Archive for reggae

Black Uhuru/Chill Out

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 120000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Black Uhuru are a Jamaican reggae group formed in 1972, initially as Uhuru (Swahili for ‘freedom’). The group has undergone several line-up changes over the years, and had their most successful period in the 1980s, with their album Anthem winning the first ever Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985.

Chill Out is an album by reggae band Black Uhuru, released in 1982 (see 1982 in music). The album was recorded at Channel One Studios in Jamaica and produced by Sly & Robbie. Featuring The Revolutionaries, an influential session group, Chill Out, together with its dub companion The Dub Factor, is widely considered a classic of reggae music.

Chill Out peaked at #156 on Billboard’s (North America) Pop Albums chart. {Wikipedia]

This was my first foray into Reggae music…even before Marley, and this band remains a very favorite of mine.

Chill Out—-With the familiar three beat that has made Reggae favorite, Uhuru delivers the classic sound with vigor and a really great produced sound. The entrance of the nasally vocal adds the cherry on top of the whole thing and manages to create a masterpiece at the same time. The vocal is so real and true that you know at once you are listening to the true island form of Reggae. This is relaxed, inspirational and downbeat all at once…a masterful song, I hope I can find a video for it.

Darkness—-With a lively and island style beat, the band seems to be all involved on this song as there is no quite specific vocal on the chorus but rather a fun group effort. I love the way the voice is so drawn out and truly authentic. The dialect is masterful and you are able to completely lose yourself in the hazy, warm sunny sound of the music. The lyrical content is heart rendering and makes you think about how other live. This is true art. When he utters the line…’the deaf, the dumb, the blind…’ I get chills from the emotional tone of the voice.

Eye Market—-This is really a slow jam style Reggae track with lots of built-in vibe and many voices adding to the mix of vocals. The track is so slow that you find your head nodding whether you realize it or not…the vibe is chill and almost experimental with the odd blips and beeps that are added by Sly & Robbie. This is a masterpiece slow island jam. Smoke em’ if you got em’!!!

Right Stuff—-Moving away from the straight up island style of Reggae, this combines more of a dance groove than other tracks on the release. The beat is faster and laden with a few more effects that are generated from keyboards than straight up three beat instrumentation. There seem to be a number of voices on this, it is not my favorite, but manages to fit very cohesive in the order of the songs. This is nice.

Mondays—-Still after all of these years, this remains a very favorite song of mine. I remember when I bought this cassette for the very first time in this small little record shop in a downtown shopping center called Portside here in Toledo. Of course, it was on a Monday and so it goes…..this is a classic island styled beat that laments the feelings of people everywhere in the world…the one day we don’t like is Monday!!! The beat is so relaxed, you can lean back and pretend it is still Sunday without any problem. This is classic in every way…if you have not heard this please…seek it out.

Fleety Foot—-Although this song sticks true to the classic sound of Reggae, the dub is lying low in the backdrop and threatens at times to take over the song. The vocal is a chorus of men and woman chants that make up the chorus, to tell you the truth i much prefer the refrain. This guy has got the whole vibe and dialect down…this is pleasant, relaxing and genuine.

Wicked Act—-This is so mellow and laid back that you are almost encouraged to smoke up and enjoy the haze that the music produces. This is remarkable…the twmpo of the song is so slow that you threaten to lose attention at times. This is true in form and true to the consistent sound of the band. Really nice!!!

Moya, Moya—-Again, the song has a magic breeze that just seems to swim through the song and cause a cerebral relaxation. The vocal is very low-key and is joined all through the track with the by now familiar female backdrop singers. There is a level of dub that runs through the song, but it magically remains undistractiong and understated. Very nice indeed.

Emotional Slaughter—-Perhaps the best known song from this release, the song has its high pooints but has never really resonated with me. The familiar ever-present three beat is gone from the song and is pushed way in the back in favor of a more modern up tempo Americanized sound. I love the nasal delivery of the vocal…this is real and emotional with very little change in vocal tone…this guy is magic in my book. I could do without the female voices that keep popping up, rather prefer the straight on nasally delivery that speaks of the islands to me.

