Sounds Jamaican radio missed in 2017 Sounds Jamaican

Thursday, January 11, 2018

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Courtney John (Ecosystem)

Released in June by French company Soul Man Records, the album hears John working with Paris session musicians who are strongly influenced by classic roots-reggae.

Frenchman Pierre-Marie Williamson produced the 11-track set which is a throwback to the glory days of ska, rocksteady and roots-reggae. All The Way, For Real and the rocking Cold Feet make Ecosystem John's strongest effort to date.




Ronnie Davis (Iyahcoustic)

The former lead singer of The Itals delivers on this unplugged set which turned out to be his final project. Davis died in January last year at age 66. Iyahcoustic hears him in good voice with strong guidance from producer Henry Buckley Jnr.

Davis, superbly backed by guitarist Mitchum “Khan” Chin, brings new breadth to his originals like Beware of Evil Men and Strange Things, as well as Every Rasta Is A Star (a take on Boris Gardiner/Big Youth's Every Nigger Is A Star) and the Johnny Adams soul gem, I Won't Cry.



Havana Meets Kingston

This reggae-meets-Latin version of The Buena Vista Social Club came out in November. Unlike American musician Ry Cooder's ode to Afro-Cuban music, Australian producer Jake Savona's project did not get instant love, certainly not in Jamaica.

Sly and Robbie, percussionist Bongo Herman and guitarist Winston “Bo Pee” Bowen traveled to the Cuban capital in 2015 to record this album with some of the musicians who worked on The Buena Vista Social Club.

Songs like Carnival (featuring Jamaican reggae singer Randy Valentine and Cuban artiste Solis), Chan Chan, and Row Fisherman Row (featuring roots singer Prince Alla) are worth listening.





Samory I (Black Gold)

The roots singer has been knocking on the door for some time. Black Gold is his debut album, produced by Rory Gilligan of Stone Love fame.

It is a good effort, driven by songs like Rasta Nuh Gangsta and a powerful cover of Syl Johnson's Is It Because I'm Black.




Marlon Brown (Chocolate Brown)

With the Jamaican government embracing ganja like a long-lost relative, there is no shortage of songs saluting the 'good weed'. Brown, a protégé of veteran session guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, smokes on this horn-hooked jam, co-produced and co-written by Smith and Sangie Davis.




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