Around Tu Shung Peng
August 10, 2008

Track list
  1. Ken Boothe - Show Me That Love
  2. Ras Daniel Ray - Man Of The Mountain
  3. Ganja Tree - World Cry
  4. Ganja Tree - Open Your Heart
  5. Difanga - Jah Live
  6. Lone Ranger - Healing Of The Nation
  7. Tu Shung Peng - Funky Maziere (Instrumental)
  8. Jah Marcus - Give Jah Praise
  9. Al Pancho - No Power To The Wicked Man
  10. Ganja Tree - Suffring Line
  11. Ras Daniel Ray - Can You Be My Princess
  12. Tu Shung Peng - Princess Dub (Fabwize Mix')
  13. Jahko Lion - Don't Give It Up
  14. Tu Shung Peng - Interlude
  15. Justin Hinds - My Love Is Like A Burning Fire
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Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Makafresh -- Makasound's subsidiary label -- has unleashed a very fine compilation set featuring French band Tu Shung Peng and, except for Difanga (Ivory Coast), a roster of Jamaican guest vocalists including Ras Daniel Ray, Al Pancho, the legendary Jamaican veterans Ken Boothe, Lone Ranger and Justin Hinds, and little known artists like Ganja Tree, Jahko Lion, and Jah Marcus. Actually the band produced and released "Around Tu Shung Peng" in 2007 for its own "Ku Shung" imprint, before it was picked up by Makasound in order to reissue the acclaimed and well received compilation as a foretaste for their forthcoming release of the band's second compilation album "Trouble Time".

The riddims on "Around Tu Shung Peng" -- all fresh originals played by real musicians -- have a strong vintage feel as the band is strongly inspired by the music from the 1970s. Besides that their arrangements often include Jazz and Soul flavours, which not only enriches their backdrops, but also gives them a distinctive sound.

Ken Boothe's mesmerizing "Show Me That Love" on the "Princess" riddim -- earlier released on the Eduction label as 10" single -- opens the album in real fine style. The slow-paced riddim is layered with some nice guitar picking, and also the melodica and trumpet parts are a worthwhile addition. The same riddim underpins the wonderful "Can You Be My Princess" by Ras Daniel Ray. The latter was born in St. Catherine JA, and is the regular singer for Tu Shung Peng since the 9-piece band started in 2000. He debuted on the Echo Tone sound system, but really started to gain attention on the Kilimanjaro sound in 1990 taking the stage alongside Ninjaman, Supercat, Little John, Charlie Chaplin and Shabba Ranks to name but a few. His first recordings (under the name Sugar Ray) were for Harry J, and four years after he had relocated to France for Mafia and Fluxy, followed by Reggae On Top, Nucleus Roots, and Mungo's Hi Fi. His second contribution, "Man Of The Mountain", is a solid effort worth of hearing, while Al Pancho's "No Power To The Wicked Man" and Jah Marcus' "Give Jah Praise" are matching cuts for the "Mountain Man" riddim.

Ganja Tree, who started his musical career in the late 1970s and made his recording debut in 1987 with the 7" single "True Love", which was followed by his first full length album, "Inspiration", in 1996, is present on three tracks, with his sufferer's tune "Suffring Line" being the best effort, closely followed by the cultural piece "Open Your Heart". Lone Ranger, riding the same riddim as Difanga's solid "Jah Live", delivers the decent herb song "Healing Of The Nation" in his well known style. "My Love Is Like A Burning Fire", a great tune by Justin Hinds, rounds off an entertaining collection of tunes. It truly makes the listener longing for more!