JA 2 UK Volume 4
Cou$ins Records-Black Arrow
February 19, 2008
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 3|
Following the dropping of two albums on
the heels of each other in the Rhythm 2 Rhythm Series in august last year,
with its 4th volume 'Watch This Sound
& What A Feeling' and its 5th "Volume 5 ~
Warrior Charge & Drum Song", Cou$ins Records producer Donville
Davis - who had already proven he's capable of relicking classic riddims
in fine style with 'Rocksteady &
Beatitude' and the strong various artists albums "Strictly One Drop
Vol. 1", "JA 2 UK Singers
Vol. 3" and last year also "A Tribute 2
Studio One & Treasure Isle Records" - also showed a nose for picking
the right riddims to license on the three various artists compilations,
as "Strictly One Drop
Vol. 1"'s inclusion of CJ James 'Without
Love'-riddim and of course Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett's 'Heavenly'
and then on 'Mo-Bay' &
'Desperate Lover' two riddims from Byron Murray's In The Streetz label
were featured, strange as it may seem with In The Streetz not only being
an outlet for Byron Murray's own productions like the very successful
first attempt at a one drop 'Street
Swing' but through their Rhythm Streetz Series Byron Murray (and Mr.
Vegas) also released on CD and LP some extremely successful riddims by
other extremely hot producers. Then Cou$ins Records released its 8th
volume of the Rhythm 2 Rhythm Series "From Creation /
Real Iron" compiling two older selections from UK producer Steve
Martin a.k.a. Blacker Dread with the 'Real Iron'
from 2003 and 'From Creation' from 1998 (though earlier in 1984 recorded).
This "JA 2 UK Volume 4" album kicks off with the one riddim that ended, contrary to the other from Kemar 'DJ Flava' McGregor's Flava Music and No Doubt Records licensed "Trumpet", "Flute" and "Key Riddim", not in Cou$ins' Ride The Rhythm series, but as the Greensleeves release "'83 Rhythm"; the best tune across the ''83' comes courtesy of Derrick Morgan's daughter Queen Ifrica, it's her huge controversial current hit "Daddy" don't touch me there of which the lyrically striking personal approach, melodic take on such a touchy subject, incest, is so superb, that you must be made of stone not to have pimples all over listening to this tune. The tune is delivered so convincingly and spreading the intense pain that it becomes hard to believe it is in fact not autobiographical (and for those still thinking so and wondering about Derrick Morgan now, Queen Ifrica never met her biological father before the age of 22). The outstanding Queen Ifrica tune is followed by Richie Spice's "A No Me Dat", a tune that in my opinion is even stronger than his killer tune "The World Is A Cycle" over Fresh Ear's 'Guardian Angel'-riddim that last year topped the Jamaican charts.
The next tune is not only prove that North London's Heywood brothers a.k.a. Mafia & Fluxy are true masters when it comes to reggaefying pop and R&B tunes, but also that if England were in need for a white souldiva not doing the amount of drugs that Amy Winehouse uses, Adele Harley could step up, as her rendition of Alicia Keys' "No One" is absolutely impeccable. Turbulence, Bushman and Anthony B deliver the very fierce 3-the-hard-way combination "Solid As A Rock", also a Kemar McGregor production, before Mafia & Fluxy are at the helm once more for their excellent rootsy production of Sugar Minott's "Jah Live" and George Nooks rides Donville Davis' take on Randy Newman's "Baltimore" (of course made famous as a reggae riddim by Sly & Robbie) and Gyptian delivers the excellent "Life Is Not Easy" and over the same Christopher Hart produced riddim Luciano contributes the equally strong "Youth Dem Dangerous". UK veteran and former Cimarons leadsinger Winston Reedy then revisits his own in 1972 with the Cimarons recorded "Struggling Man" before another UK lovers rock icon, who rose to fame for Mad Professor's Ariwa Records, Kofi renders her "My Man" in true UK lovers rock style having lost nothing of the sheer beauty of her voice both flawlessly produced by Mafia and Fluxy.
Veteran dancehall singer Frankie Paul delivers his "Chill Out" anti-garrison violence tune over an absolutely stunning Donville Davis riddim that is carried by (judging by the sound real acoustic) violin resulting in my favourite track from this album, before Lukie D rides Donville Davis' version of Desmond Dekker's 1967 '007' a.k.a. 'Shanty Town'-riddim for the very nice "Keep On Dancing" followed by UK lovers stalwart Don Campbell's heartfelt "Missing You" that is like all remaining tunes as well produced by Donville Davis. Richie Davis' very nice take on Bob Marley & the Wailers' "Hypocrites" is the next tune before Lukie D is the only artist who gets in a second tune on this album and this penultimate "Take You There" is a great rocksteady tune that is followed by Michael Rose's excellent reality tune "Everyday A Gun" over a rootsy adaptation by Donville Davis of Cornell Campbell's 'Queen Of The Minstrels', closing an hour of truly wonderful mostly sweet voiced singers tunes proving Cou$ins remains a force to reckon with for both strong productions of Jamaican singers and for pushing great British vocalists. This is a must buy album for lovers of sweet lovers rock.