Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Smile Jamaica
Various
Silly Walks Discotheque
CD / Digital Release
June 16, 2016

Track list
  1. Ikaya - Reggae Love
  2. Romain Virgo - Unbreakable
  3. Patrice - So She Say
  4. Bugle - Life And All It Comes With
  5. Assassin aka Agent Sasco - Never Let Them Break You Down
  6. Busy Signal & RC - Dreams Of Brighter Days
  7. Marcia Griffiths - Holding You Close
  8. Christopher Martin - This Could Be Murder
  9. Queen Ifrica - Make You Rock (Remix)
  10. Chronixx - Smile Jamaica
  11. Shuga - Joy
  12. Dalton Harris - Whisper In The Wind
  13. Jesse Royal - Roots And Culture
  14. Gentleman & Torch - Keep On Moving
  15. Micah Shemaiah - Inner Man
  16. Samory-I - I Am Gad
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Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
This year Silly Walks Discotheque - the sound system and record label from Hamburg, Germany, run by Oliver Shrader and Joscha Hoffman - celebrates its 25th anniversary. Especially the last few years they've been making an outstanding name for themselves with unfailingly top-quality productions. In 2002 they released their first sampler entitled "Songs Of Melody", but it wasn't until the release of juggling sets like "Honey Pot Riddim", "Brighter Days Riddim", "Clocktower Riddim" and "Ram Jam Riddim" that they got notable attention from international Reggae connoisseurs and fans. Currently they are enjoying chart success with Assassin aka Agent Sasco's single "Stronger", which is topping Richie B's Reggae singles charts in Jamaica.

Chronixx gave them their biggest hit to date with the 2013 released "Smile Jamaica" on the sweet "Honey Pot" riddim, so it's not that surprising that this song is chosen to be the title track of Silly Walks Discotheque's anniversary album. Also the inclusion of a track that features Otto Tillman aka Gentleman is an obvious choice as this German reggae star was one of the sound system's crew members in the early years. And last but not least there are appearances of Patrice and RC (Righteous Child), with whom they released the albums "Silly Walks Meets Patrice" (2003) and "Rough Survivor" (2014) respectively.

For the tracks on this compilation album they have been closely working with The Evolution, Gentleman's backing band, and Jr Blender. The latter did a beautiful remix of Marcia Griffiths' love tune "Holding You Close". Originally recorded with Dubblestandart from Austria, this is one of the queen of Reggae and Lovers Rock's best songs - vocally, musically and lyrically. Actually this is one of the tunes featured on this set that isn't brand spanking new as this version came out a few years ago. One of the tracks that was also previously released and thus might sound familiar to your ears is the superb "Dreams Of Brighter Days", an uplifting song by Busy Signal & RC across the sterling "Brighter Days" riddim. And furthermore there's Queen Africa's solid "Make You Rock" on the "Clocktower Riddim", which reappears here in remixed form.

When it comes to the 'never heard before' tunes, there's first "Reggae Love" by Ikaya. Love the riddim and the voice, but lyrically it's a waste of time. Why come up with lyrics such as "One good thing about Reggae, when it hits you you feel no pain" and "So make me tell you about Reggae, it gets you in a dancing mood. Reggae will make you feel so good". Have heard these kinda lyrics far too often. Also Queen Ifrica's "Make Them Rock" is such kind of tune, although as a whole its lyrics are more imaginative. Luckily this album has a whole heap of tunes that lyrically make more sense. Romain Virgo's "Soul Provider" was one of the highlights on the "Brighter Days Riddim" set and here he shines again bright with "Unbreakable" across a riddim known from Clay's "Hold On", which is featured on his "Art & Soul EP". Further lovers sweetness comes from Patrice, whose distinctive style comes to full expression on the delightful "So She Say". Next comes Bugle with... I thank you Jah for "Life And All It Comes With", a very enjoyable song of praise.

After that all in all satisfying opening part of this collection, it's killer time with Assassin aka Agent Sasco's compelling "Never Let Them Break You Down". Can't stop playing this powerful message tune over and over again! Without doubt one of the standout tracks!!! Christopher Martin delivers a solid lovers tune, the somewhat odd titled "This Could Be Murder". The latter is an infectious effort and a real dancefloor filler. Shuga brings in nice lovers vibes with the sweet "Joy", while Dalton Harris once more proves that he's one of the current upcoming Jamaican singers who is always worthwhile checking when he comes up with a new tune. This also goes for Jesse Royal, although he's a totally different singer. Here he covers Mikey Dread's anthemic "Roots & Culture" in a great way. Big tune! Gentleman & Torch make a good impression with the uplifting "Keep On Moving", which is followed by Micah Shemaiah's awesome "Inner Man". And then there's the icing on the cake... "I Am Gad" by Samory-I. Totally overwhelmed by the beauty of this album closer, which in the end sees Russ Disciple going into dub territory. Did we mention that "Smile Jamaica" by Chronixx is still great to listen to? No?! Well, we thought it was needless to point this out as any self-respecting Reggae fan will know...

"Smile Jamaica" is packed with quality material and therefore a worthy sampler to celebrate a silver jubilee. Highest recommendation!!!