[Skank Records, 2010]

I complain occasionally about the exceedingly narrow lyrical focus of most Rastafarian songwriters, meaning too much of the automaton preacher, too little of the rational thinker; too much “reasoning,” too little awareness evident therein. But you can’t say that about Ossie Dellimore, whose obvious intelligence is an unusually good match for his skills as a tunesmith. Sure, he references Jah fervently and often, but he still manages to address important contemporary issues in a way that few of his peers are capable of: directly yet with imagination, forcefully yet with compassion. (Not always; he can revert at times to such trite simplifications as: “how come them fight so much war/Time to put the weapons down/Is there no more love to be found…”).

So this disc is a full hour of progressive roots reggae from a relatively unheralded but mature artist, one who from the start (just one album ago) had his own unique, recognizable sound, not overly beholding to Bob Marley or anyone else in reggae`s past. The multi-talented Dellimore is responsible for much of the playing as well, including bass, keyboards, guitars and percussion. He does get deejay support on two tracks, including exemplary tag-team vocalizing with Mikey Jarrett on “Keep the Faith,” and four dubs of previous songs conclude the album.

The packaging of Reggae Music is typical of the Skank label, with as satisfying a set of liner notes as you could want, namely credits, lyrics, color photos, and in this case, comments from Dellimore about each song, including a wise take on global warming that`s more nuanced than the lyrics of the relevant song. As if these extras and the catchy music are not enough, part of the proceeds from the sale of Skank releases goes to what happens to be one of my own favorite charities, Doctors Without Borders. Yes, there are many reasons to buy this album, and even more reasons you`ll come to love it once you do.