Various artists album review
Better Days Are Coming
ZodoA Records
27 - 10 - 2000

Tracking list

  1. Chrisinti - Better Days
  2. Pinky Dread - Innocent Man
  3. Herica B - I Love You
  4. Pinky Dread - War & Crime
  5. Steve Flex - Face It Horder
  6. Mark Ten - Boby Wrong
  7. Ras Igie - Dark Cloude
  8. Shadroch - Fire In A Rome
  9. I Jah Bones - Mama Africa
  10. Pinky Dread - Love Rastafari
  11. Ras Igie - Black Man Struggle
  12. I Jah Bones - Sluw Now
  13. Pinky Dread - Flesh & Bone
  14. LIJ-I Dub Version
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 2/3

Definitely one of the guidelines for music lovers to check an album is its presentation and the artist(s) involved. Sometimes this approach can provide a totally wrong impression as is once again underlined with the compilation set "Better Days Are Coming". The sleeve design and artwork make a "cheap" impression and the artists, with the exception of Chrisinti, are totally unknown which also goes for the producer, studio and most of the musicians (only the horns section consists of renown names: Tony Green, David Madden and Chico Chin). However, once having the CD spinning it is obvious that this compilation set gathers some very good roots music, great (undiscovered) voices and well laid fresh riddims played by real musicians.
The album opener "Better Days" showcases roots singer Chrisinti in good shape delivering an awesome effort over an appealing, full sounding riddim which is driven by a deep bassline. Pinky Dread's "Innocent Man" is the next outstanding tune coming out of the speakers. Pinky Dread, who is in fine voice, delivers his conscious lyrics over a killer echo-laden riddim, which incorporates a notable contribution of the horns. The same riddim is utilized for female singer Herica B whose lovers tune "I Love You" benefits from the riddim thus turning it into a decent effort. "War & Crime" displays Pinky Dread's singing talents once again. Solid vocal and lyrical delivery from a much promising artist. Steve Flex is a singjay with a nice vocal delivery, but in thise case he fully benefits from the next well laid riddim. Very enjoyable and entertaining is Mark Ten's "Boby Wrong", who performs this solid roots tune over the already mentioned killer riddim used for Pinky Dread's "Innocent Man" and Herica B's "I Love You". And also poet Ras Igie utilizes this very same riddim for declaiming his lyrics. Noteworthy and one of the efforts above par is Shadroch's "Fire In A Rome", voiced over a slighty different mix of the riddim used for Steve Flex's "Face It Horder". I Jah Bones is another singjay featured on this compilation whose vocal performance in his cultural tune "Mama Africa" fails to keep you involved till the very end. Then it's Pinky Dread time again... this singer delivers his third convincing effort with "Love Rastafari" and makes one already longing for a full length album of this truly gifted singer. The second contribution of Ras Igie is delivered in the same vein as his "Dark Cloude". In "Black Man Struggle" he brings to mind some historical moments which underline that the black man is often forced to struggle for freedom. I Jah Bones' "Sluw Now" can be regarded as a better effort compared to his previous mentioned "Mama Africa", but it is still no more than a mediocre delivery. No need to say that Pinky Dread is the artist who makes a serious impression? With "Flesh & Bone" the singer confirms his fine skill and talents once again. By the way, tracks 11, 12 and 13 incorporate the same riddim as used for Shadroch's "Fire In A Rome".
"Better Days Are Coming" is truly well worth checking for fans of modern roots, delivered by some very fine, although rather unknown artists from Kingston, Jamaica.

Teacher & Mr. T.