Joe Gibbs Presents Inner City Roots
Crazy Joe Records
November 14, 2005

Track list
  1. Kevin Isaacs - Cutie Cutie
  2. Ranaco - Where Is De Love
  3. Gabre & Laza - Everliving
  4. Zilgin - African Woman
  5. Major Facts - Slang
  6. Simone - Mr. Right
  7. Raw Raw - The Reason
  8. Rose Marie - Stop Falling
  9. Natty Wellat - Fire
  10. Lloyd Hemmings - Further You Look
  11. Major Facts - Conquering Lion
  12. King Che - Humble
  13. Pampi Judah - Love de Herb
  14. Earthworm - Whey Dem Deh Pon
  15. Senior Gratto - Sitting Here
  16. Sylford Walker - Every Goodie
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 3
Whilst son Stephen 'Gibbo' Gibson caused real excitement towards the end of 2004 with his debut production work, the "Hard Times" riddim, the return of his legendary father Joe Gibbs as (executive) producer in the spring of the same year remained remarkably unnoticed.

Wether it had to do with the roster of artists -- except for Gregory's son Kevin Isaacs, veteran rootsman Sylford Walker, Lloyd Hemmings, Earthworm, and Major Facts who had three singles released in Jamaica on the Joe Gibbs imprint, all the other artists included on this set deliver their first effort -- or lack of availability of the recordings is uncertain, but it's a fact that these tunes didn't attract any notable attention of the reggae massive. A real shame as can be witnessed by listening to this solid and very entertaining compilation cd from Crazy Joe Records, which is distributed by Joe Gibbs Europe.

Produced, recorded and mixed at Joe Gibbs studio in Kingston, Jamaica, by Anthony 'Bassie' Hibbert (bass player and engineer for Jackie Mittoo, The Heptones and other namebrand Jamaican artists), this set brings us a wealth of new talent, many of them worth of hearing.

The core of this cd is formed by six cuts over the excellent "live played" "Fire Fire" riddim. Kevin Isaacs, whose vocal style is strongly reminiscent of Gregory, delivers a decent rendition of his father's tune "Miss Cutie Cutie". Best efforts for the "Fire Fire" riddim are Ranaco's reality tune "Where Is De Love", Lloyd Hemmings' wonderful "Further You Look" and Natty Wellat's "Fire", an awesome tune which expresses that you can 'blaze a spiritual fire instead of a literal fire'.

Also included are two worthwhile cuts for the slow-paced "Zig Zag" riddim, namely Zilgin's "African Woman" and Major Facts "Slang". Enjoyable to hear are "Mr. Right" and "Stop Falling" by female singers Simone and Rose Marie, both utilizing the appealing "Invicible" riddim. Truly worth mentioning is King Che's excellent tune "Humble", which he delivers over the "The Fullness" riddim. 'Studio One revisited' goes for the riddims ("Ting-A-Ling" and "Pretty Looks") that underpin the efforts from Earthworm, Senior Gratto and Sylford Walker.

All in all "Joe Gibbs Presents Inner City Roots" features solid riddims, talented new comers and enough solid to excellent songs, which makes this collection of tunes worthwhile checking out.