Various artists album review
Jah Warrior Showcase Vol. 2
Jah Warrior Records
19 - 06 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Prince Alla - Be Careful
  2. Careful Dub
  3. Earl 16 - Reality
  4. Reality Dub
  5. Anthony Johnson - Give A Helping Hand
  6. Give A Helping Dub
  7. Prezident Brown - Nothing Beats A Failure But A Try
  8. Nothing Beats A Dub
  9. Winston McAnuff - Tense Pon A Bench
  10. Dub Pon A Bench
  11. Alton Ellis - Here I Stay
  12. Here I Dub
  13. Jah Warrior - Hot Steppers
  14. Hot Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

In recent years the London based "Jah Warrior Records" not only has built a fast growing catalogue, but it also has managed to establish its name among fans of contemporary deep roots music due to some solid and well received releases. The label is run by former sound system operator Steve Mosco aka Jah Warrior, whose studio works and experiments have led to an unique, instantly recognizable house style. The production work of Jah Warrior strongly emphasizes on a truly heavy bass dominated sound. It forms the basis for the heavyweight riddims, conscious vocal deliveries and creative dub outings as can be experienced over and over again while playing a cross section of Jah Warrior produced material. Besides having voiced some of the best representatives of modern UK roots reggae, Jah Warrior also has worked with some of Jamaica's finest reggae artists who nowadays reside in the UK or simply drop by.
"Jah Warrior Showcase Vol. 2" features efforts from such acknowledged veteran artists as Prince Alla, Earl 16 and Alton Ellis as well as contributions from some lesser known artists like Anthony Johnson, Winston McAnuff and the underrated Prezident Brown. As the title of this album already indicates one gets the straight vocal version as well as its heavyweight dub version. True legend of reggae music Prince Alla - whose career spans three decades by now - has worked with producers Joe Gibbs, Tappa Zukie and Bertram Brown of "Freedom Sounds". Recently he recorded a solid album for the "Jah Warrior" label entitled "Glory". Here Prince Alla opens the compilation set with a killer tune called "Be Careful", once again showing that his roots vocals work extremely well with the hard and heavy digital riddims, here flavoured with fine horn parts of Crispy Horns. In his enduring career Earl 16 has recorded for such namebrand producers like Lee Perry, Joe Gibbs, Coxsone Dodd, Augustus Pablo and throughout the nineties for UK producers Mad Professor, Gussie P and Manasseh. Earl 16's moody roots tune "Reality" is delivered in the singer's well known vocal style. However, sometimes it seems as if his voice lacks the power the handle the heavy backdrop.
Anthony Johnson first came to prominence as one of the vocal trio Mystic Eyes, whose "Perilous Time" was a massive roots hit in the late seventies. As a solo artist Anthony Johnson recorded for producers like Linval Thompson, King Jammy and Jah Thomas, the latter giving him his biggest hit to date, the 1981 released "Gunshot". Anthony Johnson posesses a powerful vocal delivery which fits the weighty riddim track perfectly well. This, and the fact that he delivers an inspired sounding effort, makes "Give A Helping Hand" a standout piece. For quite some years by now Prezident Brown belongs to one of our favourite roots chanters. Not only a humble person but also a fine artist in his own right, he hardly fails to deliver a solid tune. His proverbial "Nothing Beats A Failure But A Try" is a notable effort delivered over a thumping backdrop, which incorporates wonderful melodica parts. Very enjoyable and well worth playing over and over again. Born and raised in Jamaica Winston McAnuff recorded with variable success and got mainly known as the lead vocalist who replaced Jacob Miller in Inner Circle following the latter's untimely death. Winston McAnuff contribution "Tense Pon A Bech" fully benefits from the strength of the riddim, thus making it a nice roots tune after all. The undisputed godfather of reggae, the honourable Alton Ellis. is probably one of those artists one wouldn't expect to appear on an album like this, however his solid cut "Here I Stay" proves that he's still one of the finest vocalists in the business. The album rounds off with a fine steppers piece from Jah Warrior, which is included as a CD bonus track.
Besides the aforementioned tracks this compilation set features some truly wicked, sometimes mindblowing, dub mixes. All are well worth playing, but make sure that you don't skip "Careful Dub", "Give A Helping Dub", "Nothing Beat A Dub" and "Here I Dub".
"Jah Warrior Showcase Vol. 2" is another prime example of well produced modern UK roots reggae.

Teacher & Mr. T.