Various artists album review
Jah Will Never Let You Down
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Levi Roots' "SoundBox" label has finally released the compilation album "Jah Will Never Let You Down", an excellent modern roots set featuring five noteworthy riddims: "Greedy Bug", "Rasta Jubilee", Jah Will Never Let You Down", "Red Eye" and "Trouble & Stiff".|
Nine solid to excellent pieces from some of the finest new roots artists around, delivered over an innovative and classic new riddim, the much antipated "Greedy Bug". In fact an unusual, but a truly superb rootsy riddim, which incorporates a superb Spanish style guitar picking by Jimmy Haynes and a heady Gipsy violin (played by ex-Soul II Soul member Johnny T). Every piece for the riddim has its own merits, but in fact every track is a winner. The core of each song is a chorus line of meaningful intent : "We won't let them fool us, we won't let them rule us...". Then each artist has created a further complimentary lyric of cultural diversity and meaningful intent. Levi Roots excels with an inspired and stellar performance, Luciano impresses with his first, stirring delivery on "SoundBox", and also the up-and-coming singjay Spectacular delivers an awesome cut, which hasn't been available on any format before. "Mind Of Matter" is an awesome tune presented by roots ambassador Mikey General, here performing in his well know style. Impressive and inspired is also "Imagination", a very strong effort from the poet of spoken word Jayzik Azikiwe, and also General Pecos is seemingly inspired by the strength of the riddim as he comes with a surprisingly wicked tune. Previously unreleased cuts come from Yami Bolo, whose "Save The Souls" is a wicked conscious delivery performed in the roots singer's well known vocal style, and Tyrical. The latter is an unknown singjay who fully showcases his skills and talent with a solid piece entitled "Everything And More", a name to watch for in the near future. The "Greedy Bug" is the kind of riddim that fits Anthony B's vocal style perfectly well, no wonder it has enabled this singjay to deliver one of his best tunes. All the pieces for the "Greedy Bug" were voiced and mixed in Jamaica at Mixing Lab by the Fat Eyes crew.
Although half of the material on this album consists of pieces over the "Greedy Bug" riddim, it wouldn't be fair the solely concentrate on them as the remaining tunes and riddims maintain the high quality standard. Levi Roots' "Rasta Jubilee" is a great tune, vocally and lyrically spoken. Actually delivered over Mafia & Fluxy's recut of Jackie Mittoo's "Hot Milk" riddim - with moody organ playing and a nice slice of horn - "Rasta Jubilee" tells about the continuous persection of slaves by slavers, which is still going on in our society today. The answer versions by singjay Starkey Banton and reggae vet Earl Sixteen are great efforts too, with the latter coming classically. With the wicked "Red Eye" Levi Roots brings a new set of lyrics for a rerun of the classic "Africa Roots" riddim by Creation Stepper from the early eighties. The straight vocal version comes complete with its dub. Very enjoyable! The same goes for another highlight on the album, the title track "Jah Will Never Let You Down", which sees Levi Roots teaming up with Zion Train. And the roots vibes keep flowing 'cause next drops "Trouble And Strife", another solid roots tune from Levi Roots, who truly confirms his position as "leader of the rootsman gully bank style".
"Jah Will Never Let You Down" is a topnotch compilation set, strongly recommended for those who are looking for high quality modern roots music!