There are very few artists who can evoke the feelings and vibes of being on the shores of Jamaica, but the moment I put “Spiritual Revolution” in my CD player, I was transported to the island.
Mikey General, who in the past few years has been traveling and performing with Luciano and the Firehouse Crew, is finally getting his own deserving recognition. His high tenor voice is a welcome change to the prevalent baritone voices that color Reggae music. Not only is his voice unique, but he takes Reggae’s tradition of conscious lyrics and adds his own spin to it.
The disc opens with “H.I.M. Sons and Daughters” which is an extremely solid tune. A flute line colors the tone and gives it that distinct island feel. The lyrics tell a traditional Rasta story: Ethiopians overcoming hundreds of years of oppression, dispersed across the world, and uniting under Haile Selassie’s leadership.
The most original and profound tunes come when General sings about uplifting women. Many female artists champion this cause, but few male artists do. In “Not for the Natty,” Luciano opens with, “The greatest gift to any man is a virtuous woman,” and General comes in and sings, “Miss hottie hottie, not for the natty natty, Miss hottie hottie not for the Rastaman. Well, I-man want a spiritual girl, I no want a woman of the world; I-man want a spiritual girl, one that don’t worship vanity.” In “Queen with A Mind,” General croons, “You’re more than just a body with a pretty face, Jah Jah give you a mind, and it’s a terrible thing to waste.” “Know Who You Are,” is also an ode to the mother of creation, although somewhat less compelling than the other two. In a male-dominated industry, it’s nice to see someone hail up the women for something other than their body parts.
The rest of the album emits a strong spiritual message from the opening track to “Jah Inna Me Head,” “Spiritual Revolution,” “Wisdom,” “Love Is What We Need” featuring General Pecos, “Fire Never Cease,” “Too Much Revolution,” and “Wash Dem Away.” General’s message has always been to follow a righteous path, and he doesn’t stray on this sophomore effort.
“Red Hot” has been Mikey General’s trademark track for the last year or so, and it has been featured on various albums, including the Firehouse Crew’s “Platinum Reggae Series, Volume 1.” On this album, it appears as track 4 and musically, it is the strongest track in terms of pitch, harmonies, content and energy.
The Firehouse Crew does an excellent job as the back-up band, with interesting instrumentation: sax, melodica, flute in addition to the standard keyboards, drum, bass, percussion, and guitar.
Although General does not have perfect pitch, I have yet to see any other artist whose sincerity can be matched by his. He is a truly upful person and a mighty musician. He has years of wonderful music ahead of him.