Various artists album review
Gathering Of The Spirits

Tracking list

  1. The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari - Big Turtle River
  2. Culture - Blackman King
  3. Big Youth - Jesus Is A Condition
  4. Justin Hinds - Sitting In Babylon
  5. Mighty Diamonds - Blackman Pride
  6. Judy Mowatt - Someday We'll All Be Free
  7. Mutabaruka - What About The Land ?
  8. Marcia Griffiths - Woman Of The Ghetto
  9. Pablo Moses - Murder
  10. Ernest Ranglin - Ion Lion Zion
  11. Hortense Ellis - Your Love
  12. The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari - Mystic Groove
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

It took producer and reggae dub poet Mutabaruka two years to finish a project that focused on creating contemporary cultural music incorporating the best elements of classic roots reggae. Undoubtedly one of the most important elements - regarding this type of reggae music - is the using of live musicians (no drum machines or synth basses) to record spontaneously in the studio. Such notables as Sly & Robbie, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Robbie Lyn, Horsemouth Wallace, Ibo Cooper, Dean Fraser and Leroy Sibbles were gathered in the Music Works Recording Studios at Kingston JA - one of the best equiped studios of the Island - to create the powerful rootical and original riddims that support the Roots All Stars.
This compilation set is a varied one as it features various genres of roots reggae. The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari contributes two fine tracks of instrumental rasta music. Over the years Joseph "Culture" Hill has proven to be a strong force when it comes to "roots 'n' culture" music. Blackman King is further evidence of the man's ability to deliver a solid message tune and belongs to the highlights of this album. Big Youth - the first deejay to use a psalm to create one of his greatest hits - represents the deejay part with a decent toast on the same riddim as Culture's track. Since his entrance in music business in the early sixties Justin Hinds has delivered many noteworthy tunes in which he reflected a wide range of issues thrown up by the Jamaican society. With Sitting In Babylon he showcases that he's still able to come up with an appealing conscious song. The Mighty Diamonds - still intact with its original members - are known and loved for their sweet vocal deliveries and this inspired sounding cover version of Alton Ellis' Blackman Pride is no exception to it. Pablo Moses is a sophisticated and highly original vocalist who has always stuck to his chosen path of social commentary infused with spiritual values. His contribution is truly a standout of this album.
Judy Mowatt is one of the three great female reggae artists that are included on this compilation set. With Someday We'll All Be Free - originally sung by Donny Hathaway - she has covered a song that gave her the opportunity to bring her soulful voice to full expression. Marlene's Shaw's Woman Of The Ghetto gets an excellent interpretation by Marcia Griffiths who adds another great song to her almost endless list of tunes she has recorded over the past thirty years. Alton Ellis' sister - the somewhat underrated - Hortense Ellis delivers a decent effort with Your Love. Ernest Ranglin - one of the greatest guitarist in the world - brings a fine instrumental version of Bob Marley's "Iron Lion Zion" (courtesy of Kariang Productions Ltd). And last but not least Mutabaruka puts out a moving and inspiring What About The Land ?
Mutabaruka's expectation and hope have become reality as this album truly shows that reggae music is the true pulse and that reggae musicians are the true ambassadors of the culture of the Jamaican people !

Teacher & Mr. T.