Total Reggae ~ One Drop
August 15, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
Over the years VP Records has become the major player in reggae music, and boasts what is reputedly reggae's largest back catalogue. In recent times the company has issued several interesting releases from that huge catalogue. The "Reggae Anthology" series is a truly impressive effort from the company, with outstanding releases such as Barrington Levy's "Sweet Reggae Music 1979-84" and Yellowman's "Young, Gifted & Yellow", the latter even with a bonus DVD! Last year they started a brand new series called "Total Reggae", a truly budget priced collection of double cd's, focusing on several sections in reggae music. One of the current two 'Total Reggae' releases is "Total Reggae - One Drop", which is truly a must have for any serious reggae fan.
The 'one drop' riddim is a drumset playing style of reggae, popularized by Carlton Barrett, long-time drummer of Bob Marley and the Wailers, created by Winston Grennan, in which the backbeat is characterized by the dominant snare drum stroke (usually a click produced by hitting a rimshot) and bass drum both sounding on the third beat of every four, while beat one is left empty. Thus, the expected hit on beat one is "dropped", creating the one-drop effect. A good example of this drum beat is Bob Marley and the Wailers' song "One Drop", which talks about this riddim. On the other hand the term 'one drop' also refers to songs with mostly spiritual and rootical content. The rockers riddim is essentially the 'one drop' with a steady bass drum on every eighth note, though 'one drop' is slower than a ska pattern, and rockers is often slower than 'one drop'. The steppers riddim is essentially the 'one drop' with a steady bass drum on every quarter note. Examples of songs using the 'one drop' from Bob Marley & The Wailers with Carlton Barrett on drums, include: "No Woman, No Cry", "Three Little Birds", "Get Up, Stand Up", "Waiting in Vain", "Stir It Up", "One Love/People Get Ready", and "I Shot the Sheriff". Examples of songs using the steppers riddim include: "Is This Love", "Exodus", "Buffalo Soldier", "Satisfy My Soul" and "Jamming".
This album brings us 40 excellent - no fillers here! - tunes from past and nearby present and it's obvious that every listener will find some of his/her personal favorites here. We just want to point out some of the real classic tunes. Alborosie's tune Kingston Town was a hit off of Alborosie's album "Soul Pirate". It samples the Scientist dub track "When I Love". It is an ode to the ruff an tuff nature of Kingston town, touching on poverty and crime. Richie Spice's Earth A Run Red - a song about the social ills of the world- marked the beginning of an illustrious career. Richie Spice (aka Richell Bonner) comes from a reggae family: his brothers include DJ Snatcher Dogg, vocalist Spanner Banner, and Pliers of Chakademus and Pliers. Spice began his career opening his brothers' shows and started recording singles with producers like Clive Hunt and Dennis "Star" Hayles in the mid-'90s. In 2008 and 2009 Penthouse released some impressive cuts on the "Automatic" riddim, one of them being the mighty cut from Queen Ifrica, Lioness On The Rise. Jah Cure (aka Siccature Alcock) was born on October 11th, 1978 in Hanover, Jamaica and raised in Kingston. He was given the name Jah Cure by Capleton whom he met while growing up in Kingston. His first big break came in 1997 when he released the single "King Of The Jungle", which was a duet with Sizzla. The single was produced by Beres Hammond who went on to become his mentor. Since then he has released a steady stream of singles and albums that won him critical and popular acclaim. His cut on Don Corleon's 2005 "Drop Leaf" riddim, Longing For, was one of his biggest hits.
Romain Virgo is one of reggae's most popular vocalist. Here he contributes his lick of Penthouse's "Feel Good" riddim, Mi Caan Sleep. The song did very well for him and he continues to release topnotch tunes. The year 1992 marked the arrival of Morgan Heritage, a self-contained band of very talented young people - who were born and brought up in Brooklyn N.Y. - that developed into a band reggae had not seen or heard before. Rasta since birth, the spirit of Jah is an omnipresent in their music. Self proclaimed Soldiers of the Lord, their music breathes spirituality and positivity. In 1999 the song Don't Haffi Dread topped the charts in several countries. The song deals with the theme of being a Rasta is not simply about having dreads. It's a global misconception that anyone with dreadlocks is a Rasta, or that anyone that's a Rasta grows dreads. While dreadlocks are a largely important part of Rastafarianism, it is not at all a necessity to be one. Duane Stephenson was born in Kingston, Jamaica on April 22, 1976, but the family soon decided to settle in August Town, a little town in eastern St. Andrew. August Town has an air rich in culture and music and has produced many talented artists such as The Rastafarians, Colin Roach and more currently Sizzla. His auto-biographical song August Town runs across Bob Marley's "Jah Live" riddim and is still one of the singer's best tunes.
The double album "Total Reggae - One Drop" is quite an impressive selection of quality music for a low-budget price... get it!!