots (UK), Earl 16 (Jamaica), and Luciano (Jamaica).

This compilation set gathers some of the best tunes earlier released on Deep Root 7" and 10" singles as well as previously unreleased tracks recorded in 2004/2005. The first three songs on this cd are underpinned by the "Prophecy" riddim, taken from Fabian's mighty "Prophecy" tune, which lovers of roots and culture will instantly recognise. It's reggae vet Earl 16, a vocalist with a distinctive vocal style and nuff lyrics to keep you involved, who delivers the best effort. Also Junior Kigwa's "Jah Before Us" makes a decent impression and is worth of hearing.

Tracks 4 & 5 were released on 7" single in May 2004 and feature Dubdadda (also known as Johno the sometime Zion Train vocalist, also of Nucleus Roots fame) and Sis Sanae (a roots artist from Yokohama, Japan) riding the militant "Suffering" riddim, which comes with appealing horn arrangements by Zion Train's brass section. Dubdada's "Cross The Border" is a solid tune, while Sis Anae impresses with a real nice vocal delivery reminiscent of an UK roots artist like Aisha. Unfortunately her lyrics are too sparse to make this a real roots killer.

Next drops the up-tempo "Crisis" riddim -- originally conceived in a Milano hotel room on a laptop whilst under the influence of Piemontese blueberries -- with vocal pieces delivered by Kenny Knots, Junior Kigwa and singjay Fitta Warri. Kenny Knots' "Wicked Man" comes up with the best cut for the riddim, whilst Fitta Warri's fiery "Gideon Youth" isn't far behind.

Next up is Fitta Warri song entitled "Roots Woman", a wicked piece which belongs to the high points on this compilation.

It's not that often one hears Luciano dropping his vocals on a heavy steppers riddim, but that it can be worthwhile can be witnessed while listening to his "What We Gonna Do?". This work was originally commissioned for Ryan Moore of Twilight Circus who recorded the vocal track. Then Perch composed the track as a remix for Twilight Circus but due to popular demand it has been given a Deep Root 7" release of its own in September 2004. Over the "What We Gonna Do?" riddim Luciano comes up with a call to the people of the world to rally positively against evil leadership and politicians to protect future generations of humanity. Sis Anae's lyrics echo Luciano's message from his version as she pleads to 'Free Jah Children' out of bondage. Again her vocal delivery is truly worth of hearing and underlines she's a name to watch in the future.

Kenny Knots' beautiful "Wicked Intention" and Fitta Warri's matching "Israel" are delivered across a truly blistering steppers version of I Jahman's "Moulding" riddim. Both tunes are not only our personal favourites but also the stand out tracks of this release.

Junior Kigwa's solid "Danger Zone" rounds off a fine strictly roots & culture set, which will surely please fans of heavyweight roots sounds that pump up the bass and blow the minds.

The CD issue of this release features a movie of the Abassi experience compiled by Echolab.