Various / Sly & Robbie
Taxi - Rootdown Records
September 15, 2006
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 4/5|
This is Sly & Robbie's follow up to
their grammy winning 1998 "Friends" album. 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.|
They kick off this set paying tribute to the latin roots of one of reggae's most enduring riddims, the Studio One classic 'Rockfort Rock', that was originally composed by Puertorican Rafael Hernandez and is featured here under its original title "El Cumbanchero" with Chico Chin starring with his trumpet alongside Sly & Robbie & Steven 'Lenky' Marsden. The mood is completely different in "Bounce" a track bringing back memories of their albums "Language Barrier" and "Rhyhtm Killers" with their heavy electrofunk influences, backing former Fugees member (and reggae and dancehall aficionado) Wyclef Jean alongside Bounty Killer, followed by singers Mitch (formerly of A.R.P.) and Santana sharing the lead on the also heavily electrofied "Memories (Ghetto Heaven)" on Taxi's 'Crown'-riddim. Then Elephant Man goes foundation (well, not really) in his nevertheless very entertaining "Walk Out"" over the 'El Cumbanchero / Rockfort Rock'-riddim, followed by Lady Saw's less convincing "Liar" over a very entertaining riddim with great backing vocals. Bounty Killer is at his most aggressive best in "Black People" over Taxi's very catchy 'Moby Dick'-riddim.
Chakademus & Pliers revisit one of Sly & Robbie's most enduring riddims 'Bam Bam', that backed their breakthrough crossover chartbuster "Murder She Wrote" for "My Girl" that shows this is an extra classic riddim and they are one of the most entertaining singer/DJ combinations in the dancehalls, followed by a supersweet lovers combination of veteran crooner Beres Hammond teaming up with up and coming female lovers star Alaine and Shinji Nishi on guitar and keyboards. T.O.K. deliver the excellent oriental-flavored "Star" over the riddim named after it, followed by another superb lovers tune featuring Beres Hammond, this time alongside the hoarse-voiced Annette Brissett revisiting his own (and last year the riddim was revived by Sly & Robbie) "There For You". "Milk & Honey" features UB40's Ali Campbell in combination with Luciano for an excellent take on this 1975 In Crowd classic penned by Clive 'Azul' Hunt. Abijah delivers the stunning "Heavy Load" over the wonderful 1966 Slim Smith Studio One riddim 'Keep That Light'. Maxi Priest is joined by Rik Rok for the excellent "Just To Know" delivering the Sly & Robbie version of lovers rock in great style, followed by Wayne Marshall going electro-style very convincingly in the heavy pounding "Big Up" over the 2004 Taxi riddim bearing that same name. "Searching" features the very smooth voiced female singer Trini over a more soulful alternate mix of the riddim used for "Bounce". "Mango Tongo" is an afro-funk workout featuring the saxophone of one of the absolute superstars of that genre, the great Manu Dibango, before this album is closed with T.O.K.'s brilliant take on the 'Bam Bam'-riddim. "Sunshine", a great way to close this album.
An album that not only rivals "Friends" for sheer crossover appeal, but also showcases some of the extremely catchy riddims aimed at the Jamaican dance(hall)floors Sly & Robbie released on their Taxi label in the last couple of years.