Lucky Dube Soul Taker coverLucky Dube

This is one of the best releases I’ve heard in quite some time. I came across it while completely absorbed in a record store listening booth. Immediately, I called Shanachie to ask them to send some copies.

This South African artist is a master at song construction. He takes human realities of love, struggle, and world corruption and turns them into personal stories of triumph or narration. He weaves the lyrics into catchy verses and choruses, and adds strong bridges, climaxes and resolutions. With some of the strongest musicians in the industry, Dube allows his backing musicians a voice (whether its drums, bass, background vocals, saxophone, or keyboards) and emerges with solid, original, compelling tracks.

Dube is often compared to Bob Marley or Peter Tosh because of the timeless nature of his songs. He isn’t swayed by the latest dancehall rhythms, and goes back to the foundation of percussion and gripping stories. He does, however, experiment with other musical elements like jazz lines and expands his sound with little subtleties.

From the catchy CD opener, “Put A Little Love,” about a lonely woman whose marriage is breaking up and needs “a little love in her life,” to the haunting melody of “Soul Taker,” Dube comes out strong on every track. The engineering by Dave Segal is especially noteworthy and exceptional.

This disc is uplifting, thought provoking, joyous, and musically exceptionally precise. I recommend it highly.