Various artists album review
Kings Of Kings / Show Us The Way
Equal Rights
14 - 03 - 1998

Tracking list

  1. Sizzla - Show us the way
  2. Tanya Stephens - Murder tonight
  3. Tony Curtis - Bun down Rome (previously unreleased mix)
  4. Prezident Brown - Careless Ethiopians (previously unreleased)
  5. Don Yute - Wrong vows
  6. Anthony B. - Crime stop
  7. Everton Blender - Fire a go burn
  8. Mikey Melody - Ras the youth dem love
  9. Benzly - Studio room
  10. Norris Man - Congo shanti
  11. Terrie Ganzie - Bingi bongo I's
  12. Merciless - Plantain farmer
  13. Frisco Kid - Poor man
  14. Iley Dread - Revolute
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

If you judge books by their covers, and the same applies for reggae releases, you'd certainly buy this disc without even hearing it. Not only does the tracklist provide the information that you'll hear some topnotch artists, but the cover looks like that of a Blood & Fire release. And you are in a way right when you think so, because its design comes from Intro, famous for their B&F artwork, and the liner notes are provided by B&F's Steve Barrow. This CD however has been released by newcoming French label Equal Rights (this label can be reached by email EqualRights@wanadoo.fr and at the following URL http://perso.wanadoo.fr/equalrights) founded by Rémi Farrokhian, who did the, I suppose pleasant, job to compile this album.
The riddims are provided for track 1, 3, 6, 8, 11 and 13 by Sly & Robbie, track 2, 5, 9 and 12 are versioned all over one riddim by Benska (Cordel Scatta Burrell and Hemsley Benzley Hype Morris), for 4, 10 and 14 by the Krush Ice Krew (Owen Bassie Reynolds and Khan) and track 7 is the only track with a backing by the Young Lions. All riddims have been recorded for Colin Levy's Kings Of Kings label between July 1995 and April 1997, with the exception of Prezident Brown's "Careless Ethiopians", already recorded in March 1994.
This all looks like a real treat, and as soon as Sizzla bursts into "Show Us The Way" you realise your expectations will be fulfilled. A typical Sizzla song, strong conscious lyrics over a wicked riddim. Then Tanya Stephens does a great combination with co-writer Cécile, before you hear Tony Curtis with a conscious song, taking the melody line from "Going Home", and he never sounded so much like Sanchez (and that's a compliment from this huge Sanchez fan) as on this particular track. Prezident Brown, Don Yute, Anthony B and Everton Blender sound as good as you might expect of these stars of modern (conscious) reggae/ragga. Mikey Melody weighs in with his best song I've heard till now, over a Sly&Robbie update of StudioOne's "Throw Me Corn"-riddim (also used for Tony Curtis' "Bun Down Rome". Benzly rides his own riddim on the next track with some slack lyrics on "Studio Room", bawling 'some girls just lov wi mike' and 'she love how wi bass line pumpin'. Norris Man has a lighter tone of voice than Sizzla and Anthony B, but if you like their style, you've discovered another artist worth checking out. Terry Ganzie is one of the underrated DJs I think, always on strong riddims and strong lyrics and a good timing, it's strange that he hasn't created a larger following, he delivers another strong performance here. Merciless uses the Benska riddim like Benzly for some slack lyrics, stating women prefer plaintain farmers to planting bananas. Frisco Kid makes the selection return to conscious lyrics, before Kings Of Kings label owner / producer Colin Levy delivers "Revolute" using the moniker 'Iley Dread' calling for a revolution against discrimination and injustice. He can be assured if releases by his label will keep this level, his call will be heard.