****3/4 out of 5

Matisyahu/Light

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 2500000012UTC 12 by marky7235

Matisyahu [Matthew Paul Miller] is an American Hasidic Jewish Reggae Musician recording since 2004. Matisyahu is known for his unique combinations of traditional Jewish themes set to Reggae, Hip-Hop and rock music. Since beginning his recording career in 2004, he has released 3 studio CD’s. This, the most recent was issued in August of 2009.

Smash Lies—-With a more electronic sound than expected, this track seems to be all over the place. The vocals are largely auto-tuned…which is not necessary are to hype driven and there is not enough emphasis on the chorus which has a really nice hook. The end of the song allows for a cleaner vocal…this works so much better for me.

We Will Walk—-This is much more in the accustomed vein, although the beats are a little pushed to far to the back. the chorus is really nice…a huge sounding catchy delivery that allows you to sway and bob your head…this is nice…much better.

One Day—-The lead off single to this release and fairly popular….I hate that when that happens to one of ‘my’ bands….but that is the object right…how slow am I??? From the opening strains of this song, you know that it is the single for a reason…this is fantastic…you would never in a 100 years imagine this guy was a heavily bearded white guy wearing a yamake…this is so nice you will listen to it a few times in a row before you move on. I love this….the slwer beat is pure Reggae…the heavier bass gives it an R n’ B cred at the some time. Nice!!!

Escape—-This is pretty fantastic…this is a nice blend of Rap/Reggae that is at a nice pace…once the chorus hits the song has developed into a huge track. The instruments seem to come in a bit at a time until the song is bursting at the seams…the horns are brilliant…this is great!!!

So Hi So Lo—-This has a lot of pop stylings to it, the beat much more Alt-rock oriented than anything I have heard from him so far. The guitars are much more aggressive and for most of the song, Matis actually sings rather than delivering his usual sing-song vocal. the chorus is nice…it makes the refrains worth it…nice…again!

I Will Be Light—-The music seems to be more in a dub style…which I really do not care for…the vocal is much higher pitched than usual…which I do not like….the chorus is flat…which I do not like….the song is over…which I do like. This sounds like a really bad Red Hot Chili Peppers cover!!!

For You—-Right out of the gate, the song has a nice sound of promise…the voice enters the fray and is nice…not what I expected but nice. The Reggae flavor is nowhere to be found, but the chorus is a huge sounding affair. the chords and melody are contagious…the refrain sticks to your cells and the song lives at least another day in the recesses of your brain. Great!!!

On Nature—-To me, this sounds like so many of the white bands in the early 90’s that were making pseudo-Reggae muic…bands like 311, Sugar Ray etc….this just falls flat for me…it is not a bad song…it just lacks anything that makes it special.

Motivate—-Beginning with a rock sound, the guitar remains throughout most of the song, but the bass Reggae beat is the star. This is a fast vocal delivery and borders on great Dancehall..this is really nice…besides One day, my favorite track on this release. It is classic and authentic!

Struggla—-What a nice groove this track has…that shuffling reggae beat is so addictive….the strack uses some sample or the other to add and beef up the song…it works really well. the vocal is fantastic on this track….the clear voice is a little shocking…but very refreshing to actually know what we are bobbing our head to. Plus, the message of the song is great!!

Darkness Into Light—-This is fast, slightly muted and fantastic. the guitars that enter the chorus are so Alt Rock acceptable, you shake your head and wonder if this is the same guy you were listening to on the last track. This is fantastic…did I say that already?  The chorus is a huge contagious affair…a really great hook on this one.

Thunder—-Again. this sounds like a really bad Anthony Keidas impression….this does not work for me at all….sorry.

Silence—-Obviously this is in Hebrew…..haunting and almost beautiful, I just really prefer him at a more even tone…this upper register thing does not work for me….as the English refrains come in, the song is damn likeable and the voice is more mainstream…this is great….the beats are minimal and a sad haunt runs through the backdrop of the song…wonderful!!!

***1/2 out of 5