Reggae Loves Africa
VP Records
August 22, 2014

Track list
  1. Buju Banton - Mama Africa
  2. Screwdriver - Africa
  3. Warrior King - Africa Shall Be Free
  4. Queen Ifrica - Calling Africa
  5. Freddie Mcgregor - Africa
  6. Luciano - One Way Ticket
  7. Beres Hammond - Talking Africa
  8. Morgan Heritage - Africa Here We Come
  9. Dennis Brown - Africa We Want To Go
  10. Tony Rebel - Africa
  11. Natural Blacks - Africa
  12. Tarrus Riley - Africa Awaits
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
One of the latest VP releases has a truly outspoken theme: Africa, aptly titled "Reggae Loves Africa". Being the largest reggae company in the world with a truly impressive back catalogue it's not an easy task to compile a top-notch selection of 'Africa' tunes. Celebrating the kinship and inspiration that Africa has provided to reggae music, some of the genre’s greatest voices are gathered on this album to pay tribute. Themes of liberation and repatriation are at the heart of reggae music. Africa’s history and its modern day struggles have served as subject matter on some of reggae’s most memorable songs, conscious reggae with a message of uplift and hope.

Screwdriver is one of reggae's most underrated artists. His musical inspiration comes from the likes of Tenor Saw, Pinchers, Pliers, and Spanner Banner. He started recording in the mid 80s and had several hits and a number one single in 1989 with "No Mama (Sharon Yuh Pregnant?)". His tune Africa is also featured on the 2007 "Road Block" album, a set that mixes new riddims with old ones. Buju Banton redoes the Peter Tosh original Mama Africa in fine style, but we do prefer the original! Warrior King delivers a nice 2002 recut of the "Tribal War" riddim called Africa Shall Be Free, the original cut for Joe Gibbs by George Nooks. Queen Ifrica's Niyabinghi flavored Calling Africa comes from the 2009 album "Montego Bay", one of the real classic sets from the last decades.

Freddie McGregor recorded several outstanding 'Africa' tunes in his long career. One of our favorites is the Studio One tune "Africa Here I Come" across the "Full Up" riddim. Here we get treated to his cover of the Mighty Diamonds' classic Africa, a tune that was also featured on their awesome Channel One album "Right Time". Luciano and producer Philip 'Fatis' Burrell released in 1995 the album "One Way Ticket". It received rave reviews and has stood the test of time really well. From that album comes the bouncy title track, one of the highlights of this compilation set. A tune by Morgan Heritage has to be on this set! So may songs from the band are inspired by 'Africa'. Their song Africa, Here We Come is one of their key tunes recorded by Bobby 'Digital' Dixon in 1996. Tough tune! The late great Dennis Brown needs no introduction. He recorded the tune Africa We Want Go for producer Winston 'Niney' Holness in the 70s. It was a version of BB Seaton's Studio One tune he recorded with The Gaylads in the second half of the 60s. Here you can listen to the 1985 King Jammy produced version.

Superb collection!