Various artists album review
Zenah Music Meets Black Roots Production
Zenah Music
October 28, 2004

Tracking list - Disc 1 : Black Roots Production

  1. Don Angelo - What A Situation
  2. Lloyd Hemmings - Matroman
  3. Fire Facts - Love Your Mother
  4. Dennis Walks - What Goes Up
  5. The Gaylads - Joy In The Morning
  6. Frankie Paul - British Argentina
  7. Reggae George - Your Lady
  8. African Brothers - All Gone
  9. Lenky Roy - Set Me Free
  10. Sugar Minott - Friends
Tracking list - Disc 2 : Zenah Music
  1. Sugar Minott - Easy Mr Bush
  2. Luciano - All Over The World
  3. Determine - War Munger
  4. Tampanae - Deliver Me Jah
  5. Yami Bolo - Humanity
  6. Tony Tuff - Give It To Me
  7. Steady Ranks - Good For Good
  8. Ranking Joe - Away With Your Fussing & Fighting
  9. Holloway - Don't Worry Mama
  10. Purple Man - Innocent Dying
  11. Sugar Minott & Fire Facts - Jah Jah A The Only One
  12. Passion - Put It Down
  13. Rod Taylor - Guide Us Jah
  14. Excellent Kid - Nah Give Up
  15. Calaloo Man - Rasta Lion
  16. E Bar - Jah Is My Light
  17. Version - No War Riddim
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

In November 2003 Zenah Music collaborated with Sugar Minott and produced the album "Leave Out A Babylon". In February/March 2004 they did an European tour together to promote the album. As a result of this dynamic collaboration Zenah Music and Sugar Minott decided to join forces again for a project called "Zenah Music Meets Black Roots Production", featuring various classic Black Roots Productions from the 70's alongside brand new Zenah Productions tracks recorded in Jamaica on the "No War Riddim". And now here's the double CD, bringing together the Jamaican Black Roots label, and the French label from Montreuil (outskirt of Paris), Zenah Music, which exists since 2003.
Disc one offers ten previously unreleased songs from Sugar Minott's Black Roots Production catalog. Started in 1979 by Lincoln "Sugar" Minott, the Black Roots label led to the foundation of the Youth Promotion crew recording artists like Little John, Triston Palmer, Barry Brown, Tony Tuff, and Yami Bolo. Originally known as the "Ghetto Sound" by the youths of Kingston in the 70's, the sound system and studio recording sessions of the Black Roots label kept on giving the opportunity to young artists to be heard by the masses. The tunes included here are a great testimony of the crucial times of reggae music when legendary artists and musicians were making reggae history. Therefore this set features now well known artists like Frankie Paul, Tony Tuff, African Brothers, The Gaylads and Sugar Minott himself and great musicians such as Sly Dunbar, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Benbow, Robbie Shakespeare, Lloyd Parks, Tony Chin, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Jackie Mittoo, Dean Fraser, Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Skully Simms, Bongo Herman, Count Ossie. But here you'll also find obscure names like Fire Facts and Lenky Roy, the latter delivering a nice version of Bob Andy's classic Studio One tune "Unchained". Outstanding efforts are Don Angelo's "What A Situation", Lloyd Hemming's wonderful "Matroman", Dennis Walks' soulful "What Goes Up", Frankie Paul's awesome "British Argentine", "Your Lady" by the underrated Reggae George, and African Brothers' "All Who Gone". The only minus one could bring forth is that there are only ten tracks collected from the massive Black Roots catalog. Disc two is a "one riddim" set featuring 16 vocal cuts for the contemporary "No War" riddim. It starts off with Sugar Minott's killer tune, "Easy Mr Bush", also included on his "Leave Out A Babylon" album. From there it goes from to strength with such great tracks as Luciano's "All Over The World", Determine's hard hitting "War Munger", Tampanae's "Deliver Me Jah", Yami Bolo's wicked "Humanity", Steady Ranks' "Good For Good", Ranking Joe's anti-war tune "Away With Your Fussing & Fighting", Rod Taylor's "Guide Us Jah", and "Jah Is My Light" by E Bar. But also the other tracks have their own merit and are truly worth of hearing.
All in all great collection of tunes from both Black Roots and Zenah Music, a much promising collaboration that hopefully will lead to more notable releases in the near future.

Teacher & Mr. T.