Doctor's DarlingVarious Artists

I’m not usually a huge fan of rhythm albums, but the folks at Germaican Records hit it big with the “Doctor’s Darling” riddim. I think it’s one of the best rhythms that’s come out since Steven “Lenky” Marsden’s “Diwali.” There isn’t a bad tune on the whole CD.

Not only that, the artists that voice on this record read like a “best of” list of conscious dancehall and lovers’ rock: Sizzla, Turbulence, Capleton, Junior Kelly, Michael Rose, Luciano, George Nooks, Glen Washington and of course, the beautiful and wise Tanya Stephens.

Tanya put this riddim on the map with “It’s A Pity,” which came out on the VP collection “Reggae Gold 2003,” in June 2003. The song is a heartwrentching tale of two people in love who are already committed to others, “It’s a pity you already have a wife, and me dun have a man inna mi life, rudebwoy it is a pity…” The universal story reaches millions and Tanya’s clever lyrics and raspy voice will keep this one in the reggae archives for years to come.

The real gem, in my opinion though, comes from dancehall deejay, Degree–one of the most underrated artists in the dancehall. Degree is not only lyrically sharp, he writes harmonies that are catchy–good catchy. I’ve put “It No Matter” on repeat, and it still hasn’t gotten on my nerves. In fact, T.O.K.’s Bay-C agrees with me, “Most people don’t realize how bad Degree is!”

Sizzla’s “Pure Love” on this riddim is very strong and was all the rage in Jamaica three months ago. It’s a wonderful love song, “Show me that your love is real, cause that’s the kind of love I want to feel. Show me that your love is pure, and I’ll be there and I’m sure.” Sizzla is lilting and mellow–it’s a sincere vibe from the the fiery youth.

Luciano’s uplifting voice comes in clear and crisp on “Stay Away.” Journalist Gregory Stephens writes, “Luciano could sing the phone book and it would be uplifting.” This is classic Luciano, singing in thirds–above and beyond the phone book by miles! He takes a President Bush sound byte talking about Saddam Hussein, which is subtle, “This is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time.” Luciano’s own message is strong and powerful, “Jah children stay away from war and strife, stop all your fuss and fight–Wake up, mankind, let’s unite!”

Another jewel comes from crooner Glen Washington, who rather than delivering a love tune, gives us a spiritual “Jah” song–something he does on ocassion. “Never let Babylon confuse you, it’s the mercies of God that I use to help me make it along the way.” Glen has been compared over and over to Beres Hammond, and although the comparison makes a lot of sense, Glen is an extremely strong artist in his own right.

George Nooks, Seeed and Anthony B, Turbulence, Michael Rose, Lukie-D, and Capleton all contribute tracks to round out this excellent album.

I always appreciate a rhythm album where the songs are distinct enough so that you don’t feel like you’re listening to the same thing over and over. This album is a huge success, and I must praise the producers for their innovative, moving track.

And hey, Pierre Baigorry, if you’re listening, a likkle suggestion… You have a strong enough foundation to release a “Doctor’s Darling 2” with round 2: Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond, Cocoa Tea, Vybz Kartel, TOK, and some of the newer dancehall deejays.

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