Culture

Culture at Work

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This reggae harmony trio, led by the mystical and charismatic Joseph Hill, made its most enduring recordings under the tutelage of the "Mighty Two" -- producers Errol Thompson and Joe Gibbs -- and for Sonia Pottinger's High Note label. But this program finds them working alternately with the Roots Radics and with Sly & Robbie, whose production is just a bit dull but still packs much of the same power as the earlier Culture recordings. Culture at Work finds Joseph Hill sounding more like Burning Spear than ever, and his melodies, which are always hummable but rarely truly memorable, tread similarly familiar terrain. Same with his lyrics -- "Crisis" and "I'm Worried" predict a ghetto apocalypse, "Christian" chides the clergy for its spiritual blindness, "Money Girl" scolds womankind for its greed, "Dance Hall Style" celebrates Hill's own vocal prowess. Heard all that somewhere before? Of course you have. Doesn't mean it isn't worth hearing again, though. Culture at Work is no Two Sevens Clash, but it's still worth owning.

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