Cos I’m Black Riddim

April 18, 2012

Rhythm albums are a bone of contention among reggae aficionados. Depending on who you speak to their rise or decline represents everything that was or is good or bad about the industry. At worst they can be dull repetitive affairs. But with the right rhythm like this thumping relick of Ken Boothe‘s cover of Syl Johnson‘s Is It Because I’m Black, produced by female duo Diane White and Caroline Williams AKA Real Talk Productions they can hit the spot.

Cos I'm Black RiddimThe first track by British St Lucian roots and lovers ‘fine wine’ Nereus Joseph (who also co-produces and engineers) is the original vocal revisited in a way that does neither Ken nor Syl injustice. He’s joined by fellow veteran singers Peter Hunnigale (for a lovely Curtis Mayfield period throwback with Do We Believe), Max Romeo (with the somewhat improvised-sounding Another Day) and Vivian Jones (for the cleverly-conceived state-of-the-industry do-over of Johnson’s words Black Thing). However, deejays such as the pairing of Eccleston Jarrett with Jah Balance, and younger names like melismatic singer Lenea Herew, also contribute to a backing that makes it very hard to deliver a bad song.

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