Continuing from the previous post on John Eden & Paul Meme’s Lyric Maker mix, I’ve since been on a mission to track down most of the tunes featured therein. Warrior King’s Education is the Key, built on Gregory Isaac’s Storm riddim, is one of the many highlights and his 2002 album, Virtuous Woman, was rapidly tracked down. I wasn’t expecting much, largely due to my ignorance of anything later than about 1988 when it comes to Jamaican music and also just because I’ve bought a lot of reggae albums on the strength of one or two tracks and they’ve rarely measured up to my expectation.
I guess I’ve been unlucky and I’m not for a minute suggesting there aren’t 1000s of great LPs out there, but I’ve always been a slave to the disco 45 when it comes to reggae music. Still, this album blew me away in an appropriately righteous manner. It never strays far from its devotional template, most of its tracks praising Jah and the righteous, with smatterings of Lover’s Rock and social conscience mixing things up a little. Mama is a little too reminiscent of Mr T’s unforgettable tribute to his old dear, though not as funny, to be anything other than uneasy listening, but otherwise it’s a gloriously melodic and uplifting album. The 3 consecutive tracks culminating in Education (posted below) would all set any sound system alight while Never Go Where Pagans Go wraps gospel, soul and township vibes into one glorious Jamaican blend.
Lyrically I’d have to endorse the opposite sentiment; as anyone familiar with the British megalithic landscape will know, there ain’t many finer places to tread than the paths of our pagan ancestors. But that’s not quite the point of course. The historical and cultural links between Africa and the Caribbean are never far from the conscience of all Rastafari music but harmonically and rhythmically this is surely the point where Africa meets Jamaica in the most delightful way.
An over-used comparison maybe, but strains of Marley on these two with I-Threes style vocals backed around some joyful Rastafari expressionism (Love Jah) or deep sufferah vibes (Rough Road):
Just glorious. Built for the sound system and the school assembly hall: