CD Reviews: Various, All I Have is Love (A Tribute to Studio One)

by

Various Artists
[Easy Star Records]

"all i have is love" tribute to studio oneClement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One is home to the greatest and most influential reggae ever produced in Jamaica, sparking the careers of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Dennis Brown, and Burning Spear to name a few. Produced by Sister Carol, “All I Have Is Love” is a brand new collaboration between Sister Carol’s own Black Cinderella Productions and the New York based Easy Star Records. The compilation is comprised of original Studio One recordings re-recorded by the original singers and deejays, as well as a few new songs using original Studio One instrumentals. All of the instrumental tracks have been re-recorded using live instruments. Drum machines and computers were purposefully avoided in order to recreate the classic Studio One sound.

This tribute to the pioneers of Reggae starts off with Freddie McGregor’s version of the Heptone’s “My Baby Is Gone” while the Black Cinderella, Sister Carol, gives new life to an old rock steady riddim in “Listening.” Sluggy Ranks and Dr. C create a classic heavy roots sound in their original “Keep The Faith,” with the inimitable influence of Dean Fraser’s horns taking us back to Reggae’s roots. The late Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown, contributes one of his last performances with the title track “All I Have Is Love,” a sweet roots duet with the song’s originator, Johnny Osbourne. Roman Stewart puts his soul into Leroy Sibbles’ inspirational “Soul Power,” followed by Ken Boothe’s “Just Another Girl” performed by Judah Eskinder Tafari. Niceness!

The disc pays tribute to Jah’s holy herb with Angie Angel’s “Sativa Info.” Jr. Jazz goes beyond the call of duty in his rendition of Alton Ellis’ lover’s rock classic, “Can I Change My Mind?” Arguably the sweetest vocalist in Reggae, Sugar Minott, sings his own “Give A Hand,” and again kudos to the horns on this one. Pam Hall will make your heart melt with her lover’s plea in her adaptation of Leroy Sibbles’ “There Ain’t Nobody Else,” followed by Glen Washington’s divine “Jah New Love,” a potential classic in the making.

Regards to Sister Carol for including a balanced array of women artists on this disc, a concept that seems to be all but absent on most Reggae compilations. Sister Carol returns for the spiritually strong “Keep It Real,” with Motherland Soul’s “Hear Me Jah Jah” following. The compilation comes to a close with Dennis Brown’s solo take of “All I Have Is Love,” added to the disc as a special tribute to the great vocalist.

“All I Have Is Love (A Tribute to Studio One)” is one of the most moving albums I’ve heard in quite some time. With Scientist and Phillip Smart (among others) at the mixing board, this stellar collection manages to capture the essence of the classic Reggae sound.

For sound samples and information on this and other Easy Star releases visit www.easystar.com.

 




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