Sly & Robbie Presents Love & Devotion
Taxi Records / All Access Entertainment
August 29, 2006

Track list
  1. Love & Devotion - Jimmy Riley
  2. Good Love - Cherine Anderson
  3. Memories - Foundation
  4. Love & Devotion - Delly Ranks feat. Jimmy Riley
  5. All I Need - Peter Lloyd
  6. Mama Troubles - Tamlins
  7. Rule The World - Innocent Kru & Beres Hammond
  8. For You - Mitch
  9. Nobody - Tina
  10. Drunkin Master - General Echo
  11. All In Your Mind - Anthony Red Rose
  12. Commitment - Stevie Face
  13. Only You - Christopher
  14. One Little Kiss - Leroy Brown
  15. Good Love Remix - Cherine feat. Galaxy P
  16. Jah Is All I Need - Ninja Ford
  17. Walk Away - Chaka Chaks
  18. Sweet Home - Ras Ghandi
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
In 1980 Jimmy Riley's electrifying "Love & Devotion" was among the first big hit records for Sly & Robbie's Taxi label, the update of the in 1969 already as a member of the Uniques for Bunny Lee recorded tune. 26 years later, Riddim Twins Sly & Robbie follow up their "Friends" successor "Rhythm Doubles" with this one riddim album "Love & Devotion" devoted to both old and new takes on their version of this classic riddim. Sly & Robbie's partnership is the ultimate musical marriage, a partnership that, once formed, re-etched the very landscape of not just Jamaican music, but of the entire popular music. That might sound hyperbolic, but in the case of drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, that simply is nothing but the truth, with this pair as backing musicians and production team being the equivalent of a creative storm, the cutting edge of classic roots rockers productions, dub, lovers rock and moving into the latest fashion in dancehall. Allegedly they produced over 40.000(!) tracks together and played together on an almost unbelievable 200.000(!!) tracks. And the Jimmy Riley version giving this album's riddim its name "Love & Devotion" is still an excellent way to prove both their musicianship and craftsmanship as producers. That Sly & Robbie have not lost their fine sense for new talent becomes clear next, when Cherine Anderson, who starred in two successful Jamaican films - "Dancehall Queen" and "One Love" - shows her abilities as a singer with the sexy delivered "Good Love" that was also featured in the latter movie. Foundation, I presume the vocal trio debuting so strong in 1988 for Jack Ruby, delivers the fine "Memories" followed by the superb DJ version of Jimmy Riley's tune featuring Delly Ranks "Fortune & Fame", mistitled "Love & Devotion" here, with Jimmy Riley's original vocal kept intact under Delly Ranks' in command delivery. Peter Lloyd, one of Sly & Robbie's new protégés, delivers the smooth "All I Need" with his fine falsetto, before long time veteran vocal trio the Tamlins convince with the beautiful old school vocal harmony of strength "Mama Troubles" and Innocent Kru, featuring Hemsley 'Benzly Hype' Morris, who once was a member of riddim building duo Benska formed together with Kings Of Kings' Cordel 'Scatta' Burrell and who branches out as a solo artist once in a while, make a good impression alongside Beres Hammond with "Rule The World" something their debut album in 2002 failed to do unfortunately. "For You" shows former ARP-singer Mitch in fine form, sure to guarantee the same amount of success coming his way as former colleague DaVille. Tina delivers the strong "Nobody", like Cherine Anderson in the sexy voiced R&B style popularised by Alaine before one of the all time classics on this riddim, one of few non-slack outings of one of the first masters of slackness, the late General Echo a.k.a. Ranking Slackness - shot by the police in 1980 -, "Drunkin Master" originally released on George Phang's Powerhouse label in 1980 but with the easily recognizable backing and production already back then by Sly & Robbie is once more fully justified celebrated on this disc. More veteran vocalists, as Anthony Red Rose delivers the wonderful "All In Your Mind" trying to explain his lady that he isn't cheating on her in great lovers rock style. Stevie Face is a lovers rock crooner who has convinced in the past on 7" but never at album's length, but "Commitment" especially lyrically is a great tune that will propel him up, at least in the ranks of married men having a woman on the side. Christopher is another singer who has that smooth lovers rock delivery and his "Only You" is the lovers tune that fits him very well, before recently 'rediscovered' Leroy Brown's "One Little Kiss" that was also featured on his three months ago released "Genuine Love" album and the second rendition of Cherine Anderson's tune are up next in the "Good Love Remix" featuring the still strong voice of DJ turned producer Galaxy P. a.k.a. Peter Jackson in rather laid back well working style. Ninja Ford, who between 1992 and now appears and disappears rather randomly, delivers in spoken/singjay style the conscious "Jah Is All I Need", I wonder if anyone with a working brain would adopt the moniker Chaka Chaks as a reggae/dancehall artist, but apparently "Walk Away", an upful tune trying to inspire the youths to make their mothers proud, followed by Ras Ghandi unfortunately at times off-key sounding tribute to his country Jamaica "Sweet Home" closing this very enjoyable set of strong tunes over a great classic riddim, a must have for aficionados of lovers tunes over a classic 80s roots/lovers riddim.