Various artists album review
Reggae On The River Live
Ras-Sanctuary / Heartbeat Europe
August 27, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Anthony B - Raid Di Barn
  2. Beres Hammond - She Loves Me Now / Step Aside
  3. Michael Franti & Spearhead - We Don't Stop
  4. Culture - International Herb
  5. Third World - 96 Degrees In The Shade
  6. Oliver Mtukudzi - Hear Me Lord
  7. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals - With My Own Two Hands
  8. Israel Vibration - Same Song
  9. Judy Mowatt & Marcia Griffiths - Redemption Song
  10. Stephen & Damian "Jr Gong" Marley - It Was Written (Book Of Life)
  11. David Lindley & El Rayo-X - Quarter Of A Man
  12. Toots & The Maytals - 54-46 Was My Number
  13. Damian "Jr Gong" Marley - Mr. Marley
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Too often "Live" albums don't live up to expectations due to low sound quality, bad mixing and the lack of the vibes experienced when attending a live performance. However, "Reggae On The River Live" is an exception to the rule. This cd - the companion to the excellent "Reggae On The River" double DVD set which features the story of the event and live performances from many of the artists that performed at the 2003 event - has a crisp and clear sound and the tracks are expertly mixed together. Sometimes you even experience the vibe of the festival. This set provides the audio from most of the full-length performances from the dvd, so that you're also able to play it on your portable cd player when you're away from home.
The album gives a nice potpourri of reggae music and beyond, with particularly involving tunes like one of Anthony B's best tunes "Raid Di Barn", Beres Hammond's well done medley of "She Loves Me Now", "Step Aside", and Dennis Brown's "Should I", ex-I Threes Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths' poignant version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", and Culture's classic "International Herb". Even though long-time reggae fans will be familiar with most of the tunes, they as well as lovers of live music will be pleased to hear the energetic performances included here. Besides the reggae acts you're also treated to tracks from Ben Harper and David Lindley, whose tunes are worth of hearing. Somewhat out of place are the inclusion of Oliver Mtukudzi's "Hear Me Lord" and "We Donít Stop" by Michael Franti & Spearhead. All in all, though, this is a solid "Live" album featuring some of Reggae's finest performers and providing just a hint at what the "Reggae On The River" festival is like.

Teacher & Mr. T.