Various artists album review
Cultural Merger Volume I
Walboomers Records
28 - 10 - 2002

Tracking list

  1. Buju Banton - Africa Await Its Creator
  2. Turbulence - Your Child
  3. Pinchers - Hot Number
  4. Hawkeye - Nuh Stray
  5. Tristan Palmer - We Thank You Jah
  6. Mark Wonder - One And Only Lady
  7. Anthony B - Dooms Day
  8. Gregory Isaacs - One Step
  9. Natural Black - What Happen To
  10. Jack Radics - Deeper
  11. Taffari - Smile
  12. ARP & Delly Ranks - No Guns
  13. Tristan Palmer - Straight From The Heart
  14. Kiprich - Suffer
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Walboomers Music, besides being European distributor for Black Music also releasing music on its own label Walboomers Records, has unleashed three decent compilation cd's entitled "321 Strong Presents Cultural Merger". The tracks gathered on these brand new cd releases are produced by Syl Gordon from Kingston JA for his own 321 Strong Productions. Syl Gordon, who co-founded with Buju Banton the Cell Block (CB321) label/recording studio, emerged in the nineties and has managed to establish his name by recording and producing noteworthy material from many topnotch Jamaican artists. This international renowned studio engineer and producer has worked with the likes of Buju Banton, Cocoa Tea, Luciano, Sizzla and double Grammy Award winner Shabba Ranks. For his work on Shabba's album " As Raw As Ever" he was awarded a Gold Plaque, among other awards. Furthermore he also co-produced with Buju Banton the highly acclaimed album "Til Shiloh".
On every "Cultural Merger" set we're treated to a strictly conscious selection, actually a nice blend of well produced cultural tunes and lovers songs delivered over "live" played original as well as resuscitated riddims. Collected are mainly tracks from Jamaican singers and deejays that are well known among reggae followers, like for example one of roots reggae's leading artists, Buju Banton. The latter kicks off this first volume with "Africa Await Its Creator", an excellent modern roots piece with Buju Banton vocally and lyrically making a serious impression. Next drops the solid "Your Child" by Turbulence, a much promising roots deejay who expertly rides the "Heavenless" riddim. The very same riddim - sometimes in a different mix - appears again in Pinchers' "Hot Number", Mark Wonder's "One And Only Lady", Natural Black's "What Happen To" and the combination tune "No Guns" by ARP & Delly Ranks. Although all cuts are decent efforts one definitely has to check ARP & Delly Ranks and a truly awesome Natural Black as they deliver notable tunes worth of hearing. Also featured here is the thumping "Bonzi" riddim laid by Christopher Birch with two versions : Hawkeye's solid "Nuh Stray" and the matching "Suffer" by Kiprich. Reggae veteran Tristan Palmer is an artist who hardly fails to deliver a good song as is once again underlined by the two tunes included here. Both efforts, coming with a different mood, are very enjoyable deliveries and belong to the highlights of this set. Throughout the last decade Gregory Isaacs has often disappointed a lot of his fans as the quality of most of his recordings proved to be very poor. Since long Gregory Isaacs delivers an above average song. "One Step" shows a little bit more than a glimpse of his former glory and that's just enough to make this tune well worth hearing. With also Jack Radics and roots singer Taffari contributing good quality tunes you get good value for money.

Teacher & Mr. T.